Seven Women to Watch In Cyber

Girls Who Code
4 min readNov 1, 2023

Did you know that less than a quarter of the cybersecurity workforce are women? In partnership with Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA,) all month long we featured some amazing women making waves in the #Cybersecurity field.

Here are a few you should know:

Adrienne Phoenix is an IT Cybersecurity Specialist at CISA. Her favorite part about working in cyber is that every day is a new challenge. “ Cybersecurity is an ever-changing field that requires us to think ahead as well as react to what’s happening now,” says Adrienne. “What worked yesterday, will not always work tomorrow so there is always a new challenge before me. I like working on a dynamic team where everyone is expected to contribute, and we all bring something unique to the table.”

Rachel Kelly is the Deputy Chief of Cybersecurity Shared Services Office at CISA. “With the diversity of careers and needed skill sets in cybersecurity and public service, as my personal path has demonstrated, there is no typical course to follow,” she says. “I think it is critically important to know that with the constant evolution within the field, there are virtually limitless possibilities, and you just need to dive in and don’t look back; you must be willing to put yourself out there.”

Meet Laurie Lai, Senior Counsel for Cybersecurity at CISA. “There have been a lot of times I’ve entered a room or joined a meeting and realized that everyone else is a man. When I don’t look like anybody else in the room, don’t sound like anyone else, don’t give off the same vibe, sometimes it’s harder to get people to pay attention to what I’m saying, or it can be easy to doubt myself. In those times, it’s important to trust in my knowledge, my skills, the hard work that I’ve put in.I don’t have anyone to model myself after, so I have to be myself and blaze a new path.”

Introducing Monsurat Ottun, IT Cyber Security Specialist and Cybersecurity Advisor at CISA. “Consider what aspects of cybersecurity are most appealing and don’t hesitate to delve in,” she says. “Build a network, learn as much as you can, and understand that the possibilities are potentially limitless.”

Meet Janet Rathod, Global Head of Cyber Threat Intelligence, at Citi.

“The field of cybersecurity is not static,” she says. “It is a dynamic ecosystem that continually evolves to counter emerging threats. Embracing a career in cybersecurity grants young women the opportunity to be at the forefront of innovation and problem-solving, shaping the digital future with our unique perspectives.”

Meet Rachel Kim Bierner, Head of Cloud Security at Wells Fargo and the Co-founder of Project Cyber.

“ Explore different tracks and see which align to your interests and aspirations. Talk to women in the field and learn about what they do and how they got there. I bet you’ll hear about some fascinating career journeys!.,” she says.

Meskerem Gebrehiwet is a Security Consulting Analyst at Accenture

“The field is not only for tech savvy or those who have “hackers” skill, so don’t be intimidated to explore and consider the field. Job opportunities are vast — you could literally work for any kind of organization because cybersecurity is now an integral part of most organizations in the digital era, and its relevance can only be bigger with time,” she says.

Stay tuned as we continue to work with CISA to raise awareness about cybersecurity and technology careers and create pathways for young women to get hands-on cybersecurity experience in the private sector, non‑profit sector, or government.

For more information on CISA careers and culture, visit cisa.gov/careers and cisa.gov/cisa‑culture.

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