I love this time of year when the world starts blooming again. My daffodils share their bright yellow bonnets and our fruit trees fill their recently bare branches with their pink, white and purple blossoms. I always feel so refreshed in the spring and now, as it sort of, kind of, feels like we are starting to emerge from the darkness of the global pandemic, I am feeling ready to begin reconnecting. I looked around for some inspiration on this concept and found this quote by Brené Brown that, to me, encapsulates connection and how I feel about the connections that women in cybersecurity have brought to my life.
Sir Isaac Newton said, "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." And, as women in cybersecurity, we know that without the work and innovations of the women who were pioneers in our field, and the support and uplifting of those who have come before us, as well as our contemporaries, we would not be where we are today. Looking to the future on this spring like day, we can appreciate those chances taken by women like Ada Lovelace, Marsha Rhea Williams, Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, Dorothy Denning, and Becky Bace, among others. You can learn more of their contributions here.
On this last day of Black History Month and as a prelude to March being Women's History Month, I wanted to share some epic women contributors to our field. Some of these women are widely known, others are less known. Some contributed to computing or math and not directly cybersecurity, but where would cybersecurity be without computing and math? So, let's take a brief stroll down memory lane and give a nod to Melba Roy Mouton, Gladys West, Marsha Rhea Williams, Evelyn Boyd Granville, and Marian Croak. This is far from a complete list of women pioneers in our industry, but I hope it serves as a jumping off point. I believe each and every one of these women made their mark, and as one of my favorite poets, Maya Angelou, said, “If you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased.”
At this time each year, like many others tend to do, I look at the 12 months in front of me and spend some time looking ahead, planning, mapping things out. That usually leads to worries, stresses, and a thousand thoughts running through my head. But, this year, I am determined not to plan my life away, and instead, to look at where I am each day and live fully in that day. I'm not going to lie, I still find myself making mental lists at night when I lay my head down. I still have my notepad next to the bed, if I need it. But, I am trying to be present more. I am working to find more balance in my life. I still have to plan my worklife out because like so many of us, there are meetings and deadlines and too many emails, but I'm trying to let my inner planner take a break in my non-working life.
Am I the only one experiencing déjà vu? As we prepare to flip the calendar (for those of you who, like me, may still have a real calendar hanging in your house/office), I feel vaguely like this has all happened before. The pandemic surely has caused time to stand still and move at lightning speed seemingly at the same time. So, I am making myself put a hard stop on things as we end the year. I'm taking time to rest, relax and reset before I tumble into 2022 and whatever it may bring. We already know that that the Omicron variant is taking hold and one of our industry's largest events, the RSA Conference, recently moved its dates from February to June. Here's hoping things will be better under control and we can meet up IRL in June.