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The Speaker Development Program Application is located here.

The Speaker Development Program (SDP) will...


  • The program outline will consist of challenges, tasks , small projects, panels, seminars and talks to prepare the candidates for public speaking in the Cybersecurity space and qualify them for graduation from the program.

  • The program will consist of lessons, benchmarks and feedback from the collective program committee as well as the assigned mentor of the candidate.

    Program Mission Statement:

    In this initiative,  Blacks In Cybersecurity seeks to bring more Black participants to contribute to, experience and give back to the Cybersecurity community by preparing them with knowledge and skills.

Session length: 6 sessions of 90 minutes each.

Objectives and Tasks:


  • Discuss why give talks and where to give talks. 

  • Discuss purpose of talks Discuss the goals of each participant. Have cohort leaders talk about their journey giving talks. Set expectations and goals for cohort. 

  • Discuss picking a topic, all the different topics out there, researching your subject (which will be different for every type of topic and will be different depending on the length of the talk). 

  • Discuss writing a CFP, how to do it, what makes a good CFP and what makes a bad CFP. Assign the CFP due session III. CFPs due (leader will recruit 2-4 volunteers experienced in reviewing CFPs to read and provide feedback) 

  • Discuss writing a bio. Discuss part 1 of creating slides. 

  • Assign/Discuss/let students pick 5 minutes speech for session IV. (no slides needed, just to see how they present and how they talk to people, and give feedback). 

  • CFP feedback and 5 minute speeches (if possible, have volunteers who reviewed CFP listen to 5 minute speeches. If not, get other experienced speakers to listen) Discuss practicing and preparing for the presentation they will give. 

For more information and to get involved, please email

Welcome to the Speaker Development Program Graduation Mini-Con!



This course is targeted at novice and beginner speakers in order to help them gain confidence in speaking, understand the speaker submission application process, and take them through the skills and techniques they need to create and deliver a talk from beginning to the end.  This mini-con is the culmination program that brought the students through the ‘life cycle’ of speaking at conferences.  The course talked and walked them through the entire process where they came up with a talk idea, submitted a “Call for Presentations” (CFP), researched and wrote their talk and are now presenting that talk.

This mini-con allows them to demonstrate the skills they have learned and hard work they have put in over the past six weeks. During the length of this course, each participant learned how, why and where people speak.  Most importantly each student was encouraged with the assurance that THEY can and should share their knowledge and speak at conferences. 

This affirmation was then leveraged to enable them to learn how to write and submit a CFP, how different conferences review, grade, and judge CFP submissions to decide who will speak.  They learned different ways to research and prepare for their talk and how to prepare to write their talk.  Multiple class hours were spent covering how to write and give presentations. 

Additionally, a class module was devoted to minor, but important subjects for presenters such as preparing to go on stage, handling questions, and what to do when the presentation is over.  In the middle of that they each gave a five-minute speech in order to get feedback on the basic speaking skills.  


Thank you for coming and supporting them as they continue make use of their new or improved speaking skills they have acquired.  We look forward to them continuing to speak in the future at other local or national events as they expand their skills and opportunities.


Don’t forget to keep an eye out for future runs of this course!  We all have a wealth of knowledge in our industry and stories that need to be shared from many different perspectives. Hopefully one of the next students in our group of new presenters could be you.

September 2021 Cohort Mini-Con Schedule

Speaker: Diondria Holliman ~@diondria4309

September 25, 2021 - 10:15 AM EST

Talk: Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery: Are you prepared this time?  


The only thing harder than planning for a disaster is explaining why you did not. 

Recently 2020 disaster recovery stats published by Invenio IT, a well-known global business continuity services agency state:

  • 75% of businesses have nothing planned. Literally no preparation for total or partial loss of data or access to it.

  • 93% of companies without a disaster recovery plan in place who suffer a major data disaster are out of business within one year.

Meanwhile, 96% of companies with a trusted backup and disaster recovery plan were able to survive ransomware attacks – one of the most common major data disasters.

Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) planning are the most crucial elements of a business but are often ignored. Your data is the life blood of your business. If you lose access to it, or it is corrupted, lost, stolen or held in a ransomware attack, how long could you survive without it? My goal for this talk is to provide a practical walkthrough of terms such as RPO, RTO, and general BC + DR considerations including general disaster scenarios and more specialized ones such as ransomware.

Tune in to learn more about:

  • Distinct differences between DR and BC

  • Fundamentals for developing an effective BC plan, and training your staff on its use.

  • How to conduct DR testing to ensure your plans work 

This talk is a perfect start to revise or develop a strong business continuity & disaster recovery plan based on the changing priorities post the pandemic. Even if you have plans in place, it’s time to rewrite your playbook to fit our current risk environment. 



Diondria Holliman is on a mission to help companies better prepare their employees for disruptive events in order to respond to incidents or crisis in a calm and forward-thinking manner as it pertains to information systems. Diondria is a seasoned security professional, offering 15+ years of experience focused on Corporate Information Security Strategy, Compliance, Security Architecture, and Data Privacy and Protection. Her educational background includes both a bachelor’s & master’s degree in the computer science space. Since IT is always changing, she makes it a point to evolve with it by holding several premium industry certifications, namely the CISSP, PfMP, and PMP.  Diondria brings a powerful combination of project portfolio focus and technical skills along in-depth experience working in highly regulated industries throughout her career.

In addition, Diondria has several recent publications in global recognized magazines such Project Management Network and Info Security. Over the years, she has successfully forecasted the direction our industry is heading as a thought leader or what she calls her "spidey-sense" to interpret what the data is telling us. Most recently, Diondria is the recipient of the 2021 (ISC)² Mid-Career Professional Award recognizing advancements the cybersecurity field. 

Speaker: Darnell Ware Jr. ~@LenradTech

September 25, 2021 - 10:30 AM EST

Talk: Technically Challenged: Lessons in End User Security


I intend to speak about the fundamentals of User Security Awareness. I will begin by defining what user security is. Throughout this talk, I intend to inform, as well as educate, the audience of the importance of them being the first line of defense when it comes to information security. I plan to use real life examples and scenarios that will not only create audience engagement, and reinforce concepts, but will provide solution that can be immediately implemented for everyday use.


IT Consultant Darnell Ware Jr. is known for his customer service by ensuring that every end user is well educated on how they can impact the cybersecurity of their business, as well as, personal interest. From his beginnings as an IT Intern at a local health clinic near Shippensburg University, to currently working with a Prime Defense Contractor to the Federal Government, Darnell has an extensive understanding of how the end user can be the make or break factor of any environment's security fitness and that it is imperative that they are made a priority.

Now in his 4th year in Tech, he currently serves as an System Administrator at SAIC, currently supporting the Army Corps of Engineers. In this role, he serves as an technical and management presence to his team of field technicians. Prior to his current role, Darnell served as a Technical Specialist at PayPal, where he was involved in their rapid expansion of their internal and external Credit Operations teams who supported Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans. He has also served as a Desktop Support Analyst with Penn Medicine, being a critical asset during the initial surge of the COVID-19 Pandemic, as well as PC Technician with Jefferson Health.

Darnell has earned many industry certifications, including CompTIA Security+, ServiceNow Certified System Administrator, and AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

Speaker: Christen S. Madison ~@Christe05505504

September 25, 2021 - 10:45 AM EST

Talk: Home Labs, The Tech Gym


Athletes exercise at the gym to perfect their skills, can a home lab do the same?  This talk will discuss the importance of having a home lab and setting personal goals to achieve. 


Christen S. Madison has five CompTIA and three Microsoft computer certifications and works as a Network Administrator.

He has worked in the computer field for over twenty years, with three years in banking.  His area of expertise is server management, which includes everything from the initial setup to setting up permissions and securing the machines from outside intrusion.  Windows, Linux, and most Berkeley System Disk Unix versions are among the operating systems with which he has experience.  He is a troubleshooter for Microsoft Office, Corel, Lotus, Intuit, Peachtree, and most Adobe software and has a strong desire to assist others in improving their lives, whether monetarily or educationally.

Speaker: Ashley Richardson ~@[ REDACTED]

September 25, 2021 - 11:00 AM EST

Talk: What Game of Thrones taught me about Cyber Security


At the beginning of 2021, everyone had seen Game of Thrones, except Ashley. As she caught up on the show, she saw a number or infosec principles play out in the story.  Come learn about how lessons from GoT can be applied to improve your cybersecurity.


Ashley Richardson is a Sr. Technical Trainer with Palo Alto Networks. She is a member of Blacks In Cyber, The International Consortium of Minority Security Professionals and the Women’s Society of Cyber-Jitsu. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Cyber Operations and Resilience at Boise State and serving as an adjunct professor at Sacramento City College. In her spare time, she and her fellow veteran husband read, homestead and watch Game of Thrones.

Speaker: Yasmine Braithwaite ~@[ REDACTED]

September 25, 2021 - 11:15 AM EST

Talk: Behavioral Mapping with MITRE ATT&CK


As more individuals are moving work, hobbies, and social lives online, this leads to an increase in cyber attacks. Since the majority of cyber incidents we see today are human enabled, combining areas such as behavioral intelligence and mapping of cybersecurity can improve incident detection and fill in gaps for threat defenses. Furthermore, this will allow us to recognize our behaviors or emotions before deciding how to respond in ways that aligns with our best interest. Alike our cyber hygiene, it is important to focus on our own behavioral science to identify and improve situations as they happen, in order to conquer self destructive behaviors. Cyber incidents may also follow predictable patterns that are clearly identified and therefore provide clarity in how to respond. This presentation is to explore the relevant insights of the MITRE ATT&CK Framework, and how we can map threat actors behaviors to improve detection of cyber incidents, which will ultimately force us to look within in ourselves as human factors in a digitally immersed world.


Yasmine Braithwaite is a Cyber Analyst in the Financial Industry.  She has a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in photography and has earned her A+ & Security+ certificate and had various internships in cyber.  She is an alumni of NPower, a nonprofit organization, that focuses on technology training for young adults and has spoken at this year’s 2021, NPower’s Gala.

She is a huge foodie, and enjoys spending  time doing yoga, reading books and creating content for her brand Security of Mind.  You can find her on LinkedIn: and on Instagram:

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