GET EMAIL UPDATES FROM POWERTOFLY
By signing up you accept the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy
GET EMAIL UPDATES FROM POWERTOFLY
The Canadian Women in Cybersecurity conference attracted some 500 attendees. Howard Solomon photos
Juniper Networks, Inc.

"Don’t accept ‘no,’ women who want careers in cybersecurity can get one, says Juniper Networks exec"

Below is an article originally written by Howard Solomon, a Freelance Writer for IT World Canada, and published on March 11, 2020. This article is about PowerToFly Partner Juniper Networks. Go to Juniper Networks' page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

Samantha Madrid's path to becoming vice-president of Juniper Networks' security business began in high school when she was told, 'no'.

It's not uncommon for women to be told no, particularly those trying to build a career in IT and cybersecurity.

Samantha Madrid, Juniper Networks

She told several hundred at the Canadian Women In Cybersecurity conference Tuesday in Toronto that over the years, "there were a lot of 'nos' that I learned to navigate."

But this particular one galled her. It came from her high school guidance counsellor.

Coming from a poor home in the U.S. and raised by a single mother, Madrid had told the advisor she planned to go to college. Among her dreams were becoming a business executive, a trial lawyer or a lobbyist arguing for people who didn't have a voice.

"You may want to take a different path," the counsellor responded. "Not everybody is meant for college."

Madrid refused to accept that.

"I remember thinking I wasn't a bad student, but I was a decent student. I was varsity on the debate team, I was co-captain of the swim team. I was very competitive.

"I was shell-shocked. I was devastated. I went home and cried all night long.

"And then I got angry. And this was the point that defined who I am. Because I got so angry at her I said, 'I'm going to show her that she is wrong.'"

These kinds of experiences aren't unusual for women, or some men, Madrid said. "You can either let it define you or let it motivate you."

It's easier to be a woman in cybersecurity today than it was 30 or 40 years ago, the conference heard. The profession and related roles, like risk managers — are still overwhelmingly male. Women still account for only 10 per cent of those in cybersecurity jobs in Canada.

But there are some bright spots. One speaker noted a recent global report last year by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, (ISC)², a non-profit which specializes in training and certifications for cybersecurity professionals, found women in cybersecurity are younger, boast more education and are moving into senior leadership roles at higher rates than men. And while they are paid less than men, the gap is less in younger age groups and for women in senior positions.

Millenial-aged women making more than US$100,000 have overtaken their male counterparts.

The conference featured a number of Canadian women who hold titles like vice-president or team leader in IT or risk management. Many recalled being the only woman in a networking class or on their first IT team. Most said their managers were supportive.

But they also talked about the need for women in IT to find a mentor, be more assertive in their careers, to look for opportunities for promotion. To say yes.

Madrid's message was that obstacles — you need a certification, you can't do that job — can be part of a career path.

She offered these five tips:

  • Be introspective. Be honest with yourself: Have you put in the effort, or is there a way to get around that obstacle? Didn't get a promotion? Did you really deserve it? It's easy to blame people for things that don't go your way? Ask what you really want, be it in career or marriage. "Once you figure it out you do everything you can to make that happen." In fact, when she interviews candidates for jobs she asks, 'What are your blind spots?' I don't like writing so I partner with people to give me the confidence so I can write."
  • Everything is a choice. Everything in your life is the result of the choices you made. You may not have chosen the situation, but how you react is within your control. And choice that allows you to overcome that obstacle. "Often when we hear no … we think there is no path."
  • It's not always about you. In a poor performance review, or someone was disrespectful, whatever, there may be more at play. Try to understand the other person's point of view. "Early in my career, I was on a successful team … I wanted to make sure I was best on the team … It was always about 'me,' And she was bounced from the team for not being a team player. I realized that was 100 per cent my own doing. And I never made that mistake again."
  • Be adaptable. You will never be able to predict happens tomorrow but if you have the ability to adapt you are invaluable. "If someone says 'no' you have to be able to pivot around that. It does not mean you're goal wrong and you're not going to reach your end destination. But you may have to bob and weave, you may have to take an alternative path. Have your goal, but be flexible on your method."
  • Trust your gut. That's the number one thing that derails people from achieving their goals. It's why people who hear no step back. It's why she didn't step back when the counsellor suggested she shouldn't think about going to college. Or when people suggested going to a company whose reputation had fallen wasn't a good career move.

By the way, after graduating from college Madrid worked for a U.S. state senator and didn't like it. Along the way she picked up some aptitude for computers, so when a friend told her Cisco Systems was hiring, she read books about networking so was prepared and applied. And once she was hired took some certification courses.

"You have to believe in yourself. It doesn't matter the obstacle … At the end of the day, you are your only cheerleader and you are the only person who will make it or break it."

The conference was organized by SiberX, a Toronto-based training and skills development platform.

popular

10 Women in Tech Share Their Tips for Working From Home

How to stay productive and positive while working remotely

With the outbreak of COVID-19, scores of people are finding themselves working remotely for the first time. Trying to stay productive while at home with so many distractions can be overwhelming, so we asked women tech leaders what they were doing to work from home successfully. Along with getting a great pair of noise canceling headphones (game changer!), they have 10 excellent tips to help you thrive in a work-from-home environment.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
popular

5 Life-Changing Products You Didn't Know Were Invented by Women

I've been thinking about women's ingenuity a lot recently; after all, crises like the one we're facing now fuel innovation. They especially fuel innovation from those who are on the frontlines, in desperate need of solutions.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
Diversity & Inclusion

She’s Paving the Way for Women in Cybersecurity: How She Went from First-Generation College Student to IT Leader

A Conversation with Freddie Mac's Stephanie Johnson

When Stephanie Johnson, currently an Information Security Manager at Freddie Mac, was just starting her career as an IT professional, she found herself sitting in her car one night after work asking herself, "Why am I not being heard? Should I adjust my tone? Posture? What I'm saying?"

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
popular

9 Positive Things to Come Out of the Coronavirus: COVID-19’s Silver Linings

For when you can't read one more bad-news story.

I would never argue that the novel coronavirus is a good thing. COVID-19 has or will cause many deaths, a long-lasting global economic slowdown, and rampant general stress and anxiety.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
Webinars

Parents' Panel: Supporting Your Fellow Parents' Transition to Remote Work

As schools across the nation close, and the majority of businesses mandate remote work, working parents are now faced with the ultimate challenge - how to balance their families and jobs under one roof while COVID-19 still remains a concern.

PowerToFly is bringing thought-leading professionals (and working moms!) to speak about balancing our new realities and how to best optimize your time at home. In this panel, we'll discuss maneuvering the difficulties of working from home from taking conference calls to juggle homeschooling/ childcare.

Don't feel the pressure, your children, partner and pets are welcome to join this virtual chat!

Join us for this live Q&A to learn new tips, strategies, and hear personal anecdotes from our panelists that have shaped these women into the incredible founders and mothers they are today. You will have the opportunity to ask questions during our free, virtual conversation and have the chance to snag a giveaway sponsored by PowerToFly and our panelists!



Meet the Panelists:

Christine Michel Carter, Creator of Mompreneur and Me

Featured in The New York Times and The Washington Post, Christine Michel Carter is the #1 global voice for working moms. Christine clarifies misconceptions about working mom consumers for brands and serves as an amplifier of their personal truths.

Mary Beth Ferrante, Co-Founder & CEO of WRK/360

Mary Beth Ferrante is a mom of two and advocate for creating inclusive workplaces for parents. She is the Co-Founder & CEO of WRK/360, a career development platform designed for working parents and managers to help companies support, retain and recruit working parents. In addition, she is a senior contributor for Forbes and her work has been featured in Today, Thrive Global, Working Mother, FairyGodBoss, ScaryMommy, and other leading publishers.

Amy Henderson, Founding CEO of TendLab

Amy Henderson is the founding CEO of TendLab, a consultancy addressing the challenges and opportunities parenthood brings into the workplace. TendLab's research-based approach reveals how parenthood can unlock career-critical skills--such as resiliency, courage, and the ability to collaborate--skills which are especially important during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Loading...
© Rebelmouse 2020