5 Questions with Kiersten Todt, Managing Director at The Cyber Readiness Institute
An esteemed speaker at the City Possible Summit 2020
What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing local / state government / cities today?
In this moment, I am focused on how local, state, and city governments are a critical component of our election infrastructure and we need to be doing more to support these governments in executing fair and secure elections. How, in 2020, are we still seeing exponentially longer voting lines in districts that are primarily comprised of minorities – this fact is unacceptable and we have to work hard to change it.
What part of your role or broader urban challenge keeps you up at night?
Our urban education system – education is the door to opportunity for our children and we have to do a better job strengthening our urban education system and making that opportunity available to all children.
What part of your role/ responsibilities do you love the most?
I love working with people on helping them understand their own power and ability to affect change. At the Cyber Readiness Institute, we focus on human behavior and creating cultures of security by empowering individuals to recognize their role in security. I am a civil servant at heart so I always appreciate the opportunity to serve.
What motto do you live by and why?
I don’t have only one. Over the last few months, the one I am focused on is: “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept,” by Angela Davi.
Tell us something that people may not know about you?
I love bridges. I love what they represent for cities and that they serve as a visual icon for a city (we know San Francisco by the Golden Gate, New York by the Brooklyn Bridge, etc.). They are also as a marvel of engineering and collaboration. Bridges are both physically and culturally just that – “a bridge” – across two geographic and cultural areas that would be disconnected otherwise. I took a class in college on bridges and it has impacted my view of cities and the salience of these structures in the history of urban development.
About Kiersten Todt
Kiersten Todt is Managing Director of the Cyber Readiness Institute, a non-profit initiative that convenes senior leaders of global companies to help small and medium-sized enterprises improve their cybersecurity. She also advises senior executives and Boards on cyber risk management and the role of human behavior in cybersecurity. Ms. Todt is the Scholar in Washington, DC at the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security. She most recently served as Executive Director of the U.S. Presidential Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity and has served in senior positions in the White House and United States Senate, where she drafted components of the legislation to create the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Ms. Todt has commented on national security and cybersecurity issues in multiple media outlets, including NBC, NPR, Bloomberg, CNN, FoxNews, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. Her writing on national security and cybersecurity has been published in relevant journals and news publications.
Ms. Todt graduated from Princeton University, with a degree in public policy and a certificate in African-American Studies. She holds a master’s degree in Public Policy and a certificate in negotiation and conflict resolution from Harvard University.