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Creating Connections: If you want to go far, go together.
By Jennifer Eiben, The CyberWire
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Welcome to the February issue of Creating Connections. We hope you are finding this newsletter valuable. Each month, the women of the CyberWire carefully plan out what we would each like to contribute and then once the issue is near completion, we come up with our title, and that tends to be the easiest task to do. From all of our disparate pieces, both written by our team and contributed pieces, a theme emerges. This month, when considering the various stories we had to share, the idea of how working together makes us go further toward our goal bubbled to the top of the list. It’s not news sharing this theme with you for we, as women, know that working together, using our strengths, and supporting our teammates, helps us to succeed.
To that end, this month we share pieces from women who have succeeded in their cybersecurity career paths by overcoming barriers, coming into the field rather unexpectedly, working toward a mission they had not planned in their career trajectory, and encouraging representation in our field. I had the pleasure of working on a project recently where we partnered with women from Northrop Grumman and were joined by Kathleen Smith of ClearedJobs.Net to share some of their stories. I will let Kelsea give the details of how our group of women saw this project through to fruition in her piece below. I want to point out some unexpected resources that came from the project. These are listed in our Selected Reading and I’ll link them here as well as I believe they warrant extra promotion. Kathleen and her team created blog posts highlighting the women and their stories from our project and they are fantastic just like the women they feature. I’ll share two of my favorites and encourage you to read them all. Priyanka never saw herself as doing anything in cyber, yet she joined UMBC’s cyber scholars program and now is pursuing her PhD in computer science. Her colleague, Ashley, was a physics major and now works in AI at Northrop Grumman. Please do check out their stories both on the blog and in the podcast Kelsea shares.
Thank you for doing what you do to help other women in our industry succeed. As Gina mentions in her piece, and many of us feel on a daily basis, women make up a minority faction in the cybersecurity community. Let’s continue doing our part to support those interested in joining us, so that we all will go far.
Read a good article relating to Women in Cyber recently? We’d love to hear about it! Please email us with the link and we may feature it in our next newsletter.
Overcoming gender barriers to become a cybersecurity leader
By Stephanie Benoit-Kurtz, University of Phoenix
When Stephanie Benoit-Kurtz started in IT/data security 25 years ago it was considered the province of men, she was not invited to decision-making meetings. The doors of gender acceptance opened incrementally over time, but women continue to be underrepresented (just 20% of U.S. tech jobs were held by women in 2018). It took Benoit-Kurtz 15 years to receive an invitation to the table. “I had tons of people tell me I didn’t belong. Now, I sit at the table because I’m comfortable, because I forced my way there,” says Benoit-Kurtz. “Women (and minorities) have to have strong grit and tenacity to get to that place.” Read more about how Benoit-Kurtz overcame gender barriers to become a cybersecurity leader.
In the clear: what it's like working as a woman in the cleared community.
By Kelsea Bond, The CyberWire
Why hello ladies! It’s great to be back! ICYMI, I’ve been on maternity leave since mid-October. I would love to give a huge shout out to my colleagues here at the CyberWire for being so helpful and supportive of me during my leave. I even got a congrats from my Dave on the Daily Podcast!
Anyways, today I’m going to be talking about an amazing panel interview we recently aired featuring the three talented young women from Northrop Grumman: Priyanka, Lauren, and Ashley, moderated by Kathleen Smith. I strongly urge anyone considering a career in cyber to listen, as it is crammed with excellent takeaways and perspectives. They begin the conversation with each of their experiences and how they entered into the field, then dive deeper into their careers in a mission-oriented culture. If you’ve read any of my pieces in this newsletter before, you know I’m a sucker for some good quotes. I jotted down about 20 quotes from this episode, but here are my top three favorites:
Lauren: “Someone once said, ‘If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.’ And I think with all of our missions we want to go far and we want to create the best lasting solution that we possibly can.”
Priyanka: “Communicate when you don't know something. That also goes with open-mindedness. Don't assume that you understand the way to solve it, because maybe in the past you solved it a certain way, but maybe your teammate has a better way of doing it. So, be open-minded, admit if you don't know something, because you don't want to ruin a mission because you're too embarrassed to communicate that you don't know something or you're too scared to communicate it.”
Ashley: “It's really impossible to read every single new study that's out. For one, our group does an every other week machine learning algorithms reading club, where someone will suggest an AI paper to read and everyone will read it, and then we have a group discussion... All these different people suggest different articles to read and it really helps all of us keep more appraised at what's going on and what is going on in the areas that we might not specifically be involved in ourselves.”
My favorite part was the common theme of the cybersecurity industry being community-based. It’s often mentioned in the episode that swapping information and ideas, being part of a team, being open-minded with others, and encouraging one another is imperative in each of their roles and ultimately in this industry that is ever-changing and evolving. That just sticks with me, and I know it’s something we all regularly need reminders of.
You don’t want to miss this, it’s definitely one of my favorites. I’m not even kidding. Go listen!
By Gina Johnson, The CyberWire
One of my favorite university experiences was when a professor assigned the class the task of recommending a non-fiction book to the rest of the class. The only rule is that the book had to be relevant to our class, so that we could talk about it and use the information that we read in discussion. One book that I did make note of, but sadly didn’t have the chance to read all the way through, was Jane Frankland’s “InSecurity: Why a Failure to Attract and Retain Women in Cybersecurity is Making Us All Less Safe”. Since my life is no longer dictated by lecture schedules and project deadlines, I have decided to revisit this book. It’s no secret that cybersecurity is a male-dominated industry, and Ms. Frankland makes a very convincing case for why that is an issue that must be rectified. Before I began my studies, I always considered cybersecurity to be a challenging industry to work in, and I will admit that it never really crossed my mind that it would be because I am a woman; I was more concerned with the fact that I am not a very “tech-minded” person. Sure, I can use a computer, cell phone, and tablet with the best of them, but early in my journey, I was awfully naive in thinking that working in cybersecurity required someone who could code, program, or possess any of the other skills that come to mind when thinking of the stereotypical cybersecurity employee. As it turns out, despite a quickly evolving mindset, Ms. Frankland’s book definitely challenged my naiveté. This book offers personal narratives, sociological insights, and research to explain why the numbers of women in the cybersecurity sector are declining, why women are so important in cybersecurity, and takes a deep dive to inform readers how disturbing the statistics are. She highlights the lack of females in cybersecurity being portrayed in popular culture, and even four years after this book was published, I am hard pressed to think of more than a couple of women in tech and cyber-focused roles in many of the shows and movies that my family watches. As a newcomer to the industry, I know that we can, and must, do better at bringing more women into the field, and retaining them. There is a lot that can change and must change. The citizens of this world deserve representation in every space, and understanding that equal and equitable in cybersecurity makes us all much safer.
How about you? Read any good books lately that you’d like to talk about in a future issue? We would love to hear about books you feel make a difference to the industry and, in particular, women in cybersecurity. Please email us your suggestions.
Andrea Little Limbago democracies aligning against global techno-dictators
We welcome Dinah Davis from Arctic Wolf as our newest industry partner.
Andrea Little Limbago on the intersection of COVID and cyber vulnerabilities.
Jessi Marcoff on trend toward Chief People Officers.
Andrea Little Limbago on the tech "naughty list" of restricted or sanctioned companies.
Selena Larson on research into recent observations of ICS-targeting threats to manufacturing organizations.
Kyla Guru: You are a key piece to our national security. [Education]
Ann Johnson: Trying to make the world safer. [Business Development]
Ellen Sundra: Actions speak louder than words. [Engineering]
Jenna Waters looking back at the last year of Covid and how that’s affected privacy, particularly in the medical field.
Sophie Chase-Borthwick on "The Top 3 Data Privacy Points the New U.S. Administration Must Focus On."
Carey O’Connor Kolaja on fraud in the financial services and payment industry, and how organizations are using emerging technical solutions to help combat it.
A look into the world of women in mission-oriented cybersecurity with Priyanka, Ashley and Lauren from Northrop Grumman. Moderated by Kathleen Smith from ClearedJobs[dot]Net.
Dave interviews a Data Scientist who works for Northrop Grumman about her career in the cleared community.
Battling the Infodemic: Covid-19 Mis- and Disinformation (Virtual, February 16, 2021) Please join Pitt Cyber for a timely conversation about how mis- and disinformation could jeopardize control of the pandemic. Disinformation and medical experts will discuss what’s happening, what to expect, and what we can do.
Risk Series: Data Ethics & Emerging Trends (Virtual, February 17, 2021) Register today for The Risk Institute's next webinar on February 17th on Business Data Ethics Management. This webinar will feature Dennis Hirsch, Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Program on Data and Governance and Aravind Chandrasekaran, Associate Dean of Executive Education at Fisher College of Business, as they discuss their recently completed research on this topic. Business data ethics management addresses the risks that corporate use of advanced analytics and AI can create. This makes it a form of risk management for the algorithmic economy. Be sure to join on February 17th for clear takeaways from our speakers.
Black Women Tech Talk (New York, New York, USA, February 27 - March 1, 2021) The roadmap to billions wasn’t designed for us, so we created our own. Now, we’re building community and profitable, scalable businesses for self-identified Black women in tech, together. Black Women Talk Tech is a collective of black women tech founders who have a unique understanding of the challenges we face and the advantages we bring in the industry. We’re here to identify, support and encourage black women to build the next billion dollar business.
CodeX FutureLaw 2021 (Stanford, California, USA, April 8, 2021) The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics hosts CodeX FutureLaw 2021, our ninth annual conference focusing on the way technology is changing the legal profession and the law itself, and the way these changes affect us all. CodeX FutureLaw 2021 brings together the academics, entrepreneurs, lawyers, investors, policymakers, and engineers spearheading the tech-driven transformation of our legal system. Join us for a unique educational event and an opportunity to connect and exchange ideas with legal tech innovators from around the world! MCLE credit will be available for this event.
RSA Conference 2021 (Virtual, May 17 - 21, 2021) The 30th anniversary of RSA Conference will take place the week of May 17, 2021 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco versus in February. The physical event will be accompanied by a robust and innovative virtual experience.
Cleared Cyber Career Insights, Ashley, Northrop Grumman (ClearedJobs.Net Inside the Net) Ashley, Artificial Intelligence Systems Engineer at Northrop Grumman, shares her experience working as a cleared professional.
Cleared Cyber Career Insights, Priyanka, Northrop Grumman (ClearedJobs.Net Inside the Net) Priyanka, Cyber Software Engineer at Northrop Grumman, shares her experience working as a cleared cyber security professional.
Kincart: Stop Using “Women in STEM” Rhetoric – The Daily Utah Chronicle (The Daily Utah Chronicle) As an academically ambitious high school student, I was pushed to join the robotics team. I relished in a community of peers similarly driven to use problem-solving and critical thinking skills. But there was one problem — I wasn’t interested in STEM. The growth of TikToks echoing experiences similar to mine helped me understand...
20 worthwhile conferences for women in tech (CIO) If you support diversity and inclusion for women in technology fields, here are 20 conferences you won’t want to miss.
Are Your Diversity Efforts Othering Underrepresented Groups? (Harvard Business Review) In pursuit of living up to anti-racist pledges, many companies have prioritized hiring “diverse” talent to increase representation of Black employees. But this “quick fix” for racial equity doesn’t actually create an environment that’s actually inclusive of people of color. Language is one part of the problem. The term “diverse” erases individuals’ racial, gender, and disability characteristics, and it can result in “othering” the very people you want to include. Fostering an inclusive culture requires not only getting the language right, but also seeking education about racial inequity, measuring more categories of race, and valuing inclusion in hiring, feedback, performance reviews, and promotions.
What’s Trending (and Emerging as a Trend) in the Human Element Track (RSA) It’s prediction season again, and I bet the majority of those predictions leave out a core consideration in cybersecurity—the Human Element. This past year, I had the privilege of participating in the RSAC Program Committee for the Human Element track. It was great to see a wide range of submission topics as well as some growing maturity when it comes to integrating the often-overlooked human dimension in our industry. I’m excited to share the dominant trends as they pertain to this track and highlight what I believe to be an evolution toward approaching cybersecurity through a socio-technical lens.
Women in the Workplace 2020 (McKinsey & Company) The Covid-19 crisis has disrupted corporate America in ways we’ve never seen before. No one is experiencing business as usual, but women—especially mothers, senior-level women and Black women—have faced distinct challenges. One in four women are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce due to Covid-19.
KnowBe4 Partners With #GirlsClub to Offer Scholarships for Sales Leade (PRWeb) KnowBe4, the provider of the world’s largest security awareness training and simulated phishing platform, today announced a new partnership with #GirlsClub to
Help Wanted: Hackers In Heels (Cybercrime Magazine.) Don’t expect to find a hacker in heels if you run an internet search on cybersecurity. Shady guys in hoodies and sneakers hunched over laptops — with skull bones and keylocks in the background is more likely.
The Top 25 Women Leaders in Cybersecurity IT Services of 2021 (PRWeb) The IT Services Report is pleased to announce The Top 25 Women Leaders in Cybersecurity IT Services of 2021. These women leaders represent some of the most promi
Top 15 IT certifications in demand for 2021 (CIO) IT certifications can help you quickly gain and validate valuable skills and know-how in a domain that will further your career. Here are the most popular IT certs today.
Here's What It Takes to Succeed in a Cybersecurity Job (The Muse) Hint: It includes a willingness to always be learning.
Former leader of the U.S. Intelligence Community Joan Dempsey joins Lessons of History Team (Press of Atlantic City) Business executive and former leader of the U.S. intelligence community and adviser to two presidents — one Democrat, one Republican — Joan Avalyn Dempsey, of Alexandra, Virginia,
Marianne Budnik joins CrowdStrike as CMO (Help Net Security) CrowdStrike announced the appointment of Marianne Budnik as the company’s new chief marketing officer (CMO).
KnowBe4's SVP of People Operations Erika Lance Honored With National Human Resources Award (WFMZ.com) KnowBe4, the provider of the world's largest security awareness training and simulated phishing platform, today announced that its SVP of People Operations Erika
Top 25 Execs to Watch in 2021: Booz Allen Hamilton's Judi Dotson (WashingtonExec) Reflecting on 2020, Judi Dotson said the company's most significant achievements are delivering for its clients, managing the business and taking care of
Archtis expands its executive management team to scale business growth and customer base (Proactiveinvestors UK) New global COO and US president Kurt Mueffelmann brings over 25 years of technology leadership to the company and will define and oversee archTIS's...
Axis Security Names Deena Thomchick as Vice President of Product Marketing (PR Newswire) Axis Security, a leading provider of Zero Trust Network Access, announced today the addition of Deena Thomchick as vice president of product...
Northrop Grumman names spacecraft after NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson (WAVY.COM) Northrop Grumman has named its NG-15 Cygnus spacecraft after NASA mathematician and Newport News resident Katherine Johnson.
Precisely Expands Leadership Team Following Delivery of Industry’s First Data Integrity Suite (BusinessWire) Precisely, the global leader in data integrity, today announced the appointments of Pat Collins, Anjan Kundavaram and Sue Bergamo to its leadership te
Epic Women in Cyber — Agnese Morici (Medium) Passionate about cybersecurity and data protection, approaching them in a holistic way encourage Agnese for lifelong learning. She is convinced that cyber security is not only related to techniques and processes BUT mostly to people!!
TrueFort Names Jill Richards Chief Marketing Officer (StreetInsider.com) Innovator in Application and Cloud Workload Protection Hires Proven Technology Brand Builder
Epic Women in Cyber — Priya Gnanasekaran (Medium) I am a Security Technologist at Telstra. I started my journey as a graduate at Telstra in Jan 2018 after the completion of my Masters from the University of Melbourne. Since the time at my university I always had an innate propensity towards Cybersecurity which led to the pathway of pursuing my research in the same domain.
Evolv Technology Names Palo Alto Networks Executive Dana Loof as CMO (Evolv Technology) Leading provider of AI-based touchless security screening systems appoints of Dana Loof, cybersecurity veteran, as chief marketing officer.
Epic Women in Cyber — Katlyn Gallo (Medium) Katlyn Gallo is a senior security engineer, residing in Connecticut, US. Outside of her day-to-day job, she is an Associate of ISC2 who will be eligible for the CISSP certification in May of this year, and is pursuing a Masters in Cybersecurity at Quinnipiac University Online.
Epic Women in Cyber — Klorenta Janushi (Medium) Klorenta Janushi is a cyber security expert with more than 5 years’ experience in cyber field. She holds the position of Head of Communication and Information Dissemination Unit at the National Authority for Electronic Certification and Cyber Security, Council of Minister, while actively participating in both national and international discussions in cyber security.
Epic Women in Cyber — Vilma Tomco (Medium) Dr. Vilma Tomco is Director General at National Authority on Electronic Certification and Cyber Security. She has completed studies at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University of Tirana during 1984–89.
Epic Women in Cyber — Jocelyn Chan (Medium) Jocelyn Chan is the Content Manager and Team Lead at Detectify, a website security startup in Stockholm. In other words she is the hype-girl for security automation and ethical hacker powered knowledge!
INSA Names Six Defense Sector Execs to 2021 Board; Letitia Long Quoted (GovCon Wire) Six executives from the defense industry have joined the Intelligence and National Security Alliance
Epic Women in Cyber — Ljubica Pendaroska (Medium) Ljubica Pendaroska, Privacy and Data Protection Expert, with more than 12 years experience in the field. Working on raising the awareness about women inclusion and perspective in cybersecurity world.
Trend Micro's CMO Leah MacMillan Celebrates Top 50 Marketer Award (PR Newswire) Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704), the leader in cloud security, today celebrated the news that Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)...
Maisha Glover joins Booz Allen as senior vice president (Consulting) Maisha Glover has joined technology consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton as a senior vice president and market strategy leader in the firm’s national security business.
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