The IT Security Guru’s Most Inspiring Women in Cyber Awards aims to shed a light on the remarkable women in our industry. The following is a feature on just one of the many phenomenal women put forward for the 2021 awards. Presented in a Q&A format, the nominee’s answers are written in their own words with minor edits made by the editor for readability.
This year, the awards are sponsored by KPMG and Beazley.
Marilise de Villiers, Founder & CEO of ROAR! Coaching and Consulting
What does your job role entail?
At ROAR! we are passionate about people living successful, healthy and happy lives. We work with individuals and with organisations.
Our work with individuals is mainly Coaching (1:1 and Group)
The ROAR! Blueprint is designed to:
- Ignite your authentic purpose
- Win your inner game (thoughts, feelings)
- Win your outer game (words, actions)
- Unleash your authentic voice – your ROAR!
ROAR is also a four-step process to having courageous conversations – with others and with yourself. It stands for Recognise, Observe, Assert, Redirect.
Our work with organisations is mainly Consultancy.
I combine over two decades of experience as a chartered accountant, executive coach and change consultant in finance, internal audit and cyber security awareness, culture and talent. I have led the design and roll-out of global behaviour change programmes in consulting, research and operational delivery roles, across a broad range of industries and disciplines.
Over the last decade, I specialised in addressing cyber security behaviours and culture, encouraging organisations to move away from compliance-led‚ tick box approaches, towards risk-based, people-centric approaches that embed secure mindsets and habits into organisational culture. I emphasise the need for a speak-up culture that allows suspicious behaviour and mistakes to be surfaced and addressed.
How did you get into the cybersecurity industry?
In 2010, a conversation with a colleague sparked my interest in the human aspects of Cyber Security. That colleague was William Beer and he said: Marilise, we need you, with your people and change management skills to work with us, the security experts, to solve what is ultimately a people problem. So, William was the catalyst for me starting. Even though, at the time, I had no idea what Cyber Security was, I was super excited! I passionately believe that people are the solution.
What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced as a woman in the tech/cyber industry and how did you overcome it?
Being bullied – see my book and TEDx references.
What are your top three greatest accomplishments you have achieved during your career so far?
- 2004 – Moving from South Africa to London
- 2017 – Becoming a founder and CEO after I quit my corporate job
- 2021 – Delivering my TEDx talk
What are you doing to support other women, and/or to increase diversity, in the tech/cyber industry?
I openly share my personal story and show how courage and vulnerability go hand in hand. I aspire to show up as my best self every day and be a role model. I show women “if I can do it, so can you”. I mentor and coach many men and women in cyber security.
What is one piece of advice you would give to girls/women looking to enter the cybersecurity industry?
It’s a tough environment to navigate so you have to strengthen your resilience muscle daily.
Turn your thoughts, feelings, words and actions into your four superpowers.
Prioritise YOU on your list of priorities.
Self-care is a necessity, not a luxury.