Governing Body Spotlight

Co-Chair of the Houston CISO Community

Billy Spears



Billy Spears is a seasoned executive renowned for his multifaceted roles in business and technology, including CISO, author, speaker, advisor and podcast host. Over his extensive 25-year career, he's demonstrated prowess in crafting scalable solutions that foster innovation across federal, private, and public sectors, with a keen eye on revenue generation. 

Billy's expertise lies in cultivating reliable partnerships and devising strategic frameworks that bolster resilience, embodying crucial values for digital transformation. His dynamic approach emphasizes agility and foresight, ensuring adaptive strategies that uphold robust system performance amidst evolving threats, all while championing awareness and pioneering innovative methodologies for modernization leadership.

A fun fact about Billy is that he enjoys spending time with his family and watching Michigan football.

Learn more about the Houston CISO community here.

Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.

The journey to my current position as the CISO of Teradata was marked by challenges, opportunities and achievements. It primarily involved navigating through a series of experiences that enabled me to recognize and succeed with opportunities provided by supportive leaders, fostering my success. 

I am appreciative of their confidence, grateful for the many opportunities and appreciative of each experience that led to the person I am today.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

One of my guiding leadership principles is to serve everyone. Being a servant leader in business is crucial as it prioritizes the needs and development of team members above all else. 

This approach fosters trust, collaboration and empowerment within the organization, leading to higher employee morale, productivity and retention. By serving and supporting others, leaders not only inspire loyalty and dedication but also create a culture of empathy, innovation and long-term success.

What is the greatest challenge CISOs face today, and how are you addressing it?

One of the greatest challenges facing CISOs and C-level business leaders today lies in navigating the rapidly changing landscape of business risks, particularly those related to technology and data. These risks include cyber threats, regulatory compliance, privacy concerns and the evolving nature of digital transformation.

To address this challenge, CISOs are adopting a comprehensive approach, which involves deploying advanced technologies to safeguard business operations and data assets, implementing robust risk management strategies aligned with business objectives, fostering a culture of security awareness and accountability among employees, and collaborating with industry peers and stakeholders to share insights and best practices. 

Additionally, CISOs are working closely with executive leadership to prioritize cybersecurity investments that deliver tangible business value and ensure resilience against emerging threats and vulnerabilities.

What is the key to success for someone just starting out as a CISO?

From my perspective, success will be dependent on a combination of adaptability, humility and strategic vision. Being adaptable to the dynamic nature of being a CISO and its responsibilities is crucial, as it allows for swift adjustment to changing circumstances and demands. 

Maintaining humility enables learning from specific experiences, supports your ability to seek guidance from mentors, and should build momentum for effective collaboration with diverse teams throughout the business. 

Finally, having a clear strategic vision for the company's growth and success, coupled with the ability to communicate and execute your vision, is essential for driving meaningful impact and achieving long-term objectives in the C-suite.

How do you measure success as a leader?

Success as a leader is multifaceted and involves a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures that reflect both individual and company performance.

What is the value of being a member of the Evanta community?

Being a member of Evanta's information security leadership community offers numerous benefits, including networking, professional development, peer support, access to resources, advocacy and career mentorship opportunities. 

By actively engaging with peers and contributing to the community, members can leverage these benefits to enhance their effectiveness as cybersecurity leaders and drive positive impact within their company's and the broader industry.

Evanta Governing Body members share their insights and leadership perspectives to shape the agendas and topics that address the top priorities impacting business leaders today

by CISOs, for CISOs

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