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Guiding the next group of women in cyber security

Guiding the next group of women in cyber security

The path to cyber security leadership may vary from person to person, but there are common landmarks along the way. Guiding the next generation of women in the field, and helping them recognize unexpected opportunities, is a long-term commitment for the four senior leaders participating in the panel discussions at ITWC's second annual Top Women's Cyber ​​Security Festival.

As moderator of the "Pay It Forward" panel, Christine Wong, president of Christine Wong Productions, painted a bleak picture of the hiring realities in cybersecurity. "Nearly 40% of IT leaders say cybersecurity jobs are the hardest to fill," she said, "and Deloitte's research shows that by 2022, the world could be short of 1.8 million cybersecurity professionals."

See the "pay it forward" panel discussion
endless opportunities

Panelist Kimberly St. Pierre, Tanium's director of strategic accounts, echoed the growing demand for the technology for security professionals. "It's incredible to see the demand for cybersecurity talent," she agreed, "and not just in the tech sectors, but on the sales side as well. There are great opportunities."

Like its co-panelists, Alvina Inter, Jane O'Brien and Katie Lemoyne, St. Pierre is passionate about encouraging the next generation of women in cyber security. "I'm a huge believer that you can't do what you can't see," she said. “When you think about my school days, there were nurses, accountants, firefighters, police officers and construction workers, but no cyber security women. It will have to change a lot, and I think those of us who are in this field need to put ourselves out there and make sure people see what they can be. "

Okta's CIO Alvina Antar agreed that there is work to be done to make girls and young women aware of all the opportunities they can pursue and encourage them to take risks and accept challenges . "I hope this will continue to happen as we work towards fostering more women in engineering, computer science and cyber studies," she said.

It's all down to the challenges you face, says panelist Jane O'Brien, vice president of global sales for information security and cloud security with Proofpoint. "One thing I think is really important is that you are open to opportunities and you don't close them until you take a look," she said. "You can't always say no, but take the time to really listen first."

The career path of Katie Lemoyne is one example. "I've always found myself working in healthcare, not cyber security or IT," said Lemoyne, vice president of information technology for Extendicare. "That said, I've stumbled upon cybersecurity and it's absolutely essential in what I do now."

with a little help from My Friends

Commenting on other important pieces in the inclusion of the next group of women in cybersecurity, Lemoyne shared a story from a former team member who thanked her for the advice she gave her more than a year ago. "The advice we get is important," she said. "I know I've taken some advice, but I've taken more and that really drives how I present it today."

While concurring with Lemoyne on the importance of peer support, O'Brien and Inter emphasized the importance of mentors, with O'Brien advising someone as the most important thing she can do. "I don't know where I would be without consultants," Inter said, "and they would not know they were my official advisers." I'm talking about the individuals who sponsored me, the individuals - male and female - who saw something in me that I did not see in myself."

Asked to offer final advice for the next wave of cybersecurity women, the panelists return to earlier messages about being open to opportunities. "Following your passion may sound like a cliché, but it is the best advice," said Inter. "That way the job doesn't feel like work."

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