Griffs Under 40: Betsy (Mugo) Bevilacqua '03, MBA '06
Buffalo, NY - If you’re like 1.8 billion other people around the world, you’re on Facebook. But while we communicate on the most widely used social media platform, Betsy (Mugo) Bevilacqua is part of the team that works behind the scenes to ensure that the posts, photos and purchases you make don’t fall into the wrong hands.
Bevilacqua is head of security programs and operations for Facebook in Menlo Park, CA. Her job is “to maximize the impact of the security team by centralizing business operations and driving strategic projects and programs,” she explains.
The position is the latest in Bevilacqua’s meteoric rise in the information security industry.
Early technical roles for this native of Nairobi, Kenya, included jobs at Sodexo and Independent Health. Bevilacqua always wanted to work in the technology industry, so when an opportunity arose to scale the information security risk program at eBay, Bevilacqua moved out west.
“As businesses grow and expand, so too does the nature of threats to systems and data security,” she says.
A secondary albeit equally vital threat is the field’s growing shortage of skilled professionals, which is expected to reach 1.5 million unfilled positions by 2020.
To help address this gap, Bevilacqua speaks at conferences aimed at attracting women and underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in information security. She mentors young women in the field and leads the Information Security Diversity and Pipeline Building Program at Facebook. Bevilacqua and her team visit with middle school, high school and college students to host “Capture the Flag” hacking contests to inspire the next generation of information security professionals.
“Facebook is a global company, and so it’s imperative it reflects the diversity of the people who use our technology and services especially when it comes to solving complex security problems. That includes geographical diversity, educational diversity as well as ethnic and gender diversity.”