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.
Zoë Rose, Regional Information Security Lead, Canon Europe
What does your job role entail?
I provide security recommendations and insights to the EMEA regional offices and manage the audit process to validate alignment.
How did you get into the cybersecurity industry?
My plan wasn’t to work in security originally. As a curious person, I get bored easily and I like to find ways I can help others. Additionally, due to personal circumstances, I wanted to learn how to protect myself and the technology industry; ultimately, security enabled this.
What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced as a woman in the tech/cyber industry and how did you overcome it?
Imposter syndrome is a challenge for many people, especially those from minority groups. On top of this, women often struggle with having to prove themselves, to almost validate their own knowledge. However, credentialing over and over gets exhausting. Imposter syndrome and credentialing is something I have struggled with for many years. Thankfully, I currently have an excellent manager and fabulous team – so it makes a world of difference.
What are your top three greatest accomplishments you have achieved during your career so far?
I think my biggest achievement is being the person I needed 10 years ago. There have been situations where, speaking at a conference or writing a blogpost, or presenting OSINT skills on telly – I was able to explain the value of data and share ways for the vulnerable to protect themselves and take back control. Knowing I could help someone, even in a small way, is extremely rewarding.
Additionally, I had the honour of being featured in British Vogue magazine – which is probably one of the coolest opportunities I’ve had yet.
Third, I think it would have to be my current project, where a friend and I co-host the Imposter Syndrome Network podcast, where we get to demystify technology careers and provide insights our guests share about their journeys – again, all of these achievements come back to sharing knowledge. I think that’s one of the most important parts of my career.
What are you doing to support other women, and/or to increase diversity, in the tech/cyber industry?
I try to be a safe person in industry when someone is struggling, and if I can help, I do. Things like sharing questions to a broader audience, mentoring, providing feedback. At many conferences I have been a mentor to rookie speakers, I take on interns, and share my experience with newer people in the industry. When hiring, I try to apply the lessons I’ve learnt from unconscious bias training, to build and importantly support a diverse team. When struggling, I get other’s insights to ensure I see the broader perspective and not take things personally. I prioritise knowledge sharing, and with the ISN podcast I co-host, I demystify technology careers and challenges.
What is one piece of advice you would give to girls/women looking to enter the cybersecurity industry?
Focus on what interests you, join communities to build your support system, and celebrate your wins. When you feel a sense of imposter syndrome, look back on how far you’ve come, and consider how you would respond if someone came to you with the experiences you have – what would you say to them?