Security's human touch

Friday, 6 September 2002, 10:59 AM EST

Krizi Trivisani could be any self-assured graduate student at The George Washington University. Sashaying through the hallways dressed in a white sweater, short striped skirt and funky glasses, she heads toward her modest cubicle in the subbasement of the Academic Center singing "he-llo" to almost everyone she sees. She isn't your typical security officer, and she knows it. "I remember sitting on one roundtable [of security experts] last year, and if you looked around the table you'd see man in suit, man in suit, man in suit—who's that chick at the end?" says the 32-year-old Trivisani. "Which one of these doesn't belong?"

The fact that she is making herself belong says much about her talents. At two reporting levels below the CIO, in a job grade that doesn't require a college degree (she has a certification for the information systems security professional, or CISSP, but has not finished college), Trivisani has none of the built-in authority of an administrator or executive, and none of the bullying power of an ex-cop. But she has something else that may turn out to be more important: She can connect with people. When she talks about security, people listen—and even understand.

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