Name Michael Santarcangelo
Occupation Founder, Security Catalyst
What do you do?
I develop exceptional leaders and powerful communicators with the security mindset for success. I help organizations through measurement & analysis, training & development, and high-performance advising.
The bulk of my work is helping individuals and teams build foundations for their leadership journeys. Usually while solving important security issues. I work with startups, vendors, executives, and technology professionals. Always with an eye of bringing people together.
What intrigues you about IT?
I’m fascinated by the impact technology plays in our lives. From my children curious to know “what color iPod I had growing up?” and trying to explain that when I was born we didn’t even have the Atari yet to considering the pace of change.
When I started in IT, laptops were called “portable.” That’s because they were big and heavy. Now most of us carry smart phones, tablets, slim laptops, etc.
IT stokes a natural curiosity. But mostly I’m intrigued by how we can design and use technology in a way that improves our lives. And on that front, I think we’re only starting to scratch the surface.
What steps did you take to get into the field (classes workshops etc)?
I didn’t. I asked questions. My reward? Finding the answers.
I have a degree in Human Ecology – the study of how people impact systems and the impact of systems on people. When I started in IT 20 years ago, it felt a bit disconnected. Looking back, I realize the mindset and approach of my schooling set me up for success.
I got involved with security as it was coming to fruition as a field. A lot of my experience was learned on-the-job. As I started teaching others, I always circled back to ensure that what I had learned was accurate. I opened myself up to learning theory as well as praxis.
Learning with the ability to teach is a powerful way to develop a solid foundation in IT. It’s always served me well.
How are you using your IT skills now?
A large part of my career journey is helping others accelerate theirs. As such, a lot of my skills are now used to help translate concepts between groups. The experience and understanding I have puts me in a position to ask better questions, assess implications, and bring people together to make better decisions.
What are your goals for your career in IT (short term and long term)?
I view my career as a journey. I’ve come to realize — and embrace — that a key aspect of my journey is helping people accelerate theirs. My goals now are focused on bringing people together and creating better pathways. Whether into IT/Security, or blending academia, government, and industry together in new and useful ways.
Who inspired you and continues to inspire you (bosses, teachers, bloggers, notables)?
I believe that everyone has a story. Each worth sharing. Because in our stories we reveal our value. As such, I’m inspired by a lot of people. And often short conversations with otherwise random people.
What certifications do you have or certifications do you want to achieve?
Hah! I’m going through a weird period in life. I call it my “Groucho Marx” phase, based on his famous quote of “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.” I’m interested in the pursuit and fostering of craftsmanship.
I try to avoid labels, certifications, and the like. And I try to avoid using them with others.
However, I’m not typical. In my career, I’ve attained a number of certifications. I even helped launch or improve some. I’ve trained thousands in their pursuit of credentials. Hopefully my time also inspired their pursuit of the craft.
My main achievement desire is to be a catalyst. To be relevant. That people are better for their time with me.
What would be your advice to someone who wants a career in IT?
Always be learning. Sure, it’s direct play on the legendary scene from Glengarry Glennross. But the one constant in IT is change. Constant change is our “new normal.” As such, your competence in a specific technology or tool is less important than your ability to rapidly learn and adapt.
I develop exceptional leaders and powerful communicators with the security mindset for success
How can I help you take the best next step on your journey?
website • LinkedIn • @catalyst
Call me: (843) 633-1305
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