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Deborah Golden '94

Deborah (Deb) Golden

U.S. Cyber & Strategic Risk Leader, Deloitte & Touche LLP

Class of '94

I pride myself on leading with authenticity and empathy, and with a deep commitment to my teams and my clients. I am passionate about promoting women and minorities in cyber, and care deeply about mental health and wellness – particularly in the workplace. Outside of work, I am a certified service dog trainer – currently raising my third full-time puppy, Benny, in conjunction with America’s VetDogs. I love facetiming with my granddaughter (hopefully it will be less facetime and more in-person time soon!), visiting my youngest at Tech (yes, she’s a Hokie!), and spending time (right now – outside and distanced) with friends – you can also find me enjoying some exercise, as well as supporting the local community, in and around Washington D.C. – of course, safely distanced.

industry leader spotlight

Where I've been in my career and where I'm going...

I help clients create a culture of cyber resilience – at the time of a crisis, and also throughout the lifecycle of preparing and responding to a cyber incident – implementing processes and systems to help mitigate future risk. In my current role, I have the opportunity and platform to work with leaders across our businesses and industries to help build the next generation of cyber, which includes both the services and assets that organizations will look to adopt in support of their missions, how they will get there, and the workforce needed to support this goal.

 

In my experience, in order to solve emerging cyber or technology challenges…

we need to rethink not only the problem, but also our approach towards resolution. I believe introducing more diversity of background, thought, etc., is of critical importance to building the needs of the future – especially as the threats we face become more diverse, so too should the teams we put in place to defend against them. If we want to protect our organizations, we must protect our people, and as the workplace grows more diverse, we are faced with even greater challenges. It’s a critical priority for me to proactively push the direction (and execution) of diversity in the workforce.

 

Fondest Virginia Tech memory...

I've too many fond memories and likely too partial to pick just one. Whoever came up with the Virginia Tech "This is Home" slogan summed it up with those words – well that and seeing the Interstate 118 Exit signs on the highway.

 

My favorite Virginia Tech tradition...

Game Day and Hokie Spirit!

 

Work project I'm most excited about...

my current process of growing Deloitte’s U.S. Cyber & Strategic Risk practice – that means bringing on more talent and seeking both organic and inorganic opportunities to hyperscale our business model and help us maintain our top position in the marketplace. If we are going to have any chance at closing the technology and talent gap, we need to pivot our approach to include today’s here and now, and also the investments and innovations to lead us through tomorrow.

 

The most formative experience I’ve had…

As I mentioned, my mom passing away at the start of my collegiate career shaped me and changed the way I approach obstacles. In the years leading up to her death, when she was sick, I helped to take care of her while also checking in on my dad and going to school. It was a lot to take on at one time and at a young age. I learned how to approach problems, tackling them as they came my way. Because of this experience, I am good at solving problems and seeing them as they come – maintaining my calm. It took a long time to really make that connection between my mom’s death and what I call my grit factor – but once I discovered it, I made it my mission to learn how to leverage that strength to propel me forward personally and professionally.

 

My hidden talent...

Name That Tune!

In my 25+ years at Deloitte…

I’ve had the opportunity to work with clients and help them address some of the most complex cybersecurity problems. Consulting is unique because you have the opportunity to have multiple careers while at one organization –  you essentially get to own the direction your career takes, and that has been the case for me. My experience has been incredibly varied over my Deloitte career. I have been able to grow as a leader, starting in our Commercial practice with a focus on Financial Services and Life Sciences Health Care, then traversing to our Government & Public Services practice leading teams, and ultimately to where I am now leading our U.S. cyber and strategic risk practice with a team of over 5000 people – it’s been quite a journey and incredible learning experience. Beyond that, I have worked with incredible clients to help resolve complex problems. I have also met and worked with amazing people who often evolve from colleague or client to friend. At the end of the day – that’s one of the best things here at Deloitte as I look back over my career – forming “colleagues (and friends) for life”.

 

How Virginia Tech equipped me for the "real world"...

My mom passed away while I was in college, so there was a lot of learning I had to do on my own – in addition to the regular growing and learning one does during college. I couldn’t call her for advice, and while my dad was an incredible source of love and support, it’s different than that of a mom/daughter relationship. I learned a lot about independence – likely faster than I would have otherwise – and I’ve carried that with me throughout my life and career.

 

A cyber threat more people should pay attention to...

the cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving, it’s important for companies and organizations to focus on their greatest risks and protect them aggressively. We have seen a lot of widescale, sophisticated attacks, and since we cannot protect everything, we need to focus on what we can protect, be ready with a clear response and recovery plan – [and] most importantly to build resilience. This approach means thinking about how to be proactive in your security plans – instituting systems such as threat hunting or detect and respond technologies can make the difference when it comes to protecting your most valuable assets.

 

Cybersecurity five years from now...

will be a result of the critical inflection point we are at today which involves rethinking talent, technology, and innovation, coupled with a shift from risk mitigation to business enablement. It’s an incredibly compelling time and I’m humbled to be leading a team through the complexity of this journey.

 

I started training service dogs...

about five years ago. It was something I always wanted to do – to give back to the community – and what better way than through the love (and training) of service dogs. There are so many people who need service dogs – whether for visual, hearing, or physical impairment, or for emotional support – and there are not enough trained dogs to fill the need. The truth is, I have the space and the capacity to work with these dogs. There is no better feeling (albeit bittersweet) to train a puppy and see them off to their forever person whose life will be [equally] changed.

 

If I had a superpower it would be...

community building.