How to Build an OWASP Chapter

Jeremiah Salamon is the Information Security Director at one of the nation’s premier law firms. He has over a decade of experience in Security Operations, Security Architecture and Engineering, and Governance, Risk & Compliance working in small businesses and large enterprise environments with regulated data. Regardless of the size or complexities of the organization, Jeremiah has successfully influenced positive security culture and helped grow security teams.

Tony Quadros is a 10+ year veteran of the cyber security vendor landscape focusing on application security. He’s helped numerous enterprises, including the largest social media and insurance companies in the world, continuously improve their application security programs to ensure the software we use daily is as secure as possible. 

More recently, Tony has helped to revive and lead OWASP Maine, an OWASP chapter focused on rallying the software development and security community in northern New England. The chapter provides educational talks, networking events, and a safe outlet for sharing new job opportunities for northern New Englanders interested in advancing their software development and security careers.

I had the pleasure of hosting Jeremiah and Tony on this week’s episode of Champions of Security. Here’s the full episode and the key takeaways from our conversation.


Key Takeaways

#1: Leverage the Security Community for Engaging Events

Security practitioners want the world to be more secure — and they’re willing to put their money where their mouth is. Vendors are thrilled to sponsor local meetups. Practitioners are excited to train others on best practices and new security approaches. To create a fun (and educational) environment, tap into the security community.

#2: Drive Attendance via Word of Mouth

OWASP chapters are grassroots-driven. Most attendees are referred by someone that views their local chapter as a positive community. You can accelerate the adoption pace by speaking with leaders of security and engineering teams in your community, and they can encourage their employees to attend. Leverage other professionals to start the snowball effect.

#3: Use Meetup for Member Retention

Create a central repository for all upcoming events — is a good option. Just make sure that the system you choose can automatically notify members and followers when new events are scheduled. Create a path of least resistance for best results.

Interested in talking security with me? Reach out to me on LinkedIn.

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