This is part of a running commentary series for International Women's Day 2022.
March 8 marks International Women’s Day, with this year’s theme being #BreakTheBias. Whether unconscious or not, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead in the workforce, and it is up to everyone to level the playing field.
Regardless of the promises of equality echoing throughout the headlines for International Women’s Day, there is still a lot of work to be done to eliminate gender disparities. Women’s equality is forged by those that remind their colleagues to foster an environment that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. It takes collective action to build social change, and these cybersecurity industry experts celebrate those that are paving the way to gender equality – and provide advice on how the industry can do even better.
Here is a sounding board from women across the cybersecurity industry.
Jaime Lewis-Gross, Vice President, Solutions Engineering and Strategy, Saviynt:
"My advice to women looking to grow their careers: Always be curious. Ask questions. Communicate. Be fully transparent – even with bad news – and be forthcoming with a solution that positively impacts the person or organization. Look for opportunities to put yourself out there and do something outside your realm of responsibility. For example, bring customer engagement to an engineering meeting. Make your point of view known – the different perspectives will be beneficial. When it makes a difference, it truly makes a difference."
Joanne Fisher, Principal Security Advisor, Trustwave:
“I encourage all young women looking to move forward in their STEM careers to seek out caring and positive role models – both women and men – to empower and enable them to make their own path regardless of what obstacles could be in their way. I have been fortunate enough to have a wide variety of role models in my personal and professional life, and they’ve made such a positive difference in my success.”
Theresa Banks, Cyber Client Success Manager, Trustwave:
“Through the years, I’ve learned it’s important to exude confidence, be assertive when necessary, be open to constructive criticism, be brave enough to suggest improvements, and remain talented enough to help solve them.”
Nicole Moore, Senior Analyst, DTEX i3 - Counter-Insider Threat, Security and Business Intelligence at DTEX Systems:
“If you find yourself searching for a female mentor to help support you, and you don’t find her in your team/company, chances are that since she does not exist internally to mentor you, you could be that person for other women in the organization. Take note of this as new, more junior female colleagues join your team and help to step up in the role and embrace the rewarding learning opportunities that come with it. Receiving advice as a mentee is critical for your success and can come from both internal and external sources. However, serving as a mentor to others has significant benefits as well – don't overlook those.”
Lynsey Wolf, Team Lead, DTEX i3 - Counter-Insider Threat, Security and Business Intelligence at DTEX Systems:
"Pursuing a career in cybersecurity can be scary and overwhelming; mainly because it comes with a lot of misconceptions. Many people believe that you must have advanced technical skills in order to be successful. However, there are various skillsets individuals can leverage and build on to be successful in cybersecurity. For example, analytical skills, critical thinking, data analysis, research, etc. My advice to those aspiring to enter the industry is to not underestimate your unique strengths and qualifications which can provide a great foundation to build a successful career on just because there’s a fear of what you might be lacking – you likely have many of the skills you need, don’t get discouraged.”
Diem Shin, Product Marketing Manager, Telos Corporation:
“My career in security started 7 years ago in network security, then I moved into cloud security and now am in cybersecurity. As I reflect on this day, International Women’s Day, I feel fortunate to be a woman working in a still very much male-dominated industry. It’s exciting to be an industry that is usually leading in cutting edge technology and helping organizations secure their assets. “
Vicki Tumia, Senior Technical Support Engineer, SafeBreach:
“In the security field, it can be challenging to find a company where women are included at every level, but I’ve been blessed to experience just that at SafeBreach. We’re all treated like peers, regardless of level, despite the fact that the breach and attack simulation market leans heavily on the male side, especially when it comes to engineers. Luckily, in my experience it’s been an even playing field with equal opportunities and respect for all employees. This is both rare and unique to experience, especially as a woman in this field.”