Ninth Grade High School Dropout turns into Cyber Security Professional and Motivational Speaker
Today we’d like to introduce you to Rashaan Green.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
How did you get to where you are today?
My story starts in Charleston, South Carolina, where I was born and raised. I have loved computers and technology since I was a kid. I would spend hours at the local library using their computers and even looking for used computer parts when they threw them out to try and build a computer because we didn’t have one at home growing up. I was labeled a troubled kid by teachers and even family members. I was diagnosed with ADHD and eventually dropped out of high school in the ninth grade. I worked in restaurants as a dishwasher until I was 17. I was desperate to improve my life, so I enrolled in Job Corps, a United States Department of Labor program for at-risk youth, to get a trade in Computer Repair and a GED. I went on to work for companies like Verizon, AT&T, and Apple but was still not able to advance in my career. I decided to go back to college and get a Bachelor’s degree in Business – Information Technology Management and, eventually, my Master’s degree in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
I faced a lot of challenges on my journey to get to where I am today. Nine years ago, I was making $14 an hour working temps jobs to try and make ends meet. I was enrolled in college, but I was not a traditional college student. I was fighting for my survival, all while trying to get an education and a better quality of life. I was eventually evicted from my apartment, and I had to move back home with my mom to restart my life. Living at home with my mom in my mid-20s was not sitting well with me, so with the financial help of her and my sister, I got two IT certifications, CompTIA A+ and Security+, that helped start my career.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
Today I work for Microsoft as a Principal Security Service Engineering Manager. I am responsible for leading an exclusive team of professionals who defend Microsoft products against some of the world’s most challenging cybersecurity threats. The team consists of cyber security incident responders, investigators, and researchers. Our job is to protect some of Microsoft’s largest and most critical product lines, including Azure, Microsoft O365, Exchange, Windows, Active Directory, and GovCloud. Before that, I worked as a Cyber Security Manager for Northrop Grumman and other companies, working my way up from the Help Desk.
I gave the commencement address at the university I graduated from in 2018 and was also selected as the CAEL Adult Learner of the Year that year.
I am also featured in a national TV commercial for the university that is airing on TV now. I have spoken on panels for conferences and been the keynote speaker at multiple events.
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
It’s never too late to pursue your dreams. When going through some of the roughest times in my life, I sometimes wrote my goals down daily to remember myself. You will face adversity. You have to have tunnel vision to navigate through it.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
Success to me is being in a position to help others. I measure my success by the impact that I have on the lives of others. The impact ranges from speeches to volunteering my time to speak to students. One of my most important accomplishments is the scholarship I was able to start at the university I graduated from to help students who were at financial risk of being unable to stay in school. The scholarship helped over two hundred students; today, fourteen out of that two hundred have graduated.
What’s next for you?
I want to continue using my life story as living proof that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and work to make it happen. I want to continue to do motivational speaking to at-risk youth, non-traditional students, underprivileged students, and anyone within the sound of my voice. Regarding my career goals, I want to get to the Vice President or Corporate Vice President level one day. I also would be OK with starting a cyber security consulting firm one day.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?
Commencement Address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cucwLiEWkHY&t=8s
TV Commerical: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dxc701Jv9Q