Christine Izuakor is a Houston native, born of two parents who immigrated to America from Nigeria to pursue higher education. Starting from humble beginnings, Christine has always been motivated to maximize on the opportunities her parents and community created for her. In 2013, despite discouragement and limited role models, Christine decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Security Engineering at the University of Colorado.
“I was told I was too young, too inexperienced, and too naïve to contribute anything to my industry at age 23”.
Nevertheless, Dr. Izuakor completed the program at 27 years old, making her the youngest student and first African American woman to do so. Her research contributions were published in numerous international journals, and she presented in international conferences from Washington, DC to Rome, Italy. During this entire journey, Dr. Izuakor also maintained a full-time job as a senior security professional on the cyber security team of a Fortune 100 company. In July 2017, her rapid growth within the technology industry landed her a spot on Chicago Business Crain’s Tech 50 List, a roster of influencers and names to know in the Chicago technology scene. She was also named The 2017 Emerging Cyber Security Professional and in April 2018, spoke at RSA (the worlds largest cyber security conference, with over 45,000 attendees annually).
Prior to this, Christine earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She also earned a master’s degree in information systems security from University of Houston, while simultaneously completing a year-long internship on the information security team at Continental Airlines. Soon after, she went on to earn the highly sought after CISSP (Certified Information System Security Professional) and the CISM (Certified Information Security Manager).
Christine is passionate about influencing workplace culture, and in 2015 co-founded Gen Trend, United Airlines Millennial Business Resource Group. As the Vice President of the organization, she is a driving force in the development and execution of a critical strategy to engage and retain the next generation of aviation employees and customers.
Izuakor is also active in the diversity and inclusion community. She currently serves as the Head Editor of the Illinois Diversity Council Editorial Board, and is a member of the National Diversity Council Newsletter Committee. Additionally, she is dedicated to helping close the opportunity divide challenge many minorities face in America and currently mentor’s students through Year Up.
An avid world traveler, Dr. Izuakor has been to over 25 countries in the last few years and enjoys learning about various cultures. She also enjoys museums, shopping, dining, and spending time with her family and friends in Houston.
When asked about her personal mission, she shared: