Sarah Lachance '20

Director, Global Cybersecurity GRC Solutions and Risk Assurance, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
Portsmouth, New Hampshire


Why did you choose the Executive Master in Cybersecurity?
The Brown University School of Professional Studies provided an intensive and accelerated master's degree for mid-career professionals from a world-class institution. It was important to me to have access to and become a part of a community that valued innovation, research, shared understanding, and practical application of knowledge.

What makes Brown's program different from other programs you considered?
There were three main aspects that drove my decision. First, it was important to me that the program combines in-person and online learning. This allowed me to balance coursework with my career, but still provided opportunities each semester to connect and build upon learning. Second, the interdisciplinary nature of the Cybersecurity program was key. Other programs I looked at were focused solely on technology, policy, or compliance and EMCS offers a curriculum that spans multiple areas, providing a more holistic view of the discipline. Finally, the organization of the degree program into cohorts ensures that you'll have others to collaborate with, learn from, rely upon, and go through the program together.

What do you enjoy most about your program?
The best part of the program is the people involved. From the professors, to the guest speakers, to the teaching assistants, to the staff, everyone has been open, accessible, challenging, and passionate. Most important have been my fellow cohort members. For me, they've been the biggest value and I've learned something new from everyone.

What is your primary academic area of interest?
I came to cybersecurity through a background in software engineering and learned the hard way that security is everyone's problem. I'm specifically interested in data management and protection, and how organizational culture is reflected in data practice and vice versa.

What are your postgraduate goals?
I'm doing it. :)

I've been able to capitalize on what I've learned in the course of my studies and apply it to my day to day work. Since I joined the program, I've changed roles from a product owner in the Identity and Access Management space to a Director in Cybersecurity Risk Management.

Personally, I've been able to take what I've learned and apply it to boards, commissions and other volunteer work. Every organization needs a cybersecurity strategy and awareness and I'm glad to share what I've learned with organizations that I'm passionate about.

What do you like most about Providence?
I love the vibrancy, the eclecticism, and the walkable nature of the city. There are bookstores, coffee shops, fantastic restaurants, historic architecture, theaters, clubs, and parks. After my first residential session, I always made it a point to come into town a day early so I had time to walk around and enjoy Providence.

What advice would you give to prospective applicants?
Be ready to be challenged. If you are looking for a program to validate what you already know, this isn't the degree program for you.

If you want to expand your perspective, think about big problems, and find ways to contribute to the growth and understanding of others, then you should by all means apply.