Our Team has expertise in:

Melissa Elza

Deputy Director, Founder

Human Relations

Melissa Elza is an award-winning human resources professional with over 16 years of experience working in the advertising, digital, entertainment, financial, media, and technology sectors. She started her career in financial services, eventually running an operations team spread across 3 continents before moving into an HR role. She then joined Hit Entertainment (now Fisher-Price) where she expanded her skills and gained HR certifications. From there, she moved into management-level positions at Huge, BuzzFeed, Sapient, and Beyond. This track has given her experience building and managing people teams in start-ups just making their first HR hires, as well as in large enterprise companies with international reach and established foundational people processes already in place. While in these roles, she implemented and led diversity and inclusion programs and rolled out large-scale learning and development initiatives.

In 2019 Melissa started her own consultancy, HoneyBee HR, specializing in helping start-ups build and implement enduring, future-focused workforce transformation strategies. The NextCISO Apprenticeship Program brings her expertise in diversity, training and people management to the cybersecurity table. She is a frequent speaker on technology and employee experience panels and has been published in HR Technologist and Info Security Magazine. She recently presented at the ISC2 Security Congress and is on the advisory board of the National Cybersecurity Training & Education Center (NCYTE).

Melissa studied opera at James Madison University in Virginia and can be found singing with her choir, Artes Vocales, on Youtube.


Jenai Marinkovic is a multi-disciplinary technologist and strategist with 20 years of experience in designing, building, and securing systems at scale. She has put her cybersecurity capabilities to work in sports, gaming and entertainment, biomedical manufacturing, laboratory diagnostics, healthcare, and agricultural robotics. A skilled and innovative executive, she has overseen teams concentrating on the architecture, engineering, security, and operations of complex systems, rounding out her broad expertise in defense and forensics systems. She has held leadership positions at Tiro Security, Beyond, DIRECTV, Electronic Arts, The Zenith, and Kroll.

A top industry speaker and author, Jenai’s focus is on emergent technology and cybersecurity futurism trends. Her published works can be found in Security Magazine, CSO Online, The Daily Swig, Practical Security Radio, HR Technologist, IT Pro Today, and Blacks in Cybersecurity. She has been a featured speaker or panelist at the industry’s most eminent conferences including DEFCON, ISACA, ISSA, SANS, and Managed Security Services Forum. She has been nominated for CTO of the Year by Women in IT and was identified as one of the top 13 Women on the Frontline of Security by Security Magazine, and was recently appointed to the ISACA Emerging Trends Working Group.

Jenai was appointed to and attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. She and her husband own a farm in California where they raise alpaca, goats, hogs, cows, chickens, and ducks. She is also a medieval apothecary. 

Jenai Marinkovic

Executive Director, Founder

Dr. Celestin Ntemngwa

Director, GCIE Think Tank, Founder

Artificial Intelligence

Dr. Celestin Ntemngwa is an information security and GRC professional with over 13 years of technical and managerial experience in information security and multi-discipline risk management programs across various industries. He has guided companies through risk transformations, security implementations, and rebuilds while embracing next-gen security frameworks. His expertise includes security engineering, security risk transformation, security awareness, GRC, and vendor risk management.

Dr. Ntemngwa holds a Ph.D. in Physics (Ed) from the University of Georgia, an MBA, an MS in Cybersecurity, and a BS in Physics. In addition, he has numerous information security certifications, including CISM and CISA from ISACA. He has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Downtown and the University of Georgia. He is also a fellow at the National CyberWatch Center and a Blacks in Cybersecurity (BIC) board member. A speaker and author, Ntemngwa’s recent books, written as practical guides, focus on security risk assessment and information security awareness. He has also authored and published several articles in international journals such as the International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education and has served on committees associated with publications such as the Journal of Research in Science Teaching. He has presented at numerous conferences, including ISACA, the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), and ASTE.

Celestin is a big sports fan and loves to travel. He is fluent in French and has given some of his lectures in French.

Risk Management & Compliance

Magnolia has over 13 years of experience as an IT and information security professional, focusing on helping organizations across multiple industries reduce business risk, develop risk and compliance methodologies, and design right-sized cybersecurity capabilities.

Magnolia possesses a Master’s degree in Information Security and a CISA certification. As the SheLeadsTech Chair for Middle Tennessee ISACA, she mentors other female tech professionals and provides a platform where women can learn more about opportunities in emerging technologies, GRC, Audit, and Cybersecurity. She hopes to use her NextCISO training to expand her reach in this area even more.

Magnolia McShane

Manager, NextCISO Mentorship Program

Carlota Sage

NextCISO vBISO Program

GRC & Cybersecurity Strategy

Carlota Sage began her tech career making websites for artists in the mid-1990s. After graduating from NC State with a BS in Textile Chemistry, she spent most of her time as a research chemist networking lab equipment to directly record data to a database. Fortunately, it only took her a few months to realize she was in the wrong line of work and she returned to tech. In her twenty years since, she’s focused on information architecture and knowledge strategy, driving the backend and frontend development of technical support and customer-facing knowledge bases, including the NETGEAR Support website and Netflix Help Center. In 2013, she joined FireEye’s IT team, where she discovered cybersecurity. In 2014, she took over FireEye’s customer-facing communities and over the next 3 years helped hundreds of security teams with hardware, networking, product and security issues.
After completing her MS in Information and Knowledge Strategy from Columbia University, Carlota left FireEye to begin her own company helping security startups with knowledge and culture strategy but took a year off when her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. On restarting her company, she fell into vCISO work. While she loved the security work, she found that she really hated running her own company. In 2021, Carlota rather gleefully shut it down and joined the Fractional CISO team in the hopes of never being a CEO again. Carlota now brings her deep history in knowledge strategy, collaboration and culture to securing small and mid-sized businesses. Carlota also serves on the Board of Directors for The Diana Initiative, a group committed to fostering diversity in cybersecurity.
Carlota currently makes her home in rural North Carolina, where she destroys and rebuilds old Mazdas, collects whiskey, makes random things, tinkers with whatever needs fixing, and in general, tries to avoid anything that smacks of responsibility when not working.

Enterprise Information Technology

Mel Reyes is an accomplished Enterprise Information Technology leader developing cohesive and scalable digital strategies. He’s defined and delivered global IT Strategies implementing Cloud, SaaS applications, Security, RPA, Mobile, Software Engineering, Agile development methodologies, and M&A solutions. He’s done this for Fortune 10-500 companies in FinTech, Manufacturing, and CPG spaces like Priceline, Cenveo, Pepsi, Synchrony, and PayPal. Including four startups and three media agencies across a 20+ year consulting career. He’s done this by collaborating and influencing business process and business development delivery. He’s laser focused on leveraging his strong financial acumen to deliver quantifiable results, with an eye on precision budgeting and driving true business value. While at Synchrony, Mel led the IT and Business strategy of over 100 cross-matrixed resources to deliver a 400% increase in PayPal’s credit portfolio to $12B in 2 years. He’s a mentor and coach who attracts, retains, and develops high- performing talent. He’s an Advisor for HMG Strategy Financial Services, Pace University’s Cybersecurity Board, Vation Ventures, Tech Impact, as well the startup Reshuffle. Mel is also a moderator, speaker, and mentor for Society for Information Management, GDS, Tech Elevator, and UpKey

Mel Reyes

Information Management, GDS, Tech Elevator,

Steve Kazan

Partner development

Partner Development

Steve Kazan is a founder and the CEO of Inner Onion. Inner Onion brings international technology companies to the United States. Helping cybersecurity companies is a specialty of Inner Onion. Steve’s background is in partner development. He has run teams large and small to build ecosystems to drive revenue through partnerships. Companies he worked for include two IPO’s and multiple acquisitions. He also volunteers his time for a number of different non-profits.

Critical Infrastructure Security

Dr. Joseph J Burt-Miller Jr. is a product of Mt. Vernon, NY. He is an Air Force Veteran and a Capella University graduate with a myriad of experience within IT, cybersecurity, and cloud-based applications within the United States government, including the DoD and DHS. Dr. Burt-Miller’s dissertation, Exploring Cybersecurity Expert Recommendations to Fortify U.S. National Security: A Generic Qualitative Inquiry, is a generic qualitative inquiry (GQI) where its population consisted of cybersecurity professionals tasked with the responsibility of U.S. national security. The findings of this study illuminated themes affiliated with the present vulnerabilities of the U.S. power grid. Currently, as an Asst Project Manager, Dr. Burt-Miller utilizes IT knowledge to complement the ability to give strong presentations, creating avenues to enhance the understanding of teams and partners through clear workshops and conversations around information technology. Additionally, Dr. Burt-Miller assists the Project and Program Manager in providing oversight over the HART project while staying aligned with senior leadership goals. Dr. Burt-Miller excels in government project management by using an approach grounded in clear communication and mutual respect from all parties to achieve the specified outcome within the organizational strategy. As an ISACA member, Dr. Burt-Miller gives back to the cybersecurity community by providing presentations and mentorship.

Dr. Joseph J. Burt-Miller Jr.

Critical Infrastructure Protection/Homeland Security

Terrie Myerchin

Digital Forensics Professional

Digital Forensics Professional

Terrie Myerchin is a certified digital forensics professional with over 16 years of experience working in the CyberSecurity realm. She initially started her career in the marketing industry in Australia, which led to a promotion to the headquarters located in Southern California in the early to mid-90s. As things shifted in her life, she found herself in an administrative role that supported a Vice President and 200+ people for several years. As the company grew and implemented a Risk Management team to build out an Information Security function, a role was created for Terrie to leverage the marketing skills background for security awareness along with policy and procedure governance. This career pivot, from Marketing and Administrative to CyberSecurity proved to be overwhelming, initially and she began working towards a bachelor’s degree. However, when there was a need for assistance with an investigation, Terrie dove in and could identify patterns which ultimately led to solving the investigation. At this stage, it was impressed upon her to redirect and head straight
for Digital Forensics certifications. After countless hours of study and hands-on practice, multiple Digital Forensics certifications were achieved (EnCE, GCFE, GCFA, 3CE, 3CI, CCLO, CCPA) along with the CompTIA Network+ and Security+ certifications Terrie has been working as the CyberForensics Team Lead of a large company in the United States of America and enjoys mentoring and giving back to the CyberSecurity industry, to evangelize the various opportunities that are out there, and to assist people to better
their lives.