Kristin is an executive with Bank of America’s Global Information Security (GIS) team.
She oversees and manages GIS’s external engagements with industry and government partners. In this role, her team leads GIS’s involvement in sector resilience efforts and works with internal partners and external stakeholders to identify external opportunities for driving security efforts that align with GIS’s overall goals. In her previous role, Kristin led GIS’s external cyber security public policy efforts.
Prior to joining Bank of America in 2012, Kristin was the Director of External Affairs for the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications within the Department of Homeland Security. She also served as the Director of Cybersecurity Legislative Affairs for the National Security Staff at the White House and was responsible for developing the Obama Administration’s cyber security legislative proposal.
Kristin is a graduate of the University of Delaware where she received her B.A. in Political Science and received her Master in Public Policy from George Mason University. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband and their two children.
Get to know Kristin Royster
You are a very active NCA board member and you’ve even served as NCA Board Chair in the past. What has been the most rewarding part so far about being on the NCA Board of Directors?
Being a member of the board and working with the NCA team and our partners has been an incredible experience. There are several things that really stick out to me as being some of the most rewarding in our work together. First is the ability to help beneficially impact people’s lives. In cyber, the statistics about threats and related issues can be staggering, but I always appreciate that NCA supports such a broad audience to help them better protect themselves. I value the growth in the organization’s ability to further the mission through new programs, such as Identity Management Day and See Yourself in Cyber. By extending the reach through new programs, we empower people to improve their cybersecurity hygiene. I also enjoy helping NCA champion their programs, such as Cybersecurity Awareness Month, that promotes a safer and more secure Internet.
How do Bank of America’s cybersecurity interests align with the National Cybersecurity Alliance mission to educate and empower our global digital society?
At Bank of America, we know to increase cybersecurity and reduce risk for our customers, clients, and enterprise, we must work closely with a wide variety of industry partners and stakeholders. We not only work to protect our networks and systems from the cyberthreats we face, but we also seek to give our customers and clients the tools they need to improve and manage their personal security and privacy. We see the work of NCA as an important way to further those efforts by leveraging its partnerships, programs and advocacy to meet our shared goals.
What sparked your interest about the cybersecurity field?
I have always had an interest in the ways that the government and industry can partner to have a positive impact on people’s lives. While working in the government and observing the complexities of cybersecurity issues, it became clear that all stakeholders needed to work together to succeed. This is not a problem that can be solved by any one entity. I appreciate how successfully working on cybersecurity issues requires a variety of perspectives and partnerships. It is rewarding to work with so many talented and diverse stakeholders to improve the broader environment.
How did your experience in the White House and with the Department of Homeland Security prepare you for your current role in the private sector with Bank of America?
My experience in government was a great foundation to help prepare me to contribute to the incredible progress on cybersecurity issues the private sector has made in the last decade. The relationships that I built during my time in the government have continued as I transitioned into the private sector. They’ve grown and expanded, enabling increased partnerships across sectors and communities. I have found that understanding the perspective and goals of our government partners helps us better design and execute our public–private partnerships for cyber. I’ve leaned on that experience as we’ve created new, successful initiatives within the private sector to help improve how we work with each other and government stakeholders.
As the Senior Vice President of GIS External Engagement, how would you describe the importance of building strong partnerships to further strengthen the nation’s cybersecurity?
My role and team at Bank of America were built upon a recognition of the critical need for strong, sustained partnerships in cybersecurity. Fundamentally, our organizations, in partnership, can better achieve a reasonable level of cybersecurity without a variety of strong partnerships. Whether it is collaborating to address the latest threats, protecting the privacy and financial security of individuals or developing the cybersecurity workforce of the future, none of our strategic goals are possible without developing and investing in our partnerships.
What characteristics do you strive to show, as a leader?
Something that I have always valued and endeavor to provide for my team and the broader community is a focus on connectivity. We can tackle the most complex and meaningful challenges when we can help each other recognize how what we do connects to our teammates, our partners inside and outside our organizations, and our broader mission. As part of that, I put a lot of effort into communication, both in being as clear and consistent as I can be and in taking the time to carefully listen to the thoughts and concerns of others.
What is the most inspiring thing you’ve read or heard recently?
From a professional perspective, I was inspired to hear that Bank of America’s Global Technology organization had almost 400 first-time patent filers last year. Working in cyber, we are acutely aware of the rapid pace of technological change and how that impacts our efforts. Seeing so many of my colleagues innovating to develop new ways to problem solve is a great reminder of the incredible human stories behind everything we do.