Most Inspiring Women in Cyber Awards 2022

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.

In no particular order, here is PART I of the 2022 shortlist along with snippets of what their nominators had to say about them! (To see Part II, see HERE)

Dr. Kiri Addison, senior product manager, Mimecast

Kiri has vast experience in the cybersecurity space, and has helped develop everything from creating systems to detect and prevent cyber-attacks and fraud to currently developing innovative products that utilize AI and ML to keep companies safe from cyberattacks.

“Kiri really is an unsung hero… Her fierce intelligence, combined with her openness and kindness make her a great mentor, colleague and friend. I also really like the fact that she is open about her struggles, this makes her relatable and brave. She is now using the skills she learnt to share her knowledge to mentor other women in the tech sector.”

Sophia Adhami, director of cyber security engagement, Sage

Sophia delivers incredible outreach and engagement to underrepresented groups. She is continually looking to improve gender and race diversity in the industry and doesn’t let anyone stand in her way when it comes to delivering knock out engagement that empowers women and unrepresented groups. 

“This lady lets nothing stop her. She joined a global security during the pandemic with two young children at home. Her passion, commitment to doing the right thing and delivery are incredible. Everyone needs a colleague like Sophia.”

Anah Ahee, assistant manager, cybersecurity, KPMG

Anah’s personal investment in time, passion and know-how has been inspiring to all those she has encountered.  Despite the challenges of Covid, KPMG delivered over 50 cyber awareness sessions to approximately 4,000 young adults, with consistently positive feedback.  Key to this was Anah’s meticulous planning and execution, and impactful delivery of education. At such an early stage of her career, Anah demonstrates excellent leadership in delivering the corporate cyber community’s messages around awareness, safety and inclusivity.

“The objectives of Anah’s pursuits shape the agenda she follows to drive a KPMG-backed cyber message through a lens of diversity into our communities with great success.  In an increasingly pernicious digital environment, early education of children is critical.  Moreover, it embeds the message into communities we might not otherwise reach.”

Beverley Alderson, senior cyber broker, Aon

Beverley is a senior cyber broker at Aon where she has been for over 20 years. Throughout her career she has mentored and sponsored many women who have gone on to have successful careers in the cyber market after Bev’s custodianship and is a pioneer of early adoption of cyber insurance and cyber security principles. 

“Beverley’s ability to distil difficult issues down to basic principles and to resolve them without aggression is inspiring; she does this with strong communication skills, transparency and trust.”

Sarah Armstrong-Smith, chief security advisor, Microsoft

Sarah is an inspiring lady who reach high level security positions with the government and Microsoft without any formal cyber qualifications and tells her story frequently to increase cyber security awareness as a career path. 

“With Sarah’s determination, perseverance and good speaking abilities, she is an inspiration to all who get to hear her story.”

Sakina Asadova, offensive security expert, Canon

Sakina is newer to industry; she’s a junior penetration tester at Canon. Whilst still breaking into the industry, Sakina is dedicated to providing quality work and providing great insights on all projects she is a part of.         

“Having started in another country, Sakina has navigated the university system and started a career in another country. She not only changed from her native language, to learn both Dutch and English, she often works in situations that call on a variety of languages to ensure the messages get across”

Andrea Babbs, director of sales UK & Ireland, VIPRE Security

Andrea Babbs has worked in the IT Industry for over 20 years. During that time she has worked for IT Security Vendors and Resellers dealing with email, endpoint and web security. Andrea is currently Country Manager and Head of Sales for VIPRE Security Limited, where she manages the UK and Irish business. Andrea’s length of experience in the industry means she has seen the threat landscape change from simple viruses and spam to the sophisticated, zero-day, polymorphic threats of today. However, she recognises that in attacks of all types, humans are the last line of defence, meaning they need awareness and effective tools to help them prevent little mistakes with big consequences

“Andrea understands that her team needs to be able to trust her to do the right thing by them and the business needs to understand that not everything can happen right now, so a little bit of patience and trust go a long way to making the impossible possible in the best timescales for everyone.”

Rae Baker, OSINT Analyst at Operation: Safe Escape

Rae has taken the industry by storm – starting out just three years ago. She has moved from graphic design, into OSINT investigations, specialising in Maritime. Rae volunteers her time to support organisations such as Operation Safe Escape. A not-for-profit supporting survivors of domestic abuse and violence. She also is currently writing a book on OSINT, volunteers to support survivors and persons targeted, and works heavily within the OSINT community to spread knowledge. Rae has a YouTube channel where she provides introductions to OSINT, specifically maritime, for people to learn from. She speaks at conferences, and is always happy to give back to the community. Whilst it’s been only three years, she has quickly become one of the authorities on OSINT.

“Nominating Rae because of her continuous efforts to provide support to the OSINT community, support vulnerable persons, and educate. She works hard to ensure information is readily available to everyone who needs it.”

Kristina Balaam, senior security intelligence engineer, Lookout

Kristina is a key figure in Lookout’s threat research division particularly as a Senior Security Intelligence Engineer at Lookout where she reverse engineers mobile malware. She regularly uncovers mobile-related threats that help protects millions.

“Kristina is always doing her best to inspire the next generation of women in cyber and regularly participates in the Day of Security.”

Katie Beecroft, associate director, Fidelity International

Katie and her team have worked tirelessly to build awareness of cyber security threats to the firm. Thanks to her efforts, employees appreciate that they are part of the solution. More than that, Katie has looked beyond the bricks and mortar, coordinating webinars and training to educate individuals as to the risks of cyber threats in their personal lives. These programs have been very well received by employees and have resulted in a positive impact on the company’s cyber health.

“Katie knows how to engage people. She goes beyond facts and figures to ensure her audience comes away feeling they are part of the solution and fully invested in protecting themselves, their families and by extension our firm.”

Andra Catincescu, associate director, Fidelity International

An associate director at Fidelity International, Andra is subject matter expert and a passionate supporter of diversity and inclusion within the cybersecurity field. Knowledgeable when it comes to the assessment of risks and threats, Andra is a confident leader and speaker who can effectively explain even the most complex of situations. 

“[Andra has an] ability to keep calm and level headed, [even] in a range of situations.”

Hope Chauland, GTM Manager, Microsoft

By investing her time in researching the trends of the United Kingdom’s security and identity markets, Hope is actively involved in the process of product launching and marketing. Going above and beyond her position as a GTM Manager at Microsoft, Hope is also the co-leader of UK Women in Security at Microsoft, where she strives to promote topics valuable to women working in security. Whether through presenting, creating content, or the designing of new programs, Hope always ascertains that her products are always top of mind within the company. 

“Hope’s role is incredibly demanding and she seems to work non-stop! Yet, she always has time to lend a hand to a project or provide input. She is a very positive role model and is the personification of success!  Hope’s commitment to the work she does as well as to diversity in cyber makes her a phenomenal asset to the cyber community and a true inspiration!” 

Camellia Chan, CEO & Founder, FLEXXON

Bridging together her love for technology and business, Camellia has built FLEXXON from the ground up, forming an international team spanning from Asia, North America and the EMEA regions. Yet despite the team’s size, Camellia cares deeply about each and every one of her employees, making it her mission to make FLEXXON a safe space that allows for them to thrive—taking their career trajectories, senses of well-being, and personal growth into account. As a result of her leadership, FLEXXON was awarded both a prize and funding at the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore’s 2018 Cybersecurity Industry Call for Innovation, later developing the world’s first AI-embedded data security solution, the X-PHY Cyber Secure SSD. 

“Camellia represents a spirit of never giving up, striving for your goals even when the path ahead is challenging and being able to balance championing the human spirit through it all.”

Nathalie Cole, Cyber Security Consultant, NCC Group

Having transitioned from working as a veterinary surgeon to her role as a Cyber Security Consultant for NCC Group, Nathalie is now also serving as the chapter administrator for the Ladies of Cheltenham Hacking Society—in which she advocates for the promotion of diversity for women, people from ethnic minorities, and the neurodivergent community. In an effort to further disseminate diversity and inclusion throughout the cybersecurity industry, Nathalie is an avid supporter of CyNam and the Cheltenham Science Festival. 

“Being a career changer, Nathalie demonstrates a non-traditional route into cybersecurity. She is also HUGELY passionate about championing diversity, which is an attribute that is truly inspirational.”

Anna Collard, SVP Content Strategy & Evangelist, KnowBe4

With only five employees and no physical office, Anna was able to found Popcorn Training, one of the first global companies to educate individuals about online safety with story-based and engaging video and gaming content as an educational medium. Since then, Popcorn Training has been acquired by KnowBe4, and has won multiple international awards. Working at KnowBe4 herself as an SVP Content Strategist, Anna is also an evangelist for cybersecurity, Anna has a way of painting cyber awareness in a light that makes it exciting and engaging, even to the average, non-technical individual. In her free time, Anna is very involved with her local community, advocating for equal rights in South African townships, and personally assisting senior citizens with yoga. Regardless of the subject at hand, Anna has mentored a number of women to push ahead and excel.  

“Anna persevered to build a company from the ground up. She has also offered her time and expertise to help others, particularly young women, join the industry. For example, she was involved in the Gov-X initiative, which is an innovation challenge aimed towards inspiring the youth to assist the government in solving African national security challenges.”

Alice Conibere, Junior Security Researcher, Secure Impact

An expert when it comes to networking and outreach, Alice has a way of sharing her knowledge in an engaging manner—ranging from how she helped people succeed in a UK Government cybersecurity training programme to the talks she arranged as Communications Officer on behalf of her university’s cybersecurity society. Her colleagues at Secure Impact think very highly of her, as she always contributes the best work possible. Not yet even 22 years old, Alice is a recent graduate in cybersecurity at the Bournemouth University Computing and Security Society, where she held informative sessions to encourage her fellow students to venture into the field of cybersecurity. 

“Her diligent work, community efforts, and open attitude places her as a monumental figure within the cyber security community. Her frequent community engagement, presence at numerous events, and constant willingness to provide advice makes her an inspirational figure within the cybersecurity community, proving that there is room for all in this stereotypically male-dominated field.”

Adenike Cosgrove, VP Marketing, EMEA, Proofpoint

A driving force for increasing cybersecurity awareness in terms of how, why, and when an organization and its people are being targeted, Adenike has been elected as the Vice Chair of the ‘authindicators’ working group—which was entrusted with the duty of developing a way to consistently show end user recipients that their messages have been authenticated. In addition, Adenike has collaborated with a major private healthcare organization in the UK, educating healthcare providers on the interplay of cybersecurity and threat actors with the healthcare industry—and how to best protect and defend their staff, suppliers, and patients. By taking on a novel and innovative method of risk assessment and cyberattack observation, Adenike’s work has successfully allowed numerous companies to see where their people-centric security is lacking, and where to take appropriate action, before a potential attack strikes. 

“[Adenike] is an advocate for addressing the diversity challenge in cybersecurity and regularly discusses the topic in industry events, in blogs and in columns. She puts forward the view that by continuing to look in the same place for cybersecurity professionals, we will continue to put the same set of eyes on a rapidly evolving set of problems. Diversity challenges traditional assumptions and thought processes, bringing a fresh perspective to problems and new challenges, and Adenike is passionate about inspiring a new and diverse generation of cybersecurity professionals.”

Camilla Currin, Senior Partner Manager, Trend Micro

A senior partner manager at Trend Micro, Camilla is an inspiration to everyone—rising to any challenge whilst bringing forwards an empathetic and emotionally-intelligent attitude. A mentor and experienced industry veteran, Camilla equally devotes her time to her colleagues regardless of their position—extending from C-level executives to junior team members. 

“She’s genuinely passionate about people and their backgrounds. She continuously mentors younger team members inside the company as well as in her social circle, across the industry and in partner organizations. She looks for the best in people—always.”

Adelina Deaconu, XDR Team Lead, Heimdal Security

With Adelina overseeing the XDR team for Heimdal Security, the group was able to become a fully fledged cybersecurity tactical squad—not to mention that, with Adelina’s guidance, the XDR team facilitated the product usage process for its customers. Furthermore, Adelina strove to ensure that Heimdal’s clients were always one step ahead of the latest threat actors—surveying infiltration efforts and responding to threats in order to keep the clients’ infrastructure safe. 

“What… [is] most inspirational about Adelina as a woman in cybersecurity is the fact that she made this technical lead role her own with great skills, impeccable problem-solving, and hands-on management. Seeing a woman as a leader in her field, especially on the technical side, is something that… [is inspirational] every day.”

Katie Diacon, Director, TMT Cyber Security

A leader who puts a huge amount of trust into people and also strives to keep learning and improving, Katie has taken the KPMG resilience team to new lengths. She has facilitated several difficult Women in Cyber panel discussions and been exceptional at it, taken our Resilience team to new levels and growth, and motivated several young women (like myself) but also men. She’s also brought several new clients and empowered everyone in her team to want to play a part in the growth of the team.

“[Katie] champions women in cyberspace through sponsorship, mentorship and by providing great working opportunities. [Additionally, she] provides usable advice and guidance, leads by example, and promotes good work life balance in the workplace.”

Dasha Diaz, Founder & CEO, itrainsec

Having worked in the communications department of one of the top cybersecurity vendors, Dasha has gone on to organize top class IT security conferences—and has also founded her own company, “itrainsec”, which provides custom b2b cybersecurity trainings and organizes events worldwide involving top cybersecurity vendors. 

“Dasha has a real passion towards what she does and really understands the importance of cybersecurity. Dasha is a real professional, strong and communicative… [and she] sets the goal and meets the goal whatever it takes.”

Lauren Eickhorst, Co-Founder and COO, Aristotle Metadata

As a leader in knowledge transfer, Lauren has put forward work in the development, operationalisation and growth of Aristotle Metadata that has had an outstanding impact on the data cybersecurity landscape. Her contributions to cybersecurity include the development of data skills training videos viewed by over 300,000 global viewers, development of training to upskill data security knowledge within complex organizations, and user experience design to revolutionize the uptake of data security solutions within larger enterprise groups. Not only that, but she is also a regional President for the Data Management Association, having broadened the audience to include a younger and more diverse practitioner demographic—in turn increasing the development of the data and cybersecurity community.

“Lauren has shown herself to continuously dedicate herself to self-improvement and growth. She is current Chief Operating Officer for an increasingly international startup, President of a regional data committee, and completing her Master of Business Administration to improve her skills. Lauren is an exceptional and outstanding representative of global cybersecurity and [is] an inspiration for women seeking to join the profession.”

Carole Embling, information security manager – compliance, Metro Bank

Carole started her career in IT security at the Royal Mail Group. Having begun as a Post Office Counter Clerk, she started on the path into Information Security by being trained as a junior business consultant back in 1990. She quickly learned the ropes of Information Security as part of a special training initiative and then became part of an integral team providing security consultancy at the Royal Mail Group. She later became an Information Security Manager at RMG and after being part of multiple organisations in the capacity of Information Security Advisor/Manager, she took on her current role as the Information Security Manager – Compliance at Metro Bank.  

“Carole has fought adversity since the 1990s to champion women in cybersecurity.”

Kate Emery-James, sales director, major accounts UK&I, Trend Micro

Kate has held various executive positions in cyber and has worked hard to put D&I at the top of the agenda in each of the organisations she worked in. She’s passionate about creating a truly inclusive work environment, in which everyone feels welcome. At Trend Micro, Kate is working hard to ensure the company has a diverse pipeline of talent joining the various teams. 

“Kate [has] juggle[d] many unexpected situations, from balancing a career and small children to working with difficult customer situations – career challenges have come with lots of different guises along the way for Kate. She tends to look at situations and frame them as ‘plot twists’ which are there to ‘learn and move on’. This has and continues to inspire many around her.”

Ana Ferreira, information security & health researcher, CINTESIS

Ana Ferreira has been a cybersecurity specialist and researcher for more than 20 years now, before even cybersecurity was named as such or the realization that the inclusiveness and diversity of this field would, one day, be so relevant to its advancement. Ana was one of the pioneers in cybersecurity in Europe and she has built herself into one of the role models that can inspire all generations of women to do so too, at both a national and European level, and even worldwide, where she has recently been recognized for her work and as a barrier breaker in the area.

“Ana supports any girl that contacts her through social media, she is always encouraging us to take risks… Last but not least, she has been awarded for many scientific papers while having won the “Barrier Breaker” category of the Cybersecurity Woman of the Year Awards 2022.”

Didar Gelici, senior technology manager, risk & compliance, JustEat

Didar is an experienced information security and risk manager, enthusiastic about transitioning into AppSec and DevSecOps. She is skilled in risk and control assessments, third party due diligence and team management. Didar has BA degree focused in Management and Organization from Marmara Üniversitesi.

“Didar takes an active role in multiple communities mostly helping women in tech. She is caring and a good leader with a big smile on her face always.”

Phoebe Goddard, assistant manager, cyber security, KPMG

Phoebe has worked extensively on cyber benchmarking in her role at KMPG, having recently been promoted to assistant manager for cyber security at KPMG. She has a hard-working attitude with a solutions-oriented mindset which allows her to always get the job done.

Phoebe has a spark that is rare, I can see her reaching higher heights, she’s one to watch out for.”

Stefani Goerlich, sex, relationships & mental health therapist, Bound Together Counselling

Stefani co-hosts a podcast called Securing Sexuality, where she and her husband demystify security concerns for the non-technical and targeted communities. Stefani reaches out to security persons to ensure the advice she gives clients, i.e. applications of interest or sites, is secure. She is a voice in the confusing world of therapy and ensures legitimate help is given to persons who need it, and companies that aim to mistreat or trick people are not allowed to continue. Stefani speaks at both therapy and security conferences.

“Stefani continues to not only achieve but expand her knowledge. She is taking security training, investing time to learn more to help others. She also had a medical emergency a few years ago, which she barely survived, and yet didn’t let that slow her down.”

Tamzin Greenfield, cyber security apprentice, University of Gloucestershire + Cyber Security Associates

Tamzin has been honoured to speak at multiple events regarding diversity and entry pathways, hosted by groups such as Women in Cyber Security, CyNam, the UK Cyber Security Council, and the NCSC. She has also mentored students and sees the distinctly bold cohort that lead the future of STEM.

“Tamzin is a hugely inspirational young woman who is exceptionally dedicated to the cyber community.”

Nicola Hartland, senior VP, Falanx Cyber

Nicola leads the Innovation and Growth team within Falanx Cyber, part of Falanx Group who are listed on London’s AIM stock exchange. Falanx Cyber puts enterprise-class cyber security services within reach of every organisation. She identifies areas of cyber risk threatening the integrity of businesses and helps  provide complete end-to-end managed cyber security services to alleviate those risks.

Nicola has a unique capability to align solutions to cyber challenges.”

Charlotte Hooper, helpline manager, the Cyber Helpline

Charlotte has been instrumental in the Cyber Helpline from non-profit to registered charity and leads to build a team of responders to help the people of the UK. These responders come from all walks of life and want to help people; Charlotte makes sure The Cyber Helpline gets the right people and then trains and nurtures them so that they can make a real difference in people’s lives.

“Charlotte’s  drive and energy to always find a way and to get round blockers to make a difference is inspirational.”

Samantha Humphries, head of EMEA marketing & security strategy, Exabeam

Samantha Humphries is the Head of Security Strategy EMEA at Exabeam, a global cybersecurity leader that adds intelligence to every IT and security stack. She is responsible for ensuring Exabeam’s global markets receive relevant solutions messaging, collateral, and information.Samantha has over 21 years of experience in cyber security, and during this time has held a plethora of roles. She has defined strategy for multiple security products and technologies, helped hundreds of organisations of all shapes, sizes, and geographies recover and learn from cyberattacks, and trained many people on security concepts and solutions. In her current role she has responsibility for EMEA, Data Lake, compliance, and all things related to cloud.

Samantha’s dedication to diversity and inclusion has made her a leading figure in the cybersecurity industry. Since her early days moving from receptionist to Global Threat Response Manager at McAfee, Samantha has become one of the industry’s most impassioned advocates.” 

Nadia Kadhim, CEO & co-founder, Naq Cyber

Nadia has driven Naq to be a five million euro business serving customers all over the world. Nadia also has a passion for helping disadvantaged communities, demonstrated by her company Naq being 50% female and BAME.

Even through adversity and, frankly, when the chips were stacked against her, Nadia has demonstrated that through perseverance, she can overcome numerous obstacles to create a dynamic, fast-growing, multi-million euro business, meaning that she is a role model to young women everywhere.”

Hadis Karimipour, associate professor-chair in secure and reliable networked engineering systems, University of Calgary

Dr. Hadis Karimipour is the Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Secure and Resilient Cyber-Physical Systems, a position awarded to exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged as leaders by their peers. Named one of the Top 20 Women in Cyber Security in 2021 by IT World Canada, Dr. Karimipour is breaking new ground in using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the security analysis of Critical Infrastructure (CI)—the essential systems that sustain our lives and our economy, including power grids and transportation systems. In April 2022, she received the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta Early Accomplishment Award.

Hadis always provided a healthy, unbiased, and comfortable environment with equal opportunities for all trainees in my team. She ensured that the lab setup and equipment met the needs of diverse people with different genders, races, ages, and mental or physical disabilities. She has extended her training to include skills such as social responsibility, leadership, critical thinking, and humanity alongside science and technology.”  

Seònaid Lafferty, cyber ecosystem project manager, University of Manchester

Seònaid’s foresight is converting the process of supporting SMEs through transformations that will help them grow securely on-line into a sustainable community of interest for the future. Seònaid has progressed now to managing the equally innovative North West Partnership for Security and Trust, and the University’s part in the Manchester city centre Digital Security Hub (The DiSH) which will be a home for local meetups of the communities in the regional cyber ecosystem and the start-ups and scale-ups so important to steering us all safely through the cyber threat landscape.

“Sustainability, morals and ethics, and a positive attitude just flow from Seònaid even when those about her might trample over them for glory and an easy life. Follow Seònaid and you will be sure of treading a worthwhile path through the many complementary disciplines of cybersecurity.”

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