As the year comes to an end, I feel like a reflection is needed. 2023 was quite a ride. I planned to have this reflection on LinkedIn, but the Prague shooting on the 21st of December made me limit my social media presence and exposure at this time, out of respect for the victims.
I decided to improve slightly my social media presence, mainly on LinkedIn. I became a bit more active, and updated my picture - the previous one was many years before the COVID pandemic, and the changes are numerous. Not only I am some years older, but I have also let my hair grow; initially because a haircut wasn't prudent during Covid. When I could have a haircut, I enjoyed longer hair and subsequently I wanted to grow them so that I can donate them. The year-end finds me baffled about X - formerly known as Twitter. Not only I do not write anything there anymore, not only I find the interaction very limited (although, it was always limited as I'm not super active), but I am also annoyed by the amount and quality of updates and notifications. So I decided to retire my Twitter account.
The year started with me finishing the training about Blockchain that I had started in 2022. Followed by University courses on Artificial Intelligence and finally the significantly more prestigious course Mastering Board Governance in October. Overall a good year for my training and education, and I'll try to keep the same cadence in 2024.
Formal training is not the only kind of education I try to have; I have switched my reading habits from literature to self improvement. This year I managed to read only three books - the one being the High Performance Boards, part of my board governance training. The other two were Adam Grant's Think Again (which I had bought since 2021 but hadn't found the time and motivation to read), and Chris Voss' Never Split The Difference. I was planning to also finish Thomas Ericsson's Surrounded by idiots and Dale Cernegie's How to win friends and influence people both of which are now planned for 2024. Another book planned for 2024 is Dan Kowalski's *W.I.S.E. choices at work.
Socializing and networking
I met Dan Kowalski on Lunchclub, a meetings platform that gave me great meetings and new connections. Many interesting people out of my immediate circle, and I will definitely keep using it in 2024. I was also invited to The CISO Society, another great platform for networking. Although quite US focused, still a valuable resource for us in Europe. I also tried to get in touch with old friends, acquaintances and colleagues; people I had lost track of during Covid, but not only due to Covid. I am quite an introvert and this comes with the unfortunate side effect of being quite bad at maintaining personal relationships. I want to improve that, but I usually run out of energy... In 2023 I restarted dancing Tango; a previously favorite activity until Covid, and subsequently some family obligations, put a pause on it. Re-learning tango, and re-igniting relationships with people from the Tango community in Prague is quite satisfying.
In the past, I made an effort to present at conferences. Of course, Covid changed that, and I did not have the opportunity (or the drive, to be honest) to restart this. Although this is still on my radar, I had other opportunities, such as an ISACA Industry news article that had very positive feedback and quite high visibility compared to other Industry news articles, as well as a Security podcast hosted by James Morris as part of the NDK Cyber Secure Insights. I enjoyed both, so I will keep my eyes open in the future for similar opportunities.
This year was a peculiar one; despite having achieved and exceeded my professional objectives, a restructuring resulted in me being placed in a different and somewhat more restricted position than I had anticipated. The year 2023 was marked by significant professional uncertainty, not only due to the numerous layoffs in technology companies across the globe, but also due to the departure of several colleagues with whom I had a great deal of respect and enjoyed exchanging ideas. This has prompted me to reassess my future. To that, and motivated by the obvious lack of cyber risk understanding at corporate boards, I attended the training on Board Governance with the objective of acquiring adequate knowledge to participate in supervisory or advisory boards, despite the obvious disadvantage of my location. Although I am tempted to dismiss 2023 as a year in which my professional advancement did not meet my expectations, I am confident that my continuous education and self-improvement have compensated for this minor setback.
I enjoy traveling, either short in the country, or longer to other countries and even continents. Although Covid put a short pause at this activity too, 2023 was a great year. Started with a trip to Toronto and Budapest for business, followed by a couple of trips to England for business and conferences, a trip to Adršpach Rocks, and finally a trip to New York. Let's not forget the quite frequent trips to Greece and Crete in particular, where my house is finally completed and fully functional. All positive here, and I aim for more trips in 2024, mostly in Czechia itself, as there are too many wonderful places I haven't visited yet.
The most important aspect is left for the end; both my children finished high school this year, and they both succeeded in their university entrance exams. My daughter, who was living with me for the last 3 years, is now studying Educational Sciences & Early Childhood Education, which is undoubtedly what she wanted to do since she was a little girl. My son, who was living with his mother, has been successfully admitted to study Informatics and Computer Engineering, which was his first (and only) choice. He decided to fulfill his (still mandatory in Greece) military service first, and he will start his studies in September of 2024. Overall quite a success and I am thrilled for both of them. I hope their life will be easy and productive; I will definitely do whatever I can to support them in this.