The National Cybersecurity Alliance is pleased to present the twelfth edition of our Board Member Spotlight. Our Board member companies are leaders in cybersecurity education and awareness and are an integral part of making the organization a successful public-private partnership.
Get to know Jenny Brinkley, Director at Amazon Security in this Board Member Spotlight.
You are the National Cybersecurity Alliance’s newest Board member! How do you feel about joining the team?
I’m honored and thrilled to join the board and help drive new initiatives and programs to help people navigate cybersecurity best practices in their daily lives.
What NCA events or activities are you most excited about getting more involved in?
I’m highly invested in upskilling individuals interested in careers in cybersecurity. I accidentally fell into a cybersecurity career and I don’t think most people know the number of different opportunities and roles available in this industry. If you are mission driven, with a passion to create safety for everyone – a career in cybersecurity may be for you. With the NCA, this platform provides the space to help amplify that the jobs of the future are here today. I plan to really dig in and help scope training, awareness, and investments at the academic levels and also general campaigns that help people get the education they need for cybersecurity roles.
How does Amazon’s cybersecurity interests align with the National Cybersecurity Alliance mission to educate and empower our global digital society?
Security is a top priority at Amazon. We work to educate and empower our teams to operate with security at the forefront of everything we do. At Amazon, we believe security is also a business enabler. By practicing security mindfulness and working to remove fear and frustration around how to work securely, we make our teams stronger so that we can continue to earn and maintain the trust of our customers.
I’m so excited to partner with NCA to help broaden this thinking and help other companies and individuals leverage some of our resources. For example, last year we released a new Cybersecurity Awareness training to individuals and businesses around the world. Making security easier for everybody is a big mission for us at Amazon and I’m thrilled to see that our approach and thinking is so aligned with NCA.
What do you enjoy the most in your role as a Director at Amazon Security?
Amazon is a giant playground to explore, investigate, and partner with people from different backgrounds and perspectives all determined to deliver the best services and experiences for our customers. In my security role, I work with teams across the business to educate them on our security bar, expectations to consider, and best practices to implement. It’s the best of all worlds as I use an entrepreneurial approach, to really advocate Amazon’s security culture.
Who or what would you say inspired your path to the cybersecurity field?
The concept of being able to create technologies that secure people and their intellectual property got me on my path to the cybersecurity field. In some cases, we’re talking about people’s life’s work—their blood, sweat, and tears. It gives me a mission and a purpose to help others and build spaces for people to deliver their best, knowing they have guardrails to support them. It’s a fascinating space.
Can you tell us the 3 biggest things you learned from co-founding an artificial intelligence security start-up?
When we started harvest.ai, the team had a novel idea to solve a complex challenge and I was working with thoughtful humans that cared deeply about the same problem sets. But a lot of it was timing and pure luck. So first and foremost, work with people you respect and like – you will spend many hours together. Second, listen to your customers and build services that stay ahead of what you think they may need, and finally build an environment where everyone feels heard and supported. We were able to build our company as fast as we did because we worked together, supported each other, and had a lot of fun along the way.
What is one cybersecurity best practice or piece of advice you wish more people would listen to?
Turn on Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). It’s an extra step but will save anyone time down the road in managing their devices. MFA is more than a password and provides deeper controls and confidence to operate securely online.
What was your favorite subject in school and why?
When I think about my favorite subject, I actually land on my favorite instructor. You know that person that changes the way you think and operate? For me, that was Mr. Closson, my 9th grade Biology AP teacher. He had a knack to spend the extra time to create space for debates and thoughtful engagements. His encouragement is something I think about today when we are building new programs to help motivate people to learn a new topic. He was the first example for me on how you tell a story to engage an audience while also bringing everyone along for the journey.
What would you describe as a perfect day (in and/or out of the office)?
A perfect day for me out of the office is being down at the Oregon Coast in a little town called Manzanita, talking a beach walk with my dogs. Now for in the office, it’s tackling a new initiative or true brainstorming session with a diverse group of people sharing ideas and concepts that don’t necessarily exist today. Luckily for me, I have more perfect days in the office and that’s why I feel so fortunate to have the role I do.