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Succeeding as a Woman in Cybersecurity

Posted by Kathleen Smith

cyber lockAs part of our support for the Women in Cybersecurity Conference, we interviewed key women security leaders on their careers and experience in the industry, including several Facebook cyber professionals.

How Do You Manage Men

“I’ve definitely had my challenges with managing in general but more often than not, my decisions were challenged by men. At first, I didn’t know how to deal with that and I felt like I had to always have the right answer. But no one person will ever have all the right answers, especially if it’s a technical problem. There may be multiple ways that you can approach it. I’ve learned that a little empathy goes a long way.”

– Betsy Bevilacqua, Security Risk Manager

How Are You Successful When You’re the Only Woman in the Room

“For me, the greatest challenge to being successful was overcoming the feeling that everybody else in the room knows more than me. Even worse, I had a self-inflicted feeling that I don’t deserve to be where I am. I found myself surrounded by very smart people with a lot more experience. It’s important to remember that all of us have something to learn and specific areas of expertise – this diversity of thought and experience is an asset for any team! We’re all learning something from each other. Ask questions and find yourself a mentor among your peers. I’ve always found at least one person willing to teach me what they know.”

– Alejandra Quevedo, Security Engineer

Has the Focus on Women in Technology Made Things Easier for You

“I always found it weird that women were the minority in my classes, tech-related activities, etc. The current focus gave everybody, including myself, a way to express what we’re feeling and at the same time bring attention to the issue. I see it as a call to action for everybody.”

– Eleni Gessiou, Security Engineer

“Overall, it helps. However, I’d hate to see it turning against us. It’s a delicate balance where doing conscious efforts to manage bias of any kind can help create a better environment for women to thrive. But if we use it as na automatic response to every difficult situation it can potentially create an oversensitive environment that does more harm than good. We, as women, need to do our part too. Learn to build up our confidence, speak up, be assertive, and make no apologies for being who we are.”

– Alejandra Quevedo, Security Engineer

What Programs Have You Experienced that Other Companies Could Adopt

“Facebook recently launched a program called “TechPrep,” a resource hub where underrepresented people and their parents and guardians can learn more about computer science and programming. It also includes suggestions for getting started in tech fields. TechPrep brings together hundreds of resources, curated based on who you are and what you need, such as age range, skill level, and what kind of resource you are looking for.”

– Betsy Bevilacqua, Security Risk Manager

 WicysFor more information on the Women in Cybersecurity Conference, visit https://www.csc.tntech.edu/wicys/

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 17, 2016 7:57 am

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