We at BSidesLV have determined that it is time for us to ask the Infosec community to step-up and get more involved.
One of the ways we're hoping to implement this, is by starting a mentorship program for new speakers. One of our tracks this year will be “Proving Grounds” and the main criteria to get a slot in this track will be being a first time conference speaker.
We all know how hard it can be to find your voice, or even just translate data into talking points that won't lose your audience, so we're looking to pair each of the Proving Grounds applicants up with a mid to high profile mentor, with a solid track record of public speaking, who will work with them from CFP to podium.
The process will work like this. When the CFP goes out, potential speakers will have a choice of three tracks to apply for. If they choose Proving Grounds, they will be welcomed and gently interviewed by the BSidesLV board (Jack Daniel, Joshua Marpet and GK Southwick).
If they “pass” their interview – have a good sense of presence, can convince us they've never spoken at a conference before and their paper concept has merit - they will then be passed on to the Mentor List, where the mentors will be able to choose who they want to work with, based on area(s) of expertise and experience.
The mentor will then work with their mentee, answering questions by email as needed and Skyping with them once a week for about 15-30 minutes, to see where they are in their presentation implementation. The mentor will assist with translating data in to talking points and assuring their talk is consumable by “Joe Shmoe InfoSec”, not just the peers in their area of interest. The day of presentation, the mentor will attend their mentee's talk, to boost morale and assist with the Q&A, if their mentee gets flustered.
This year, since it's a start-up program, all mentors/mentees will be provided with a guaranteed ticket to BSidesLV, a BSidesLV t-shirt, special mention during the conference and a badge that will identify them as a part of the mentorship program.
In future years, if this program pans out, we're hoping to be able to provide sponsorships to the mentees, to assure they're able to afford to attend BSidesLV, if they're from out of town. This year, we'll be recruiting applicants from the Departments of Computer Science and Computer Engineering at UNLV, as well as from the general public.
If you feel the mentorship program is something you would be interested in contributing to and you have the time to lend a helping hand, please email email@example.com with “BSidesLV Mentor” in the subject line and a brief introduction of who you are, where you've spoken, what you've presented on and what your area(s) of expertise are. Acceptance into the program is contingent upon your being available to attend BSidesLV during your mentee's talk, so please do not apply if you have scheduled conflicts during Black Hat (Wednesday) or DefCon (Thursday).
We hope that by providing this service, we'll have the chance to “Pay it forward” to the new generation of hackers. Let's give them a chance to find their voice in a welcoming, encouraging environment.
Thanks so much for your interest in the BSidesLV Mentorship Program.
Your BSidesLV Board of Directors - Security BSides Las Vegas
- GK Southwick
- Jack Daniel
- Joshua Marpet