CISO Trainings , Training & Security Leadership , Video

Why Emotional Intelligence Is Pivotal to a CISO's Success

Master Your Organization's Unique Language and Culture, Says BBC CISO Helen Rabe
Helen Rabe, CISO, BBC

What matters most to your organization? To truly be effective, CISOs must understand not just their organization's focus and become steeped in its culture, but also speak its language.

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"Language and culture to me are inexorably linked - they're not mutually exclusive," said Helen Rabe, CISO at the BBC. "In understanding the organization and its language, you understand what matters, and then by extension that will drive your security strategy and your security focus."

Rabe is a veteran of multiple industries, including commercial real estate, media and broadcasting, and life sciences. For the latter, protecting intellectual property is paramount, while for broadcasting, availability might be the chief concern, she said. Whatever it is, every individual organization needs to hear "a different narrative" that speaks to its own priorities.

This strategy applies to every level of the business with which a CISO and her team must liaise, from end users to senior executives and board members. "All of those different relationships require different conversations, and you as a security professional need to be able to have those conversations in a language that empathizes with the individual," she said.

In this video interview with Information Security Media Group at ISMG's London Cybersecurity Summit 2023, Rabe also discussed:

  • Why emotional intelligence is essential to delivering successful security programs and strategies;
  • Adapting to artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies;
  • Empowering security personnel through education while also building a strong pipeline of relevant skillsets from within the ranks.

Rabe manages the BBC's information, cyber and technology security strategy and operations. With more than 13 years experience in the cybersecurity industry, she has led high-performing teams to mitigate risk, counter threats and deliver world-class security and data privacy management solutions across varied industry sectors.

About the Author

Mathew J. Schwartz

Mathew J. Schwartz

Executive Editor, DataBreachToday & Europe, ISMG

Schwartz is an award-winning journalist with two decades of experience in magazines, newspapers and electronic media. He has covered the information security and privacy sector throughout his career. Before joining Information Security Media Group in 2014, where he now serves as the executive editor, DataBreachToday and for European news coverage, Schwartz was the information security beat reporter for InformationWeek and a frequent contributor to DarkReading, among other publications. He lives in Scotland.

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