How to attract a board-level cybersecurity expert

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Suzanne Vautrinot’s impressive cybersecurity experience has been in high demand since she retired from the U.S. Air Force in October 2013. As a major general and commander, she helped create the Department of Defense's U.S. Cyber Command and led the Air Force's IT and online battle group.

In the past year alone, she has fielded “more than a handful” of phone calls from company executives and recruiters who hope to attract her to their board of directors, but she doesn’t jump at every opportunity. She has turned down board positions “more than once” because she perceived that the company wasn’t committed to cybersecurity initiatives or that she wouldn’t be active in any board matters beyond security.

“You want to do your due diligence and ask is this a company I can be proud to be associated with?” says Vautrinot, who is also president of Kilovolt Consulting in San Antonio.

Today she sits on the boards of five carefully chosen, diverse companies, including Wells Fargo, Parsons Corp., Ecolab, Symantec and Battelle Memorial Institute. When it comes to choosing what board position to accept, “you want to know that there’s a seriousness about all the areas where you will be contributing,” she says.

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