40 Under 40 2017: Christine Elswick

VP, security practice lead, Highwire PR, 35

Christine Elswick’s love for the exhilarating, fast-paced world of cybersecurity began in 2006 when she worked on Qualys at Schwartz Communications. Her work helped to build Qualys’ rapid-response engine around Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday process and establish the company as the leading SaaS-based security provider in the market.

When she joined Highwire, the agency had only two security clients, but Elswick envisioned a practice that could engage in a thoughtful and visionary way with researchers and executives and support the emergence of next-generation security leaders. Today, enterprise security is the agency’s second biggest practice group, and the firm is recognized as a leader and coveted partner by vendors and security groups.

With a portfolio that consists of disruptive startups such as Darktrace and SentinelOne, as well as leading companies including ForeScout, Veracode, and Qualys, the enterprise security team generates 21% of Highwire’s revenue. Elswick’s work was a strong contributing factor in the agency being awarded the 2016 Small PR Agency of the Year by PRWeek.

This year, Highwire’s fourth annual RSA Security Event, featuring live interviews and podcasts with top executives from prominent security companies about the nation’s state of cybersecurity, threat intelligence, and AI, garnered significant media coverage and reached new business prospects while increasing visibility for the agency’s current clients with security stakeholders and influencers.

In today’s competitive and dynamic cybersecurity market, new companies enter the space every week, ready to compete with the industry for share of voice and customer budgets. Cybersecurity funding deals hit a record high in 2016. This environment demands that PR security teams be flexible, quick on their feet, educated on the market, and skillful enough to foster relationships with reporters that will lead to strategic coverage.

With each new breach, corporate announcement, or thought leadership campaign, Elswick challenges her teams and clients to avoid predictability and take a strategic and creative stance to elevate the narrative.

  • She led the Microsoft Trustworthy Computing team at Waggener Edstrom, where she was responsible for defending the brand against security, privacy, and reliability issues.
  • Elswick managed high-profile security incidents including Stuxnet, one of the first public acts of cyber warfare responsible for causing significant damage to Iran’s nuclear program, as well as Flame and Duqu malware.
  • The VP worked with the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), a worldwide not-for-profit charitable organization focused on improving the security of software, to promote its annual AppSec event in San Francisco.

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