RICET, or the Regional Initiative for Cybersecurity Education and Training, is a collaborative effort to build and strengthen a foundation in cybersecurity education, training, and workforce for the Americas. This event provides an opportunity for community members and thought leaders from education, government, industry, and non-profits to explore ways of developing a curriculum for the current and future cybersecurity workforce. This event is hosted by Florida International University and the Organization of American States in cooperation with the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education.

The RICET Conference took place in the Bahamas on October 19th. 

#RICET2023 is free and open to the public.

1:15 – 1:30 PM EST | Welcome Remarks

  • Randy Pestana, Associate Director for Cybersecurity Policy, FIU
  • Alison A. Treppel, Executive Secretary, OAS/CICTE

1:30 – 2:15 PM EST | Fireside Chat

  • Kerry-Ann Barrett, Cybersecurity Program Manager, OAS/CICTE
  • Rodney Petersen, Director, NICE

2:15 – 3:30 PM EST | Panel 1: Regional Approaches to Workforce Development

During this session, we will seek to reflect on the mechanisms, strategies and alliances that can be implemented to develop national cybersecurity workforce development strategies.

3:30 – 3:45 PM EST | Coffee Break

3:45 – 5:00 PM EST | Panel 2: Development of Cybersecurity Competencies

The purpose of this panel is to share best practices in developing cybersecurity competencies, including the use of gamification and other innovative resources to drive skill creation and strengthening.

Previous Years

  • 2022
    Nice Symposium: A Coordinated Approach To Supply Chain Risks. Tuesday, November 16, 2021. 1:30 - 5 P.M. EST


    12:00 – 12:15 PM EST | Welcome Remarks

    • Nestor Mendez, Assistant Secretary General, Organization of American States
    • Liesyl Franz, Director of the Office of International Engagement and Capacity Building, U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy

    12:15 – 12:45 PM EST | Leadership Panel

    • Brian Fonseca, Director of Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy and Executive Director of Cybersecurity@FIU, Florida International University
    • Kerry-Ann Barrett, Program Manager of Secretariat of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) and Secretariat for Multidimensional Security (SMS), Organizations of American States
    • Rodney Petersen, Director of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S. Department of Commerce
    • Moderated by: Juan Brodersen, Technology Editors at Clarín in Argentina

    12:45 – 1:45 PM EST | Panel 1: Building Bridges in the Cyber Labor Market

    • Abby Daniell, Director of Latin America, Canada and Caribbean Public Sector, Amazon Web Services
    • Marian Merritt, Deputy Director and Manager of Stakeholder Engagement, and Lead for Industry Engagement of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S. Department of Commerce
    • Olga Cavalli, Argentina National Director of Cybersecurity for Secretariat of Public Innovation of the Chief of Cabinet of Ministers of the Presidency of Argentina
    • Moderated by: Randy Pestana, Director of Education and Training for Cybersecuirty@FIU, Florida International University

    1:45 – 2:45 PM EST | Panel 2: Discovering Pathways into the Cybersecurity Workforce

    • Carlos Leonardo, National Director of Cyber Incident Response (CSIRT-RD), National Cybersecurity Center (DO)
    • Carmen Azucena Quintos, OAS Cybersecurity Program Intern for CSIRTAmericas
    • Daniel Alvarez, National Cybersecurity Coordinator, Ministry of the Interior and Public Security of Chile
    • Silvia Beltran, Technical Talent Development Manager, Trend Micro (DO)
    • Moderated by: Mariana Cardona, Cybersecurity Program Officer for Inter-American Committee against Terrorism, Organization of American States (OAS/ CICTE)

    2:45 – 2:50 PM EST | Break

    2:50 – 3:50 PM EST | Panel 3: Creating More Entry Pathways for Early Career Talent

    • Chelsea Smethurst, Senior Lead for Space & Connectivity Security Policy, Global Cybersecurity Policy, Microsoft (DO)
    • Jason Hess, Executive Director for Global Technology, JPMorgan Chase & Co
    • Jay Garcia, Education Program Manager – Americas-West & LATAM, Alteryx SparkED
    • Moderated by: Bridgett Paradise, Chief People Officer, Tenable

    3:50 – 4:00 PM EST | Closing Remarks

    Panel Details

    Leadership Panel

    Cybersecurity is a national priority and critical to the resiliency of government institutions and businesses. Starting to build a cybersecurity workforce requires several considerations including a need-based approach. The Workforce Framework for Cybersecurity commonly referred to as the NICE Framework, is a nationally focused resource to help employers develop their cybersecurity workforce, which establishes a common lexicon that describes cybersecurity work and workers regardless of where or for whom the work is performed. However, even with this robust framework, practical consideration from an academic and government perspective needs to be fleshed out. This panel seeks to have a conversation with leaders in the area of cybersecurity capacity building to get their views on what other leaders should consider as we tackle the issue of having a sustained cybersecurity workforce in Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Panel 1: Building Bridges in the Cyber Labor Market

    The intention of this panel is to highlight best practices in bringing government, academia, and industry together to respond to the cybersecurity workforce gap in the Western Hemisphere.

    Panel 2: Discovering Pathways into the Cybersecurity Workforce

    This panel will examine different pathways that have been proven successful to enter the cybersecurity workforce across the region. This includes examining work-based learning approaches like apprenticeships, internships, and other direct to employment experiences, as well the use of practical exercises like cybersecurity competitions as a catalyst.

    Panel 3: Creating More Entry Pathways for Early Career Talent

    In the cybersecurity workforce, there is a demand to promote the establishment of more entry-level positions and opportunities that provide avenues for growth and advancement. During this panel, stakeholders will share insights on entering the cybersecurity workforce and best practices to connect local employers with entry-level talent.

  • 2021



    Watch RICET 2021 on YouTube

    Conference Panels

    • Curriculum Development (includes K-12): This panel examined the best practices in cybersecurity curriculum development from across the Western Hemisphere. The discussion centered on how to best utilize the NICE framework in building cybersecurity career pathways beginning with K-12 and through the college/university systems.
    • Diversifying the Cybersecurity Workforce: This panel examined new angles to diversifying the cybersecurity workforce including targeting traditionally underrepresented populations. This includes neurodivergent learners, women, and those from non-technical academic backgrounds. Case examples from across the Western Hemisphere were highlighted emphasizing new and innovative approaches to solving the cybersecurity workforce gap.
    • Reskilling and Upskilling: This panel examined solutions on how to keep learners, including employees, prepare throughout their lifetime learning given the evolving cybersecurity landscape. Best practices in upskilling and reskilling were offered to quickly transition workers from non-cybersecurity roles into cybersecurity roles.


    Welcome Remarks - Watch on YouTube

    • Brian Fonseca, Director, Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy, Florida International University
    • Rodney Petersen, Director, National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S. Department of Commerce
    • Ambassador Nestor Mendez, Assistant Secretary-General, Organization of American States (OAS)
    Panel 1: Curriculum Development - Watch on YouTube
    • Karen Wetzel, Manager, NICE 
    • Blair Taylor, Associate Professor, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, Towson University 
    • Mary Graft, Business Process Analyst, Organizational Performance, Business & Finance Support Services, Arizona State University
    • Moniphia O. Hewling, Founder and CEO, eMRock Digital Consultants, Cyber Crimes and Security Consultant
    • Moderated by Randy Pestana, Director of Education and Training, Cybersecurity@FIU, Florida International University

    Panel 2: Diversifying the Cybersecurity Workforce - Watch on YouTube

    • Teresa Thomas, Program Lead, Neurodiverse Talent Enablement, The MITRE Corporation
    • Krista Gauthier, Founder and Executive Director, Sliding Doors STEM & Dyslexia Learning Center (SDSquared)
    • Silvia Beltrán, Customer Service Manager, Trend Micro Mexico 
    • Moderated by Brian Fonseca, Director, Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy, Florida International University
    Panel 3: Reskilling and Upskilling - Watch on YouTube
    • Paola Vega Castillo, Costa Rica Minister of Science, Technology and Telecommunications Government of Costa Rica
    • Leticia Gammill, Cisco Security Channels Leader and President & Founder WOMCY, Latam Women in Cybersecurity
    • Juanita Rodriguez Kattah, Counselor, Embassy of Colombia in the United States
    • Carlos Leonardo, UNICARIBE Director of CSIRT-RD, National Cybersecurity Center
    • Moderated by Cristina Rodriguez-Acosta, Assistant Director for Institutional Relations, Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy, Florida International University
    Supported by
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