#MIWIC2024: Stephanie Luangraj, CEO and Founder of WomenWhoSecure

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?

Establishing an inclusive community for women, non-binary individuals, and diverse genders is my passion. As the host and creator of WomenWhoSecure podcast, I am dedicated to fostering a space where everyone feels valued and represented. Beyond that, I serve as a mentor in the field, offering guidance and support.

My approach involves meticulous planning and content creation aimed at not only engaging more women in the industry but also ensuring relatability. Through these efforts, I strive to break barriers, empower individuals, and contribute to a more diverse and inclusive landscape within the field of security.

How did you get into the cybersecurity industry?

I developed a keen interest in cybersecurity during the early days of Myspace as a young child, driven by my inherent curiosity for technology. However, it wasn’t until my college years that I formalized my journey into the cybersecurity industry. In 2015, at Purdue University Indianapolis, I made a decisive choice to pursue a major in cybersecurity, a decision that would shape my career trajectory. Graduating in 2018, I found my passion solidified during those college years, and since then, I have been actively creating and navigating my path in the cybersecurity field, driven by a genuine love for the work and a commitment to continuous growth in this dynamic and ever-evolving industry.

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 most significant challenges I faced as a woman in the tech/cyber industry was dealing with burnout due to a lack of boundaries and the tendency to say yes to every opportunity that came my way. Starting my career at a young age was an exciting journey, but I quickly learned that the demanding nature of the field could lead to burnout if not managed properly.

Overcoming this challenge required a conscious effort to set clear boundaries and prioritize self-care. I recognized the importance of speaking up and asserting myself in terms of workload and expectations. By learning to say no when necessary and establishing a balance between work and personal life, I was able to mitigate burnout and sustain a healthier, more sustainable career trajectory.

Additionally, building strong relationships with colleagues and mentors played a crucial role. Seeking support and guidance when needed allowed me to navigate challenges more effectively. I realized that it’s okay to ask for help and that building a supportive network is essential in overcoming the unique challenges faced by women in the tech and cybersecurity industry.

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

To support other women and increase diversity in the tech/cyber industry, I’ve taken proactive steps through my initiative, WomenWhoSecure. This diverse community goes beyond traditional boundaries, offering a platform where anyone interested in cybersecurity, regardless of their level or background, can engage and participate.

The WomenWhoSecure podcast, a cornerstone of this community, is designed to be inclusive. It doesn’t exclusively target executives but is open to everyone in or intrigued by the cybersecurity field. The podcast serves as a medium to showcase unique stories, allowing individuals to share their journeys and experiences. By highlighting the challenges and triumphs of people in the industry, especially women, we aim to shed light on the diverse adversaries they may have faced and the strategies employed to overcome them.

Through these efforts, I strive to create a supportive environment that not only amplifies underrepresented voices but also inspires a new generation of individuals to pursue and thrive in the tech and cybersecurity sector. The ultimate goal is to foster a more inclusive and diverse landscape within the industry.

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

For girls and women aspiring to enter the cybersecurity industry, my advice would be to explore the various options within cybersecurity to find the niche that aligns with their interests and strengths. It’s a diverse field with roles ranging from technical to non-technical, so taking the time to discover what resonates most with them is crucial.

Additionally, seeking a mentor can be immensely valuable. A mentor can provide guidance, share insights from their own experiences, and help navigate the challenges of the industry. Building a network of support can be instrumental in both personal and professional growth.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that while work is a significant aspect of life, it shouldn’t be the sole source of fulfillment. Business is business, but maintaining a balance and not letting work consume your entire identity is essential. Cultivate a synergy in life that includes personal interests, relationships, and self-care. Finding this balance can contribute to a more fulfilling and sustainable career in cybersecurity.

The post #MIWIC2024: Stephanie Luangraj, CEO and Founder of WomenWhoSecure first appeared on IT Security Guru.

The post #MIWIC2024: Stephanie Luangraj, CEO and Founder of WomenWhoSecure appeared first on IT Security Guru.

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Author: Charley Nash