Alumni Spotlight: Interview with Leroy Terrelonge III, Senior Cyber Risk Analyst at Moody’s Investor Service

What advice do you have for Fletcher students interested in technology policy? 

My advice for Fletcher students interested in technology policy is that you don’t need to have deep technical expertise to succeed, but you can’t make informed policy without knowing “enough”. Enough will depend on the nature of the work, but it requires curiosity and a willingness to roll up your sleeves and jump into some 1s and 0s. You can typically find anything you want to learn for free online – the main constraint is your time.

My other advice would be that tech is for everyone! Many people shy away from tech roles because they don’t see themselves represented in the field. I read a sobering statistic today based on a recent survey that 87 percent of Chief Information Security Officers (the most senior cybersecurity professional in most organizations) globally are men, and in the US, 71 percent are white. In case you need to hear it: there is space for you in tech, no matter what your race, gender, or sexual orientation. 

What did you study at Fletcher? 

I studied in the Master of International Business (MIB) program with concentrations in Strategic Management and Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilizations. But almost everyone knew me as the “Central Asia guy.” I had just come back from living in Kazakhstan, and I really wanted a career helping companies invest in Central Asia, Russia, and other countries of the former Soviet Union. I found a way to insert my regional interest into nearly every course I took at Fletcher.

What class, professor, or program at Fletcher was the most influential to you, and why?

 This might be an unconventional answer, but I really value the soft skills we learned in the Professional Development Program (PDP). These skills are cross-disciplinary and maintain their value throughout out entire careers. I can say from experience that candidates from Fletcher continually stand out from other applicants in the quality of their application materials and interview preparedness. And that is not just me talking – this sentiment was shared by my entire team across multiple posted job roles.

 How did your time at Fletcher impact your career after graduation?

 One of the most valuable lessons I learned at Fletcher was how to embrace being a career “misfit.” So many Fletcher students are multidisciplinary folks who excel in liminal spaces not easy to categorize or define. Fletcher taught me to see that as my superpower, as opposed to thinking there is something wrong with me or wondering why I don’t fit into cookie-cutter roles. 

Can you tell us about your current role and how you got there? 

My current role is VP – Cyber Risk Senior Analyst at Moody’s Investors Service. A lot of people see the title and think it entails helping keep Moody’s safe from cyber risks, but that’s not it at all. Instead, I work with credit analysts to help them understand how they should incorporate cyber risk considerations in credit ratings for companies and governments. I also educate investors, intermediaries, and other market participants on how they should think about cyber risk and how it impacts financial performance. 

When I left Fletcher, I wasn’t able to find a job doing exactly what I wanted to do (helping companies invest in former Soviet Union countries). About a year after graduating, I was recruited to work for a cyber threat intelligence company. I didn’t know anything about cybersecurity, but they needed folks who spoke foreign languages to help them identify and collect intelligence from cybercriminal communities – I learned cybersecurity on the job. 

It was a fascinating job, but I wasn’t able to use any of the core business skills (accounting/corporate finance) that I invested so much time in developing in the MIB program, so when I saw that Moody’s was hiring for someone with both cyber experience and business training, I knew that was the position for me.

What global challenges do you hope to tackle in your current role?

The financial impact of cyberattacks is rising, and market stakeholders are grappling with how to incorporate this risk into their business and investment decisions. I hope that my work will help these folks make better decisions, as well as encourage better cyber risk outcomes. 

What is your vision for the future of technology and global affairs? What changes (or challenges) do you anticipate? 

Because I am a risk professional, I tend to worry about how things can go wrong. And as a cybersecurity specialist, I am always thinking about how technology can be abused to hurt people. I have serious concerns about the role certain technologies have played and may continue to play in undermining democracies and polarizing societies. I am disconcerted by certain governments’ increasing centralization and weaponization of information against their citizens. My vision/hope for the future is that Fletcher produces well-versed technology experts that will make sound policy to save us all from a dystopian future.

Who are you reading, and what are you watching? 

The last two books I read were Russian translations of books in the “Le petit Nicolas” (“Little Nicholas”) series by the French cartoonist Jean-Jacques Sempé. Coincidentally, Sempé died right around the same time I finished the second book. I love that the child’s perspective is centered in the books, and that adults are lightly skewered as absurd and illogical. I think we tend to take ourselves to seriously in general, and these books reminded me to take a step back and laugh at myself sometimes.

For podcasts, I like “The Argument” from the New York Times. I really like how it brings people together from across the political spectrum to actually talk with each other and share their different perspectives. I also love Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway’s “Pivot” podcast. It feels like you are eavesdropping on two close and knowledgeable friends discuss important news from the tech world. The chemistry is great between the two hosts, and you learn a lot about the people who are shaping technology and tech policy along the way.

Written by Sophia Warner

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.