WIIS-NY is a WIIS U.S. Chapter based in New York, New York. WIIS-NY, formally established in 2009, benefits from its proximity to the United Nations, US Military Academy at West Point, NYPD Intelligence and diverse organizations and individuals working in various aspects of international security. We define “security” broadly to encompass a range of issues from technology, counterterrorism, defense and arms control, conflict prevention, peace building, human rights, infrastructure, the built environment, climate impacts, etc.
The NY-Chapter of Women in International Security (WIIS – pronounced “wise”) is to advance/promote the leadership and professional development of women in the field of security and safety. WIIS-NY sponsors events and networking programs focused on security and related subjects; and supports creating a diverse community of security-conscious individuals by raising awareness of relevant global and local issues.
Education, leadership training, and mentoring are an integral part of WIIS’ mission; including support of initiatives related to security and gender, security and technology, and security and the environment.
The overall goal of WIIS-NY is to:
- Raise local awareness of global issues as it pertains to the current events surrounding gender and security;
- Investigate and uncover issues that are not getting enough attention locally or globally;
- Strive to be at the forefront as they are uncovered;
- Strengthen and foster a community-centric diversity in the greater NYC area.
WIIS-NY is committed to providing a platform where people can examine opportunities, enhance their “quality of life”, but mostly to eliminate barriers and misconceptions in security-related fields.
Min Kyriannis has 25+ years in converged, global, information technology, cybersecurity and physical security, as well as risk management across the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Asia. With her ability to speak multiple languages and love of learning, she loves meeting and listening to new people to gain their perspective. Ms. Kyriannis is passionate about empowering women and the less represented groups to have a platform to speak and develop.
Ms. Kyriannis is serving as the cybersecurity and technology business development lead at JB&B. She is focused on promoting cybersecurity, security and technology as an integral part of all building technology systems as well as collaborating and developing relationships with key members of their organizations to ensure systems are designed with security in mind.
She also serves as Chair of SIA’s Cybersecurity Advisory Board and Vice-Chair of SIA’s New Product Showcase and sits on the Advisory Board for SecuritySpecifiers. In 2019, she received the Platinum Award for “Excellence in Cybersecurity” by the Astors Homeland Security Awards.
Elisa M. Mula
Elisa Mula formed EM Designs, LLC in 2004 to achieve her vision of creating a consulting business and to pioneer efforts that would challenge existing paradigms in business management. Focused on an industry in which she had extensive education and years of experience – Mula was able to leverage her expertise for the benefit of EMD specifically and her overall professional goals.
Physical Security is one to which Mula has dedicated more than a decade of her life, developed an unparalleled network of professional colleagues, and demonstrated an unrelenting work ethic. During her immersion in the Physical Security industry, Mula worked on the manufacturing, integration, and consulting aspects of the industry, while simultaneously securing her Masters’ Degree in Protection Management from John Jay College. During this time, Mula expanded her knowledge in the area of video surveillance, access control, biometrics and artificial intelligence; and more specifically, how these technologies play a larger role in developing best practices within a variety of security programs.
Her depth of experience allowed her to develop her practice with both public and private sector security professionals. These partnerships have imparted a distinctively fresh and inimitable perspective that allows Mula and EMD to offer a new means of recognizing, evaluating, and remediating threats and vulnerabilities.
Maxinne Rhea Leighton
Assoc. AIA, Vice-President
|Maxinne Rhea Leighton, Assoc. AIA, Vice-President|
Maxinne Rhea Leighton, Assoc. AIA has held leadership roles in design firms for the past twenty years. She is pioneering research on the impact of climate change on design and planning professionals in completion of her PhD. A senior-level strategist in business development, marketing and communications for Jaros, Baum & Bolles, she has facilitated panels on building infrastructure and climate change at the United Nations and the NYC AIA.
Ms. Leighton’s passionate commitment to advancing peace and security in the built environment was intensified post-9/11. As a member of the initial ground zero planning team, Leighton served as a liaison between the design/planning professionals and the victims’ families. Post-Hurricane (Superstorm) Sandy she was part of a number of recovery efforts. It was there that the nexus between communities segregated by class and culture in the post-disaster recovery and the role of security was further underscored.
An Honorary Council Member for the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization Global, she is a member of the New York AIA’s Design for Risk and Reconstruction, Advisory Council Member for Save Ellis Island and an advisory board member for A Movement in Water™, an interactive multimedia public art installation on the reverence and reciprocity of water.
Leighton is co-author of Educating for Social Justice, A Dangerous Game: Matilda Joslyn Gage Center (Journal of Museum Studies), a suffrage’s fight for social justice and co-editor for The Future of Cities: An Integrated Approach to Urban Challenges (2016), based on the February 2015 conference at UN Headquarters in New York City; co-author of Grand Central: Gateway to a Million Lives (recipient of Chartered Builders of the United Kingdom Silver Literary Awards) and author of An Ellis Island Christmas, a book for children about immigration.
Leighton earned a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Binghamton and a Master of Arts in Urban Studies at New York University. In 2018 she was recognized with WBC’s “Outstanding Women in the Building Industry” award as well as being honored as one of New York’s Power Women.
Director of Outreach
Bethan Saunders is an analyst for Morgan Stanley’s Senior Relationship Management team, where she focuses on client strategy and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) impact investing. Bethan graduated cum laude from Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, where she majored in International Politics and Security. As an undergraduate, Bethan was a research fellow for the Mortara Center for International Studies and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. Her research focused on gender, post-conflict reconstruction, and UNSCR 1325 National Action Plans. While in DC, Bethan interned for the Obama White House Council on Women and Girls, the U.S. State Department Office of Global Women’s Issues, and the Office of Religion & Global Affairs. Now living in New York City, Bethan is a United State of Women Ambassador and volunteers with the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, which galvanizes private sector funding for women peacebuilders in conflict zones. Bethan also serves on the junior board for Restore NYC’s Young Supporters Network, which empowers female survivors of sex trafficking in New York City.
Director of Strategic Alliances
In her role as a Business Development Manager, Dania engages in a variety of tasks, including threat assessment, system design, sales, project management, coordination, strategic planning, relationship management, negotiation, project budgeting, leadership and innovative development of opportunities. She has been in the Enterprise Security Industry for 16+ years.
Dania is passionate about sharing the latest trends and technological developments as well as discussing the most recent life-safety concerns and how the security industry is tackling them. Some of her professional goals include but not limited to educating the space occupants and those who are responsible for providing protection and arm them with best practices to ensure everyone's safety in the workplace.
Dania is an Associate AIA member and a LEED Accredited Professional with Specialty Credentials BD+C. Her experience in the field extensively encompasses Security Systems Engineering and Integration, Green Design, and Commercial Construction and Design.
Dania is a strong advocate of Women’s rights in the workplace and supports women’s accessibility to leadership positions and equal pay.
Social Media Coordinator
Brette grew up in Summit, NJ and attended the Morristown-Beard School. For undergrad, she attended Connecticut College and graduated as a triple major in Government, History, and American Studies. After graduation, Brette entered the security industry as an Intelligence/GSOC Analyst with Gavin de Becker & Associates in San Francisco, CA. She then worked for Pinkerton as a Protective Intelligence Analyst in the Bay Area. Brette returned to New York, NY in November 2018 and currently works for Facebook as a Protective Intelligence Analyst.