Q&A Series with Jennifer Minella & Mark Nunnikhoven

Posted on by RSAC Editorial Team

As the RSA Conference Editorial team, we often share content about what we think you will be interested in at RSA Conference. But this time, we wanted to share someone else’s perspective! We thought you might like to hear directly from other attendees, infosec pros just like you, about what they are looking forward to at this year’s Conference – plus a few tips to keep in mind! 

Meet Jennifer Minella & Mark Nunnikhoven.

Jennifer Minella is VP of Engineering and Security at Carolina Advanced Digital, Inc., and is a multi-time speaker at RSAC. Mark Nunnikhoven is VP of Cloud Research at Trend Micro, and will be a first-time speaker at RSAC 2017. 

We reached out to Jennifer and Mark to ask them a few questions that we’ll share in a two-part blog post series. Both Jennifer and Mark have attended RSAC before, so read on for their thoughts on what to do, what to see, and where to eat at RSAC in San Francisco: 

Jennifer Minella: 

Jennifer Minella

Q: How many times have you attended RSAC?

A: “I need to do some math here, which apparently suddenly fails me, since all 2016 I’ve been telling people I was one year older than I really am! Sheesh. Looking back though, I’ve certainly been attending and speaking at the USA conference steadily since 2009 with the exception of 2016, when I had to cancel at the last minute due to some “real” work obligations that popped up. That makes 2017 my 8th RSAC I believe, and it just gets better every year.” 

Q: What’s the one touristy thing everyone should do when in San Francisco?

A: “I’m a complete science geek, so I have to say I really love the Exploratorium is a must-do tourist attraction. I also love the Yerba Buena Gardens right at Moscone. In the warmer RSACs, I’ll sit outside between sessions or at lunch each day.” 

Q: What’s your favorite spot to get a good meal in San Francisco?

A: “I hesitate to share my little secret of RSAC food. Let me tell you though, I do love food, and San Francisco has some of the best food in the country. Almost invariably though, I slip out at least once daily to The Grove, just two blocks down from Moscone. It’s not unusual for me to eat there more than once in the same day. I love their salads and hot teas. It’s fast, convenient, and so cute and cozy, it’s the perfect alternative to the grab-n-go cookie cutter sammies in Moscone, and a fresher alternative to the other quick eats nearby.” 

Q: What’s your favorite party to attend the week of RSAC?

A: “Oh, I’ve been to them ALL. Some years I get all fancied up, and sport a pair of killer heels with a cocktail dress nightly, but in the sea of sponsor parties and frou frou events, there are three parties I’m always guaranteed to be found. 1) Sunday night, we’ve always had an ad hoc group at the Tonga Room in the Fairmont. It’s changed over the years, and may not happen this year, but I imagine the same core group of people will reconvene at some to-be-determined location. 2) The Security Bloggers Network party, which is an invitation-only event hosted mid-week. It’s where I see some of my closest friends and get to celebrate awards and successes with them. 3) The Securosis Recovery Breakfast, Thursday morning. Open to all, it’s a great place to grab hot eggs, coffee or a bloody mary. My Securosis family is dear to me, and the people that stop by and talk are some of my favorite peeps.” 

Mark Nunnikhoven: 

Mark Nunnikhoven

Q: How many times have you attended RSAC?

A: “This will be my second time—and second year in a row—attending RSAC. Last year I spoke at the Cloud Security Alliance summit and was able to attend the main conference for the rest of the week. I was really impressed with the high-quality line up of speakers and hallway conversations I had during the show.” 

Q: Which keynote are you looking forward to hearing and why?

A: “I’m super excited (yes, SUPER excited) to hear Dr. Tyson’s keynote. Dr. Tyson is so passionate about science and STEM education that it’s contagious. He makes complex models and theories relatable to everyone. That’s something I really admire. I can’t wait to hear him speak in person!” 

Q: Where is your favorite restaurant to grab a quick and good lunch during RSAC?

A: “This one is probably going to buck the trend a bit but I like to keep things simple when it comes to eating. King of Thai Noodle House just off Union Square on O’Farrell is fast, inexpensive, and delicious. It’s a nice ten-minute walk from Moscone which lets me get some air, stretch my legs, and reflect on what I’ve learned during the morning sessions.” 

Q: Where should attendees go to do the best networking during RSAC?

A: I don't think there's any one place in particular to go to network during RSAC. I think the key is being a bit outgoing and not shying away from saying "Hello!" to people in the hallway, in queue, or on the expo floor. One sure fire way to connect is to talk to people right after a session. You've just had a shared experience watching the talk and are probably interested in the same area of technology given where you met! 

Q: What’s your favorite party to attend the week of RSAC?

A: There are a ton of parties during RSAC and it's hard to choose which ones to attend. It's hard to pick a favorite but the RSAC Bash on Thursday looks like it has something for everyone. You'll probably be able to find me at "The Game" having some fun! 

Check back on the RSAC blog soon for part two and to hear more from Jennifer and Mark!

RSAC Editorial Team

Editorial, RSA Conference

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