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Former Educator, Tech Leader Is Raleigh, N.C.’s New CISO

Raleigh has hired Marina Kelly to lead its cybersecurity efforts as CISO. Her executive-level experience includes time at North Carolina State University, where she was an IT manager in its Office of IT.

Raleigh, N.C., from street view.
The city of Raleigh, N.C., has chosen a former educator and technology leader as its next CISO.
Headshot of Raleigh CISO Marina Kelly, who wears black glasses and business attire and has blue and purple hair.

North Carolina native Marina Kelly started work Monday as chief information security officer in Raleigh, which with Chapel Hill and Durham anchors the state’s “research triangle.” She will be responsible for leading the city’s security work while mitigating business risk, the city announced Wednesday. As the security landscape evolves, she will be charged with addressing risk in relation to the organization’s needs.

Kelly replaces Robert Reynolds as CISO, the city’s Public Information Officer Julia Milstead said via email. Reynolds served as CISO from February 2022 to October 2023. City CIO Mark Wittenburg filled in as CISO between Reynolds’ departure and Kelly’s appointment, according to Milstead, while the city searched for its next permanent information security head.

In an email from Milstead, Kelly said her new job is exciting because of the technology companies and academic institutions located in Raleigh.

“My goal is to build a strategic and comprehensive information security program which aligns with and reflects that can-do spirit of Raleigh as it tackles the security challenges that come with being one of the fastest-growing cities in the country,” Kelly said in the email. The Raleigh-Durham area was the nation’s fourth fastest-growing city in 2022 according to the American Growth Project.

A native of Newton, less than 200 miles west, Kelly graduated from St. Andrews University in North Carolina, according to the city. She began her career in education, later shifting to technology after earning her master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Kelly’s tech experience includes working as an IT manager at North Carolina State University’s Office of Information Technology, Enterprise Application Services division, where she led the implementation of platforms in areas including e-commerce and student management. Elsewhere, she has held titles including director of technology and data protection officer for cybersecurity and professional development organizations, according to the city, which did not name them in the announcement. She also authored a self-paced, online boot camp for application developers.

Reynolds left the role last October to become CIO for Orange County, N.C., where he remains today according to his LinkedIn. Having served as Chapel Hill’s CISO for nearly two decades was a factor, he said.

“Having worked for the town of Chapel Hill for many years, I am excited to accept this position to once again serve the residents of Orange County,” Reynolds said in a statement at the time of his departure.
Julia Edinger is a staff writer for Government Technology. She has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Toledo and has since worked in publishing and media. She's currently located in Southern California.