Women in Security: Breaking Down Barriers to the Board

By Selena Templeton

IOActive, Equal Respect and WISP presented this ante-meridian networking event – and any conference that serves mimosas at 10 a.m. is already a win in my books. The Elan Event Center (across the street from Moscone West) was brimming with lively participants (men and women) who were, indeed, mingling and getting to know each other. It was great seeing friends and colleagues Chenxi Wang, Elena Elkina, Kenesa Ahmad, Jennifer Sunshine Steffens and Lisa Chu, and maybe it was the champagne disguised as orange juice, but everyone seemed enthused to be here.

Illustration by ITSPmagazine's Dr. Lisa Chu

Illustration by ITSPmagazine's Dr. Lisa Chu

After half an hour of networking, a panel called “Breaking Down Barriers to the Board” was presented by Tom Seclow (Partner at Spencer Stuart), Cammie Dunaway (Global Chief Marketing Officer, Strategy Consultant and Board Member), Hope Frank (Global Chief Marketing and Digital Officer), and moderated by Tamara McCleary (CEO at Thulium), who all shared their experiences and challenges of being on a board. Specifically targeted to senior-level women in security, this was a helpful panel on strategizing the next stage in your career.

Hope reminded the audience to be brave, step up and go for something even if it scared them, because that’s how everyone feels when expanding outside of their comfort zone. Chenxi asked what, if any, liabilities there were by sitting on a board, and overall the panelists agreed that there were none.

The energy was high, and even when the mic kept going out and the panelists had to revert to standing and projecting their voices, the interest of the audience didn’t wane. The panel also offered advice on how to get on a board, which largely came down to building your own leadership skills as well as industry relationships – and the power of networking came into play when Elena announced that the WISP board had an opening.