The cybersecurity industry has a labor problem. In the United States, there are less than half of the candidates needed to fill open cybersecurity jobs, but that skills gap is only part of the puzzle. In 2020, women only made up about 24 percent of the global cybersecurity workforce.
What can organizations and institutions do to close the gender gap in cybersecurity, and ultimately, the cyber skills gap? Research shows that to build strong cyber teams, employers and the wider industry need to make cybersecurity a welcoming career for all.
To understand ECS’ approach towards equitable and inclusive cyber teams, we spoke to a few of the women leading our cyber teams. We are continually inspired by these women and look forward to keeping the conversation going.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF MANAGED SECURITY SERVICES
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CYBERSECURITY COMPLIANCE
PROGRAM MANAGER, DHS CDM DASHBOARD
SENIOR IT OPERATIONS MANAGER, DHS CDM DASHBOARD
PROGRAM MANAGER, ARMY ENDPOINT SECURITY SOLUTIONS
What does a successful cybersecurity career mean to you?
”For me, success means learning from failures and turning them into lessons learned. It also means work-life balance: being happy, enjoying my work, and looking forward to each day's challenges, while still growing as a professional.
I am grateful to be part of the ECS cybersecurity team, knowing I can continue to grow and learn more all the time. I am fortunate to be happy and fulfilled in my career--that is my definition of success.Ramona ZilligenProgram Manager, Army Endpoint Security Solutions (AESS)
How do you approach diversity and equity challenges within your team?
”There is a tendency people have where they think no one is paying attention to their behavior. Making it known that people are heard and seen is important when identifying diversity and equity challenges. With recent events coming to light, I assumed that people knew that I condemn any type of hate within my team, but I had a team member reach out to me and let me know that they needed me to acknowledge what was going on. After addressing this directly with the team, we all felt relieved that there was more space to talk safely to address these issues.Joanna DempseyProgram Manager, Cyber CDM Dashboard Project
What are some characteristics that you think make a team successful?
”Cognitive diversity. It is so important that you don’t let groupthink get in the way. Identify people with different backgrounds and experiences so that you can come to an agreement and make the best decision for everyone. Allow people to highlight things you wouldn’t otherwise think about as well.Shayla TreadwellExecutive Director of Cybersecurity Compliance
How do you handle a situation when you don’t agree with the group consensus, let’s say in a meeting?
”Generally, if I don’t agree with something, it goes against my nature to not speak up. But, I have learned from experience to disagree gracefully. Audience matters! You don’t know how many others have the same thought as you, and they may be relying on someone else to speak up. For women in particular, we are socialized to be agreeable, and that makes it doubly important to speak out if you disagree to set the right example for other women.Erin GodinezSenior IT Operations Manager at ECS | CDM Dashboard
What are the top three habits that you would recommend to someone seeking a leadership role?
“”Beverly GoodwinExecutive Director of Managed Security Services