I am the Global Head of Cyber Security & IT Risk Management for Genmab, a leading international biotechnology company. My focus is on implementing the security strategy and roadmap as part of the company’s enterprise risk management program. The company is transforming towards a fully integrated biotechnology company, in which Information Technology and Digital play significant roles. Cyber security is regarded as an important element of the IT & Digital transformation program that aims to deliver advanced technological solutions for researchers, data analysts and other functions. This all serves to support our ambition in improving the lives of patients with cancer.
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Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.
After completing a master’s in Computer Science and a PhD in Computer Science & Psycholinguistics, I started my career as an IT and Security Consultant, where I developed expertise in various IT technology and management domains. In recent years, I have held several security leadership roles in different business domains (NXP Semiconductors, FrieslandCampina and Genmab), with the primary task of setting up a security organisation and implementing the cyber security and IT risk strategy and roadmap.
What are your guiding leadership principles?
- Get to know what drives your colleagues in your team.
- Know about the goals of your major stakeholders.
- Ask regularly “why we are doing what we are doing” so that the purpose is always clear.
- Regularly give timely and concrete feedback. This will allow you to stimulate an open and positive culture.
- A human has two ears and one mouth… this is not for nothing; listen and understand first before you react.
Where do you see your role as a CISO going in the next 1-2 years?
With experience across different IT departments, I have seen the evolution of IT security as a responsibility of the IT department, towards becoming a part of Enterprise Risk Management. As such, the role of CISO has changed during the past decade and now requires decent knowledge about business processes and goals, in addition to a strong technological background.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the role as a CISO?
My advice would be to learn as much as possible about the business processes, the organisation, and your stakeholders. You should be able to speak the language of your stakeholders before you discuss security threats and risks. Use this knowledge to create synergy in goals and set up collaborations.
Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.
- When I moved from Germany to the Netherlands, I did not like cheese and did not drink coffee – which I do now!
- I run regularly and often, though must admit that I am quite slow and always was! At school, my friends always wanted to run or swim against me.
- I like to keep my brain busy. Even while cooking, I usually listen to an audiobook, which sometimes drives my family crazy.
What is the value of participating in a professional community through Evanta?
As a security leader, it is essential to be part of a community where you have the opportunity to learn from security colleagues and to stay up to date with the latest developments. In my view, collaborating and networking are key for security and IT leaders, and this community provides the ideal platform by bringing them together.
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