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Meet Accenture Security women from around the world, hear what Leading in The New means to them and learn what they are doing to help ensure the future workforce is an equal one.
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"Embracing the NEW means embracing disruption."
AMOR
Security Consulting Manager, Strategy & Risk
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What Leading in The New Means to Me
The NEW represents the opportunity to make fantastic things through a connected world—where every day we see NEW challenges and opportunities.
Embracing the NEW means embracing disruption. In an increasinglyinsecure world, you have to dispense with old ideas and adopt new solutions every week. This is what we tell our clients: See change as an opportunity, not as a problem. It is necessary to be adaptable to changing conditions and innovative solutions.
As an avid flamenco dancer, I see the need to stay in perfect step with my partner, adjusting to the driving and fluctuating rhythms. Likewise, in security—flexibility and versatility play such an important role in a continually evolving environment.
As a dancer—and a security professional—I need to have very adaptive behavior, seeking positive aspects in every change that happens. This attitude makes it possible to better understand clients and their needs.
Doing this work also requires a measure of calm and a willingness to seek and embrace ingenuity.
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"Thanks to the encouragement of a strong woman mentor, I moved into security and I haven’t looked back. Now, I pay it forward"
MALEK
Research Senior Principal
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Working with the Brightest Minds.
I didn’t start my career in security, it was thanks to a strong woman mentor, who encouraged me to pursue my Ph.D. and move into the security industry.
Since that day, I haven’t looked back.
I am currently a Research & Development manager responsible for defining and executing the Accenture Technology lab's cyber security research agenda and developing funding sources for research projects.
What I find engaging—and challenging—about security is the need to always be prepared. The landscape is constantly changing, and making continual improvements to protect assets is vital.
My advice to anyone—particularly women—looking to get into the security profession is don’t be intimidated by the technical side. There’s a wide range of people with highly diverse backgrounds—from policy to governance. While the security industry is highly competitive, it also is highly collaborative. Cybersecurity requires the brightest minds to come together to defeat cyber criminals.
Now, I pay it forward by mentoring two female students and one young professional. I’m also a volunteer on committees for academic security conference technical programs where I review and evaluate the latest research and technology from university and corporate research labs.
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"Developing advanced technologies that are disrupting the industry."
NEHA
Security Senior Principal, Digital Identity
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What Leading in The New Means to Me
The NEW is about embracing the latest technologies, innovative ways of working and novel approaches to problems.
I live the NEW everyday as I lead a team in developing advanced technologies that are disrupting the industry. Professionally, I’m seeing a renewed energy and level of excitement—internally and externally—for our work. It’s as if my team wants a new problem, just so they can solve it creatively! Personally, it’s allowed me to remain agile and flexible in NEW ways as well.
This is an exciting time. We’re bringing robotics and artificial intelligence into a holistic digital identity solution, which is making our clients sit up and notice. Our leadership has big visions for our future, and that stretches us to think beyond limits to truly change the industry.
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"Women currently make up only 11 percent of the security workforce, which is why generating visibility for female researchers in this industry is so important"
ANNABEL
Security Associate Manager
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Decoding Criminal Minds
My leap to cybersecurity happened by chance. I was a Theology and Religious Studies major at the University of Nottingham, where I specialized in Islamic studies and fundamentalism. My future employer was looking for an analyst with geopolitical and activism expertise.
Coming from a non-STEM background, it took some time to appreciate the importance of my skillset among my highly technical peers in the security industry. But the human, motivational and behavioral aspects of cybersecurity go hand-in-hand with the technical aspects.
My expertise is in open source intelligence (OSINT) collection and analysis, with key research areas of interest including cybercrime, hacktivism and geopolitical risk. My work is fascinating—I spend my days infiltrating underground communities and socially engineering cyber criminals to extract intelligence.
Before joining Accenture, I had few women mentors. But when I attended the Executive Women’s Forum and met Accenture Security’s female leaders, my world changed. I’m fortunate to be part of a strong professional network at Accenture Security who support my personal development. From official career counselling sessions to social settings after work, these mentors provide ongoing career direction and advice.
Women currently make up only 11 percent of the security workforce, which is why generating visibility for female researchers in this industry is so important.
Accenture is leading the way with its Getting to Equal initiative, and we have some great minds working together to tackle diversity challenges. But we must continue to work in schools and universities to show women all of the many opportunities that are available in this industry.
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"Innovation to me is a lifestyle."
SUSANNA
Associate Manager, Cyber Defense
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What Leading in The New Means to Me
To me, the NEW means finding less obvious solutions and novel ways of working. The NEW is not merely about fixing what doesn’t work. It’s about exploring and questioning, and fearlessly entering the unknown.
Innovation to me is a lifestyle and, of course, a means to find solutions. The field of security is so leading-edge, so NEW, it gives me the opportunity to explore innovation every day.
Security requires discipline and a willingness to take risks. I am a certified rescue diver, so my training has taught me to be calm in a crisis and alert at all times. It requires never doubting your own intuition, and being open to new ideas.
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"I want to spread my passion for industrial control systems (ICS) cybersecurity, technology, statistics and computer science by helping other women, find ways to break into this field."
REBEKAH
Security Consulting Manager
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Fierce Advocate
Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In had a profound influence on me. She gave a voice to women in the technical workforce, and she captured many of the experiences I’ve undergone but didn’t realize were common among women in technology.
As an industrial control systems (ICS) cybersecurity specialist, I provide clients with services such as defining a company-wide ICS security strategy, conducting security gap assessments, completing security remediation programs and conduct security run and maintain assurance.
I want to spread my passion for industrial control systems (ICS) cybersecurity, technology, statistics and computer science by helping other women find ways to break into this field. To me, it’s more than creating a career path—it’s about opening the pipeline to more talent.
I’m highly motivated to act as a role model for young women to pursue a STEM education, which will help close the gender gap in these fields. My advice to women pursuing a technical career is to feel comfortable promoting yourself—don’t be afraid to be your own PR team.
One of my favorite singers, Beyoncé, has an alter-ego named Sasha Fierce, who she uses to perform confidently on stage. Women need to apply that concept by developing and practicing their own Sasha Fierce, who’s confident and business-driven, to face the challenges within our workforce. We need the confidence to know that we belong in any room that we choose to be in.
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"From auditing, compliance, policy-writing, data analyst and forensics, the diversity of roles in security provides so many opportunities for women."
LAELA
Security Consultant
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Deconstructing Risk
There have always been strong women in my life. My aunt, who managed a hospital, has been an inspiration to me, especially her work ethic. My mother always gave me the opportunity to deconstruct things to learn how they worked. That was the foundation for my work in security—identifying weaknesses and implementing solutions.
My advice to women who want to embark on a career in security is to take three steps:
  1. Understand the many aspects of IT—from networking to client support to server administration to database administration.
  2. Understand the many aspects of security—from the architecture to the physical, and beyond.
  3. Get some hands-on experience.
I’m a Consultant in Accenture’s Security practice working in the Retail industry using the NIST framework to analyze new IT projects for security risks. From auditing and compliance to policy-writing, data analyst and forensics, the diversity of security roles provides so many opportunities for women.
Being a captain in the Air National Guard has given me the strength and discipline to undertake the challenges associated with cybersecurity. I’m constantly challenging myself to find new angles to solving problems.
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"We need broad diversity in thinking and insight to tackle increasingly complex security issues. That’s why I encourage women to explore careers in this space."
SACHIKO
Security Executive
+ Meet Sachiko
Expand your thinking
Most of my career has been in financial services, where I began developing a keen interest in IT risk. My passion for the security area kept growing stronger as I began cultivating more experience in the field.
When I joined Accenture, I had the privilege of coming under the mentorship of a strong, influential female managing director. Her leadership and direction inspired me and allowed me to grow and develop in ways that I never expected.
I’m excited about the future of the industry. There is enormous potential to make a great difference—not just in the financial sector, but across industries. We need broad diversity in thinking and insight to tackle increasingly complex security issues. That’s why I encourage women to explore careers in this space.
My advice for those looking to succeed in security is to broaden your knowledge beyond IT. Understand how IT is an orchestral function of the business—at the heart of the dynamics of business management.
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"Being disruptive in the NEW means not being a passenger."
ANNA POOLE
Security Consulting Senior Manager
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What Leading in The New Means to Me
The NEW allows me to engage my professional aspirations without sacrificing time with my daughter.
I believe in doing—and leading—by example. That means not just sitting around talking about it. It means encouraging others to follow through with action. This is how we fortify customer relationships, maintain consistent communication and show we are enabling their businesses.
Being disruptive in the NEW means not being a passenger. Having a voice in the industry and providing perspectives that others may not have considered. We are here to serve our customers, and sometimes we need a little reminder.
We work in an essential and expanding industry—at the forefront of every discussion with every business. I love the ingenuity and creativity we bring.
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