Home M3AAWG Blog M3AAWG Names Sara Roper as Board of Directors Chair; Walker, Kent, Silberman, and Bartel Complete Leadership Team
Posted by the M3AAWG Content Manager


The Messaging, Malware, Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG) has named Sara Roper of Bank of America as Chairperson of the trusted global forum which brings industry together to innovate and collaborate to create a world free of online abuse. Roper joins four additional board members also elected at M3AAWG’s 60th General Meeting in San Francisco in February.

Roper will serve alongside Sharon Kent of Comcast and Severin Walker of Vade as Co-Vice Chairs, Sam Silberman of Constant Contact as Treasurer and Tom Bartel of Validity as Assistant Treasurer. Amy Cadagin continues as M3AAWG’s Executive Director and Secretary.

As an active member of M3AAWG since 2009, Roper served as M3AAWG Vice Chair from 2015 to 2017 and again from 2019 to 2020. She also chaired the Growth and Development Leadership Committee from 2017 to 2020. Sara has also served on several of the organization’s committees and special interest groups, including the Collaboration Committee, which focused on best practice development and publication. 

Roper Will Lead a Global Team
As M3AAWG’s Chairperson, Roper will lead a global team of 260 member companies and organizations focused on fighting online abuse. Members represented include Internet service providers (ISPs), communications service providers, social networking companies, hosting and cloud services providers, major antivirus vendors and security vendors, email service providers, leading hardware and software vendors and major brands, along with invited experts, government agencies, and related industry groups and industry partners.

Roper will coordinate the efforts of more than 80 committees, special interest groups, and initiatives tied to the most relevant areas of online abuse, including artificial intelligence, data and identity protection, domain name abuse, authentication and academic research. These groups develop and publish best practices, position statements and educational materials to help the online community fight abuse, with a focus on operational practices.

M3AAWG’s non-lobbying public policy support provides technical and operational guidance to governments and Internet and public policy organizations that develop policies, standards, and legislation.

Roper will also support the efforts of three active anti-abuse working groups partnered with M3AAWG in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Japan. 

Roper brings more than two decades of industry knowledge to M3AAWG’s missions, including experience working to protect and correct events affecting Internet infrastructure, ensuring email industry best practices and compliance, and influencing capabilities to defend and protect financial services within global economies. Roper’s background includes leading a trust and safety team for a major network/ISP, overseeing protections in email, web and co-location hosting, and high-bandwidth connections. She helped develop the industry’s first self-service malware remediation portal, partnering with experts and law enforcement to provide infrastructure resiliency during malicious software operations takedowns. 

Roper entered the financial services industry in 2019 as an Information Security Officer forging alignments between information security and business needs. Since 2021, she has helped internal business partners deconstruct scams and cyber fraud targeting the company, recommending strategies and capabilities to detect or control the activities of adversaries, to protect the financial ecosystem.

“I am honored to serve this community of people so determined to make an impact in the fight against online abuse. I have watched M3AAWG’s phenomenal growth in support of the anti-abuse industry since joining in 2009. I have been engaged in an active fight alongside many of our members to improve the Internet ecosystem. M3AAWG has been on an incredibly successful journey over the past two decades and I feel privileged to help lead this next chapter,” said Roper.

Board Members Elected at the 60th General Meeting
In addition to the selection of Roper as the Chairperson, M3AAWG elected the following members to serve as officers for the next 12 months:

Sharon Kent, Co-Vice Chair
Sharon Kent has been active in M3AAWG since 2018, when she began contributing to the organization by leading sessions on machine learning and as a member of panel discussions. From 2020 to 2023, she was Co-Chair of the Technical Committee. In 2023, she began serving as Co-Chair of M3AAWG’s newest committee, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Committee. She is passionate about guiding M3AAWG in this new space and bringing key players in the industry together to collaborate on fighting abuse.

In her experience at Comcast, Kent leads a team of data science professionals who support the company’s anti-abuse efforts. They have addressed various challenges such as detecting account takeovers, scoring sender reputations, and phishing detection.

“Throughout its history, M3AAWG has been a collaborative environment for industry experts to address pressing issues. Over the years, the areas of focus have expanded from messaging abuse to many types of Internet abuse. With the ever-changing Internet landscape and the emergence of AI, I am thrilled to help lead this organization as it moves into the future,” said Kent

Severin Walker, Co-Vice Chair
Severin Walker is a key M3AAWG member and leader, bringing over 20 years of experience across messaging security and incident response for ISPs and anti-abuse solution providers. He is currently the Director of Provider Products and Services at Vade, an anti-spam and phishing software provider. Walker is dedicated to fostering connections, especially lifting up the voices of our newest members, and driving international collaboration to develop innovative solutions and best practices to combat online abuse.

Throughout his time at M3AAWG, Walker has been Chair of the Messaging, Abuse Desk, and Technical committees and previously served as the Board of Directors Chairperson. As Chair, he led many of the outreach efforts to establish partnerships with other industry organizations, propagating M3AAWG’s global mission, resulting in regionally focused anti-abuse working groups.

“The safety of Internet users’ communications and online experience has always depended on the collaboration of many segments of our industry. As security threats have grown in complexity and scale, I am proud to continue to lead M3AAWG as it continues its evolution to include the various types of Internet services, communications platforms, and global incident response teams that build defenses against these threats,” said Walker.

Sam Silberman, Treasurer
Sam Silberman continues his long tenure as tTreasurer. He joined M3AAWG in 2005 as a founding member. Silberman was elected to the Board of Directors in 2011, where he led the organization’s finances to ensure the success of future programs and initiatives. Additionally, Silberman was Co-Chair of the Marketing and Communications Committee and Internal Productivity Working Group, which deployed the latest tools to help members become more productive. Currently, he contributes to research and helps develop best practices to block bad actors from using internet services. He has more than 25 years of experience in email software development, combating spam, and improving email delivery through industry policy and technical solutions.

“Threat actors continually look for new ways to attack others via email, SMS, voice, and other forms of internet communications. The work we do at M3AAWG helps gather industry leaders with experts in their respective fields to help the community stay current on the latest threats and how to combat them. I am honored to serve another year as Treasurer to help support this shared cause to keep the internet safer for all,” said Silberman.

Tom Bartel, Assistant Treasurer
Tom Bartel is a long-time M3AAWG member, seasoned technology entrepreneur, and professional with over 25 years of experience in email, security, and technology. Tom's work with M3AAWG leverages a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities in anti-abuse and messaging security. Bartel is currently Senior Vice President of Data for Validity, a trusted data provider supporting mailbox providers, message security providers, and digital marketers with reputation data services for anti-spam, phishing, and email deliverability.

In addition to his Board role, Bartel serves as Co-Chair for Growth and Development, working to amplify the impact and influence of M3AAWG initiatives through its network of partners, while also exposing M3AAWG members to the expertise and resources of these partners. He also serves as Chair of the Awards Committee and contributes to M3AAWG’s published resources with the Technical Review committee.

“M3AAWG serves a critical role in providing the anti-abuse community a forum in which to share information, understand the threat landscape, and continue to develop resources for industry at large. In my new role, I will support M3AAWG and ensure continued long-term sustainability for our organization to enable the growth, reach, impact, and pursuit of our mission: A World Free of Online Abuse," said Bartel.

Many Thanks to Former Chairperson Janet Jones and Vice-Chair Matt Thomas
M3AAWG would like to thank the outgoing Board of Directors Chairperson, Janet Jones, and Vice Chair, Matt Thomas, for their exceptional leadership and contributions.

Jones guided the organization as the world emerged from the pandemic. She established key areas of focus that included data and identity protection, as well as a proactive approach to identifying emerging threats. She built the pillars of a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee and was a champion of diversity from the start of her tenure. Jones also oversaw the establishment of the AI Committee. Her strategic vision and commitment to fostering collaboration among industry stakeholders have been instrumental in advancing M3AAWG’s mission.

Matt Thomas played a crucial role in supporting Jones, the Board of Directors and the members of M3AAWG. He drove numerous initiatives forward, always promoting the priorities and partnerships of the organization.

“M3AAWG appreciates the outstanding contributions made by Janet Jones and Matt Thomas. Both made a significant impact on our organization, for which we are profoundly grateful. We wish them continued success in their future endeavors,” said Roper.

Learn more about M3AAWG and membership opportunities at https://www.m3aawg.org/about-m3aawg.

The views expressed in DM3Z are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect M3AAWG policy.