IASAP isn’t for everyone – it’s for YOU.

Let’s say, hypothetically of course, that you graduated in the late 90s with a degree in public relations. The degree you received coupled with an internship you did over the summer before your senior year landed you positions in later years in sales, social media, interactive marketing and other roles in the realm of communications. Now, more than 20 years later, you find yourself as a security awareness program manager bringing a 21st-century mindset to security awareness at a financial institution. If you’re like me (SPOILER ALERT: I’m talking about myself) two questions come to mind – how did I get here and what do I do next?

When I left UMB’s interactive marketing team to join its corporate information security and privacy team, I was fortunate to have received the opportunity to work with two great UMB associates who were members of IASAP. In addition to helping me learn my way around the lingo and department culture, they urged me to join too – and not to stop with membership. I pushed forward and was elected IASAP board Secretary, and now this year I’ve advanced to become Vice President.

Being surrounded by so many security professionals has given me help in ways that can’t be measured. Many of us have colleagues we look to and of course, there’s always Dr. Google, but being a member of IASAP has given me access to more than that. You can’t put a price on the knowledge gained from monthly meetups, in-person meetings, the social media offerings and of course the members only share site. On more than one occasion I’ve offered up a question or a problem our team is struggling with only to get solid answers, plans and most importantly support. Sometimes we just need someone to reassure us that we’re not alone and as our outgoing President Mike Diamond likes to say, “has your back.” #ShamlessPlug

Every day, your inbox is most likely filled with emails containing resources, newsletters, and vendors willing to provide you with what they believe is the next best thing in security education. In addition, when it comes to organizations you can put your time and effort into you’ve got an equal amount of options. If you’re considering membership with IASAP, renewing your membership or doing more in a current membership I urge you to do what you can to take full advantage. Regardless of where you
came or what you did before, this group can provide you with a place to start as well as keys to success when the potholes show up down the road.

Marc Vasquez, APR, is an assistant vice president and the security awareness program manager for UMB Financial Corporation where he possesses more than 20 years of agency and corporate public relations, marketing and social media experience. He also serves as the vice president for the International Association of Security Awareness Professionals. Marc holds the Accreditation in Public Relations credential which has been established as a way to recognize public relations practitioners who have mastered the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to develop and deliver strategic communications. You can generally find Marc via @vasquez007 on Twitter or on LinkedIn.