#MIWIC2024: Dr. Iretioluwa Akerele, Co-Founder of Cyblack

Organised by Eskenzi PR in media partnership with the IT Security Guru, the Most Inspiring Women in Cyber Awards aim to shed light on the remarkable women in our industry. The following is a feature on one of 2024’s Top 20 women selected by an esteemed panel of judges. Presented in a Q&A format, the nominee’s answers are written in their own words with minor edits made by the editor for readability and where relevant, supplemented with additional commentary by their nominator.

In 2024, the awards were sponsored by BTThink Cybersecurity Ltd. and Plexal, with Eskenzi PR, Assured and Women in Cybersecurity UK & Ireland Affiliate as partners.

What does your job role entail?

My job entails providing oversight for the day-to day running of activities within the Cyblack community. In addition, I offer career coaching and guidance to the Cybersecurity community at large.

How did you get into the cybersecurity industry?

I studied Management Information Systems in my first degree. After failing a certification exam twice in the space of two years, I decided to start my career afresh by doing a Masters in Information Security and Computer Forensics. I graduated with a distinction. Two months after my graduation, I resumed in my first role as a Senior Analyst. That was the turning point for me to start my journey in Cybersecurity.

What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced as a woman in the tech/cyber industry and how did you overcome it?

One of the biggest challenges I faced in the tech/cyber industry was navigating gender biases and stereotypes. At times (especially in meetings), I noticed assumptions about my capabilities based on gender rather than my skills and qualifications. To overcome this, I focused on consistently delivering high-quality work. Every organisation I worked with, noticed me because of the quality of my work. In no time, the biases reduced as I grew in my career. By establishing myself as a competent and knowledgeable team member, I was able to break down stereotypes and gain the respect of my peers and the organisations I worked with.

What are you doing to support other women, and/or to increase diversity, in the tech/cyber industry?

I offer a cohort based mentorship program annually. To increase diversity, I always encourage women to apply for my mentorship program. I ensure that at least 50% of the selected applicants are women. Additionally, I am a mentor at Cybersafe Foundation. I have been honoured to mentor young women who are learning Cybersecurity.

Cyblack has successfully graduated several young women to the Cybersecurity industry. We have recorded job successes with some of the women, who are currently working in reputable organisations.

What is one piece of advice you would give to girls/women looking to enter the cybersecurity industry?

Your dreams are valid. Don’t give up.

The post #MIWIC2024: Dr. Iretioluwa Akerele, Co-Founder of Cyblack first appeared on IT Security Guru.

The post #MIWIC2024: Dr. Iretioluwa Akerele, Co-Founder of Cyblack appeared first on IT Security Guru.

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Author: Charley Nash