Saturday, August 4, 2012

My first time as a speaker (BSides Cleveland)

     I have made many presentations in public before. This should be old hat. After all, I taught large groups of students before. I was an instructor for 5 years for Pete's sake. These are the things I thought about over and over on the drive up to Cleveland for BSidesCLE 2012. The problem was, that drive lasted 6 hours. Doubt always seems to visit me when I am alone, with nothing else to do but think.
     ***Flashback***While attending the annual AIDE meeting at Marshall University, I was formally introduced to Bill Gardner. Bill and I quickly decided we were friends and discussion turned to a community need for Information Security Awareness and Training. This is when we realized that we were both working on submissions for BSides Cleveland that focused on awareness and training. What are two new friends to do, well combine the presentations and co-present, of course. The problem was, I knew Bill for only 2 hours up to that point. Another problem was that we lived hours apart and could not possibly get together to practice (well, in person anyway). Never fear, my outward personality and genuine ability to feed off the energy of a crowd would see me through. Did I mention the doubt and loneliness of my 6 hour drive?
     When I arrived, my doubts and fear only grew. I originally decided to "cut my teeth" at BSides Cleveland because of its small size. This became a problem when I began introducing myself to the people there. The likes of Dave Kennedy, Martin Bos, and a host of other InfoSec "celebrities." More doubt.
     When the time came to present, my new friend (who I knew for at least 1 month now) and I hit the stage. After a few minutes (which seemed like hours) and  a little confusion on whose slides were whose we hit our stride. I fed off of the crowd like I usually do. The doubt melted away.
     I really enjoyed my first presentation at a full fledged con. It is an experience I cherish and one that will give me the courage to step out more often. I plan on submitting to DerbyCon, Hack3rCon, and any other con my boss will pay for.

By the way, those "celebrities" were some of the coolest and laid back guys I have ever met. No judging found here.

***You can watch our presentation "Focusing on the Fool: Building and Awareness and Training Program" on

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