2023 Difference Makers Awards
Planning for 2023 is underway. Check back for more details.
SANS Difference Makers Awards Ceremony
Held Wednesday, December 13th, 2023 at 6:00pm
Located at The Washington Hilton during SANS Cyber Defense Initiative 2023
*Interested in Sponsoring the 2023 DMA's? Full sponsorship details are here.
Nominations are now open!
There are thousands of cyber security practitioners out there who are quietly succeeding and making breakthroughs every day in advancing security. It's time to recognize these individuals and teams. Here are this year's categories:
- Article or Book of the Year
- Diversity Champion of the Year
- Community Champion/Influencer of the Year
- Innovator of the Year
- Mentor of the Year
- Open-Source Tool of the Year
- Podcast/Livestream/Video Series of the Year
- Rising Star
- Team or Practitioner of the Year
- Team Leader of the Year
- Lifetime Achievement Award
Deadline to submit: Friday, September 29 at 5 pm EDT
SANS Difference Makers Awards Ceremony Live Stream
Watch the 2022 Difference Makers Awards ceremony, which took place on Wednesday, December 14th at 7:30pm ET. See also the winners listed below on this page.
2022 Award Categories
|Category||Description||Nominees||Winner - Community||Winner - Committee|
|Innovator of the Year||Contributions have added novel and valuable information to the field||Andy Grant||Darren Argyle|
|Mentor of the Year||Devotes significant time and energy to developing others' careers||Deidra Phyall||AJ Yawn|
|Rising Star of the Year||Newer practitioners to keep an eye on||Segun Ebenezer Olaniyan||Dominique West|
|Article or Book of the Year||Published content in book or article form that makes a significant contribution to cybersecurity literature||The Art of Cyberwarfare by Jon DiMaggio||Hacking APIs by Corey Ball|
|Podcast or Livestream Series of the Year||Podcast of live-streamed content that makes a significant contribution to the industry|
Cloud Security Podcast, Ashish Rajan & Shilpi Bhattacharjee
Cloud Security Reinvented, Andy Ellis
|Diversity Champion||Devotes significant time and energy to fostering talent and increasing representation and participation of under-represented minorities||Tayla C. Parker||Delisha Hodo|
|Influencer of the Year||Social media presence provides valuable resources and connections for others in the field||Dave Kennedy||Camille Stewart Gloster|
|Open-Source Tool Creator of the Year||Created an open-source tool that is of significant value||Arctic Wolf Labs, Daniel Thanos||LEAPP, Alexis Brignoni|
|Team or Practitioner of the Year||An individual or team who has done extraordinary work|
Toni Benson, Associate Director Cyber Defense Education and Training (CDET) at CISA
|Navy Cyber Operations Team, Christina Hicks|
|Researcher of the Year||Security researcher who has contributed significant work to the community||Sharon Brizinov||Eugene Neelou|
|Lifetime Achievement Award||Transcends categories; has made substantial contributions to cybersecurity over many years||Lesley Carhart||Sounil Yu|
Why are the DMAs special?
There are thousands of cyber security practitioners out there who are quietly succeeding and making breakthroughs every day in advancing security. It's time to recognize these individuals and teams.
At the SANS Cyber Defense Initiative conference in December 2023, SANS will hold its annual celebration of the most dedicated and innovative people who made a difference in security in 2023.
This prestigious annual awards program honors individuals and teams in the cyber security community who have made a measurable and significant difference in security. Through their implementation of security processes or technology, each person has raised the bar in enabling secure business operations and reducing risk.
We have expanded the awards to include top mentors, content creators and the most influential champions focused on building the next generation. We've also partnered with on Chris Cochran and Ron Eddings from Hacker Valley Media as they share our passion for supporting the unsung heroes of cybersecurity and the humans at work behind the technology.
The common denominator in each nominee is their willingness and ability to do what SANS calls 'Fight the Good Fight' in advancing the state of practice in cybersecurity.
This prestigious annual awards program, created by John Pescatore and our late founder Alan Paller, honors individuals and teams in the cyber security community who have made a measurable and significant difference in security. You can read more and view lists of previous winners at the links below.
Anyone can make a nomination! We want to hear from people all around the industry.
Complete all fields on the nomination form. The more detailed and specific your nomination, the better. The nomination should focus on work performed in 2022.
No! Nominations are free and open to anyone who wants to share great news about people and projects that deserve to be celebrated by the cybersecurity community.
Yes, and no! People and teams can receive multiple nominations, but it won’t add weight to the selection process.
Two things: The nominations will be summarized, and we’ll post a new survey form for the public to vote for their choice in each category. At the same time, the SANS Advisory Board, made up of a panel of SANS instructors and industry practitioners, will review the nominations and make their selection. There will be two winners in each category – the People’s Choice winner and the SANS Advisory Board winner.
The SANS Advisory Board represents a collective of SANS instructors and industry practitioners.
The third week of November.
There will be two winners per category – one selected by a popular vote and one selected by a SANS/industry committee.
There will be a simple form available online.
Winners will be announced and celebrated on the evening of Wednesday, December 14 at the Washington Hilton during SANS CDI.
Seating will be limited. Nominees and their guests will be given priority.
There is travel support available for invited nominees as needed.