August 5, 2021
JOURNEY INTO CYBERSECURITY

I met Derrick Thompson when he was the ISSA Raleigh Community Outreach lead. Robert Martin who is also a board member of the ISSA Raleigh chapter introduced us to start a middle school robotics and coding club at Southern Wake Academy in Holly Springs, NC. Derrick just ran with it and started teaching coding to a classroom full of middle school children. It was magical watching these young minds absorb his lessons and apply them in seconds. From that point on, Derrick and I have been collaborating on the non-profit he founded called Tweens & Technology. Derrick and his company, T&T Creative Group, is helping me produce the Journey into Cybersecurity podcast and develop the marketing platform for The Triangle Net. I trust him to have my back. He is rock-solid dependable and an amazing mentor to many people including me.

What I like about Derrick is his endless dedication and support of his community. Everything Derrick does is a direct or indirect investment in other people and their ability to grow and succeed. He invests in STEM education of children, including children with disabilities, and in the education of adults in cybersecurity and beyond. 

Derrick is an inspiration of mine because of his positive energy and the positive influence he has on everyone around him. Thanks to Derrick and the organizations he supports, I have met many more positive and inspiring people. He showcases that when you do anything with the intent to help others, more people will want to support you and be part of the movement you create. There is a known “Secret” that if you feel, think and act positively, positive things will happen to you too. Call it karma.   

Derrick is a role model in selfless leadership and how to apply your values in your personal and professional decision-making process. He mentors me as I navigate these unknown waters of entrepreneurship and is helping me make a positive impact during some challenging times and with limited resources. His can-do attitude is why this podcast is a reality. 

Recommendations from Derrick

  • Have a can-do attitude. Anything is possible! 
  • Manage your time wisely.
  • Understand how you learn best and find a program that matches your pace, interests, and budget. There are many learning paths to get you from point A to point B.
  • Many learning experiences may be hidden behind any job opportunity. Startups are a great place to learn a lot in a short period of time. 
  • Save your money if you want to build your own business. Spend it wisely.
  • Entrepreneurship requires you to practice and apply your lessons. Entrepreneurship is best learned while doing.
  • Learn through trial and error. Do not let failure deter you from starting your own venture.
  • Follow through with your responsibilities. Earn trust and respect.
  • Coaching is a great opportunity to build social and leadership skills.
  • Do not let a weakness or disability define you. Focus on your strengths and share your blessings.
  • Soft skills matter. E.g. Communication skills are important. 
  • Surround yourself with people who have the right intentions. They ultimately determine if you are successful or not.
  • Cybersecurity plays an important role in protecting private customer data, especially in marketing.
  • Cybersecurity can ensure the survival of company, in particular of small and medium sized businesses who do not have a lot of resources.
  • Your social media presence will be monitored by recruiters for schools, sports organizations, and employers. Use social media responsibly.
  • Question your sources on social media. Not all information is factual. Ask why some information is being propagated on social media.
  • Build a positive digital brand early. Invest in a solid LinkedIn profile. 
  • Do not quit. 
  • Find fulfillment in supporting your community.

Resources & References

  • Reading recommendations:
    • Small Business Finance for the BUSY Entrepreneur, Blueprint for Building a Solid Profitable Business by Sylvia Inks
    • Positioning For Professionals – How Professional Knowledge Firms Can Differentiate Their Way to Success by Tim Williams
    • Trailblazer, The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change by Marc Benioff and Monica Langley
    • The 4 Hour Workweek, Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss

Biography

Derrick Thompson is the founder of T&T Creative Group, a digital media growth agency focused on helping companies solve their visibility problem.  T&T accomplishes this by developing growth driven websites, video campaigns and search engine optimization strategies.

As a commitment to giving back Derrick is involved in many initiatives that make the world a better place.  Thompson is also the founder of Tweens & Technology which, is a STEM based organization that teaches 3rd – 8th graders how to code while teaching parents digital safety.

Derrick is the board chair of Haven House Services, which is Raleigh, NC based organization that helps youth succeed with over 11 programs that support more than 1,200 youth with homelessness, juvenile justice support and more.

Derrick is also the communications director of the Raleigh ISSA, a cybersecurity organization that helps people grow in tech and get into technology.

In his abundance of free time, he enjoys quiet dinners with his wife Keeci and playing many sports with his pre-teen Diego!

Credits

Created with the support of T&T Creative Group.

Music by Wolves: “Life Stories”, “Kenya”, “We Make It” 

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