Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the Chicago CISO Community

Joe Mendel



Joseph Mendel has worked for Kellanova, formerly Kellogg Company, for seven years on the security team. He’s had four roles at Kellanova, starting as an intern seven years ago (his fun fact). 

Joseph was a threat responder, director of governance risk and compliance, director of operations and now chief information security officer.

Learn more about the Chicago CISO community here.

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

I’ve had a diverse work background. I did hands-on technical work for Microsoft and then became a .NET practice director for Avanade. That led me to my next role as a general manager running one of the Avanade businesses. I again switched roles and became the EVP of human resources for Avanade.

I retired and went to culinary school until deciding to return to the corporate world. I decided I wanted to do something new, so I did a master’s in cybersecurity and became an intern at Kellogg Company.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

My primary responsibility as a global IT leader is to create an environment where my team can thrive and succeed. To ensure they grow and develop their skills and expertise, I create a culture that empowers and inspires the team. 

I understand the importance of having the right people, delivering the right strategy with great stretch goals. Part of having an engaged team means providing the resources they need, giving solid coaching and providing career opportunities.

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

One of the biggest challenges today is to affordably keep up with the tremendous pace of technological change, the ever-growing business demand for technology and the expanding threat landscape. We use risk prioritization to drive our program and focus, so that we can use our cybersecurity program to manage our most important risks.

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

The key to success is to understand that cybersecurity risk is a business risk and therefore must be managed differently from a pure technology risk. It is important to engage and educate your executive leadership and board from a business risk perspective.

How do you measure success as a leader?

My own personal measure of performance as a leader is how well I am developing and growing the careers of the people on my team. This creates long-term success and gives me the most satisfaction as a leader.

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