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National Women’s Day serves as a reminder of how far women have come in their quest for equality. It’s also an important day to reflect on all the work that we have ahead of us to level out the playing field. Opportunities for growth and advancement should be offered to everyone willing to work for them without gender bias. Cybersecurity, like many other industries, has a significant gender gap that should tell us we’re not only in need of more women, but more diversity. Welcoming diverse perspectives with open arms is essential for efficient problem solving, broader reach, and richer work cultures, to name a few. In fact, the International Labour Organization reported:

When enterprises have an inclusive business culture and inclusive policies, the predicted probability of achieving:

  • increased profitability and productivity is 63%
  • enhanced ability to attract and retain talent is 60%
  • greater creativity innovation and openness is 59%
  • enhanced company reputation is 58%
  • better ability to gauge consumer interest and demand is 38%”

To gain more perspective on what we should do to achieve this, the women of Reveal Risk thought to try something different: include the men in the conversation. After all, we all need to work together if we want to solve this issue. We approached both the men and women of the Reveal Risk team and asked them what we can do to help empower more women to join cybersecurity. This is what they answered:

Kristen Koffer, Executive Assistant: “One way to empower women is by actively mentoring those who are contemplating their next career path. Many women don’t know how vast this industry is, and how anyone of any background has a place where they can contribute to it. Cybersecurity offers incredible opportunities for people of all talents, backgrounds, and perspectives.”

Tim Sewell, CTO: “I think the biggest opportunity is highlighting the diversity of roles we have in cyber. We need all kinds of skills and backgrounds. Secondly, we need to provide the same encouragement to everyone who has an interest. I always felt encouraged to pursue my cyber career while many of my female colleagues expressed frustration that they had to ‘justify’ why they wanted to pursue cyber. That has to change.” 

Jim Wailes, Senior Consultant: “Actively encourage the women in your life to explore our amazing industry! Everyone has a daughter, niece, female friend, or female friend of a friend that is looking to start or change their career. We need their help, and it’s up to all of us in this industry to tell them why.” 

Aaron Pritz, CEO: “Cybersecurity has grown out of being an IT-owned function that is deeply embedded in IT infrastructure. With that, comes a lot of legacy infrastructure-minded leadership and thinking that will continue to broaden and diversify over time. I think education on what opportunities exist in cybersecurity (both technical and non-technical) could open doors of interest to more women. Interest and passion in cybersecurity and how to solve a variety of challenges we face is the #1 differentiator of success for anyone in the field.” 

Gizzelle Sandoval, Consultant: ” One of the best ways to empower women is by helping them attain the confidence they need to overcome all obstacles, including gender-based ones. Before my job in cyber, I doubted my abilities constantly despite being qualified for my job. After some self-love, reaching out to other women in the industry and being coached by leadership at Reveal Risk, I feel like I can do anything. All of these things helped me build the confidence I needed, and now I’m more intentional about being an example other women can look towards.”

Chris Adickes, Consulting Director:If you have a passion for security follow it and never give up. Don’t let anyone stand in your way. Find security opportunities that you’re interested in and out of the work environment. Focus on pursuing each area of interest by asking to get involved. Also take time to educate yourself through reading, certification, and practical on-the-job experience. If you have the knowledge and are committed to building the experience to achieve your goals nothing can stop you.” 

Idriss Bah, Consultant: “Making cybersecurity known and accessible to women will create a more equitable playing field. We can work with leadership and hiring managers to go to women-centric job events, conferences, and the like to find and recruit more women in the industry.” 

Wyatt Wunnenberg, Senior Consultant: “Representation is extremely important. I believe that by celebrating the women that are currently leaders at the forefront of the industry and highlighting their achievements, we will help provide role models and mentors for the next generation of women in the industry, and encourage more women to consider cybersecurity as a career.” 

Aaron West, Consulting Manager: “We need to be more intentional about creating opportunities to invite women into Cyber. Enable more people within the industry to become informal recruiters.” 

Cody River, Senior Consultant:Women are still a largely unrepresented presence in cyber. We believe this is an untapped resource with limitless potential. We will continue cultivating an environment where women are celebrated for their unique perspectives and experiences. Happy National Women’s Day; we are better for you!” 

Michael Milroy, Consultant:Men and women provide naturally different perspectives. Just like business and security must work together to achieve the best possible outcome, we need men and women to work together. There are women out there with the missing pieces to many of the industry’s problems, just waiting to be unlocked. We need to recognize and support them as they deserve.” 

Nick Tamanini, Consultant:Networking is the key to getting into any industry and if you’re a woman looking to break into cybersecurity, don’t be afraid to lean on other females in the industry. Building a strong support system through local groups like Indiana Women in Tech (IWIT) is a great way to learn about the industry and identify what roles or career pathways you might be interested in.” 

It’s safe to say that the advice is invaluable and indicative of ALL of us wanting more talented women in the industry. I encourage anyone to share this post not just with other women but with anyone who believes in how necessary these changes are! Happy National Women’s Day from us at Reveal Risk.

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