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Women in Cyber BNP Paribas Panel

Busra Demir
Oct 18, 2019

I had the honor to speak at a panel on Women in Cyber: Leveraging Diversity in Risk Management and Cyber Security at BNP Paribas Paris with a fantastic group of security leaders including:

  • Gemma O’Loghlen — Head of Transversal Projects RISK ORC ICT, BNPP

  • Danielle Winandy — Head of RISK Innovation Office, BNPP

  • Alain Papiasse — Chairman of CIB and Group Representative for UK & Americas, BNPP

  • Erica Moon — CISO CIB UK, BNPP

A big thank you shoutout to Ramy Houssaini (Chief Cyber & Technology Risk Officer /Group Data Protection Officer, BNPP) for the invitation and Caroline Wong (Chief Strategy Officer, Cobalt.io) for recommending me to speak.

During this session and throughout the day, I met with so many amazing and successful people which once again validates my love for hacking and sharing my knowledge of how I turned my passion into work.

The following are few of my takeaways from the panel after discussing and hearing more about the ideas and approaches from the successful panelists I shared the stage with:

  • We need to help change how women are perceived in tech. There seems to be a misconstrued perception in education and general culture, that many people don’t see women as “tech” types. It has even been mentioned that some recruiters don’t believe that women choose a career path in cybersecurity because it’s more of a masculine profession. Because of this, women need to try harder to be visible for opportunities and get recognition in these types of professions. We as women in this industry, need to be vocal and help share our love and passion for this industry to show other woman that this is an amazing career path!

  • If we want change, we must be the voice for that change. In many workplaces, women are expected to highlight their achievements and prove that they are better than or equal to their male colleagues to get what they deserve. To influence real change, it takes a village. As men and women who want this to change we need to take on this responsibility together and do our best to spread this vision around the world by living as live examples. During my time as a security consultant, I would notice executives light up with joy when they see a female ethical hacker on their project. They are generally interested in learning about my background which shows they want to encourage skilled women.

  • *Promoting diversity shouldn’t be necessary, it should be the standard. *Promoting gender equality within organizations shouldn’t be a voluntary assignment for men/women who choose to support this cause. There also needs to be support from an organizational level that can help guide those who are interested in supporting diversity initiatives.

  • *Help encourage individuals! *I think that if you meet anyone who is interested in in learning more about security you should help encourage them into the industry. However, given the misconstrued ideas around women not being interested in technology, we need to help combat that by encouraging more women to learn more about tech and cybersecurity. To an outsider, the security industry can be intimidating. Help shine a light on this industry and maybe they will fallen in love with the security space just as I have.

  • People should be treated equally at work without considering their gender, cultural backgrounds, or other personal differences. Instead, people should be recognized by their skillsets and ability to perform their job.

Being apart of this panel helped show me yet again that woman can do anything. It’s inspiring to see strong, successful woman in the security industry and be able to see them as examples of what can be. I too, hope to be an example to woman everywhere. If you have any interest in hacking, breaking things, finding bugs, etc — I’m here for you!

There are more woman in this industry then you realize and we can increase this number by supporting more individuals, listening to their concerns, and helping show them the way to recognizing their potential.

I can safely say for myself, that I won’t stop until I become one of the best hackers in the world! Someday, with a combination of challenging certificates, experience, passion, hard work, and some advertisement of my achievements I know I will make this happen!

Stay tuned, there will be more to come!