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.
Gamze Konyar, Head of Cyber at Marsh CEE & Eastern Mediterranean Regions
What does your job role entail?
Helping companies in Central Eastern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean Countries to understand, measure and manage, but especially, insure their Cyber Risk. I also build, train and support the Cyber Teams in Marsh CEE & Eastern Mediterranean Countries as well as raise awareness in these countries. Moreover, I work on complex cyber insurance placements and innovative insurance solutions, while working on the insurability of the clients in my region.
How did you get into the cybersecurity industry?
As an insurance professional, I started my career as an Underwriter in traditional insurance lines in 2008 in Turkey. After 6 years of Property Underwriting, I joined AIG Turkey in 2014 as a Cyber Insurance Underwriter. As one of the first dedicated Cyber Underwriters in Turkey, my passion in Cyber Risk started during this time. Since 2017, I have been working for Marsh in different roles and countries, but always on Cyber Risks.
What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced as a woman in the tech/cyber industry and how did you overcome it?
As a woman coming from a non-EU country with an insurance background, working for CEE & EM Regions (different languages, cultures, attitudes and business habits) in the Cyber Risk Field, every day is a challenge in itself; one which requires proving yourself each and every day. As a Cyber Risk Broker, my contacts from companies are 90% technical people, and I overcame this by self-training and increasing my skills and knowledge in this very specific field. Recently, I passed the CISM Exam which shows my dedication and passion for the Cyber Industry as well as my respect for my job.
What are your top three greatest accomplishments you have achieved during your career so far?
- Getting a regional leadership role at Marsh CEE & EM and seeing the increased Cyber Risk Awareness in the region that I am responsible for.
- Building trust with my colleagues and clients as well as the insurers’ network.
- Adding Cyber Security Knowledge to my skill set confirmed by the CISM Exam.
What are you doing to support other women, and/or to increase diversity, in the tech/cyber industry?
I am trying to lead by example, showing that we shouldn’t accept any limitations that society imposes on us based on our gender, nationality or age, and we should always keep trying to achieve our goals.
Four out of 6 Cyber Brokers in my region are women from different countries, and every day I support them in their daily business, providing them with the necessary training as well as empowering them to overcome the stereotypes that the Cyber Risk Industry is a men’s field.
I double-check with HR that our job advertisements use inclusive language to avoid any hesitation from applicants looking at these positions.
My plan is to start mentoring young women with diverse backgrounds from my region to empower and encourage them to become top Cyber Specialists.
What is one piece of advice you would give to girls/women looking to enter the cybersecurity industry?
There is not one single thing that we cannot achieve as women, so believe in yourself, equip yourself with the necessary know-how and always keep yourself updated.
Never give up on what you want, don’t listen to the people who try to make your achievements look smaller, speak up for yourself and for the other women in the industry.
The future is female, future is us.