The Power of Authenticity: How Renata Spinks is Changing the Cybersecurity Game

The 10 Most Influential People in The Business World 2024

The morning sunlight slants through her office windows, casting a warm glow over the clean lines and uncluttered workspace. A touch of tasteful artwork adorns the space, a subtle contrast to the organized chaos of reports, briefings, and ever-present digital devices sprawled across her desk. This is the command center for Renata Spinks, CEO of CyberSec International, where a relentless pursuit of excellence defines her every move.

Success is a fluid concept, its definition as unique as the individuals who pursue it. For some, fulfillment lies in meaningful work; for others, it’s the thrill of tangible achievements. Success, to Renata, lies in the journey of purpose, the milestones of accomplishments, and the constant progressive growth; she evaluates and looks for those she has left an imprint. Even amidst challenges, she pauses to reflect on whether her actions align with her values positively, with high integrity, moral standards, and character. “When the answer to these questions are all “Yes, I have,” God smiles at me; those I love are proud of me, and I represent them well,” the veteran says, “That is, to me, what success looks like. I’ve created a worthy legacy. I have achieved greatness.”  Legacy is her currency and impacts her wealth. She sees compensations, verbal accolades, awards, and recognition as mere tangible symbols- mementos of a life uniquely defined by success.

As Founder and CEO, Renata champions a mission-driven, people-centric company. She expertly provides cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions for clients with a culture of empowerment and authenticity for employees, partners, and teaming competimates. In her company, open and honest communication, empathy, and expertise are the guiding principles.

Get ready to be astounded as you plunge into the brilliant brain of this cybersecurity dynamo! Our cover story will uncover Renata’s secret sauces to success, her distinguished leadership philosophy, and her ever-present drive to innovate, create and inspire. Her journey from overcoming obstacles to building a legacy is a testament to the power of dreaming big in the cyber world. Anyone aspiring to establish a name in their chosen industry can find inspiration in Renata’s narrative of glory.

Resilience and Growth Against the Odds

‘RESILENCE’ defines Renata. Her staunch determination has earned her a spot among “The 10 Most Influential People in The Business World 2024.” She demonstrates the remarkable power of combining dedication with a commitment to making a difference.

But has it been a cakewalk? The answer is No. Like every true success story, Renata’s professional journey was riddled with obstacles and detours.

Ascending from a Specialist in the US Army to the Senior Executive Service ranks of the Department of Defense in less than 20 years – navigating multiple sectors, administrations, and male-dominated environments – taught Renata to thrive under intense pressure. In spaces where she sometimes felt unwelcome and negatively judged, she forged her path.

Renata echoes Ava Duvernay’s wisdom: “Ignore the glass ceiling and do your work. If you’re focusing on the glass ceiling, focusing on what you don’t have, focusing on the limitations, then you will be limited.”

Obstacles propelled her growth. From facing opposition to her innovative spirit to managing conflicts and driving change independently, this determined professional reframes setbacks as opportunities. She learned to agree to disagree, flourish where she stands, empower others and champion herself. Renata’s leadership style draws from her experience working with diverse individuals; she stays true to her core values and now, practices tactical patience. This mastery of skill, above all, has carried her through adversity in both her professional and personal life.

Cultivating Integrity and Driving Innovation as Cornerstones

The principled executive defines integrity as doing the right thing even when no one is watching or checking. By embodying this value in her every aspect of life, she fosters a similar culture throughout her sphere of influence. Renata understands that true leadership begins with setting an example, and she ensures that those who work with her share her unwavering standards. Her commitment to continuous learning and adaptability encourages agility and resilience. The insightful leader understands that true innovation thrives in an environment where people feel safe to take calculated risks. She champions a ‘learn fast’ approach, ensuring her team gains valuable insight from each experience. Renata empowers her team by recognizing their humanity, fostering a safe space for growth, and calculating risk-taking. In high-stakes situations, she adapts her innovation strategies without sacrificing continuous improvement and evolution.

Strategic Solutions. Unrivaled Expertise at CyberSec International.

CyberSec International delivers unparalleled strategic engagement through dynamic public speaking and targeted training. It also provides incisive consulting services specializing in business strategy, intelligence-based cybersecurity, cloud computing, network architecture, governance, policy, and cyber operations.

Approach to Service Development and Evaluation

Renata, CEO of CyberSec, advocates continuous improvement through retrospectives and 360-degree reviews. She leverages these insights to reassure clients of CyberSec’s steadfast commitment to excellence. Renata’s team meticulously analyzes and refines existing capabilities, ensuring top-tier service. Recognizing the value of collaboration, she strategically seeks partnerships to bridge gaps and amplify CyberSec’s reach. With laser-sharp focus and the agility to adapt, Renata propels CyberSec forward, meeting the ever-evolving demands of the cybersecurity landscape.

The Greatest Achievement as a Leader

This seasoned executive’s technical expertise and enduring commitment to national values solidify her position as a cybersecurity thought leader. She serves as a blueprint for aspiring leaders and a humble example for anyone wishing to lead in Cyber. As a trailblazer, “the crown is heavy,” being the firsts of many, but Renata finds it’s worth it. She considers it an honor to serve the nation and the constituents within. To her, it’s her ‘greatest achievement’.

She draws inspiration from Marianne Williamson’s words: “We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  This message of embracing one’s potential unapologetically, resonates with Renata, driving her commitment to inspire the next generation of leaders. She is a commanding expert in cybersecurity and an inspiring role model within the field and beyond.

Igniting the Next Generation of Cyber Leaders

Driven by a deep sense of responsibility, Renata believes in paying forward the opportunities she’s been afforded as a trailblazer in the IT field. This passion fuels her dedication to mentoring within universities, colleges, and the workplace. For Renata, the “next generation” isn’t merely a demographic but an ongoing wave of future leaders. She embraces a cross-generational mindset, empowering leaders from all backgrounds – from baby boomers to millennials and beyond.

Her goal is to inspire all to be their best selves through her life example. Renata aims to demonstrate integrity, expertise, and a global commitment to talent management and workforce development. She envisions modernizing technology, adopting emergent tech, broadening the reach, and providing real opportunities for the next generation of cyber leaders worldwide. This vision fuels her actions as she strives to cultivate a generation equipped to tackle the hindrances of the future.

Renata’s Competitive Edge: Knowledge, Collaboration, and Shared Goals

“It is important to be well-read, educated and researched,” Renata emphasizes. This savvy leader dedicates significant time to research, studying academia, industry trends, and keeping a close eye on top competitors. But her strategy goes beyond knowledge alone. She fosters an open mindset, seeking collaboration when possible and offering support even when direct partnerships aren’t feasible. Renata believes in the bigger picture and says: “We’re all working towards the same goal.”

Pre-CyberSec Powerhouse: Military Roots, Homeland Security, & Wall Street Smarts

Renata’s cybersecurity expertise wasn’t born overnight. Her path before cybersecurity was marked by service, analytical rigor, and a dedication to safeguarding critical systems. Her foundation began in the US Army Medical Corps, demonstrating an early commitment to protecting others. This discipline carried into her college years as a student-athlete, where she honed her focus with a degree in Computer Information Systems and a Criminal Justice minor.

Fresh out of college, Renata served a vital role in the Department of Homeland Security. Her program management expertise ensured the integrity of essential asset management and business intelligence systems. Driven by a profound sense of justice, she also assisted ICE’s Homeland Security Investigation unit, applying forensic and behavioral analysis to combat human trafficking and child exploitation.

Her next stop? The US Treasury, where she worked as a special assistant to the IT director building out the Office of Financial Research. In this role, she partnered with Wall Street Banking and statistical-based titans to design government big data analytics systems. This pivotal position spotlights her capacity to conquer complexity, command high-stakes situations, and construct robust national security solutions.

A Typical Workday as CEO of CyberSec

With its clean lines and uncluttered workspace, Renata’s office reflects the strategic focus she brings to her role as CEO of CyberSec. Her desk reflects the organized chaos of her schedule—reports, briefings, and her ever-present digital devices. Meetings (both online and offline) dominate Renata’s workday. Strategic sessions with teaming partners, brainstorming with internal CyberSec teams – each conversation is a step in a carefully orchestrated dance. Yet, between these structured engagements, she carves out precious minutes for learning and getting better. Staying ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving world of cybersecurity is not just a priority; it’s a necessity.

Conferences and summits often replace her office, where Renata shines as a keynote speaker, panelist, or supportive colleague. Mentorship is a two-way street for her, as she offers guidance and seeks insight. Surprisingly, she allocates 15 minutes daily for stillness, a practice that boosts her focus.

Striking A Work-life Balance

Renata’s eyes hold a focused intensity, mirroring the drive that propels her as CEO. Yet, there’s a warmth that softens her gaze as she speaks about work-life balance. “I focus more on work-life satisfaction,” she explains, a smile playing on her lips. She acknowledges the challenges of neatly separating personal and professional spheres as both demands often intertwine and require flexibility. Yet, each day, she strives for her best, leaving the rest for tomorrow. She feels incredibly fortunate to have found a profession she loves, one that allows her to live out her dreams. It creates a sense of satisfaction naturally. “I am deliberate in living my blessed life, and I do so with gratitude,” she shares. “That’s what wakes me up in the morning and sends me to rest at night”

Personal Goal: Growth, Community, and Giving Back

Renata’s goal isn’t about the elusive quest for perfect personal growth. Instead, she finds her profound calling in something more fulfilling. Beyond her success in cybersecurity, this business lead has a vision encompassing cherished connections and an impactful legacy. Her goals are rooted in a continuous pursuit of excellence, perfecting her skills while nurturing a supportive community where everyone can thrive.

Renata remains committed to serving her nation and is ready to contribute to wherever the need arises. This passion for service extends into her future aspirations. She dreams of building a school dedicated to innovation, cyber education, and emergent technologies—a way to shape the leaders of tomorrow.

Message for Aspiring Leaders and Professionals: Purpose, Growth, and The Power of Self-Belief

“There is no such thing as competition in life or your job. Bet on yourself and do what God has purposed you to do. Everything else will be taken care of in God’s own timing. It’s the Lord’s doing”. These words of her mom anchor Renata’s life and message to aspiring leaders and professionals. She stresses nurturing an insatiable intellectual curiosity and embracing lifelong learning. She also encourages them to perfect their craft and, above all, bet on themselves.

This astute professional encourages aspirants to embrace encumbrances as catalysts for growth. “They must learn to clearly define success metrics early on while remaining adaptable to shifting indicators and course corrections.  There is no straight line between excellence and the pursuit of profession,” she explains. She highlights the importance of staying true to one’s values and being a good person. Whether at the forefront of an organization or within its mid to earliest ranks, Renata believes a leader’s true impact lies in consistently showing up and making a difference.