Vice President and Group CISO, Meralco
With a history spanning well over a century, the Manila Electric Railroad and Light Company - or Meralco, as it’s commonly known today - has an inspirational origin story. It shines a light on entrepreneurs taking chances on unknowns, later going on to centre the keen business acumen of Filipino investors in the face of substantial technological, social and economic change.
“Around 1948, Meralco focused on providing electricity for post-war rehabilitation and the early industrialisation of the young Republic,” explains Mel Migriño, Meralco’s Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer. “In the 1960s, a group of Filipino investors bought it from its American owners. This new Filipino management built electricity generation and distribution facilities at an unprecedented pace to meet growing demand, leading to Meralco becoming the first billion company in the Philippines.”
It makes sense, then, that the modern iteration of this company is continuing in the same, innovative vein with its senior appointments.
A breath of fresh air in a male-dominated industry, Mel Migriño describes herself as “a passionate security leader”, whose career was borne from a selfless desire “to contribute to a safer society, to a safer cyber ecosystem”.
Migriño is a firm proponent of embedding integrated levels of security across cyber systems from inception to the endgame, and possesses an almost-encyclopaedic knowledge of the complex technology required to provide this level of security, particularly as technology continues to evolve.
Flying the proverbial flag for women in tech leadership
As an experienced security leader, Migriño offers continuous support across the organisation and its various subsidiaries to ensure that cybersecurity is a business-enabler,
recognising it to be a key component in realising the initiatives and future goals of the company.
Additionally, through her pivotal senior role in the energy sector, Migriño is able to drive and promote female empowerment in the context of cybersecurity, technology, and the energy industry.
“Certain components are essential in realising the initiatives and future goals of the company,” Migriño asserts. “While I continue to serve my country and organisation, I also want to promote women’s empowerment in the context of cybersecurity and technology, which has been advancing for many years now.”
In her current role, this female VP and Chief Information Security Offer is most certainly setting an example for which other women can be proud. In an industry powered predominantly by men, Migriño is a welcome anomaly. Not only does she take care of the parent company and its subsidiaries - a role that primarily consists of “monitoring, developing and enhancing the cybersecurity strategies for the entire stock of technology together with the operational infrastructure” - but she also champions in securing Meralco’s wider plans and initiatives. Who can argue against those sorts of credentials?
“From a cyber security perspective in the midst of DX or digital transformation, regardless of whether it's in the ICT segment or within the context of smart metres, it is essential to be an agile CISO,” she states. “This attitude and behaviour must continue to articulate cybersecurity programmes and progress in a comprehensive way to retain business stakeholders, persuade top management to obtain buy-in, and establish relationships across the organisation. This allows all business units to be secure with a fully managed, integrated and comprehensive cybersecurity programme.”
Unsurprisingly, Migriño’s role and connections to the various group companies enables Meralco to remain a secure and diverse business, dipping its toes in “FinTech, telecoms, retail, energy, business process outsourcing, electric vehicles and logistics”, to name a few. As such, Migriño works “closely with co-executives” in her role, ensuring development of the different cybersecurity programmes available across the breadth of the organisation.
Meralco is setting the industry standard when it comes to security, equality, and sustainability, utilising its strategic partnerships to drive the company in the right direction - but then, with someone as fastidious and quick-thinking as Mel Migriño assisting at the helm, signifies her dedication to the company.
Read the full story HERE.
“Our strategic approach was reinforced by the COVID-19 pandemic response - there was stronger national direction, digital and data were the main enablers, and all the emphasis was on prevention and on delivering services outside hospital, into communities and homes.”