Meet Stephen Khan, Head of Technology and Cyber Security Risk at HSBC, and our new Chair of the White Hat Ball.
We spoke to Stephen to find out why the White Hat Ball is an annual sell-out event for the Information and Cyber Security Industry.
The event, attended by over 650 guests including significant senior security figures, has become regarded as an exciting, social and unmissable evening in the industry’s calendar. Organised by a group of volunteers from the Cyber Security industry and now in its sixteenth year, the event has raised over two million pounds for the NSPCC’s vital service, Childline. That’s enough money to run Childline for nearly 1,600 hours.
Hi Stephen, how did you first get involved with the White Hat Ball and what does the event mean to you?
My journey with White Hat began back in 2009, with the White Hat Rally. I recall driving a car, from London to Italy, and of course back. The theme that year, our first rally, was ‘Italian job’ the film. All the participants were in fancy dress, and our cars were suitably decorated, it was great fun and we raised a significant amount for charity.
The White Hat Ball is amazing night for our industry and provides an opportunity for our industry to give back to the community to help and protect vulnerable young people at their time of need, when all they want is someone to care, listen, and given them a voice. White Hat is very dear me as the event provides a unique opportunity to help in keeping young people safe. In fact, NSPCC delivers 800 counselling sessions a day across 12 Childline bases, therefore making a contribution and reflecting what that means to a young person is a very powerful motivator and makes me proud to be part of the committee.
You have had a long and successful career in cyber security- how does the White Hat Ball support the industry and how has it helped you to build your networks?
To appreciate, and understand the White Hat Ball, it’s worth noting how it was formed. Sixteen years ago, a group of industry leaders, sat in a room and came up with the idea to be the first and only Cyber Security Charity event for the industry. The first event was particularly challenging to arrange as nobody knew how many people would take part, however, the message resonated across the industry with around 300 people in attendance. Now, the White Hat Ball has become the premier event to attend for networking, meeting industry friends, and merging people’s personal lives with their professional lives. In fact, my wife very much looks forward to event each year and has made new friends in the industry over the years attending the ball. Today, we sell out to the maximum capacity of the Royal Lancaster Hotel.
What inspired you to become Chair of the White Hat Ball, and what is your vision for the next two years?
Being a member of the White Hat committee is a real privilege. I get to work with a very experienced bunch of committee members who bring a wealth of talent to make the event and most importantly we have fun bring the ball together, with help of our industry.
The next couple of years will be challenging, the coronavirus crisis is making life tough for children. Many feel anxious without school, many are trapped in unsafe homes – and some are having suicidal thoughts and feelings. That’s why it’s vital the Childline service is still here for children, to give them somewhere to turn.
My vison is, increase awareness of the White Hat Ball and firmly establish the event as the premier event where our industry can come together and contribute to the protection of young people through NSPCC Childline, so I urge everyone to share our message through these times.
Tell us your favourite White Hat Ball memory!
The performance from Clive Room, our very own auctioneer, as he narrates the room into a joyful laughter through his unique style.
And finally, sum up the White Hat Ball in 5 words
Protecting children through industry relationships
Join Stephen at the White Hat Ball 2021 on 29th January at the Royal Lancaster Hotel for a champagne reception, sumptuous three-course dinner and live entertainment including a celebrity host. Attended by over 650 guests and now in its sixteenth year, to date the White Hat Ball has raised over £2 million pounds for the NSPCC’s vital service, Childline.
For many children, home isn’t a safe place to be, and during the pandemic Childline has seen a spike of calls from children in distress who have lost access to vital support networks such as school, friends and family members. Purchasing a White Hat Ball table will support Childline at its most challenging time to date.
Reserve your White Hat Ball 2021 table now by emailing Lilly.OBrien@NSPCC.org.uk
Thank you for your support.