Renee Forney, Director of ISSO Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) at Meta, found her passion for security through an early-career drive to code. After graduating college, Forney held roles in network implementation and administration for the Virginia Department of Health and with the Navy Mutual Aid Association, a veteran’s benefits organization. From these exposures to the healthcare and financial sectors, Forney learned firsthand the importance of cybersecurity.

“The data we were working with was very important, so being able to secure that information was key. Doing everything I could do to protect people’s data was very important to me personally, and I enjoyed doing that,” Forney says.

Forney then went on to consult for a number of private- and public-sector organizations, including at Unisys as a Senior Information System Security Analyst, and for government agencies, which is how she began her nearly decade-long career in the federal government.


Over her career, Forney has held senior cybersecurity leadership positions in the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Energy (DOE).

“Government is about service to and the protection of the people,” Forney says. “Having gone from GSA, which has a major financial management aspect; and then to DHS, from a national security and homeland security perspective; and on to the DOE, where we were again focusing on the protection of the people — all of these roles helped me shape and think about things larger than myself.”

While at GSA from 2009 to 2011, Forney secured major technology transformations of the agency’s backend operating systems. In 2011, she was brought into DHS to help unite the 22 departments that make up the agency. She was then promoted to an Executive Director role overseeing the CyberSkills Management Support Initiative (CMSI), which involved department-wide initiatives across cyber recruitment, identifying top potential talent, workforce retention and talent pipeline development.

“Being able to help impact and grow the workforce was a wonderful opportunity for me to understand the cyber-related missions of the U.S. Secret Service, Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and more within DHS. My team had to understand what they were doing from a cyber perspective and ensure they had the workforce they needed. After we identified the necessary skills, we began to build the talent pipeline into the agency,” she says.

While at DHS, Forney earned her Senior Executive Service (SES) classification. After five years at the agency, Forney joined the Department of Energy as Deputy Chief Information Officer of Cybersecurity and Enterprise Operations. There, she was responsible for enterprise operations and cybersecurity across headquarters, all field offices and national laboratories. She says her varied experiences throughout her public- and private-sector work have helped her better serve the mission of cybersecurity.

“I have been truly blessed to have been in the cybersecurity field in many different facets — from healthcare, finance, education, national security and now technology. I’ve seen how technology can be used to remove barriers, open doors and enhance lives,” she says.


Forney transitioned back into the private sector in 2017 and subsequently earned the Senior Director of Cyber Assurance role at Capital One, where she led cyber governance and risk management initiatives. While at Capital One, she aligned cyber strategy with industry best practices and regulatory requirements. Her transition to Capital One from an eight-year career in federal government was a smooth one, she says, due to her background in regulatory compliance. Her move to the technology space was an opportunity for Forney to apply her risk management and mitigation planning skills in another sector.

In 2020, Forney started at Microsoft as Senior Director, Azure Hardware Systems & Infrastructure Security and Cognitive AI Services. “Microsoft was amazing,” she says. Forney was responsible for developing Microsoft’s supply chain risk management for Azure hardware.

“Being able to support that effort was a wonderful opportunity,” she says. “I was able to use my previous experience, knowing and understanding supply chain at the national security level, and then come into Microsoft and bring those lessons into tech.”

Her role also encompassed a cognitive artificial intelligence (AI) initiative regarding seeking regulatory approval for AI in medical devices. “The thing I loved about that project is that we often hear people using the phrase ‘AI for Good,’” she says. “This was truly an opportunity to do good using intuitive AI because the products we developed removed healthcare barriers from people’s daily lives, adding value through AI.”

In 2022, Forney moved from Microsoft to another tech giant — Meta. In her current role, Director of ISSO Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC), she has responsibility for GRC initiatives across the globe.

“I am loving my time at Meta,” Forney says. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to come to Meta and support GRC at the company.”

Reflecting on her career, Forney says the opportunities she’s had to impact the lives of people through technology have been one of the most rewarding parts of her cybersecurity journey. Her passion for giving back is continually shown in her role as an Adjunct Professor at Morehouse College, where she teaches Computer Ethics and Human Values. She says preparing software engineering students to come into this space is a joy.

“I have been a part of a field that I have watched transform, and I have watched the impact of technology on the lives of people — and the world in general — grow,” she says. “When I think about my career across the board, I think about how being at Meta now is the culmination of all of my experiences.”