For our final blog post in this series about Protiviti Women in IT, let’s meet Fran Townsend Fran is the Executive Vice President for Worldwide Government, Legal, and Business Affairs at MacAndrews and Forbes Holdings Inc.; a recognized expert on foreign policy, counterterrorism, national, and homeland security; and a member of Protiviti’s Advisory Board.
- How long have you been involved with Protiviti? “I joined the Protiviti Advisory Board in February 2015. In the last ten months, I have attended a number of internal Protiviti events, including the 2015 Protiviti Intern Challenge and the recent Global Leadership Meeting; I have met and interacted with Protiviti clients; and I have spent time with Protiviti’s Executive Team discussing the firm’s operations and strategies.”
- What path brought you to Protiviti? “During the administration of George W. Bush, I served as the President’s Assistant for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and chaired the Homeland Security Council. When Protiviti was looking to add a cyber expert to its Advisory Board, my colleague and friend, the Honorable Dirk Kempthorne, also a member of Protiviti’s Advisory Board, recommended me for the role.”
- What attracted you to become involved with Protiviti? “The culture, the history, and the people. That a small, committed group of individuals who had just experienced the collapse of their former employer would unite to start over and would succeed in building a firm like Protiviti is a testament to the old adage that hard work and determination can and will triumph over adversity.”
- What excites you the most about working in the IT sector? “Cyber is the new battleground for national security threats. No longer can we focus solely on physical boundaries to protect ourselves. Now, the government and the private sector must work together to protect against cyber threats. Doing this is an essential element of economic prosperity as well as our safety and security.”
- What has been the biggest challenge you have faced working in IT? “Most folks hear “cyber” and expect a technical discussion will follow. So, the biggest challenge is holding your audience and engaging them on the topic. Resisting technical language so that the topic engages senior members of management and Boards to see the risks, capabilities and necessary investments.”
- Where do you see Protiviti in the IT space in the next 5 years? “In the cyber space, I think Protiviti, with its technical, compliance and data analytic capabilities, is well-positioned to continue to grow by helping companies to prevent and defend against penetration, by providing a deep understanding of client networks, data and vulnerabilities, and in performing post-penetration forensics for companies to understand the source and nature of the penetration.”
- Who has played a critical role in the development in your career? “President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Attorney General Janet Reno, FBI Director Louis Freeh, and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.”
- What are your hobbies? “Travel, photography, exercise, writing, and reading.”
Thanks Fran for being our final Protiviti Women in IT spotlight and a true role model. We appreciate your valuable career and life insights.