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Top 100 Interview: Meredith Harper

VP, CISO, Eli Lilly and Company

Meredith Harper joined Eli Lilly and Company in August 2018 as Deputy CISO and quickly transitioned to her role as Vice President and CISO in April 2019. She is responsible for all aspects of the company’s global cybersecurity strategy, framework, and approach. She sits on several boards for organizations that support women and minorities to begin careers in information security.

What were your greatest achievements in 2020?

40 million patients rely on us to provide medicines to them, regardless of whether we are in a pandemic or not. And so, the way that Eli Lily chose to step up and make sure that our manufacturing capabilities were solid and secure and that we were also making sure we were making the best decisions to protect our team members. We are so incredibly
proud of our team. Especially in those first couple of weeks. Whatever skill you had, we leveraged it. I am so enormously proud of the team and of what we have been able to do as a company.

Why do you think diversity and inclusion are important in information security?

It’s important to me because it is part of my brand. I am one of the few African American women CISOs for a global company. Representation matters. Entering the industry 28
years ago, I walked into spaces where I could not find another woman. Let alone adding the dimensions of race. Sadly enough, we are almost 30 years beyond that, and we are still
struggling to see women and normalize women in these spaces. I want it to be normal to see women in senior leadership roles. Until we do that, I will have to keep talking about it
with people and pushing them to think more boldly about what it is going to take to transform

Meredith Harper is featured in our Top 100 Global Leaders in Information Security Report. Click here to read the full list.