Organised by Eskenzi PR in media partnership with the IT Security Guru, the Most Inspiring Women in Cyber Awards aim to shed light on the remarkable women in our industry. The following is a feature on one of 2022’s Top 20 women selected by an esteemed panel of judges. 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 and where relevant, supplemented with additional commentary by their nominator.
This year, the awards are sponsored by Beazley, BT, KPMG and KnowBe4.
Sydonie Williams, Focus Group Leader – RoW Cyber Risks, Beazley
What does your job role entail?
I manage a team of underwriters who focus on assessing cyber risk for insurance.
How did you get into the cybersecurity industry?
Prior to getting into cyber insurance I spent nearly 10 years doing property and marine reinsurance. I was approached by Beazley to join the cyber team and despite not having much technical cyber knowledge I took the opportunity and haven’t looked back!
What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced as a woman in the tech/cyber industry and how did you overcome it?
I think the biggest challenge is the perception around technical skills believed to be necessary to join the sector because at whatever stage in your career, it might not be feasible to go and get a professional qualification and that especially prevents women from joining. I urge all those in positions influencing recruitment to think outside the box and differentiate what skills you need for a role versus what you can teach/learn.
What are your top three greatest accomplishments you have achieved during your career so far?
Winning the Most Inspiring Women in Cyber Award recently, of course! Aside from that, I am proud of launching a female-specific mentoring global programme at my previous company and also proud to be a role model for those looking to change careers/lines of business.
What are you doing to support other women, and/or to increase diversity, in the tech/cyber industry?
Within Beazley, I co-chair our employee-led network (Beazley SHE) internationally and our focus is on empowering women to be successful, so we run a series of events aimed at tackling various issues. Recently, Beazley, KPMG and Microsoft also partnered on a series called Conversations with Women in Cyber which is aimed at tackling diversity in the tech/cyber industry by raising awareness and providing support and resources.
What is one piece of advice you would give to girls/women looking to enter the cybersecurity industry?
Don’t be put off by the illusion that you need to have technical skills to be in Cyber – there is a broad spectrum of roles and you can learn the technical on the job!