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Did you know that the word ‘computer’ was not originally used to refer to the machine? The word ‘computer’ originally applied to the women who programmed said machine. If you didn’t know that, don’t be surprised; most people don’t. Women throughout history have held monumental roles, not only for the advancement of our species but also within traditionally male industries, and cybersecurity is no exception.
From positions in the White House to Fortune 1000 brands, women have been at the helm of the cybersecurity battle-ship for as long as men have.
Here are 10 extraordinary women to follow in cybersecurity today:
Alissa Abdullah | SVP & Deputy CSO @ Mastercard
As an award-winning cybersecurity executive, Dr. Abdullah has held her fair share of exciting roles. From her position as a cryptologic engineer for the United States Department of Defense to becoming Deputy Chief Information Officer to the White House under President Obama’s administration, Dr. Alissa Abdullah has carried the torch in some of the most exciting cybersecurity jobs to date.
Now, she is making waves as the Deputy Chief Security Officer of Cybersecurity Technology at Mastercard.
Dr. Reem AlShammari | CISO @ Kuwait Oil Company
Dr. Reem is known for many things in the cybersecurity world, but one of the most notable is as co-founder and leader for Women in Cyber Security Middle East (WiCSME). As an innovator and leader in the oil and gas arena, she was awarded with being ranked number one in the cybersecurity space at IFSEC Global Top Influencers in Security and Fire, 2019.
Innovative and always pushing boundaries for the greater good, Reem AlShammari is the perfect role model for anyone thinking about a career in cybersecurity.
Stefanie Drysdale | VP, Cyber @ Prescient
With a career beginnings in commercial real estate, Stefanie moved on to work her way from account executive at Prescient to becoming an instrumental aspect of their company. As Vice President of Cyber, Stefanie pushed the limits and is an ideal example of perseverance and hard work.
Keren Elazari | Founder @ Leading Cyber Ladies
Security analyst, TED speaker, and author. These are some of the impressive job titles on Keren’s resume. In 2015, she founded Leading Cyber Ladies, a powerhouse event for women in cybersecurity in Israel which already has several branches all over the world. Keren is known not only for her brilliant speaking, but also her entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiasm for the cybersecurity industry.
Keren is also Co-Founder at BSidesTLV, Israel’s largest hacker community event.
Christine Izuakor | Senior Manager, Global Security Strategy and Awareness @ United Airlines
If you attended RSA 2019, then Dr. Christine Izuakor may be immediately recognized for the years and service that she put in as the Senior Manager of Global Security Strategy and Awareness at United Airlines. You may have sat in on her presentation about The Rise of the Cyber-Culture Hacker. However, Dr. Izuakor moved on to pave her own path as Founder and CEO at Cyber Pop-up, a new matchmaking startup.
With her deep knowledge of the cyber space, Dr. Christine Izuakor has paved the way for trailblazers just like her.
Alissa Valentina Knight | Partner @ Knight Ink
Alissa is known as a brilliant leader and innovator. She does so much more than her role as Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer at Knight Ink. She’s also a successful cybersecurity influencer, content creator, published author, and quite the hacker herself.
Alissa has a deep knowledge of the space and the work ethic to match.
Alyssa Miller | Application Security Advocate @ Snyk
She’s a hacker, researcher, author, international speaker, security advocate, and co-host on her own podcast. What can’t Alyssa Miller do? With a history of being a great and engaging speaker and writer, Alyssa has taken the cybersecurity space by storm. She has injected her own wit and wisdom to add some color and liveliness to a traditionally gray arena. She’s out to change the way we look at “the security of our interconnected way of life.”
Kavya Pearlman | CEO @ XR Safety Initiative (XRSI)
Fun fact: Kavya has won the Top Global Cybersecurity Influencer by IFSEC Global, for three consecutive years! Her entrepreneurial spirit has led her to found four (FOUR!) cybersecurity companies. She’s a cybersecurity pioneer, focusing on advocacy and ethics. Kavya is a great writer and can speak five languages; anyone would be lucky to call her their mentor.
Zoë Rose | Cybersecurity Analyst @ BH Consulting
Based in Ireland, Zoë Rose has been a cybersecurity specialist since she entered the workforce. She is an international speaker and has written several publications on the industry, winning herself several honors and awards including The 50 Most Influential Women in Cybersecurity.
Shira Rubinoff | President & Co-Founder, Prime Tech Partners
Shira is an award winning international global keynote speaker and entrepreneur, and has built two cybersecurity companies from the ground up. She has led several women-in-technology conferences and is regarded as a valuable advisor in the space. She is not only a co-founder at Prime Tech Partners, but is also president at SecureMySocial. She’s won a plethora of awards in the space including Top Global Female Cybersecurity Influencer on Social Media.
We hope you liked this list of cybersecurity influencers and thought leaders.