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February Insights Series: Navigating the Storm | A Day in the Life of a Company Experiencing a Ransomware Attack

February 22, 2024 4:00 PM - 6:30 PM (MST)


This Insights Series is free for CTA members! Please login below to receive your membership discount & to register.

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Join us for a journey into the heart of a cyber crisis as we explore the intricacies of a ransomware attack. Together, through a keynote presentation by Rick Mischka (Sr. Cybersecurity SME, Comcast Business), we’ll step into the shoes of a company experiencing a ransomware attack and walk through the pivotal moments of a day that will reshape the company’s digital presence. Then, through a panel discussion featuring experts in cybersecurity, we will explore the ever evolving landscape of cyber threats, shedding light on the sophisticated techniques employed by malicious actors to compromise and hold data hostage. 

Key Takeaways:

  • A deep dive into ransomware attacks and the evolving landscape of cyber threats
  • The importance of a cybersecurity strategy that prevents and detects attacks
  • The pillars of a good incident response plan
  • The importance of educating and training to empower staff to recognize and report potential threats
  • How to conduct a post-incident analysis  

CTA Member: Free
Non-Member: $50

Keynote Speaker:

Rick Mischka, Sr. Cybersecurity SME, Comcast Business

A former Army Special Forces Sergeant, Rick has worked his way into the cybersecurity space with a focus on helping customers become more aware of technologies that grow the cyber-resiliency of their security profile.

As a subject matter expert and strategy leader for Comcast Business|Masergy, he is tasked with highlighting the importance of managed security services on the overall security posture of organizations.  Understanding the cyber technology landscape is a daunting task.  Rick is passionate about educating others on the importance of choosing the right technology stack complemented by an integral and trusted managed security service partnership.

He has found his joy in cyber innovation and executing strategic plans to identify & build technical capacity across product management, business development, technical marketing, professional services, and sales engineering / solution architecture.  He also enjoys identifying promising use cases for A.I. and Machine Learning for proactive and automated cybersecurity.

Rick has been working in the technology space for the last 8+ years with a lifelong ‘nerd’ passion for all things ‘techy’ especially the myriad paths that the cyber world can offer.  He hosts his own cyber relevant podcast and has built a network of highly successful cybersecurity professionals & experts who work together to provide a consultative approach to cybersecurity awareness & education. 


Al Gardner, Executive Director of General Services, City & County of Denver

Al Gardner has had a distinguished career spanning nearly three decades, he brings a wealth of expertise and leadership to the table. Having been tapped by Denver Mayor Mike Johnston to serve as the Executive Director of General Services, overseeing vital functions supporting over 40 city agencies and managing a vast portfolio of city-run buildings and facilities, Al has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to public service and effective administration. His responsibilities include crucial aspects such as security, energy management, and procurement, highlighting his multifaceted skill set and dedication to the betterment of his community.

In addition to his exemplary service in the public sector, Al Gardner is a seasoned IT professional with a poven track record of success across various industries, including government, telecommunications, hospitality, and healthcare. As the former Vice President of Information Technology and Security at Salud Family Health, he showcased his ability to navigate complex technological landscapes while prioritizing data security and innovation. Beyond his professional accomplishments, Al is deeply engaged in his local community, serving as a board member for esteemed organizations such as the Denver Zoo and the Colorado Technology Association. Furthermore, his commitment to education and mentorship shines through his role as an adjunct instructor at the University of Denver School of Communications and Technology, where he shares his knowledge and passion for IT leadership with aspiring professionals.


Teressa Gehrke, Founder & CEO, PopCykol

Teressa Gehrke is the Founder & CEO of PopCykol, a cybersecurity awareness company designed for families and kids. PopCykol stands for Protecting Our Precious Curious Kids Online. PopCykol teaches cybersecurity concepts in a fun and interactive style. Its mission is to transform people into informed, secure ambassadors of a digital world resulting in positive interactions online.

She has worked in cybersecurity since 2014 as a technical writer, user experience designer, and project manager for various industries including biotech, healthcare, government, telecom, space, and banking. She has also taught cybersecurity at local colleges. Teressa graduated from the University of Denver with a B.A. in Art History and Anthropology. She earned a Master’s in Genetic Anthropology and International Development from Colorado State University and advanced her education studying Network Security at Arapahoe Community College. She is the Social Media Chair of Women in Cybersecurity - Colorado affiliate, President of Business & Professional Women of Colorado - Denver chapter, and Digital Training Chair for the National Federation of Business & Professional Women's Clubs.

Teressa is an award-winning children’s music singer-songwriter and brings her artistry to PopCykol. In 2022, she was nominated for Cybersecurity Woman of the Year by the United Cybersecurity Alliance. In 2023, she was a keynote speaker at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, standup paddleboarding, painting, singing, songwriting, playing lacrosse, and drumming.

Gina Yacone, Advisory CISO, Trace3

Gina holds the position of Regional and Advisory Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Trace3, focusing on the Mountain State Region and operating from Denver, Colorado. Her role includes advising senior security leaders on emerging trends in cybersecurity, identifying and addressing security gaps, developing robust defense mechanisms, and implementing targeted, advanced security measures to protect critical digital information. Additionally, Gina leads compliance efforts within her region and provides virtual CISO (vCISO) services to organizations in the Denver area.

Dedicated to continuous professional development and community involvement, Gina has earned a master’s degree in Cybersecurity from the University of New Hampshire's School of Engineering. She holds seven security certifications, including those from ISC², ISACA, HITRUST, and CompTIA, as well as numerous vendor specific certifications. Recognized as an influential voice in cybersecurity, she spoken at over 100 conferences and is a member of organizations such as the Colorado Technology Association (CTA), InfraGard, Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), ISACA, and Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS). Currently, Gina is ISSA Denver’s Vice President.

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