GET EMAIL UPDATES FROM POWERTOFLY
By signing up you accept the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy
BROWSE CATEGORIES
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.

Zapier Inc

How Zapier Director of Compensation Jocelyne Wright-McLemore Is Tackling Imposter Syndrome as a Black Woman in HR

Jocelyne Wright-McLemore has a sticky note that she looks at every day: "I'm overqualified and I can do this."

Zapier's Director of Compensation put that sticky note up shortly after she rolled out a big new project at the online automation company and received some critical feedback on it. Though the criticism came from a tiny portion of her audience and the project was a success overall, hearing it brought back some of the self-doubt and imposter syndrome that she faced earlier in her career.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
Webinars

Meet PowerToFly's 2021 Diversity & Inclusion Award Honorees

This past February, PowerToFly was very proud to wrap up the panel portion of our recent Diversity Reboot 2021: The 100 Day Kickoff virtual summit by presenting our very first Diversity & Inclusion Award Show, honoring some true D&I champions across multiple industries

Back in 2020, we launched a submission process to honor select individuals who just don't talk the talk but truly walk the walk when it comes to making their companies and the world a more diverse and inclusive place. From the many submissions that we received, we chose six champions to honor.

You can watch the acceptance speeches for our honorees below or click here to watch the 45-minute awards show which included a roundtable discussion with our six DEI champions.

Want to nominated a friend or colleague for a future D&I Award? Submit their info here.


READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
popular

How These 30 Companies are Celebrating Women's History Month in 2021

Women have always had a lot on their plates, juggling their professional goals with societal expectations and responsibilities to their families, partners, and communities.

But women have never had a year like 2020.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
Career Advice

How Hopin’s CCO Knew a Startup Environment Was Right For Her—and Two Questions to See If It’s Right for You

If there's a thread that connects all the different facets of Rosie Roca's life, it's the power of bringing people together.

From how she was raised, to how she got her first job, to the decision to leave enterprise software to take on her current role as the Chief Customer Officer at fast-growing events technology platform Hopin, a focus on community has helped to guide Rosie's decisions.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
© Rebelmouse 2020