January 2021 Grant Award Winners


Cyndi and Ron Gula would like to congratulate the winners of our January 2021 Grant, focused on nonprofits increasing African American engagement in cybersecurity. The winners selected by our advisory board are:
Black Cybersecurity Association (FIRST PLACE $500,000 Grant) The Black Cybersecurity Association creates a multigenerational pipeline of qualified professionals to enter the workplace and has more than 2,000 cybersecurity mentors enabling a variety of programs.

NPower Inc (SECOND PLACE $300,000 Grant) NPower’s advanced cybersecurity program is currently offered two times per year starting March or July for 100 students in seven states. The program is 14 weeks of full-time virtual classroom training followed by 12 weeks of on-the-job training and professional development through a paid internship in the cybersecurity departments of NPower’s corporate partners.

Girl Security (THIRD PLACE $200,000 Grant) Girl Security provides multi-disciplinary, equity-informed programming through its “SEA Model,” where girls and young women are Secured, Empowered, and Advanced.

Congratulations! Keep up the great work you are already doing and we hope the grants will enhance your program's reach and impact.

Awards Show Transcript:

Ron Gula: [00:00:00] All right. Good afternoon. Hey my name is Ron [Gula 00:00:05].
Cyndi Gula: [00:00:05] I'm Cindy Gula.
Ron Gula: [00:00:07] Thanks for joining us today at our first ever Gula Tech Foundation award ceremony. We're very excited. This is the first time we've actually done an award ceremony for the Gula Tech Foundation, and we're really pleased to have so many people with us today and talking about these great grantees that we're gonna be getting to in a second.
Cyndi Gula: [00:00:27] Oh. Go ahead.
Ron Gula: [00:00:29] [Laughs] [crosstalk 00:00:28].
Cyndi Gula: [00:00:30] So first time on Zoom webinars. So-
Ron Gula: [00:00:33] We have a short agenda to go through, but we're very much looking forward to hearing from our awardees. So Cindy and I are gonna tell you a little bit about the foundation. We're going to talk about the specific grant that we started in January, 2021. We're going to hear from an excellent speaker, Harry [Coker 00:00:56]. He's been in the intelligence community for a very long time, but then we're gonna get to the actual meat of the matter here, where we're gonna announce our finalists and then the third place, second place, and first place winners. And then finally, we're going to announce our new grant for March, 2021.
Cyndi Gula: [00:01:13] ... yes, we're very excited.
Ron Gula: [00:01:19] So a little bit about Gula Tech Adventures. So we have three brands and the brands are our investing arm, Gula Tech Adventures, the foundation arm, which does our cyber security philanthropy. And then finally the Gula Tech Cyber Fiction Show, which really is our focus on raising public awareness in in cyber security. We're actually in the Gula Tech cyber fiction studio today, which is a fancy way to say if we bought some curtains and dedicated a room to to, to doing this, but we want to be very specific about what we're doing across all things in, in, in cyber. So Cindy, why don't you tell us a bit about why we did the Gula Tech Foundation?
Cyndi Gula: [00:02:05] So with our experience in cybersecurity, we realized that there was a larger need to nec, to connect the public to the enterprise public and private government agencies, all trying to work on this issue of cybersecurity. And quite honestly, it's a complicated, very difficult problem. And the conversation was not including the public. And therefore we thought with all the other things that we were doing, that if we did a foundation to bring all the great work that the nonprofits were doing with respect to cybersecurity, it would amplify their message.
It would be able to get their what their issues are out there and really be able to bring the people in the experts that are in cybersecurity to help these nonprofits to reach those the public in a better and more efficient, direct, personal way. So in January we decided we were going to do our first brand was going to be looking for non-profits that would best increase African-American engagement in cybersecurity, realizing that seven or three to 7% of people that are in cybersecurity right now are African-American and that's just woefully too low. And the answer to the question was why? Why was this the factor and the reason? And then it was, what can we do? And that's why we reached out to this award competition to try to really bring some of the great work that's being done.
Ron Gula: [00:03:45] So Cindy and I don't have all the answers we're here to help. And we were very humbled by all the different people who submitted grant proposals for this. And of course the awards this time, we were putting up some meaningful dollars, a million dollars. The first place winner is gonna receive $500,000, second, $300,000 and third $200,000. And this is pretty meaningful for a lot of folks out there. And it's a pretty emotional thing to try to pick winners and losers when everybody's working on such a, such an important thing.
Cyndi Gula: [00:04:13] There are no losers.
Ron Gula: [00:04:14] E- exactly.
Cyndi Gula: [00:04:15] [inaudible 00:04:32].
Ron Gula: [00:04:16] But what, it is a competition. So one of the p one of the ways that we were able to get through this was we've enlisted... We've had a very blessed career in cybersecurity. We- we've had a large number of people we worked with both as as investors, coworkers, co-founders people I've worked with at the national security agency. People Cindy's work with in, in different walks of life.
Was about 30 people who have worked with us and we're not gonna go through and read all of of their names. So I just wanna give a moment to recognize this very diverse group of people. And it's not just diverse in perhaps, skin color or sex, but these people come from academia, from the military, from the venture world, from the startup world from the nonprofit world. Some folks are very religious and very... Folks are very technical. We wanted to have-
Cyndi Gula: [00:05:03] [crosstalk 00:05:24].
Ron Gula: [00:05:03] ... this kind of of approach to, to help us pick, different types of folks who can make the biggest difference.
Cyndi Gula: [00:05:09] Yes, we definitely think and appreciate all their hard work for this grant and agreeing to continue [inaudible 00:05:37] for the next one. We hope.
Ron Gula: [00:05:17] Yeah. Yeah. And I apologize because our speaker Harry, I do not see in the list of folks here. Where's Harry at? All right. What I'm gonna do is just look for a second and [inaudible 00:06:01] 2% raise their hand dun, duh, first award ceremony, complete failure because the speaker couldn't get on. Here we go.
Cyndi Gula: [00:05:47] I'm trying to find it, it's under more info.
Ron Gula: [00:05:47] Yeah. What we're gonna do is we're gonna go to the next slide. And I think we're gonna have to come back and hear from Harry later because I just don't see him. So we're getting texts. This is live as we go.
Cyndi Gula: [00:06:07] He's on.
Ron Gula: [00:06:08] He's on. So Harry, I don't see you as a speaker. So if you can raise your hand, that would be really good.
Cyndi Gula: [00:06:15] [inaudible 00:06:43] participants and find him.
Ron Gula: [00:06:17] Yeah, I'm working on it.
Cyndi Gula: [00:06:28] You say he's on.
Ron Gula: [00:06:30] Yeah. Let's see, Harry. Nope.
Cyndi Gula: [00:06:35] [inaudible 00:07:05].
Ron Gula: [00:06:41] All right. Tony Cole says... Yeah. So we actually... So Harry's joining us from the intelligence community and probably using a covert name [laughs],
Cyndi Gula: [00:06:52] of course he is.
Ron Gula: [00:06:53] Yeah. I don't see, we don't see him. So if anybody who is watching this knows which one Harry is, we actually have some security here and we're not gonna be able to get him on because of the way Zoom is setting things up. Oh, that's really too [inaudible 00:07:49], all right.
Cyndi Gula: [00:07:18] Oh.
Ron Gula: [00:07:22] Yeah. All right. So Harry, we're gonna have to come back to you if you can have somebody text me or do that... Yeah, we don't see them in the list of attendees. All so we're gonna have to move on, Harry, text us, email us, we'll check that out. What we're gonna do next is get right to the meat of the matter here. And maybe Harry will be our colu our concluding speaker.
And so we're gonna get into our finalist. So I apologize, Harry, if you're listening and getting ready to say some awesome things, maybe we're gonna close out with you. So we actually announced 11 finalists that applied out of the... We had more than 100 people apply for the particular grant. And we put this out in a blog at gula.tech earlier this week in a press release.
And again, the intent here is not just to give a donation. The intent is to actually give awareness to these organizations who are doing that. So America's on tech all the way through different types of groups En- EmPower, Mission Fulfilled, Girl Security. We already, we wrote this up at the gula.tech. We've already been approached by the RSA organization who wants to interview some of these organizations and get them on a larger audience.
But out of these 11, our panelists, our board actually had a big role in voting. We had a process where we got input from each of the board members and we had a selection and we have our top three finalists, top three winners. So our very first one is going to win a third place award, and we can just go and put that up. So again, trying to move things along here. Our very first group that's winning our $200,000 reward is Girl Security.
So this organization provides multi-disciplinary equity informed programming through its [inaudible 00:09:53], where girls and young women are secured, empowered, and advanced. This organization empowers participants to explore how technology people's systems laws and policies intersector collide by situating non-technical cybersecurity skills at the core of its work, offering no barrier to entry and equipping girls and young women of color with a multi-disciplinary portfolio of fundamental national security skills to prepare them for every position.
Cyndi Gula: [00:09:42] Yeah, this organization really impressed me specifically, because I have been saying that cyber is more than just coding. It's more than just development and the block tackling. Congratulations to Girls Security. We were very impressed with your commitment and strategy and process to bringing more girls into the security cybersecurity specifically.
Ron Gula: [00:10:06] And with this today to talk a bit about, this is the founder and CEO of Girl Security Lauren Buitta. I'm gonna take you off of screen share here so everybody can see you. Lauren, how are you?
Lauren Buitta: [00:10:21] I'm terrific [laughs]. Thank you so much. Really-
Ron Gula: [00:10:24] Congratulations.
Lauren Buitta: [00:10:25] ... thank you. Really appreciate the opportunity to participate in this grant. I speak on behalf of the whole organization when I say that we wanna thank Gula Tech for this opportunity, which is truly remarkable for Girls Security, which is a growing organization led and informed by women national security practitioners.
Unfortunately, my colleague and one of our board members can Neil Stewart, who many folks might know is a leading cybersecurity attorney and co-founder of Share the Mic campaign is across multiple time zones and had a- another commitment, but I have her permission to share a quote if I may, and then "I'm excited about this opportunity to invest in our future by ensuring girls of color, and in particular black girls are empowered in cybersecurity. The lack of access and exposure to cyber security and national security as disciplines early on is extremely limiting for growing young girls and for our national strategy. As Lauren and I said in our article building a more secure nation starts with girls of color. Empowering and giving a voice to women and girls of color is essential to re-imagining and building a future-proof national security workforce, able to confront the ways in which systemic racism impedes our ability to effectively secure our homeland and engage on the world stage."
Girls security is really a vision of forging equity and national security through its pathways, including cyber with an architecture that brings really the diverse lived security experiences of girls from across backgrounds and identities to the forefront of not only a national security discourse, but we hope a re envisioned understanding of national security that places challenges at the intersection of tech society and security at its forefront. In addition, it provides girls and women interested in careers with practitioner designed college to career training and supports those girls and women through mentoring and social networks as they advance, which are all key issues that especially for black girls and girls of color in our program are missing, and last it, what's so critical to about our program is we onboard girls at the upper high school and college career. Last year, we onboarded 400 mentees and our program served over 3000 girls half of whom were girls of color. Many of whom came from my home city, the city of Chicago.
But truly it's the population that we serve. It's the girls and educators who really show us how we need to show up for them. So I wanted to just share how this s- support will enable us to, it's going to enable us to do more work through an equity lens of understanding how black girls see and perceive cybersecurity within the national security context. It will allow us to activate an equity workforce that will approach will explore new approaches to engaging girls through the lens of education and equity and cybersecurity, as well as consider the implications of national security challenges that place systemic racism and misogyny at their core. We'll be able to implement dedicated college to career training on cyber as many non-technical pathways and expand a successful pilot initiative that we launched last year in response to the pandemic, which is a 15 week fellowship program that provides girls with again, practitioner design training, or working with interested partners to secure course credit, as well as a stipend to participate which is huge.
At its core, gross security is challenging, outdated norms that no longer serve our national security. It's challenging the national security to prioritize the experiences of girls and girls of color. And it's important to recognize that these girls and especially black girls in our program experience of diverse spectrum of security threats. They're really good at security. And so we need to bring their voices to the forefront and equip them with the resources that they need to be future national security leaders in cyber, and look more like the nation that that it is securing. So this is transformative for us. As I said we really can't thank you enough. And I speak on behalf of our team and the populations we serve. So thank you.
Ron Gula: [00:14:27] Thanks for the opportunity. And what do you think you might be doing with some of the funds?
Lauren Buitta: [00:14:32] We're going to be supporting all of those initiatives. The fellowship program as I noted, we're gonna expand our equity council. Being able to provide stipends to girls from underserved communities is huge especially those who are coming from areas that are heavily gang ridden. They need to have an incentive to participate, a protection to participate in the program. As well as just to further support the partners that we have on the ground, who I said are, they're educators who are forging equity, they're doing the hard work, and our job is really just to support them as they do that work. So we really appreciate this opportunity, and I wanna-
Ron Gula: [00:15:05] Awesome.
Lauren Buitta: [00:15:05] ... congratulate the other winners who a- as well.
Ron Gula: [00:15:09] Yeah. Congratulations. Very impressive organization. That's just awesome. That's just awesome.
Cyndi Gula: [00:15:13] Yeah, we're very impressed.
Ron Gula: [00:15:16] So the, I was gonna go back to-
Cyndi Gula: [00:15:18] [inaudible 00:16:25] do you wanna go to Harry now?
Ron Gula: [00:15:19] ... no, let's, so we'll so we've found Harry.
Cyndi Gula: [00:15:21] [Laughs].
Ron Gula: [00:15:21] So we're gonna go back to-
Cyndi Gula: [00:15:23] Where in the world [inaudible 00:16:32].
Ron Gula: [00:15:24] ... yes that's right. We're gonna go back to sharing the screen. So what we'll do is first of all, I need to thank our board because they were all texting me that Harry Corker was indeed on the line. So what we'll do is we'll announce the second place and the first place winner, then we'll go back and we'll hear from from Mr Coker. So very good. All right.
Cyndi Gula: [00:15:44] [crosstalk 00:16:53] mix it up and put him in the middle.
Ron Gula: [00:15:45] Oh, no, I think we gotta... We, once we do the third place, we gotta go here. Our second place winner is an organization that Cindy and I have both had the opportunity to to participate at. So this organization, advanced cybersecurity program is currently offered two times per year, starting in March or July for 100 students. The program is a 14 weeks... The program is 14 weeks of full-time virtual classroom training followed by 12 weeks of on the job training and professional development through a paid internship in the cybersecurity departments of this organization's corporate partners. Cindy.
Cyndi Gula: [00:16:20] So the second place winner is En-Power. So with EmPower, we have [Kendra Porlak 00:17:39] here to tell us a little bit more about what you do at EmPower and how you're looking to use this additional grant information?
Kendra Parlock: [00:16:38] Thank you, Ron. Thank you, Cindy. We are so excited. I'm like jumping up and down and we are thrilled to have been selected as a finalist and selected as a winner of the Gula Tech Foundation Award for the advancement of African-Americans in cyber security. And at EmPower, our mission is to launch careers in tech through our tech fundamentals program, cybersecurity and our cloud computing programs.
Our training is a entry portal to a tech based career for young people from underserved communities targeting 18 to 25 year olds, but also military veterans and spouses. And the program changes the lives of our trainees. The majority enter our program unemployed or underemployed with salaries of about $7,600. We are gonna use this award to- toward our advanced training in cybersecurity, where we will double our capacity to 100 students across the country this year.
Our advanced cybersecurity program as you mentioned, is offered two times per year. The first class will be starting at this month. And in addition to the tech training, there's 12 weeks of on the job training, as well as professional development through a paid internship in a cybersecurity department with one of our corporate partners. And with the program, we equip our students with the skills needed to launch a career in cyber, and is anchored in the CompTIA, Security+ and Linux certifications which as are highly marketable and made completely free to our students.
The paid internship ensures that our students receive real-world exposure that builds upon what they're learning in the classroom. These internships we've adjusted, due to COVID. And we are providing our employer partners with the opportunity to assess a new diverse talent pool, and obviously potential employees.
Many of our alumni who go on to intern go on to receive job offers from the very same companies. So through this program, we really seek to what we call future proof, the students we serve by training for current jobs in cyber as well as those on the horizon while reinforcing the value of lifelong learning. Our training stays current with the market. It's innovative and tailored to the local job markets with active engagement from our employer partners.
We serve graduates. So we start with our tech fundamentals program. So our cyber program serves graduates from our tech fundamentals program those coming from limited backgrounds who are, who working to upscale and enhance their marketability for cyber positions. And so we accept applications for people who are attempting to move from unemployment or underemployment. And again, we're working toward placing them in cyber positions where the average salary ranges from 55,000 to 120,000 a year.
And we're really proud of our outcomes. We've got 90% graduation, 90% certification, 90% job placement. And we are... So there's so many stories I could tell you were inspired by the career paths of our alumni and I like to share too with you. First there's Sean Cherry. He's a US army veteran, and currently an apprentice at Barclays. He's from our Newark Tech Fundamentals spring 2020 program and our New York cybersecurity fall 20 program.
And after 14 years of service in US army with distinctions, special assignments, multiple deployment Sean decided to follow his dream of a career in federal law enforcement, but due to an injury, his dream came to a halt and he went back to school, enhanced his techs skills and realized he could continue to serve and protect his country in a re-imagined way. He came to EmPower. He discovered us through a military publication and enrolled in our tech fundamentals program.
He took full advantage of our support, helping him transition from military to civilian life graduated tech fundamentals, and then went on to our advanced cybersecurity program where he obtained his CompTIA's Security+ certification. And he got a coveted apprenticeship with the financial services company and on a very successful path now in cybersecurity.
And then I like to tell you about a young woman, Olivia Johnson and she comes from our Baltimore Tech Fundamentals Program 2019. She is climbing the cyber career ladder with our recent job offer from a local, a cyber company. She just got the offer. I talked to her on Monday, she's doubling her salary. But she came to EmPower from hospital- hospitality server gaps. So she was bouncing from job to job and then had no job. And she heard about training programs and construction, and she wandered well, is there something in tech? Is there something in cyber?"
She Googled it and she found us. And while in the program, she experienced homelessness as well as some other issues, but we were able to connect her with the needed social support, as well as an executive mentor. Mentorship matters. It really matters because after this, she soared. As a woman of color in cyber, her advice, "This is going to be hard, but never give up."
And she's a great example also of lifting as you climb, because, even as she's climbing her own career path, she's connecting others with training, through EmPower connecting the organizations that she comes in contact with EmPower so they can again look for new talent. So the funds we receive will go toward increasing the diversity of talent in tech and cyber and changing the lives of many people, just like Olivia and Sean. So we are so very thankful for the funding and the opportunity to amplify our impact. Thank you so much.
Ron Gula: [00:23:02] Congratulations. Congratulations very much. It's it's very well earned. You get, you have a great organization.
Cyndi Gula: [00:23:07] We really enjoy talking with your students. They're their en- enthusiasm is infectious and it's wonderful. So keep up the good work.
Kendra Parlock: [00:23:16] Thank you.
Ron Gula: [00:23:21] All right. Our third and first place grantee, $500,000. When Cindy and I got into cybersecurity we never imagined we would be in the position to award somebody half a million dollars to, to do amazing thing. This organization creates a multi-generational pipeline of qualified professionals to enter the workplace and has more than 2000 cybersecurity mentors enabling a variety of programs. Their goal is to train 10,000, 10,000 African-American cybersecurity professionals by 2036. They do many more things than that. Cindy.
Cyndi Gula: [00:24:02] And the winner is Black Cybersecurity Association. So congratulations. The work they've been doing has been great. We were so impressed with what they have been able to do this far and really looking forward to seeing what they can do into the future. And for today, we're going to invite Donald Kelly. We know him as a DJ to come and let us know a little bit about the BCA. If-
Ron Gula: [00:24:30] So DJ's on here a couple of times.
Cyndi Gula: [00:24:33] ... there we go.
Ron Gula: [00:24:33] There we go. All right. So we're gonna take this off the stop and share.
Donald Kelly: [00:24:40] Hello. Hello. Can you hear me? I'm audible.
Ron Gula: [00:24:43] We can hear you. Can you turn your camera on so we can see you?
Donald Kelly: [00:24:47] Absolutely.
Ron Gula: [00:24:47] There you go.
Cyndi Gula: [00:24:48] There we go.
Ron Gula: [00:24:49] All right. Congratulations.
Donald Kelly: [00:24:51] Thank you so much. I'm really nervous. I wanted to ask, can I, can... We have our COO on the line the chief operating officer of the Black Cybersecurity Association. I'm not sure why his name is mixed up.
Ron Gula: [00:25:03] Oh, yeah.
Donald Kelly: [00:25:03] But he's on the line. He's the... Can he speak as well?
Ron Gula: [00:25:06] Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. What's his name?
Cyndi Gula: [00:25:08] See the other one, that's it? Up here, is he in the car.
Donald Kelly: [00:25:10] [crosstalk 00:26:51]. Yeah, he's in the car. He's in the car.
Cyndi Gula: [00:25:19] All right [laughs] [crosstalk 00:27:00].
Donald Kelly: [00:25:19] So he's a-
Sean Kidd: [00:25:19] My name is [inaudible 00:27:00].
Ron Gula: [00:25:19] There we go.
Cyndi Gula: [00:25:19] [crosstalk 00:27:01].
Donald Kelly: [00:25:19] ... [inaudible 00:27:01] super secret jobs that you have to leave your phone in the car 'cause that's [laughs], so that's why he's here. That's why he's in the car.
Ron Gula: [00:25:26] Hey, congratulations. Tell us a bit more about your organization.
Donald Kelly: [00:25:30] Thank you so much at first. I wanted to definitely say thank God. Thank you to the Gulas for your overwhelming generosity. Thank you so much to all the finalists organization and th- thank you to the black community for supporting us. We've had a number of our staff members, the board members, the volunteers, the coaches, the t- trainers staff, students, teachers, that we have a huge community that a lot of them are here on the line that supported the organization.
We are, we're dedicated, tirelessly, dedicated towards making sure we have one mission and one mission only, and that's to increase the number of bla, beautiful black faces within the cyber security field. We, yeah, we just impl, and we- we're just doing everything in our power to do so through a variety of programs.
One of them being our kids can code boot camp in which we've trained over the last nine months. We've trained upwards to ab, upwards to about 100 kids [inaudible 00:28:20] mostly most of which were black and brown children to be completely fluent in the Python column programming language whi- which is the chief information security programming language out there. We established a mentorship program that w that's dedicated that, and we've paired upwards to about 40 different beautiful black and brown people with mentors to help guide them. And we've established a myriad of other programs as well.
I don't want to bore everybody with [laughs] all the details, but I did wanna focus on saying thank you and thank... And I did wanna say thank God for the opportunity. Thank you to the Google list for providing us with the opportunity to like, to basically remove the limitations, to actually support support the people who really need it most. So I wanted to, with that said, I wanted to pass it over to Sean. I hope that people can feel my gratitude radiating through the camera [laughs].
Cyndi Gula: [00:27:35] Definitely.
Donald Kelly: [00:27:36] Yeah and I'm gonna pass to Sean, thank you all again, once again.
Sean Kidd: [00:27:42] Wow. I, [laughs], I can't express gratitude appreciation. I'm looking nervous now 'cause that's the first time I ever do something like this. And man, [laughs] this is a blessing, this is truly a blessing for our organization, for the people that we serve for all the things we do. I wanna say thank you for Cindy and Ron Gula, the Gul, Cindy and Ron Gula for this opportunity, the Gula team, the foundation, the selection committee.
Wow. Our organization has been in existence probably for about nine months. If y'all [inaudible 00:30:06] understand. And within that, we're able to build a team of volunteers that was pretty much was able to rally behind a the thought and vision of what DJ had in mind. We were able to rally, but and it's funny because we all want we all see the need in our community, not only to help, provide help and assistance, but to get folks like us, people of color, black folks in the cybersecurity, because we know this is a game changer.
We know education is a game changer. We know that engineering stem, all, this is a game changer. It helps gives lift people out of poverty, helps lift our community. And not only have we... It's, like I said, like when we climbed that ladder, we wanna reach back and pull people's with us, and to get every... Pull our young, beautiful black boys, our black women, o- our black young ladies together, pull them up the ladder. We can't, I can't stress this enough.
I think DJ gave me the opportunity, because again this is a blessing, this is truly a blessing. And i- it's really a blessing. I want to say thank you for, one thing about it is we did not do this by ourselves. Okay. We have a tremendous staff of people o- on our organization. We have a tremendous se... We have a sea a good board team we just formed here and they just did [inaudible 00:31:32] here recently. Led by led by Lee [Witcher 00:31:37].
We have [Marsha Omosa 00:31:41] our far as our secretary and we have a, and also doing our treasury. [inaudible 00:31:45] C suite team? We have we have a Ken- Kenneth Gordon. He's a [inaudible 00:31:51] our chief communication marketing officer. We have our VC. So if you have any, if you haven't gone to clubhouse, wow, she's awesome. We have a VC so Gina [Sha 00:32:01]. She started op, a program called operational real-world experience and to give folks that real-world spirits and that mindset of security. Then we have our CTO. [inaudible 00:32:11] soon as we move over to our [inaudible 00:32:13] education training and professional development o- officer to help minister some of these programs with its funding and everything else, which is Dr. Maureen McGuire, we call it Dr. Mo, so we have in this pretty much like the makeup of our organization, and we have other folks with that at the director level.
We can start going through the list of people right now. We probably just probably are along segment and we could not do it without them. We can not do this without them. So how these money is gonna help us? Wow. We- we, like I said, we got [inaudible 00:32:42] and code. We would like to expand that program a little bit more, open the aperture up, not just kids who code, but look at Virginia internships, scholarships, different stuff like that. We're looking at other things of how to get in, how can we get, how can we span education within our, in our pipeline and our strategy.
We're looking at how we could use this money to remove barriers towards get the security getting both education training. People might need transportation. We looking at stuff like that, get you to the testing center, get you to the learning center, to get you there. Childcare. We got single moms out there that, COVID [inaudible 00:33:17] a lot of people back, right?
And we got a lot of single moms out there. Or single parents, let's just say, let's be, be real that may need that childcare. So we wanna look at those things, opportunity college. A lot of our organization makeup is pretty much from zero years experience to five years, college is expensive. How could we do a scholarship there? How can we help out with the with the technology fees and books and stuff? We're looking at being visionaries. We're looking at how can we expand this program because one thing we've noticed the problem is, it's really a pipeline issues.
It starts as young as grade school with that kid, say that's where you got a purpose of kids [inaudible 00:33:53] as folks like my eh, you know that's transitioning into the field and getting there. Folks are... I'm telling you, this is a blessing. We have a lit a laundry list of things that we're going through right now, and how are we're gonna scope this out and everything. And we just thank you for the opportunity. Thank you for considering us. You guys are a blessing. We thank [crosstalk 00:34:14]-
Ron Gula: [00:31:58] So Sean, so Sean-
Sean Kidd: [00:31:59] ... we give God glory first, and we thank you too.
Ron Gula: [00:32:01] So Sean and DJ-
Sean Kidd: [00:32:02] Yes sir.
Ron Gula: [00:32:03] ... [laughs].
Sean Kidd: [00:32:03] Wait, I'm sorry.
Ron Gula: [00:32:03] ... we've invited you guys. We've invited you guys from to come up to the studio here and do a full hour plus with Cindy and I to talk about all this as we have with all of the the awardees. I'm very much looking forward to that. Your passion, both of you is very infectious. And I think you've got great things. I think the, one of the comment I was gonna make about this is one of the things I think our board and Cindy and I noticed is you've partnered with so many other people. There are so many other organizations-
Sean Kidd: [00:32:31] Yeah.
Ron Gula: [00:32:31] ... that just didn't even make it. Oh, we partnered with BCA, we do this with BCA, BCA enables us. So you guys have made such a big impact in your nine months, and I expect so much more, I think you guys have a lot opportunity here.
Cyndi Gula: [00:32:43] Yeah. We're definitely looking forward to seeing more great things out of you and bringing the community together. Everybody should be part of BCA because, we're all on board and it's gonna take us all. This' great.
Sean Kidd: [00:32:55] Thank you.
Ron Gula: [00:32:56] Hey, Sean just for everybody here and just wave, wave and say your na, your full name. 'Cause it- it's coming up as [crosstalk 00:35:24].
Sean Kidd: [00:33:00] My name is... Yeah. [Laughs]. My name is Sean [Kid 00:35:29]. I, a little bit that's who I am.
Ron Gula: [00:33:07] Awesome.
Sean Kidd: [00:33:07] I'm a retired military 20 years and joined the organization and stuff like that. So I wanna say thank you for this opportunity.
Ron Gula: [00:33:13] Awesome.
Cyndi Gula: [00:33:15] You're welcome.
Donald Kelly: [00:33:15] Also add one thing, I wanted to say that I felt we- were in full in wholeheartedly support the women of our nation and of our world happy belated International Women's Day to everybody. And I wanna say, especially shout out to the black women out there, especially if you [crosstalk 00:36:04] see and I've been saying this a lot lately, but if you see like a black woman, that's just is holding her head up and, walking with a pep in her step, has confidence in herself, ex- exu- exude in herself. She's like running the meeting, the director of this and she just dropping it, knowledge of cybersecurity, I just wanted to let everybody know she's a part of the Black Cybersecurity Association [laughs]. I just wanted to let you all know.
Ron Gula: [00:33:55] That's awesome. That's awesome.
Cyndi Gula: [00:33:56] Oh, that's great. Thank you guys so much. And again, we look forward to great things.
Ron Gula: [00:34:03] All right. Hey without further ado, just congratulations to all of our winners and I wanna turn it back to our original speaker. I wanna talk about Harry Coker. I'm just gonna introduce him. I'm not gonna go back to the slide. So Harry, here's your time to unmute and turn your turn your camera on. So we first met Harry a couple of years ago right after he retired from, I'm just gonna say special projects. Although his LinkedIn page does actually have the letters, NSA and CIA.
And when we were considering somebody to come in and give us some thoughts on, African-American engagement and cybersecurity, Ha- Harry has had such a remarkable career doing very senior roles at both the NSA and the CIA. So without further ado Harry, ho- how's it going?
Harry Coker: [00:34:50] It's going well now thanks [laughs]. And first off I really do wanna sincerely thank Cindy and Ron for their vision and commitment in launching the Gula Tech Foundation with the goal of providing millions of dollars in competitive brands, just cybersecurity non-profits around the country. This is a terribly important initiative, not just to those nonprofits and not just in this case for African-Americans.
Cybersecurity is important to our national security, and that includes the public sector, the private sector and academia. Today I was just asked to speak for five minutes about African-Americans in technology or NSA or cyber with a story that could be inspirational or reflected. And I did a lot of reflection during Black History Month and I am continuing to do so during Women's History Month. A- and frankly, it was not difficult for me to find an inspirational African-American peril when from the early days of NSA hence I'll succinctly relay a story from the Invisible Cryptologists African-Americans World War II to 1956.
But in, in the short five minutes, I'll only be able to step this table and connect some of the challenges in that era to our era today. And then I'll recommend that you all take a look at the book from NSA's Center for Cryptologic History. So turn it back the hand of the time. And while the US military that mid 1950s was a decade ahead of most civilian institutes when it comes to civil rights issues and social justice.
The military of the 1940s was viciously Jim Crow as evidenced by this excerpt from a memo. And I quote, "The policy of the war department is not to intermingle colored and white personnel in the same regimental organizations. This policy has proven satisfactory over a long period of years and to make changes would produce situations destructive to morale and detrimental to preparations for national defense."
That memo was signed out by Robert B. Patterson assistant secretary of war. And that memo went to president Roosevelt on 27, September, 1940. Now, during that timeframe African-Americans working with NSA's predecessor organizations served in all black units, and they were funneled into occupations that were considered to be less cognitively challenging and beneath the skill level of other demographics.
Career a- advancement and the working environments were, to put it politely, very trying. And it was not because of the ability of African-American employees to contribute, but it was because of the opportunity or lack thereof to contribute to the NSA's mission. And just reflecting on that reminded me of last summer, when the chairman of a financial services firm lamented about the paucity of talented African Americans in the industry. And he went on to say, "While it might sound like an excuse, the unfortunate reality is that there is a very limited pool of black talent to recruit from."
Now in the 1940s and in the 2020s, we can artificially limit our talent pool, but we do that at our own peril. So this heroine her name is Iris [inaudible 00:40:59]. I just wanna get give you a snippet o- of her perspective back then. And so I'm gonna quote her. When I graduated from Prairie View College in 1932, I received a bachelor of science degree with a double major English and Math. I taught school first in a little town, Horton, Texas, and then in Austin. In Texas, at that time, the highest level of education you could get as a minority was a bachelor of science or bachelor of arts degree. There were no other provisions for minorities. You can not go to the University of Texas or to any other white colleges. The state of Texas would pay your transportation to go to another school because teachers were required to go to school every three years, but I went every year because I wanted to get another degree."
"So several summers, I drove from Texas to New York to take courses at Columbia University. In 1944 I left Austin for Washington because they would have not, would not allow blacks to pay into the teacher's retirement fund. I could see myself as a little old lady of 60 or 70 with no income and not able to work. I know I had to get someplace where I could earn retirement benefits, but I also wanted to do something to help out in the war."
The patriotism, perseverance [laughs], and professional, professionalism that Iris consistently demonstrated during her decades, long career at NSA while impressive. It was shared by other African-Americans at the agency. And fortunately for all of us, the Gula Tech Foundation recognizes that there are plenty of Iris cars in our nation, and the convergence of this issue this initiative with Iris cars leadership is embodied in another of her quotes. "I was so involved in what the agency stood for, and I wanted it to be better. I had a feeling that things were going to get better. Everybody in there was not evil. I felt that one day African-Americans would break out of this box and be able to go into reporting or personnel or other areas, perhaps cybersecurity, if they were prepared. I preached, be prepared." So again, thanks to the Gula Tech Foundation for helping to prepare us so we can take on the cyber challenges of today and tomorrow. Thanks Cindy and Ron.
Ron Gula: [00:40:38] Hey, thank you, Harry.
Cyndi Gula: [00:40:39] Thank you.
Ron Gula: [00:40:39] That means a lot to us and I apologize for not having it earlier, but you certainly delivered, especially after that, that emotional second, third and first place. Thank you again.
Harry Coker: [00:40:51] Thanks.
Ron Gula: [00:40:51] So we're gonna finish up here with just a few more few more announcements. I'm gonna go back to the sharing. Once again, congratulations to all of our winners. Everybody's been invited to come on the Google Tech Cyber Fiction Show. We've had a number of organizations reach out, asked to meet you. We're here to help our boards here to get engaged.
You guys are doing very important work and it's needed. We are going to announce today adding two more advisory board members. One's a cybersecurity at the Angeles Jeff [Nan 00:44:18], joining our board and also Britta Glade, she's with the RSA Conference and has been helping us thinking about our next grant, which is what we're gonna talk about here. Cindy you wanna talk about Data Care?
Cyndi Gula: [00:41:33] So data care is something we've thought about, how do we get more people engaged? How do we get the public engaged in cybersecurity? Because cybersecurity really does not really mean a lot of things, and it gives the connotation it's somebody else's problem. So what we were really trying to do is say, let's change the name to Data Care because people understand they have data. If you ask them, "Do have data that's on the internet that you want to make sure is protected?"
The- the they say, "Yes." Then we're just talking about their data and their ability to participate and have a personal connection with cyber and cybersecurity. And so that there is also responsibility. So we're really trying to shift the nomenclature from cybersecurity to Data Care, to make it a bigger umbrella and make people understand that's really the heart of what we want. We wanna bring more people in and not be thinking it's somebody else's problem. Everybody, we need everybody in this game.
Ron Gula: [00:42:33] So with that, our next grant we're announcing March... Ah, our next grant will be the March, 2020 Data Care Grant. The focus here is helping out any nonprofit that has something to do with raising public awareness about cyber security. So if you can see our last grant was very specific, increasing African-American engagement, cybersecurity. This one is gonna be a bit broader.
We think there's a lot of opportunities to speak to women, to kids, to, to senior citizens, to retiring veterans. And even though you might see Solarwinds and Microsoft getting hacked and 30,000 servers, the general public, as Cindy said, still doesn't understand what their role is in this fight or what they can do to help secure their own data. So we're gonna have seven winners. We're gonna spled, spread the million dollars a little bit more $250,000 for the first place, all the way down to $400,000 runner-ups. We've already been approached by organizations who wanna create things like coloring books, about cyber security and cryptography for K-12 people. And it's gonna be very exciting.
Cyndi Gula: [00:43:36] But the big announcement is that the RSA Conference has agreed to allow us to do this on their platform at the RSA Conference in May 20th. And so this grant is actually gonna open up March 22nd at gula.tech. But right now we're going to invite [inaudible 00:47:03] Glade, from the RSA Conference to talk about the RSA conference and what involvement you guys have.
Britta Glade: [00:44:04] Eh, thank you so much for having me in Harry. I'm glad I get to screen with you too, 'cause that was so inspiring. Thank you. I have to step back first and run. I love that- that's the tuxedo jacket, right [laughs]? Are we- we're in awards attire here. Which is well earned.
Ron Gula: [00:44:17] I was gonna do the full [crosstalk 00:47:27] [laughs]. Thank you. Thank you.
Britta Glade: [00:44:21] That's awesome. I wrote some words down because I had to, and I'm gonna try not to get teary because I really I've been incredibly inspired by the words that have been shared and the [inaudible 00:47:39] inspire and equip girls to succeed. Wow, I'm a mom of two girls. I love it, it means a lot. [inaudible 00:47:48] or you want to pull your reach. You want to help pull people up the ladder and then BCA 10,000 by 2036. It's, I can't say more. As RSA Conference in our tagline, we talk about, we are the collective we to the standard [inaudible 00:48:09] security threats around the globe.
And this we that has been brought to bear, that has been discussed today is a very important part of our community as a whole. When we talk about diversity and inclusion and there's been so many amazing stories, even from outside of our industry, when groups are diverse, groups are more effective full-stop, companies make more money.
Companies are more successful. Companies are are able to reach larger audiences with what they do. So I commend the voice and passion and enthusiasm that the leaders that we have heard from today have shared. It's incredibly important to the future of our industry that we really do stand together collectively as we conference tries to bring together diverse experts from across industry.
That's a very important layer to what diversity is, right? We have policy people, we have scientists, we have academics, we have managers and all of us in this world that is called cybersecurity data care, Cindy our, it- it's important for us to understand one another's point of view to have these water cooler conversations, to disagree with one another and to collectively work together to to better the industry, which makes the world better also.
So we are incredibly honored to have Gula Tech Foundation on May, the 20th to to distribute an announce their next award. I'm also pleased to be able to, and I've got a code Ron. Anyone who would like to get a a pass to attend that session it will be part of like the digital expo pass will be able to attend that session for free and then participate in other ways, as as you're interested across the RSA Conference platform.
Digital events are tricky and hard and there's goodness in meeting one another digitally. It's gonna be even better when we can all be together face-to-face and benefiting from the energy. Although DJ was pretty darn good with the energy that came through digitally. So a code and I will put this in- into chat so that you have it. Al- also, Ron and Cindy, you're welcome to, to share it with whomever.
But we are, we're honored. We're honored with with the spirit of what the Gula Tech Foundation has brought to the industry. We it's important to our profession, to have leaders like Ron and Cindy stepping forward and really helping to lift the other comment that was made in chat of pay it forward. Wow. If each of us can pay it forward and do what we can to benefit the collective, we what a better place will be as an industry. So thank you so much. I look forward to representing RSA Conference on the board as well.
Ron Gula: [00:47:31] Awesome. Thank you so much. And RSA is planning on reaching out to the winners to interview them for their platform too. So thank you for that as well.
Britta Glade: [00:47:38] Yes, indeed. I've been typing, and I'm like, "Oh my gosh, this person's amazing. Oh my gosh, this story is great." thank you for letting us share your stories broader with our [inaudible 00:51:22].
Ron Gula: [00:47:47] Awesome. Awesome. Thank you everybody for joining us today. We, Cindy and I like to do things very hands-on and directly. So it was hard to run this and look at all the texts and chats. A few things I did see we are recording this. We will be putting this on our website and everything we've talked about, the the finalists, the winners, the write-ups everything's at gula.tech [inaudible 00:51:48] .tech. And we're gonna put everything up there. And then as we get closer to the March 22nd starting the next grant, you'll see very clear how to go and apply and very much so with the calendar and that. So Cindy, do you wanna say thank you and close this out?
Cyndi Gula: [00:48:25] Oh yeah, we just so much appreciate everybody out there. We just encourage everybody to get involved, amplify the message and go out and really just try to get involved and let's see what we can do just to make a difference, even small differences make a huge difference. And we really do appreciate all the support from our friends, colleagues, family. We couldn't be here without you and we appreciate everything that you've done to help support us. All right.
Ron Gula: [00:48:51] God bless. Thanks for attending. We'll see you at the RSA Conference with our next award ceremony.
Cyndi Gula: [00:48:56] Looking forward to it.
Ron Gula: [00:48:57] Thank you very much. Have a good one.
Cyndi Gula: [00:48:58] Bye.