In 2017, the Women in Cybersecurity Survey Report noted that only 11% of cybersecurity jobs are held by women. Of the women that were surveyed, 50% identified gender discrimination as a reason why there are so few women in cybersecurity, while 28% stated that they didn’t feel valued at work. The survey also revealed that the overall compensation for females is less than males and men are nine times more likely to be hired for management roles and four times more likely to hold executive level positions. Consequently, the lack of female role models for other aspiring female cybersecurity professionals is likely to further exacerbate the gender disparity in the field of cybersecurity.

To get more women to join the field of cybersecurity, companies need to shift how they market cybersecurity jobs and increase training within their organizations.

We foresee that increasing the number of female cybersecurity professionals will help the IT security Job shortage. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions by 2021, up from one million in 2016. Given that nearly half of the working age population is women, even a slight increase in training and hiring of female cybersecurity professionals will have a significant impact on narrowing the cybersecurity skills gap.

At the same time, the continued shift to cloud and mobile requires organizations to approach cybersecurity with more data science, machine learning, identity and data centric security, and risk-based security controls. Below are amazing women who have pushed through the challenges while leading the way for cybersecurity professionals of tomorrow. Hear what they have to say from the “Women in Cloud Strategy” event that was held in Chicago.

Yabing Wang

Chief Security Architect and Vice President of Global Security at Alight Solutions (previously called Aon-Hewitt)

Yabing is responsible for establishing a new practice to focus on security strategy and roadmaps, as well as security architectures and governance. Her team works with other security professionals, builds trust partnership with all teams across the enterprise to securely deliver services to clients and customers. She leads her team with a goal of making security a true enabler, not inhibitor, for the business.

Prior to Alight, Yabing has beenwas with Allstate Insurance for 15 years where she headed the security architecture team as the Chief Security Architect. Her accomplishments varied from building the company’s security framework, strategies, and architectures, to establishing most of Allstate’s security capabilities and services. For her accomplishments, Yabing received the Chairman’s award, Allstate’s highest award in 2012 for her significant contribution to the company. Before Allstate, she also worked at Netscape Communications for 5 years. Yabing obtained her master’s degree in Computer Science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Yabing has been an advocate for women in technology and women in cybersecurity. She has been playing an active role in Alight and Allstate as well as in the security industry to encourage women to join and grow in technology and cybersecurity.

Kathleen Jungck

Chief Cloud Security Architect-Digital Solutions, Johnson Controls Inc.

Before Johnson Controls, Kathleen worked at Premera Blue Cross (a major healthcare insurer) as a Cybersecurity Engineering Manager researching and implementing security solutions. Prior to Premera, Kathleen worked as a security consultant for several organization, including Microsoft where she supported code signing and PKI projects, and for AT&T in Identity & Access Management. In addition, Kathleen has worked at Boeing Interiors as an IT manager, held various IT roles and was an adjunct professor in computer science and information assurance at the University of Washington. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Seattle chapter of Cloud Security Alliance and volunteers as a speaker and mentor for the UW Cybersecurity program, UW iSchool, and Western Washington University.

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Brooke Noelke

Manager for Public/Private Cloud Architecture and Product Mgmt, McAfee

Brooke leads McAfee IT’s cloud technical architects and business-facing cloud service management efforts, driving McAfee’s CIO transformation program moving 90% of our workloads to the cloud.    She’s spent most of her career in technical leadership roles in cloud strategy, architecture and engineering.   She believes cloud services have already rewritten our IT universe, and we’re all just catching up… but that the IaaS/PaaS “easy buttons” we’re handing developers aren’t as risk-free as commonly assumed.  Her mission is to make the secure path, the easy path to deploying new McAfee products and product-supporting intelligence in the cloud, through agile automation and reference architectures we can reuse across the company and offer to our customers.  Off hours, she can be found solo backpacking with her dogs, or philosophizing with her woodworker husband Mike.

Carrie Laskowski, CCSK

Manager of Information Security, Data Protection Engineering

Carrie Laskowski has over 20 years of experience in IT engineering in a financial sector.  She currently leads a team of data protection engineers focused on data confidentiality and data loss prevention technologies both on premise and in the cloud.  Carrie is an active participant of Cloud Security Alliance working groups and volunteers at local schools teaching kids to code.

Ligia Forgaciu

CEO, Data Security Consulting

Ligia brings expert security experience in the areas of insider risk and threat program management, data loss prevention, data governance and classification, and cyber security. Throughout her career, Ligia has provided strategic and technical expertise to global organizations and is recognized for designing effective security programs to meet business objectives.

Her experience includes implementing network perimeter security and defense solutions for global customers at IBM, leading DLP Program Advisory at Symantec and being awarded the Top Team Award for her exceptional work. More recently, she has also been a strategic partner to a top tier global security software company to help customers develop successful Data Governance & Protection Development programs.