Thursday, February 14, 2013

So Long, And Thanks for the Fish

As I sat down to write this blog post I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to communicate my thoughts, my experience and the journey I have undertaken to get where I am. Then I came across this quote, and it seemed to fit perfectly.

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.” 
Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym

For me that happened just 9 days shy of a year ago, when I received confirmation that I was presenting at the 2012 SANS DFIR Summit. That day was a bag of mixed emotion filled with excitement, fear, pride, terror and disbelief. It was also when I realized that people wanted to hear about what interest me. By the end of 2012 I had presented at 3 different conferences on Windows 8.

The biggest turning point for me last year was networking with other peers in the industry, expressing my interest, my passion, and my desire to grow. From the SANS Summit I walked away with an incredible expanded network of peers. The network that I built from SANS Summit allowed me to interview for a couple of exciting new career opportunities.

The process has been extremely long and rewarding. It showed me the opportunities that were out there, where I was in my current career and where I wanted to go. The decisions that needed to be made were not easy, but the decision was made.

As of today I am leaving an incredible group of information security professionals and a company that believed in me and helped build my skill set over the last 6 years. As of this morning I have said good bye to my team at Principal Financial Group. The members of my team have been some of the most intelligent, passionate and dedicated members of the community I have encountered. I have honestly learned so much from each of them over the 3 years I have been part of the team.  My Co-workers at Principal made the decision to leave difficult.

As of Monday, February 18th I will be joining the Chicago Office of KPMG and will be following my passion of forensics and incident response. It is an opportunity that I have been looking forward to, and I am excited about the possibilities that this will bring.

I would like to close this out by offering a few well deserved overdue public thank you’s.

Rob Lee, thank you for giving an unknown, unproven DFIR practitioner a stage at the 2012 Summit. Thank you for believing in me.

David Nides for convincing me that I should apply to KPMG and seeing something in me that I didn’t. Thank you for pushing at me to jump into this headlong and never giving up.

Thank you for everyone else who had reached out to me over this last year with support, advice and welcoming me into the community, I cannot thank you enough.

Thank you to my team at Principal, I have learned so much from everyone, and I hope that you will always be successful in the endeavors to improve the capabilities of the team.  Heather and Chris thank you for being there as a sounding board and making me realize just how incredible Principal was.

To my new team at KPMG, I look forward to learning from each of you, can’t wait until Monday.

To my wonderful wife, thank you for taking the lumps for me to follow my dreams. I know that this wasn’t what we expected when we signed on for this adventure, but I know that I can do anything if you believe in me. 

So where does this leave things?
  • BsidesIowa will still happen. I believe that the local community can keep it going. 
  • Principal Financial Group is still an incredible place to work. 
  • I am relocating to Chicago, anyone know of a place to stay?
  • I am terrified of this risk, but that being said let the adventure start. 
Thank you for all the well wishes and support.