After shooting my last three-pointer, putting away my basketball shoes, and shortly walking the halls of my high school one last time, I begin to reflect. As I prepare for the next chapter in life I am appreciative and grateful for the positive influential people that helped shape the young man I am and the man I am becoming. Regardless of positive or negative influence it is inevitable for humans to avoid being impacted by others, situations, or things. Leaving my childhood behind and walking into manhood I am compelled to think about my future aspirations, purpose, and impact as I strive to become a productive and successful citizen.
Initially, when given the task to identify a Black American who inspires others to positively impact the world around them, specifically one that motivates me, it was a challenge. I began to think about the rich culture, history, and contributions of Black Americans and the many trailblazers, famous icons, community leaders, and even my own mother. Pondering further on the topic, I decided to choose someone I could relate to with similar interests, driven, overcame barriers, tackled adversity, and paved the way for the underrepresented. The person that has propelled my thinking to the next level and inspired me to stay true to my passion is Larry Whiteside Jr. Larry Whiteside Jr. has shattered barriers created opportunities for others, gave a voice to the voiceless, and encouraged a sense of pride. This black man has helped me recognize my passion for diversity, cyber security, equitable access, and opportunity. Larry Whiteside Jr. has shattered barriers, created opportunities for others, while having a sense of pride and respect that motives me.
Whiteside Jr. is the founder and Chairman of Whiteside Security LLC, Co-founder and President of the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals, a family man, businessman, motivator, and champion for diversity. Furthermore, he is an advocate and works to secure scholarships for minority students, promote cybersecurity career paths, and provides professional development and leadership training. His goal in life is to bring value to those he interacts with. Coming from humble beginnings and an underserved community, he believes it is imperative you know your value.
Born into a technologically advanced world, a career in cybersecurity has always been a dream. As I pursue a career in cybersecurity, I intend to champion diversity, promote inclusion, and create an opportunity for others. Furthermore, I am inspired and motivated by Larry Whiteside, Jr. to leave my footprints in the sand and positively impact those I encounter. As a black man in the industry of cybersecurity, Whiteside Jr. has shed light on the importance of cybersecurity and has encouraged me to know my worth, don’t devalue myself, and never let someone offer me less than I deserve.