The growth of CISO Executive Network is a culmination of the rapid growth of the CSO Breakfast Club from a local organization (Baltimore, Maryland) to a regional organization (East Coast) to, now, an international organization serving members across North America.
The CSO Breakfast Club, the progenitor to CISO Executive Network, traces its roots back to a presentation in 2005 in Baltimore when a local vendor brought together CSOs from a number of large companies and organizations for a threat seminar. The vendor asked Bill Sieglein, noted industry leader, author, and speaker, to moderate the seminar. As a former CSO who was now selling services to his fellow professionals, Bill had been toying with an idea of bringing CSOs together for peer-to-peer interactions. As Bill saw it, there was a tendency for the CSO inside a large organization to be isolated from other professionals who could help keep him or her up to date on new threats and new technologies.
The combination of Bill's seed of an idea and the threat seminar came together when Bill saw - through his moderation - how much value individual CSOs could gain by interacting with peers to openly discuss critical topics of the day. Bill so much enjoyed his participation in the seminar that day that he soon thereafter invited those same CSOs to join the charter chapter of the CSO Breakfast Club in Baltimore. Thus began the organization, with its first breakfast event held in early 2006.
By the middle of 2006, Bill was bringing the group together every six weeks to address timely topics. CSOs who participated in these events expressed strong satisfaction with the high level of information and, more importantly, with the stimulating interaction with their peers. Bill judiciously invited sponsors to participate in these events, with the goal of presenting to the members high quality updates on current issues and technology. The interactions were well received by both sponsors and Club members. Sponsorship of the events allowed for membership in the Club to be free of any fees, an important benefit to CSO members.
Word of mouth about the CSO Breakfast Club spread and, in 2007, Bill was approached by a CSO in Pittsburgh to start a local chapter there. By the end of 2007, regular events were being held in both Baltimore and Pittsburgh and the Club was growing quickly. At the same time, Bill realized that as the Club grew, he would need an efficient way to keep in touch with the needs of his busy and time-sensitive membership. As a result, he formed the CSO Breakfast Club Advisory Council, which includes a number of highly influential CSOs from chapters. In 2008, further expansion saw chapters originated in Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and New York. CSOs from premier Fortune 1000 companies, leading healthcare organizations, and top universities were joining the Club in each of these cities. As new chapters were added, representatives from these chapters were invited to join the Advisory Council. In this way, Bill could keep his finger on the pulse of the membership.
Expansion allowed for more sharing opportunities between sponsors and Club members and so the number and variety of sponsors grew to meet the demands of the growing membership. The Club's commitment to presenting only high quality educational material allowed sponsors to bring a meaningful message to the membership and, over the life of the Club, the interaction between sponsors and members has benefited all participants.
With expansion into multiple cities, membership grew to the point where concentrations in certain industries were apparent, and so in Fall 2009, the Club offered its first regional event with the Healthcare Information Security Summit in Philadelphia. This one-day event brought together more than 75 CSOs from across the chapter cities to focus on issues critical to information security in the healthcare arena.
In 2010, Tim Satterfield teamed up with Bill to foster growth. In that year, the Boston chapter was launched with almost 20 large organizations represented. Then, chapters were added in Columbus, Ohio, and in Atlanta, Georgia, bringing the total number of live chapters to eight. In addition, the Club offered virtual membership for executives in other parts of the country and around the world. At the end of the year, membership reached almost 900.
Tim and Bill teamed up in 2011 to rebrand the organization as CISO Executive Network. That year saw the organization expand its capabilities to bring live and web events to members across the North American continent while also continuing to provide its members opportunities to interact through its signature breakfast events.
In 2012, the network expanded west to a total of 10 Chapter cities, with new Chapters in Chicago, Dallas, and the San Francisco Bay Area. At the same time, Baltimore and DC were combined into a single MidAtlantic Chapter. In addition, CISO Executive Network began offering regular Webinars, which proved to be a successful new avenue for reaching its members. 2014 brought the organization its first chapter outside of the United States with the launch of the Toronto Chapter. In 2016 the network launched a chapter in Hartford, Connecticut. Also in 2016, the organization hired Andy Land, an experienced information security executive from IBM, to drive growth in the western half of the United States. Andy has launched numerous Chapters, including Phoenix, Houston, Denver, Las Vegas, Detroit, Austin-San Antonio, Nashville, Minneapolis, and a relaunch of our Dallas Chapter.
In late 2018, we now manage 20 Chapters and more than 2,300 members. Expansion will continue into 2019.