Updated: Jan 15, 2020
Working in the cyber security industry, I never imagined my job would enable me to give back to causes I care so deeply about. Of course, it helps that I work for a large company and a great leadership team who values diversity and social responsibility just as much as I do. But, I also want to share this with hope that no matter how large or small your company, as you think about how you can make a difference…you remember that you don’t have to be wealthy first or do it alone! Look into the causes that your employer, family, friends, and community care about and find ways you can bring your passion and ideas to the table, and work together to make it happen. Here is one example of many where through my job and network, I was blessed with an opportunity to give back:
Recently at the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Workforce Professionals (ICMCP) Third Annual National Conference in Atlanta, United awarded $10,000 in scholarships to four cyber security students. I had the extreme honor and pleasure of presenting the awards to the students at the event, and was quickly reminded of how good it feels to give back to others while also contributing to increasing diversity within the industry.
Paola Lowry, one of United’s scholarship recipients, shared how much the honor meant to her at the conference. “I want to express my sincere appreciation for being selected for this award,” said Paola. “I’m sure it was a difficult task, to choose one out of an amazing community of women and minorities who are working hard to break the status quo.”
It feels great to support the next generation of cyber security professionals. Our scholarship recipients are remarkable people. From battling life threatening illnesses, to making selfless sacrifices for their families, to taking leaps of faith to leave comfortable careers and move into the world of cyber security, their dedication to success and resilience are inspiring. It’s important to work with academic, non profit, and for profit businesses to continue closing the gap, and we look forward to continuing our growing partnership with ICMCP.
It’s no secret that diversity in tech is still a challenge today, and the cyber security sector is no exception. In addition, the general talent gap the industry is facing has left many organizations struggling to find ways to attract and retain top cyber talent. I’m proud to work for an organization that leads the pack in this arena and is dedicated to shifting the dial.
“Our journey at United Airlines over the last year has led us to tackle this issue head on,” shared Chief Information Security Officer Emily Heath, who boasts a security, risk and compliance team that as of earlier this year was 48 percent female and had representatives of 25 nationalities working side by side to battle security threats. “As we looked to significantly increase the size of our team, we knew shrinking the diversity gap was going to be a key differentiator for us and a principle that we wanted to be at the core of our team’s DNA.”
Thank you to United Airlines and ICMCP for making the scholarship giveaway possible!