Meet This Year’s Most Inspiring Women in Cyber Nominees: Part 3

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 3 of the 2024 shortlist along with snippets of what their nominators had to say about them!

Katherine Hutton, Product Manager (OT Security) at Fluence

Katherine is currently working as a Product Manager, OT Cybersecurity for Fluence, a renewable energy organisation. She is a Mum of 3 children and a military wife. Whilst moving from country-to-country she always volunteers for her nearest geographical cybersecurity initiative. In the UK she joined the WiCyS UKI Affiliate Leadership Team as Treasurer and most recently she was awarded the position of Fellow on the Veterans Advanced Energy Project run by the Atlantic Council. She has previously worked in project management, achieving an MBA at Duke University and working for the U.S. Secret Service. 

“Being a parent to three young children and working a high-stress cybersecurity job could be hard to juggle for most people, however Katherine truly takes this in her stride and still finds time to volunteer.”


Eliza-May Austin, CEO of th4ts3curity Company 

Eliza-May Austin is the CEO of th4ts3curity.company a tech start-up specialising in cyber defence through adversary emulation purple teaming and building corporate defences against cyber attack. She also Co-founded PocketSIEM, the world’s most cost-effective SIEM service, and is the Director of LHS (Ladies Hacking Society) the world’s largest community of female hackers! 

Eliza-May is intelligent, brave and self-believing. Her constant drive and thirst for knowledge is inspiring.”


Beth Allen, Channel Manager at Flashpoint

Beth is an experienced Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst with 8+ years of proven success in providing high-quality intelligence and data analytics for clients globally. Formerly a key member of a managed security service provider (MSSP), where she provided threat intelligence services to multiple clients across various industries. She is now working as a Channel Manager at Flashpoint. She has also taken on the role of Affiliate Ambassador for WiCyS UK & Ireland affiliate. 

“Her work has not only been instrumental in safeguarding our digital assets but also in inspiring and empowering other young women in the field which I believe is evidence of her quick scaling growth and impact on others.”


Gabrielle Botbol, Offensive Security Consultant, Desjardins & C.S. by G.B.

Gabrielle is a pentester and a cybersecurity blogger. She has cultivated a community exceeding 90,000 members on LinkedIn and reached over 10 million readers globally, thereby solidifying her influence and reach within the field. Her work involves securing a company’s applications and systems by looking for potential vulnerabilities.

Gabrielle created a self-study program to become a pentester, which led her to focus her efforts on democratising information security. She is also a member of the Advisory Board of several organisations. In addition, she is a speaker/trainer from global events to universities.

“Her life is dedicated to making cybersecurity a mainstream culture. All her current and future projects are aligned with this goal.”


Lauren Winchester, Senior Vice President, Risk Advisory, Corvus Insurance

Lauren began her career working in a law firm, then pivoted to cybersecurity and risk management. Prior to joining Corvus, Lauren spent five years on the Breach Response Services team at Beazley. As Senior Vice President of Risk Advisory for Corvus Insurance, Lauren leads a team of cybersecurity and incident response experts who are dedicated to helping companies get the right risk mitigation strategies and security controls in place. Armed with actionable threat intelligence from research and aggregated claims data, she and her team alert insurance policyholders of emerging threats to prevent cyber-attacks as well as counsel them at the time of a claim to ensure a smooth incident response process.

“Lauren is not only inspiring because of her contributions in a cybersecurity leadership role but also because she serves as a role model and champion for women to enter and advance in the industry.”


Alex Keedy, Director of Strategic Operations at Zero Fox

Alex is a knowledgeable Director of Strategic Operations and Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) subject matter expert (SME) skilled in leading workstreams and managing global teams across sales and operations. Her educational background includes a Master of Arts (M.A.) focused in Security Studies from The Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce and a Master of Business Administration from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. 

“Alex is not only a professional powerhouse but also a champion for women’s success. She actively engages with universities, promoting diversity, and tirelessly uplifts women in various fields. Her dedication to seeing others succeed is truly inspiring, and her commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment is a testament to her leadership and advocacy.”


Blessing Usero, Information Security Manager, Cyber for School Girls 

Blessing Usoro is an Information Security Manager, with experience developing and managing security solutions for large-scale enterprises across a range of industries. Her background in telecommunications, security operations and risk management, as well as her unique perspective as a woman in cybersecurity, informs her measured approach. She’s passionate about diversity and inclusion, balancing the genders in the industry, and leads Cyber Women Ireland, as well as Cyber For Schoolgirls.

What truly sets Blessing apart is her unique perspective as a woman in a field traditionally dominated by men. Her passion for diversity and inclusion is not just a professional stance but a personal crusade.”


Clare Ryan, Co-Founder and CEO of ITUS Secure Technologies

Clare has a PhD and MA in Governance, Compliance and Data Protection. She has extensive project management experience with specialism in IT governance. Clare has over 12 years of experience in the public and private sectors. She’s also a member of the Cyber Runway programme, where she’s inspired her peers by imparting knowledge and advice. 

Clare knows the strength of the ecosystem and that its power comes from giving back. She is so well placed to impart this wisdom and is happy to do so.”


Chelsea Jarvie, CISO and Director, Neon Circle

Chelsea Jarvie is an award winning CISO (she became a CISO by the time she was 30!) and professional speaker, known for pragmatic cybersecurity leadership and fostering inclusive tech cultures. With a degree in Ethical Hacking, she has led transformative IT and cyber strategies across various sectors. She is the Director of Neon Circle, a cyber security company focused on supporting clients to efficiently reduce their security and information risks using a pragmatic and risk based approach. She has also chaired the Public Sector Cyber Security Conference in Scotland for the past 5 years.

“Each role Chelsea takes on is seen in her eyes as another opportunity to prove the old guard wrong and bolster the ambitions of the people around her. That’s why Chelsea is an inspiration to me and many others around her.”


Roisin McCarthy, CEO of Verifoxx

Roisin is CEO of Verifoxx, an Identity Verification as a service solution (powered by Zero Knowledge technology). Verifoxx was recently named as one of England’s top 15 IoT start-ups, for driving digital transformation. Roisin transitioned from a corporate career, where she managed multi-million dollar consumer brands, into managing her own cyber company. Roisin is also actively engaged with programs like Founders4schools and Access Aspiration London to empower girls from underserved communities who may be uncertain about pursuing careers in STEM and cybersecurity. She is also a member of various entrepreneur networks.

“My hope is that other women who are stuck in careers they have lost interest in, or women who want to move into cybersecurity but are not technical can draw inspiration from how I have managed to do this and build an award winning start-up that has both private and public investment, with a talented team.”


Kellie Stockham-Vasey, Cybersecurity Consultant at TSG

She has recently joined TSG after working as a management consultant for KMPG Australia. She has a masters degree in cybersecurity, intelligence, policing and counter-terrorism and worked with the Australian Border Force in Indonesia. Alongside her work she was the South Australia Co-Chapter Lead for the Australian Women in Security Network (AWSN).

“Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed in my job I have a call with Kellie and she calms the situation by rationalising the next steps. She’s the best person to go to for a pep talk. I find her very inspiring in the way she approaches work and gives back to her community.”


Amy Wong, Director of Engineering, IBM

Amy has diversified experience as software engineer and development manager in Collaboration, Information Management, Cloud and Security with upline responsibilities in Development, Quality Assurance, Release Management and Operations in Agile environment. Having worked at IBM for over a decade, she is currently Executive Director of Engineering, Data Security. 

“She has grown many women in her organization. She is humble and amazing at motivating her team into delivering great products.”


Alexandra Mercz, Founder of Synterra Asia

Alexandra Mercz is an accomplished cybersecurity and technology Chief of Staff with a strong track record in multinational financial institutions and start-ups. She has held senior positions at several CISO and COO offices and is well-versed in engaging and communicating with all C-level stakeholders, leadership, staff members and external parties. She is intimately familiar with standards, frameworks, and policies, as well as technical measures and protocols. She is the founder of Synterra Asia, a business and technology consultancy. 

“Alexandra Mercz’s three best attributes are her visionary leadership, innovative mindset, and her commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.”


Shelley Langan-Newton, CEO of SQR Group

Shelley has over a decade of experience in founding, launching, and scaling successful businesses. Before joining SQR she served as the Managing Director of a regulated mobile telecoms operator and co-founded ManxIX, the Isle of Man’s Internet Exchange. Her leadership experience spans across various sectors, including technology, telecommunications, and space.

“Shelley has a performing arts background and has had an unusual route into cyber, so she is a fantastic model for others who might not otherwise see themselves in the sector.”


Sophie Keats, Cybersecurity Content Writer at Proofpoint

Sophie is an experienced professional writer producing high quality content that ranges topics including Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, Technology, and Cryptocurrency. She started her career in cybersecurity at 50 years of age after working in education and has demonstrated her passion for this topic by writing a book for seniors and creating cybersecurity awareness materials to help people become safer online. She is a member of the Women in Cybersecurity Toronto chapter.

“Her greatest strengths are her determination, empathy, kindness and passion for driving human centred cybersecurity awareness for women.”


Shobitha Shivakumar, Cyber Security Consultant, IBM

Born and raised in India, Shobitha has always had a passion for technology and a thirst for knowledge. In Grade 9, she was awarded a scholarship by the Singaporean Government to study in Singapore’s top Junior College. She then decided to follow her dreams of pursuing her University studies in the UK and completed an MEng in Computer Science and an MBA. During her degree, she also did a placement year at IBM as a Cognos Technical Support Analyst providing application support to their EMEA and North American clients. Today, Shobitha is a Security professional specialising in Security, Consulting and Commercial skills. 

“Shobitha is very passionate about advocating the importance of women in technology and diversity and inclusion. During her time in IBM, she has taken every opportunity to fulfil this cause and make a difference to causes that matter to her.”


Rachel Gentry, Managing Director, RTG Commercial Services Ltd.

Rachel is a highly experienced SC and NPPV3 cleared information security leader with the practical knowledge and strategic insight to deliver positive business impact. Her remit typically focuses on:

  • Initiating and implementing security in digital and business change initiatives using recognised methodologies and frameworks
  • Managing cybersecurity and information security operations, anticipating and responding to threats and malicious behaviour
  • Leading and implementing Information Security and Assurance functions
  • Advising and overseeing the design, implementation and operation of information security management functions
  • Advising and mentoring leadership teams to ensure improved security control.

Rachel’s experience has spanned over 30 years in public and private sector organisations, advising and supporting board members and senior leaders. Current areas of expert delivery include digital transformation, information security, data privacy, cyber security and counter fraud strategy.

“Rachel has built a successful limited company delivering high quality information security services to security-focussed companies in the UK. She is personable, and delivery focussed, ensuring that her clients always achieve their security objectives in a pragmatic way.”


Isabel Scavetta, Product Manager & Co-Lead of Inclusive Cyber Project 

Isabel is a Product leader ensuring that the tech of the future is built with society in mind. She is currently addressing the human aspect of cybersecurity, using product development in cyber B2B SaaS to help people navigate their digital lives with confidence worldwide. Isabel headline talks, panels, podcasts and press as a top 100 voice in the UK technology sector (TechWomen100), UK Cybersecurity Council Role Model, and multi award-winning advocate for tech, AI and DEI.

Isabel cares about product management, the future of tech and growing opportunities for underrepresented talent in technology. I’ve been featured by organisations including BBC News, the UK Cybersecurity Council, Microsoft, Code First Girls, Brown Rudnick LLP and more.

As the Lead of the Inclusive Cyber project at the World Economic Forum Global Shapers, Isabel has introduced 100s of non-STEM students to cyber careers, and champion the youth voice for cyber to enterprises and policymakers.

“Isabel is a recognised industry advocate that helps women from underrepresented backgrounds to thrive in cyber and tech careers. Her multi-award-winning work to improve gender diversity and progress in the sector, which is currently less than 25% female, includes her voluntary role as the Co-Lead of the Inclusive Cyber project at the World Economic Forum Global Shapers, where she has successfully introduced hundreds of non-STEM students to cyber careers.”


Shana Dacres, Senior IAM Architect at Capgemini

Shana is an experienced and enthusiastic Senior Cyber Security Architect with subject-matter expertise across all Identity and Access Management topics as it relates to both cloud and on-premises enterprise technology, and the relationship between the architectures. She has helped to drive significant enterprise transformation, with the ability to quickly apply experience to new environments, architectures and technologies.

“Shana’s achievements stand as a testament to her commitment to excellence and breaking glass ceilings. She often goes beyond the call of duty for her clients, working in partnership to overcome challenges and develop secure scalable solutions. She has spearheaded community development initiatives such as Cyber Angels UK, a Capgemini community network focused on attracting, retaining and promoting female cyber talent through community events, knowledge sharing and mentorship.”


Emma Mackenzie, Information Security Governance Analyst at abrdn

Emma previously ran her own award winning hairdressing business for 10 years however in May 2022 she started a 16 week full time cyber security bootcamp in order to completely change her career. Emma graduated from the bootcamp in September having also achieved the CISMP and the ISO27001:2013 foundation certificate. In October 2022 she landed her current role as an Information security governance analyst with abrdn where she is utilising her communication, problem solving and team working skills gained from her previous career as well as building a deeper understanding of her knowledge and experience within a wide range of areas of cyber security. 

“Emma is a career changer into the industry. She was a hairdresser/makeup artist for 10 years, running her own award winning business, before making the change into Cyber via a 16 week intensive bootcamp. Emma graduated the bootcamp with her Ce-CSP , an ISO 27001 foundation certificate and also her CISMP. She advocates  that anyone can work in Cyber if they have the ambition and determination to get there and is proactively talking about her journey and trying to encourage and help others to make the change.”


Sudha Iyer, Senior Vice President, Citi 

Sudha is a results-driven Enterprise Cybersecurity Architect working in a specialised Enterprise Chief information security officer appointed team at Citi. She acts as a catalyst for driving data protection security architecture as a central program and promoting security of data by design from concept to completion. By building strong relationships and influencing people at various levels, she help safeguard Citi’s business assets, it’s interests and provide alternatives whenever consulted, so informed decisions can be made.

Sudha is well known for her expertise in developing data protection strategies for the CISO especially in complex areas of cryptography, key management, distributed and Decentralised architectures and cloud. Sudha is trusted for creating pragmatic, nimble pathways for effective alignment of policies, execution of strategies and running security programs successfully in general.

With international credibility and involvement in senior leadership working groups, Sudha remains dedicated to continuous learning and growth in the cybersecurity field.

Sudha champions equity at workplace and promotes talented technologists through Women in technology group, she chairs at Citi and a proud Women in CyberSecurity Ambassador.

“Sudha leads by example by pioneering and taking up challenging roles where only men have a majority.”


Jenny McCullagh, Graduate Cyber Security Engineer at Leonardo/Director & Co-Founder of CyberWomen Groups C.I.C

Jenny is the Co-Founder of CyberWomen Groups and a Graduate Cyber Security Systems Engineer. Through her time at university, it became clear that change was needed to support women in cyber security. Jenny was excited to start this company to inspire women and support students that have an interest in joining the cybersecurity industry. CyberWomen Groups C.I.C aims to provide support and resources for university students and provide a safe, inclusive community that will allow them to smoothly join the industry.  

“Jenny is the definition of a young, inspiring women that has recently entered the industry, doing so by storm.”


Neha Hudait, Security Product Manager at Nvidia

Hudait joined NVIDIA in 2022 as a technical security product manager after completing two internships at the company while studying electrical engineering, computer science and business administration at UC Berkeley. She and her team collaborate across the company to keep NVIDIANs safe in their everyday digital operations, analysing processes and developing security products. Their work reduces cloud security vulnerabilities for NVIDIA and the broader industry, and aims to increase security consciousness.

“Ms. Hudait’s dedication to continuous learning is commendable, and she consistently raises the bar for those around her in both technical expertise and leadership attributes.”


Anna Palmin, Head of Cybersecurity & Trust at Siemens AG

Anna Palmin, a cybersecurity expert and the head of the “Cybersecurity & Trust” group, has been driving, coordinating and shaping the development of holistic, innovative, system-wide concepts and solutions which allow optimal protection for industrial products, plants and factories for almost 20 years. At the same time, she always aims to ensure an optimal customer-friendly design. The invention she created with her former colleague Xin Xie in 2019 makes it possible to capture all the components in a network easily and comprehensively. It then verifies their identities using different appropriate methods and registers them in a central inventory. In this way, any fake or manipulated device will be immediately recognized. And all fully automatically!

“To me, Anna Palmin’s success as a leading innovator in cybersecurity at Siemens, breaking gender barriers in a male-dominated field, serves as a powerful inspiration for women in STEM.”


Lauren Zink, Manager (Culture, Awareness, and Training), Indeed

With over 10 years of experience in managing and executing world-class security culture programs, Lauren is passionate about the human aspect of cybersecurity and the importance of education, communication, and engagement. As the Manager of Security Culture, Awareness, and Training at Indeed.com, she led a diverse, global, and high-performance team that develops and delivers targeted, role-based, and interactive security information and training to over 10,000 employees worldwide.

Lauren is also a  LinkedIn Learning cybersecurity author and instructor, with a course on building a security awareness program with phishing simulations. She has been published in several industry magazines and websites, and recognised as an influential woman in tech by Crain’s Cleveland, a cyber educator of the year, and a power 100 women in security. Lauren enjoys giving back to the security community through mentoring, speaking, and volunteering, and advocating for women and diversity in tech. Her mission is to empower and enable people to be security savvy and to make a positive impact on the security posture of my organisation and the industry.

“Lauren Zink has an impressive track record of accomplishments that showcase her commitment to advancing cybersecurity and promoting diversity in the industry.”


Emma Humphrey, CEO of KURO

Emma is the CEO of Kuro, a cyber security start up lowering the barriers to trusted, secure cloud capability. Following a career in military intelligence and open source investigation, Emma was awarded a First Class Honours in Law at University of Birmingham. She had a particular interest in the regulated sectors, international commerce and ethics. LLM Masters of Law – how the law and ethics collided with data and technology during the Pandemic to create organisational risk. Drawing on an intelligence, investigatory and legal background, Emma joined Blacksmiths Group to help public and private sector organisations understand and mitigate against risk .She is particularly interested in insider risk, those threats associated with human actors and how to recognise, mitigate and react to incidents. Emma leads the commercial consultancy on a variety of projects spanning multiple sectors. Emma is passionate about defence, SMEs and innovation and as such, was an active member of the Security Board and the Defence SME Committee at ADS and a board member of the Three Counties Defence and Security Group (3CDSG). Shaping policies and regulation around technology and strategy is a key component of national security. She is now CEO of KURO. 

“Emma’s bravery when it comes to speaking up about inclusive policies, and the impressive way she has thrown herself into the investment drive of the company.”


Celine Pypaert, Security Transformation Manager at Johnson Matthey

Celine Pypaert is Security Transformation Lead at Johnson Matthey, a global sustainable technologies company. Part of the Security Leadership Team, Celine delivers new security projects to drive the cyber strategy aligned to overall business goals. In her spare time, Celine has been a co-founding member of a DEI Employee Resource Group and mentors women in cyber security.

“Celine drives cyber transformation and has a holistic, proactive and strategic approach to help her current business and to empower people.”


Jemma Davis, Founder and CEO of Culture Gem

Jemma’s goal is to help individuals stay safe online while providing opportunities for companies to protect themselves through security culture and behaviour change. She can be found supporting companies of all sizes to utilise the tools in their arsenal to profile appropriately and communicate with their people, not users, people.

“She’s a great asset to UK cyber and it’s inspiring to have individuals with her mentality in the sector.”


The post Meet This Year’s Most Inspiring Women in Cyber Nominees: Part 3 first appeared on IT Security Guru.

The post Meet This Year’s Most Inspiring Women in Cyber Nominees: Part 3 appeared first on IT Security Guru.

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Author: Charley Nash