Retail & Hospitality ISAC announces 2021 award winners

Sept. 30, 2021
Target, Flashpoint, Gap Inc., Marriott International, and Kontoor Brands take top honors.

Vienna, VA (September 30, 2021) – The Retail & Hospitality Information Sharing and Analysis Center (RH-ISAC) has announced its 2021 Peer Choice Award winners, which are determined by votes from individual members. In addition, the RH-ISAC recognized teams and individuals with awards for outstanding contributions to the RH-ISAC community.

CISO of the Year

Rich Agostino, senior vice president and the chief information security officer (CISO) at Target, won the 2021 Peer Choice Award for CISO of the Year, which honors exceptional leadership and recognizes an individual who empowers their team to innovate, adapt, and evolve their processes to fit the needs of the evolving threat landscape.

Rich joined Target in 2014 and played a pivotal role in fostering a strong security culture through Target’s technology transformation. He is also an active member of the RH-ISAC, serving as chair of the board of directors and keynoting events such as the Cyber Intelligence Summit.

“I couldn’t be more impressed with Rich’s leadership, particularly through the extreme test of the last 18 months,” said Mike McNamara, chief information officer at Target. “His team is simply outstanding in how they’ve kept us secure amid surge and volatility. There’s no trade-off between a secure guest experience and a great guest experience because of Rich’s focus on achieving our security and business objectives at the same time. On top of it all, he continues to dedicate significant time and resources as the new RH-ISAC Board Chair to help the cybersecurity community work better together for the benefit of us all.”

Cybersecurity Practitioner of the Year

Matt Brady, director of cyber threat intelligence at Target, earned the 2021 Peer Choice Award for Cybersecurity Practitioner of the Year, which honors a cyber intelligence practitioner who has demonstrated significant time, energy, and involvement to add value to the RH-ISAC by sharing threat intelligence and contributing content to events.

Matt has a decade of experience in cybersecurity operations for Fortune 150 organizations in the defense and aerospace, financial services, information technology, and retail sectors. He’s also an adjunct instructor at the University of Rhode Island teaching graduate-level cybersecurity courses.

“We are so fortunate to have Matt as a cybersecurity professional, not only for our team but also for the RH-ISAC community,” said Jodie Kautt, vice president of cybersecurity at Target. “He truly walks the walk when it comes to collaboration and intelligence-sharing, and consistently demonstrates the value of cybersecurity as a team sport. We are all stronger when we partner together.”

Associate Member of the Year: Flashpoint

The Peer Choice Award for Associate Member of the Year honors a company that has displayed valuable support to RH-ISAC members by way of their offerings of thought leadership on agendas, webinars, blogs, newsletters, free or reduced rate of service, and more. The 2021 recipient of this award is Flashpoint, a globally trusted leader in actionable threat intelligence for organizations that demand the fastest, most comprehensive coverage of threatening activity on the internet.

Flashpoint is no stranger to the Associate Member of the Year Award, having received it in 2017, 2019, and 2020. Through a keen understanding of what intelligence matters the most to the retail, hospitality, and travel sectors, the Flashpoint team has provided invaluable and consistent services to the RH-ISAC community.

Additional Awards

In addition to the Peer Choice Awards, the RH-ISAC also recognized the following individuals and companies for outstanding contributions to the RH-ISAC community.

  • Fast Starter Award: This award is given to an organization that has been a Core Member for less than 12 months and made the most combined listserv and Slack shares since they joined the RH-ISAC. The 2021 winner is Kontoor Brands.
  •  Team Players of the Year: This award honors three individual RH-ISAC members who have demonstrated significant contributions in providing expertise to and participating in the activities of one or more intel working groups and discussions within the last 12 months. The 2021 winners are Nick Leicht, Software Engineer for Gap Inc., Vanessa Aranda, Threat Intelligence Analyst for Gap Inc., and Jamie Buzzeo, Senior Manager, Threat Intelligence and Cyber Security Investigations for Marriott International 
  • Sharing & Collaboration Challenge – Teams: The recipients of this award are based on cumulative points earned over the past 12 months in the Sharing & Collaboration Challenge, which tracks team participation in various RH-ISAC channels. Winners are awarded in four categories based on the number of employees on the team. The first-place winners in each category are Marriott International, Gap Inc., Crutchfield, and Target.
  • Sharing & Collaboration Challenge – Individual: This award is given to the individual who earned the most points in the Sharing & Collaboration Challenge over the past 12 months. The winner is Seth Monteleone, cybersecurity analyst at Lowe’s.


ABOUT RH-ISAC The Retail & Hospitality Information Sharing and Analysis Center (RH-ISAC) is the sector’s operational community for sector-specific cybersecurity information and intelligence sharing and collaboration. As such, the RH-ISAC not only connects and serves its members, it also seeks to partner collaboratively with all trade associations in the sector to support security development and maturity to build better security for the retail, hospitality, and travel industries through partnership and collaboration. For more information, visit