Career Notes 2.13.22
Ep 87 | 2.13.22

Roselle Safran: So much opportunity. [Entrepreneur]


Roselle Safran: Hello, my name is Roselle Safran, and I am the 

Roselle Safran: I think when I was in about fifth or sixth grade, I wanted to be six different professions ranging from doctor to ballet dancer and everything in between. It wasn't until much later that I had a better understanding of where there were opportunities and what was a good fit for me.  

Roselle Safran: My undergrad degree from Princeton is in civil engineering, specifically focused in environmental engineering. And I did that for a year after school and then switched to more of a tech type role at a startup, and I kinda got the bug for startups and this was, dating myself here, but back at the end of the original dotcom boom. Then I saw this really interesting position as a computer crime investigator posted for a law firm. I had no background in any of the skills required, but the job sounded fascinating, and I was able to convince the hiring manager that I would learn all the skills on the job. That is what really started to take me down the cybersecurity path because I was doing computer forensics. I think I was 600 and something in the world to have an EnCase certification. And once I had that background in computer forensics, then it's actually really easy to get jobs after that. 

Roselle Safran: So then I eventually moved to the Department of Homeland Security and there, I was leading the forensic and malware analysis teams. And then from there, I moved to the Executive Office of the President. And there I was leading all the security operations. I will say it was a phenomenal experience. I was honored to have the opportunity to work there. It was a very stressful experience because I was always concerned that there would be a major breach that would be front page news. That did not happen under my watch. 

Roselle Safran: There was never a dull moment and we were a 24 by seven shop and there was never an evening where I slept through the night. I was there during the government shutdown in 2013. At one point, half of my team was furloughed. And so I went back to working on the night shift doing analysis. It was a fantastic experience. It really helped me understand where there were technology gaps that, that needed filling. My jobs since then have been around helping to fill those gaps and improve security operations.  

Roselle Safran: My entrepreneurial bug came back because I had had all these experiences in cybersecurity operations, learning what worked, what didn't work, and that led me to found my first cybersecurity startup which was called Uplevel Security. KeyCaliber is my second cybersecurity startup. So very circuitous path to, to get to where I am.  

Roselle Safran: I am very focused on collaboration and making sure that everyone has a voice because everyone has great ideas. I certainly do not have a monopoly on great ideas. I like to give people as much room to be as creative and as innovative as possible and then hear everything that they have to say. I'm very thankful with the team that we have at KeyCaliber is it's just incredibly supportive and collaborative and communicative. 

Roselle Safran: The definition of failing is very different for each person, but once you have in your mind failed, and picked yourself back up from it, it's not hard to do it again and again. Because you know, you have that resilience and you're not afraid of failing. You know that this is a momentary blip. I'm down for a minute, but I'm going to get up and I'm going to do something else that's super exciting.  

Roselle Safran: I think the biggest challenge for entrepreneurs, especially when they're just starting out, is that fear of failure. It's great to just take a moment to pat yourself on the back and say, Hey, this was fantastic. And then you keep pushing forward. You can't rest on your laurels at any point.  

Roselle Safran: Anyone who is in college or looking at a career change, I always tell them, go into cybersecurity. There's so much opportunity. That's not changing anytime soon and you can take it in all sorts of different directions. I really try to encourage people to enter the industry, especially women. We really need more women in cybersecurity. I often hear people say that they feel that they need more education before they can even apply for jobs in cybersecurity, and I tell them just apply. Just learn it on your own and download free demo versions of every open source product you can get your hands on and then just start applying started applying because there's just so much opportunity. If you have the will and the capability to learn and learn quickly, that's what is needed. 

Roselle Safran: I'd say for everyone in cybersecurity, they should encourage one person to get into cybersecurity. We need to spread the word more. because it's an exciting industry that needs more talent in it.