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August 3 Newsletter


Welcome to the New SIMCAC Weekly Newsletter....
....Where each week, we'll share SIMCAC announcements, member spotlights, local/national industry news, upcoming events, and recaps of past ones! 

SIMCAC Member Spotlight Article: Derrick Butts - Chief Information and Security Officer at Truth Initiative 

Briefly describe your current company and role

I’m the Chief Information and Cybersecurity Officer (CIO/CO) at Truth Initiative - America’s largest non-profit public health organization dedicated to making tobacco use a thing of the past. We speak, seek and spread the truth about tobacco through education, tobacco-control research and policy studies, community activism and engagement, and innovation in tobacco dependence treatment.
At Truth Initiative, I oversee a team of specialists supporting access control, cybersecurity, VoIP, wireless, and other information technologies along with enterprise and cloud-based applications.

You have been the CIO of Truth Initiative for over 3 years, how has your role evolved over this time frame? 

Over the past three years, I’ve seen the CIO role become more cloud and security focused with a push for more security awareness training across the entire organization.  Changes to cloud have helped increase the availability of mission data using secure access other than VPN.  The increase in Security Awareness Training have allowed our users to think and click more responsibly when reviewing emails, attachments, and Web Ads. Overall, my CIO/CO role has evolved to help create a security-work-life balance in a non-profit culture.

It seems like early in your time at Truth Initiative, you lead the T3 team to migrate Truth Initiative's entire staff to a new open concept facility where 75% of their application platforms went to the cloud. That sounds really interesting....can you explain that a little bit more?

 When I first arrived at Truth Initiative, in early 2015, the IT culture was viewed as a reactive entity and they were not involved in the strategic planning of the organizations mission.  About 10 percent of their services were cloud based and there were several outsourced services, I felt should have been handled in-house.  In the Fall of 2015, Truth Initiative was also moving to a new building with an open-space concept.  I saw the building move as an opportunity to create a shift of the IT Department to be proactive.  This required replacing some personnel, changing the attitude and increasing skillsets of IT Team members while laying out a two-year plan to develop and maintain a new perception on the value-add of IT.

The first year was gaining the trust of the organization while designing, testing and integrating new and secure business continuity technologies with no single points-of-failure.  This was done by creating a T3 Working Group (T3 WG).  The T3 WG was comprised of a member from each department to become a liaison extension of the IT Department. These T3 WG members provided departmental requirements and tested all new IT provided services/technologies, to ensure they met operational requirements, before rolling out and integrating into the enterprise infrastructure. This methodology allowed for a higher success rate of adoption and utilization of technologies services by the staff while increasing our overall security posture. Part of the adoption included moving to more cloud-based applications/services – Office 365 cloud for email, SharePoint cloud, and VoIP. The new open-concept environment also allowed staff to no longer be tethered to their desk as desktop computers were replaced by laptops and secure wireless access was everywhere.  Mission data that could be moved to secure cloud-based platforms were removed from behind the VPN.

The second year involved continuing to train staff on their new technologies, to maximize benefits, and increase security awareness training for the entire organization. We also continued to consolidate applications and services to alleviate redundancy which yielded about a 30% reduction in operational spending.  Enterprise-wide we continued to push the use of more cloud-based application/platforms in HR, Accounting, and IT.  By early 2017, over 75% of our applications and services were cloud-based.

What current professional project, challenge, or opportunity are you most excited about today and why?

 Some of my current projects include mentoring T3/IT Staff members to increase their skillset and growth as IT professionals.  This included increasing the Security Awareness of Truth Initiatives culture through T3 sponsored events and programs.  As for opportunities, I’ve been getting more involved in speaking at various events.  Prior to Truth Initiative, my background was focused on providing secure business continuity strategies for enterprise architectures that included entities from Colleges/Manufacturing facilities to DoD/Federal Government. I’ve been told my approach is something that should be shared.  In 2017, I was selected as a session speaker for the (ISC)2 Security Congress in Austin, TX. My topic was – Are you playing Chess or Checkers with your Cloud Security Posture.  After the session, I received a great deal of positive feedback and was asked to consider presenting for another session at the 2018 (ISC)2 Security Congress in New Orleans, LA.  I’m excited about the opportunity to speak again and have been asked by other organizations to be a guest speaker.

Outside of work, what endeavors are you most excited about today? Could be related volunteer work, involvement with SIM, etc.

 Outside of work I have three activities that keep me busy.  In addition to spending time with my family, I’m a Martial Arts Instructor in Tang Soo Do and Tai Chi.  Having been in martial arts for over 46 years, I enjoy teaching others to gain confidence in their abilities.  I try to get in about 50 – 75 miles a week of cycling – some of this is commuting to and from work.  And lastly, over the past 36-years and presently, I’ve belonged to a fraternal service organization that provides mentoring programs, services, and workshops to the DC community.

Am I correct that you are a little bit newer to the SIM organization? What is your favorite part about being a SIMCAC member? Or, what is the most beneficial part about being a SIM/SIMCAC member?

 You are correct, I joined SIMCAC in September 2017 and I’ve enjoyed the people and networking events I’ve attended to date.  I’m planning to become more involved as I attend more events to understand where I might be a good fit.  I also like the variety of SIMCAC events that are spread throughout the DC/MD/VA region and look to become more involved this Fall.
SIMCAC's 5th Annual Member Appreciation Food and Wine Pairing is Next Saturday!

Few Seats Remaining!

The SIMCAC Food and Wine Pairing night will take place on Saturday, August 11th! One of our member's most favorite events year after year. You are invited to bring a guest and join us for our 5th annual membership appreciation event, where you'll enjoy an evening of good company, exquisite food, and outstanding wines, all carefully crafted to dazzle your tastebuds. You'll want to bring your spouse or significant other to share the evening as Fusion Cuisine prepares food that are works of art and pairs them with wines that lift you into another world. Saturday, August 11, from 5:30 – 8:00 PM at the Overlee Community Clubhouse: 6030 Lee Highway in Arlington, VA 22205

Register Here!
The Inaugural SIMCAC Charity Golf Outing

One of our core principles in SIMCAC is to give back to our community. As part of that commitment, a portion of the proceeds from this golf outing will fund our various Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM) partners. Our donations fund programs for young students, high school graduates, and programs to train teachers on educating students in the STEM areas.

We have worked diligently to put together a stimulating and focused agenda, bringing together experts, visionaries and professionals from the IT industry. Visit the official event website for more information and registration. 

About the Venue: Westfields Golf Club

At Westfields, Fred Couples has built one of the top destinations for golf in Virginia. This stunning Northern Virginia golf course is fun and accessible for the novice, yet challenging and thought-provoking for the experienced golfer. Fred's professional play on hundreds of courses around the world, coupled with his experience in countless tournaments and team competitions, has given him exceptional insight into optimal golf course design. The perfect embodiment of that vision is yours to experience at Westfields Golf Club located close by to Centreville, VA.

Register Here!

Check out the new SIMCAC LinkedIn Page 

We'll periodically be posting updates here at the new SIMCAC LinkedIn Company Page. Please follow and share via your personal page so we can spread the word about SIMCAC updates and events!
Attention SIMCAC members! Since our members are the lifeblood of this great chapter, the success of this newsletter depends on our ability to share the happenings within it! So we're going to ask for your help in making this newsletter the best it can be. If you or fellow SIMCAC members have announcements, articles, pictures, videos, or any other content you'd like to share (and please do!), email to