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Meet This Year’s Most Inspiring Women in Cyber Nominees: Part 1

Meet This Year’s Most Inspiring Women in Cyber Nominees: Part 1

The nominations for the Most Inspiring Women in Cyber awards are out! It’s always wonderful to read about the incredible women in our industry, who are making fantastic contributions and paving the way for others. This year we had so many exceptional nominees.

MIWIC24 is sponsored by ThinkCyber, BT and Plexal, in partnership with WiCyS UK & Ireland Affiliate, Assured Intelligence, and the IT Security Guru. It is hosted by Eskenzi PR.

In no particular order, here is PART I of the 2024 shortlist along with snippets of what their nominators had to say about them!

Katie Shanahan, Associate Director of Consulting at Crossword Cybersecurity 

After working in Germany as part of ING’s Communications team and being involved in a migration project, Katie finished her degree and worked at a PropTech start-up, managing numerous responsibilities. Despite being one of the most junior people in the organisation, Katie set up and led the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. After leaving the start-up, Katie moved into Information Security where she has been ever since – supporting clients and delivering value across people, process, and technology. Katie is the youngest ever Associate Director at Crossword Cybersecurity, delivering transformation programmes for clients from start-ups to FTSE 100s. Katie has founded Authentically Me in Cyber Security, a community to enable women and non-binary folks in cyber, information security, and data protection to bring their full selves to work.

“Katie is constantly finding ways to empower people in the cyber security community. Her enthusiasm is infectious and she has led to a ripple effect of other people improving this industry.”

 

Julie Osborne, Director of Security Control Frameworks at Barclays

Julie is an experienced cybersecurity leader, with demonstrated success in leading teams through change and complexity. She is passionately leading on Diversity & Inclusion and focused on youth and talent progression. Julie has been a long-standing member of a mentor program at UTC Reading, guiding students in preparation for a career in the tech sector. She also led the development of a Cyber-based part of the computer science curriculum at UTC Reading, engaging students in creating innovative cyber solutions. Externally, she has just become an affiliate member and ambassador of WiCyS, and is an avid supporter of InClusive inCyber, actively supporting initiatives for diversity and inclusion in cybersecurity. 

“From my very first time speaking to Julie, I could feel the passion, energy and care radiate off her. She is a true inspiration to all, and one of the warmest, loveliest individuals you could ever hope to meet. Everything about her is inspirational. Her capacity for love, care and empathy, her ability to put herself out there, her exceptional talents with people, her fantastic leadership and mentorship capacities, her cyber talents, her career path to date… it’s hard to choose just one thing. The world truly needs more people like her.”

 

Roselle Safran, CEO and Founder of KeyCaliber

Roselle spent a decade as a cybersecurity practitioner and leader before becoming an entrepreneur. She led cybersecurity operations at the Executive Office of the President during the Obama Administration, directing tactical measures and strategic initiatives for protecting and defending the White House’s network.

Prior she managed the computer forensics and malware analysis teams at the Department of Homeland Security’s US-CERT. With an understanding of the needs and technology gaps in the industry, she switched gears to cybersecurity entrepreneurship. The first cybersecurity company she founded was Uplevel Security, which was acquired by McAfee. KeyCaliber is the second cybersecurity start-up she has founded.

“Roselle is a trailblazer as one of very few female entrepreneurs in cybersecurity, and even fewer female serial entrepreneurs. She has come up through the ranks and persevered in many challenging environments. She uses her experience to give back to the community and encourage other women to enter and excel in the industry.”

 

Madihah Mohd Saudi, Professor, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM)

As a Professor in the Information Security & Assurance Programme at Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM), she drives innovation in both realms. Her tenure as USIM’s former Chief Information Officer(CIO) and USIM’s Board of Committee Member,  underscores her visionary integration of technology, strategic plan, education and cybersecurity. Her interests are in malware, computer security, machine learning and artificial immune system (AIS). She has produced numerous papers at international level. She is currently actively involved with building cybersecurity solutions for children’s cyber-criminal sexual abuse, with the cooperation of Royal Police Malaysia and CyberSecurity Group, Bristol,UK. 

“Prof. Madihah’s influence resonates across borders, shaping a brighter future in cybersecurity and education. Her legacy of knowledge, mentorship, and global collaboration continues to guide aspiring minds and professionals alike.”

 

Meera Sarma, Founder/CTO at Cystel Limited

Meera has a background in both physics and cybersecurity, Dr. Sarma is a pioneer in the field of cybersecurity and quantum computing. Her career has included producing groundbreaking research on hackers, contributing to the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, consulting with the EU Commission and supervising over 15 doctoral researchers in cybersecurity and related areas, demonstrating her technical expertise. In 2023, Dr.Sarma represented the UK on the LATM trade mission, showcasing her leadership on the global stage, in the new field of cybersecurity and quantum computing.

“She is a role model for BAME women in STEM. Her achievements in physics and cybersecurity demonstrate technical excellence in fields where women are still underrepresented, particularly in the BAME community.”

 

Neha Mehta, Assistant Manager at Deloitte LLP

Neha is an experienced PAM professional with strong focus on CyberArk, Delinea, Arcos, Okta, MicroFocus NetIQ, BeyondTrust, and other IAM/PAM products. Neha has a proven track record in leading PAM and IAM teams establishing business requirements, developing processes, designing and implementing IAM/PAM solutions and delivering successful projects across a range of industries. Highly skilled in collaborating with cross-functional teams to understand business needs and develop effective IAM/PAM strategies. Not only this, but Neha moved from India during the pandemic, securing an exceptional role in an industry she was fairly new to.

“Overcoming geographical and educational barriers, she not only attained a reputable position but also embraced the chance to contribute significantly to a field initially unfamiliar to her.”

 

Anne-Marie O’Donnell, Cybersecurity Consultant BH Consulting

Anne-Marie completed a Masters degree in Applied Cyber Security and is passionate about computer security, working in the industry for the past 3 years. She is a keen participant in capture the flag hacking events and a regular attendee at security conferences nationally and internationally. Anne-Marie has an extensive administrative background but is now pursuing a career as a Cybersecurity Consultant.

“She is a wonderful role model for anyone considering a move into cyber and for anyone returning to the workplace after an extended break.”

 

Arati Chavan, VP, Information Security  at McKesson

Arati is an accomplished technology executive renowned for her visionary leadership in the security and technology space. With a proven track record, she drives strategic technology initiatives that harmonise with organisational objectives, ensuring impeccable risk management and regulatory compliance. She is dedicated to fostering a culture of innovation and nurturing talent, a key driver for achieving high-performance outcomes. Arati has been active contributor to CSA, ISACA, and the Cloud Security Alliance.

“She is an inspiring leader that has impacted and inspired people around her for performance excellence and always instilled the feeling of community.”

 

Emma (Yuan) Fang, senior security architect, EPAM Systems

Emma is a seasoned cloud security professional with a track record of over 10 years of experience in security architecture & strategies, application security, cloud security and incident response domains. She is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and an active member of the security community (ISC2, OWASP and Cloud Security Alliance). She has previously delivered public seminars/technical talks at security meetups and UK university. She’s also joined WiCyS as an Ambassador.

“Based on my experience in the industry, I’ve observed my male peers confidently highlight their skills and stepping forward for recognition. This is a trend that I believe should be replicated among all genders. My decision to self-nominate serves an act of self-advocacy, and through this act, I hope to inspire others in the field.”

 

Sue Eggers, Cybersecurity at Nationwide Building Society 

Sue has worked for Nationwide since 1978, first joining as a legal assistant. She now works within the SOC team. She is passionate about ensuring colleagues are supported and is highly knowledgeable in cybersecurity.

“Sues endlessly positive attitude. The fact she is hugely supportive of her colleagues but never seeking recognition for her efforts. Her true commitment to Nationwide (she knows the location and branch code for every single Nationwide Branch and we have the most on the UK high street – over 600!)”

 

Vivian Dufour, CEO and Co-Founder of Meterian

Vivian has extensive experience in product management and development. Vivian began her career in 1998 as a Technical Yahoo at Yahoo, where she internationalised US Yahoo! Finance intraday charts C/C++ code for 8 European exchanges and built and launched location-based websites. In 2005, Vivian moved to a Senior Product Manager role at Yahoo!, where they defined digital video experience in hybrid web and mobile app ecosystems and co-led the redesign of LOVEFiLM in the UK and DE. In 2012, they became a Senior Product Manager at LOVEFiLM/Amazon. In 2014, Vivian took on the role of Head of Digital at MINERVA Research Labs, and in 2016, they became Product Manager of Language Learning Solutions for Schools at EF Education First. Most recently, in 2018, they became CEO of Meterian, where they work to automatically identify software security, stability and licence risks.

“Vivian is hugely busy leading Meterian’s investment round and bringing on clients but still invests time in considering what more the company can do to make its recruitment and culture inclusive.” 

 

Jean Mcleod, Founder of Abri CS

Jean is a cybersecurity specialist with a strong foundation in Healthcare Solutions, honoured as a recipient of the ‘Woman in Tech’ Scholarship. Her career journey led her to excel as a Full-Stack Software Engineer, culminating in her Unicorn position. Her professional achievements include spearheading pivotal projects such as ‘Scoping the digital landscape at UHB NHSFT’ and driving a ‘diversity in digital’ initiative to bridge the Tech skills gap. She’s the Founder of three Social Enterprises. 

“Jean is an inspiration for her grit and determination to forge a career in cyber.”

 

Lianne Potter, Head of SecOps, Asda

As the Head of SecOps for the largest greenfield technology transformation project in Europe, Lianne is building a leading edge security team from scratch to meet the needs of a modern retail organisation while empowering her team to think innovatively to create new standards in best practices.

“Lianne has grown a team at Asda that has a 50/50 gender balance, which is notable in cybersecurity. This team is high-performing and award winning, being invited to speak at international conferences. She is at the forefront of looking at how modern SecOps can be leveraged within a huge organisation while still being a key community contributor.”

 

Debby Briggs, CISO of NETSCOUT

Debby has more than two decades of experience in cybersecurity and celebrates her 20th year at NETSCOUT in 2024. Before joining NETSCOUT, Briggs held various roles within IT security departments, including network administration and IT infrastructure positions at leading companies including HealthSource and RSA. Briggs is also a patent owner for technology using trust profiles for network breach detection.

“She not only does her job extremely well, she also inspires by spreading the knowledge she has gained to other women. She is also involved in numerous charities that help the underprivileged.”

 

Stephanie Luangraj, CEO and Founder of WomenWhoSecure

Stephanie is an innovative cybersecurity professional driven by a passion for safeguarding digital landscapes and mitigating emerging threats. Stephanie’s expertise extends beyond traditional cybersecurity roles, as she is fascinated by the intricate process of software sales and is dedicated to staying at the forefront of new threats and ransomware developments. Beyond being a great practitioner, Stephanie is the Founder and CEO of WomenWhoSecure, a platform dedicated to empowering and advocating for diversity within the cybersecurity industry. She’s also host of the popular WomenWhoSecure podcast.

“Stephanie’s advocacy for diversity and inclusion goes beyond rhetoric—it’s a celebration.”

 

Jaspreet Kaur, Academic and Scholar

Jaspreet is a security professional with experience in a variety of roles, including an academic, researcher, consultant, writer, bug hunter, reviewer, and keen learner. She believes in continuous learning and knowledge sharing. 

 

Nurit Bielorai, Product Manager at Aqua Security

Nurit is an expert in supply chain security, having been in security her entire career. Nurit is motivated by working with her peers and is unafraid of experiencing new things (she moved from Panama to Israel by herself at age 17). She has created and presented talks to numerous industries and companies regarding the difficulties facing companies in the cloud native security journey.

“Her dedication to customer needs and understanding the threat landscape in order to educate the community is second to none.”

 

Rebecca Taylor, Threat Intelligence Knowledge Manager, Secureworks

Rebecca Taylor is Threat Intelligence Knowledge Manager for Secureworks®, and an ambitious champion for women and diversity in cybersecurity. Her passion to support diversity in the workplace is evidenced in her own career path. Having studied creative writing alongside psychology and business, Rebecca worked a few roles before joining Secureworks in 2014 as an executive administrative assistant. She quickly realised that cyber security was an industry she not only wanted to work for, but one she wanted to work in. 

Rebecca cares. She will always help anyone and finds time to be there personally and professionally.”

 

Grace Hulse, Senior Manager of Incident Response at KPMG 

Before entering the cybersecurity industry, Grace worked for Greater Manchester Police for nearly two decades. Now, she’s vowed, both professionally (through work in the private sector) and personally, to help and support the local community with knowledge and advice on being cyber secure. During the pandemic, she worked with small businesses to provide support to be more resilient. Grace has also worked with students and universities to support and create the next generation of cybersecurity talents in the northwest. 

“Grace has consistently demonstrated exemplary leadership in the field, placing a strong emphasis on fostering a people-centric approach to management. Her dedication to developing and mentoring others within the team is truly commendable, as she routinely goes above and beyond to ensure the growth and success of her colleagues.”

 

Nikki Webb, Global Channel Manager at Custodian360

Nikki, as the founder of the Cyber House Party and part of The Beer Farmers, passionately commits to community building in cybersecurity. Alongside her day job, she ensures these events cater to all industry members, strongly advocating the message that “no one is left behind.” Her dual roles significantly contribute to the cybersecurity community by fostering inclusivity, support, and collaboration, enhancing the industry’s collective strength and diversity. 

“Nikki embodies the spirit of inspiration through her selfless contributions, impactful mentorship, and unwavering advocacy for inclusivity and advancement.”

 

Illyana Mullins, Founder, WiTCH (Women in Tech and Cyber Hub) 

Since being crowned ‘one to watch’ in 2022, Illyana has founded WiTCH, a not-for-profit group that supports women reskilling into cybersecurity and encourages retention and keeping women in cyber. She is also the founder of BSides Cheltenham, a not-for-profit cyber security conference. The event is a day of networking, development and talks (completely free of charge for attendees). 

Additionally, she is also the new Bristol and Bath Cyber Community Lead working with TechSpark to help grow the cyber security community in the South West hosting events, and working closely with other cyber clusters through the UKC3 in order to create a more unified cyber security community. 

“Nothing ever seems to get her down and despite adversity always seems to come back with more passion and energy.” 

 

Chiedza Kambasha, Senior Partner & Lead Crisis Consultant, AKG Global

For more than 15 years, Chiedza has counselled presidents and world leaders through global crises, advised Fortune 50 CEOs through complex challenges across the diverse African market, and helped manage the reputations of some of the world’s highest-profile individuals. She is also a multi-award winning entrepreneur, international businesswoman and speaker . When Chiedza is not fixing international crises she’s overseeing the development of her multifaceted business interests at The Chiedza Kambasha Group (CKG) whose interests and operations are across retail, agri-business, mining, healthcare, education and real estate.

“Chiedza Kambasha has contributed immensely through her personal development skills fund and the use of technology as a catalyst to unlock potential across all communities, in the cyber security community space. She is a visionary and trailblazer in the field of innovation and cybersecurity, whose unwavering dedication and relentless pursuit of excellence have transformed the landscape of cybersecurity -based strategy and innovation in across West and Central Africa.”

 

Ebony Steventon, Cyber Crime Support Officer, Regional Cyber Crime Unit (RCCU)

Ebony entered the industry fresh from her forensic undergraduates degree, with no prior technical knowledge or experience. In her role at the RCCU, Ebony is responsible for increasing awareness of the current cyber threat landscape and empowering organisations in increasing their digital awareness.

“Ebony is always willing to go the extra mile and do what hasn’t been done before. Recently, she delivered cyber advice to a group of adults with learning disabilities, as she felt this was a group that received limited support in regard to cyber. I admire Ebony because she is never afraid of a challenge, and is always eager to help everyone. I also find the way she has immersed herself into this industry admirable, as she conducts herself as if she has been in cyber for years! Her confidence and knowledge is a true testament to her attitude towards cyber.”

 

Patricia Schouker, Vice President Alliances & Strategic Partnerships, PolySwarm

Patricia is leading PolySwarm’s business development efforts and strategic initiatives. With her extensive background in cyber and energy security, she brings a wealth of experience from her work in Fortune 500 and Public sector environments. Beyond her work in business development and strategy, Patricia is dedicated to advancing the OT/ICS security community. She actively shares her insights and expertise through various channels, including presenting at webinars and podcasts, authoring articles and publications on OT/IIoT security topics, and engaging in online forums and groups centred on IT/OT security. Additionally, Patricia is an esteemed member of Future Congress, actively promoting science and technology expertise in the U.S. legislative branch.

“Patricia is a visionary who is actively helping to improve global threat detection by building a global network of security experts utilising PolySwarm’s decentralised & crowdsourced threat detection platform that is replacing VirusTotal.”

 

Amy Stokes-Waters, CEO, Esc. (The Cyber Escape Room Co.)

With over a decade of experience in the IT sector, Amy’s built a reputation as a force of nature, disrupting the industry with her no nonsense approach. Her past roles cover sales, marketing and project management, and with a network that’s tough to rival, she knows how to make things happen.  An advocate for bringing more women and minorities into cyber, Amy speaks about diversity and inclusion regularly, both at events and on social media.

“I am inspired by her thirst to always do better and keep pushing the business forward.”

 

Dr Andrea Cullen, CEO and Co-Founder, CAPSLOCK

Andrea is not only Co-Founder and CEO of CAPSLOCK, but also a tutor at the reskilling company. Andrea has experience in people, technology and process related cybersecurity. Andrea was a computer science lecturer and has a PhD in Ops Management which is all about process development and people.

“Andrea is opening up the world of cyber to people who would have not considered this as a career path before by making reskilling accessible. She is changing people’s lives for the better.”

 

Lorna Armitage, COO & Co-Founder CAPSLOCK 

Lorna is Co-Founder, COO and Lead Tutor at CAPSLOCK. Lorna has an extensive background in education and cybersecurity. Lorna was a senior lecturer in computer science and cybersecurity at a university for many years. However, she’s also been a cybersecurity consultant. She’s passionate about tech, especially the human side of technology. 

“Her leadership has seen CAPSLOCK change lives through giving them practical cyber skills that lead to jobs. She is passionate about making the UK more fair and making sure those from disadvantaged backgrounds have a fair choice. She has also been vocal about bias amongst investors in the media, campaigning for investors to be more conscious about their bias.”

 

Lisa Ventura MBE, Founder of Cyber Security Unity Limited 

Lisa’s career in cybersecurity has been wide and varied, spanning over two decades. Lisa entered cybersecurity in 2009 when she worked in an operations/marketing role at Titania Ltd. Her passion is the human aspect of cybersecurity and, as a result, aims to raise awareness of growing cyber threats that impact the lives of many people worldwide. Lisa has also founded Cyber Security Unity, a global community of cybersecurity professionals that aims to unite the industry worldwide. She’s also host of an InfoSec Lunch Hour and was honoured with an MBE for her work in cybersecurity and diversity. 

“Lisa has a tremendous amount of resilience, tenacity and kindness. She will help anyone who needs it without question.”

 

Laure Lydon Senior Director, Security Governance & Assurance – Babylon

Laure Lydon is Senior Director of Security Governance and Assurance at Babylon. An expert in information security transformation, cyber risk management and security governance, Laure helps organisations to maximise the effectiveness and value of their security resources. Her career spans two decades, having held international, senior security management roles within healthcare, technology, communications and logistics. Laure is an active advocate on international security policy, including cyber risk management regulation and secure software development, and a passionate champion of diversity and inclusion in security. 

“Laure is a driving force in the cyber security industry and women in cybersecurity initiatives. She’s often the one putting in a ton of effort behind the scenes but rarely gets the public credit she deserves. Personally, she has been my mentor whilst building up the Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) UKI Affiliate and without her we wouldn’t have grown to where we are today.”

 

Sonakshi Kashkari, Senior Manager of Cyber Partnerships, at Standard Chartered Bank 

An experienced Cyber security advisory consultant with a passion for exploring and solving complex information security challenges. Sonakshi has experience in providing guidance and subject matter expertise in cyber, technology and third-party risk governance and strategy for business and risk owners across industries.

“Sonakshi is an up and coming cyber professional whose passion and dedication for the industry is mirrored the work and initiatives she’s involved with. In her professional life she has accelerated her career and within 5 years of working in the industry she’s now a Senior Manager. Having worked with Sonakshi in her volunteering with the WiCyS UKI Team it’s clear why she has accelerated in this manner. She’s passionate, driven and just gets on with it! I’m happy to say she’s now working in an interim Board role at WiCyS UKI and I look forward to seeing where she progresses in the future.”

 

Hazel McPherson, CISO of ALD Automotive and Director of 4FOX Security 

Hazel is a senior Information Security expert with over 20 years of experience in technology and security. As the Chief Information Security Officer at ALD Automotive in the UK, she is responsible for the strategic direction and oversight of the organisation’s information and cyber security initiatives, ensuring the protection of people, critical assets and customer data. Throughout her extensive career Hazel has demonstrated a relentless commitment to enhancing the security posture of all organisations she has worked with, but also building the on the industry body of knowledge in a number of domains. 

“Hazel is one of the less public stars of security. She quietly just gets on with helping people and growing the community. She always has time for people who need help and support, and appreciates people for who they. She sees the strengths in us all, and has a unique way of helping us shine.”

 

The post Meet This Year’s Most Inspiring Women in Cyber Nominees: Part 1 first appeared on IT Security Guru.

The post Meet This Year’s Most Inspiring Women in Cyber Nominees: Part 1 appeared first on IT Security Guru.


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Author: Charley Nash