Governing Body Spotlight

Member of the Toronto CISO Community

Faiza Kacem

Head Americas - Operational Resilience, Crisis Management, and Third Party Tech Risk

BNP Paribas

Faiza Kacem is an accomplished technology and information security expert and leader with over 20 years working with enterprise wide technology and security strategies and projects. Currently, Faiza is leading the Americas ICT Risk operational resilience practice for BNP Paribas, where she is responsible for ensuring the implementation of an operational resilience strategy allowing the continuous delivery of business services through disruptions.

Prior to joining BNP Paribas, Faiza held different Information Security leadership roles at National Bank of Canada as Head of Cyber Security Innovation, Chief Security Architect and Senior Director IT Security.

Learn more about leaders in the Toronto CISO community here.

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

I was always interested in information security, so I pursued graduate studies in computer engineering and specialized in information security which set the path. From there I went from advisory and consulting to information and cyber security roles in financial institutions. 

What is one of your guiding leadership principles? 

While there is more than one, I’ll say that being human, valuing people and always listen sums it up.

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

The role was always evolving given the diverse threat landscape and technological changes, so the disruption only adds a new dimension. In my opinion, the risks are still the same even if the vectors change. The goal is still to manage cyber risk, implement the appropriate controls to protect the organization and be ahead of the game.

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

Be curious, be open, don’t overrule any information and always listen to the business needs.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself. 

  1. I always have a book not far from me; I read a lot. 
  2. While I’m an outdoorsy person, I hate bugs, so very fun situations during hikes or camping. 
  3. First thing I did when I landed in Montreal 20 years ago was to ask my friends for the closest beach (I used to live 30 feet from the Mediterranean coast). Imagine my surprise when they brought me to a small lake where you cannot go further than 3 feet deep. Got used to it by now!

What is the value of participating in a professional community through Evanta? 

Sharing with peers on their experience, challenges, etc. is very important especially in the cybersec world -- so having a professional community like Evanta helps a lot.



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