When Shannon Brewster took his first job out of college at a telecommunications company, he never would have thought his career would take him down the cybersecurity path.

“In that job, as a Senior Enterprise Solutions Manager, I was exposed to cybersecurity elements in terms of the engineering of networks and designing of networks,” he recalls.

That exposure certainly piqued his interest. In 2013, while working at AT&T as Director of Sales, Industry & Mobility Application Solutions, the opportunity arose for Brewster to expand his knowledge and skills within the industry through a company-driven education program.

“So I enrolled in their partner program with Champlain College and just kind of fell in love with cyber right away,” he says. “From there, I decided I wanted to do security full-time versus just having it be something that was a part of what I did every day.”

After more than 10 years in telecommunications roles, Brewster says he was drawn to a career in cybersecurity because, while telecommunications holds an important place in society, security felt like a more mission-driven industry where he could make a difference.

“At that time you were just starting to see the ramifications of what could happen when networks weren’t designed correctly from a security perspective, and it could be pretty catastrophic,” he says. “I just saw an opportunity to be a part of something that had a high demand and a critical need.”

Now, as a Director and General Manager at AT&T Cybersecurity, Brewster oversees a global organization of cybersecurity consultants and manages a $50 million P&L. Under his leadership, the organization has executed growth strategies, achieving operational efficiency and financial performance.

One crowning achievement for Brewster and his team was the Voting Systems for All People (VSAP) initiative in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk agency.

Brewster and his AT&T team played a pivotal role in operationalizing the VSAP program, an endeavor given the unique challenges posed by Los Angeles County’s status as the largest and most complex local voting jurisdiction in the United States, Brewster says. With nearly six million registered voters spread across 88 municipalities and more than 4,750 square miles, Brewster says the size and diversity of the region made administering elections a daunting task. His team supported Los Angeles County to establish a risk-based security strategy to ensure compliance with federal, state and local election regulations and policies for securing critical infrastructure.

“It was just so fulfilling to watch that thing come to life and show what cyber can do to help support innovation and build trust in a system so people knew that when they came out to vote, that their vote was secure,” Brewster says. “The county had taken the necessary steps to build a program that, from a cyber perspective, had integrity behind it and it was amazing to be a part of that.”


Recognizing the need for cybersecurity professionals to connect, collaborate and share knowledge in the greater Los Angeles area, Brewster was surprised LA didn’t already have a chapter of cybersecurity professional association ISC2. Understanding the importance of networking in the industry, he helped establish the ISC2 LA Chapter as one of the founding board members.

“The work that we’ve done with the ISC2 Los Angeles chapter has been to create a place for people to come meet others in the industry, see what’s out there,” he says. “By showing up at our meetings, folks are able to get exposure to lots of different directions that their cybersecurity career might take. They also get to see firsthand people in those roles, and they can do a better job of envisioning what a career in cybersecurity might look like. I think getting to know other people in the in the industry can be a big help to getting along the way.”


In addition to his work within ISC2, Brewster also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Rosemont College. He believes a key part of success in a cybersecurity career development is mentorship.

“I think the human element of cyber, as it relates to having a career in cyber is really, really critical,” Brewster adds. “People should not overlook the value of relationships or the value of mentors. They should take advantage of opportunities to show up and be a part of the community, whether that’s through a professional association like ISC2 or the others that are out there. They’re not only giving you an opportunity to get educated, but they’re giving you an opportunity to express leadership capabilities.”

Throughout his career, Brewster has had many mentors that have been instrumental in his success and he looks to opportunities to help others in the industry, whether as a sounding board, or to offer a different perspective on a situation.

“I think having a mentor is probably one of the most instrumental things that you can have in terms of really realizing success in whatever it is that you’re trying to do,” he says. “I think a good mentor is someone who’s not just going to be an example and help inspire you to reach that next step, but someone that also helps you envision what you’re looking for from yourself, and hold you accountable in order to get there.”