Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the Seattle CISO Community

Brian Talbert

Managing Director, CISO

Alaska Airlines

Brian Talbert is the Chief Information Security Officer for Alaska Airlines. With more than 20 years of industry experience, he has a proven track record of developing winning strategies that deliver results for the business. As an information security thought leader he helps maintain Alaska’s competitive advantage through innovation and high-performance execution. And as a practitioner of purposeful leadership, he develops engaged teams that help “Create an Airline that People Love”.

Learn more about leaders in the Seattle CISO community here.

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

As a technology trainer early in my career, I had the opportunity to help develop and deliver a curriculum focused on best practices for securing Microsoft Windows NT. The insights I gained as I traveled around the country delivering this training developed a curiosity and interest in the broader role of information security technologies. 

This led to opportunities to develop and engineer products for service providers that laid the foundations of many of the managed security offerings these providers still offer today. But as I grew in my career and focused less on engineering and more broadly on business outcomes and the discipline of leadership, I knew I could provide the greatest value as a CISO.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

I live my values, which include being genuine and caring. I meet people where they are and build engaged teams founded in trust and belonging.

With disruption being a key theme of the past few years, where do you see your role as a CISO going in the next 1-2 years?

Disruption as a theme is a recognition of the many industries that have become complacent and are thus ripe for radical innovation. The real challenge is to continuously challenge the status quo, embrace innovation as a constant and maintain the competitive advantage that resides on the ever-advancing edge of greatness.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the role as a CISO?

Appreciate that you don’t have all of the answers, nor should you. Leverage your community, your peers and your team. Embrace a diversity of thought, and don’t be afraid to seek it out and ask for it.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

  1. My introduction to computers was the result of joining a computer club as a way to get out of English class once a week.
  2. I’m a hobbyist beekeeper, particularly interested in the intersection of science and animal husbandry. Honey is a nice by-product.
  3. I’m an avid outdoor adventurer and an active ground Search and Rescue volunteer.


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