“I have literally walked past security guards who assumed that a petite, professional woman couldn’t possibly be up to anything nefarious.”Raxis Chief Operating Officer, Bonnie Smyre
At Raxis, we believe in giving back to our community and especially to the young people who are our future workforce. That’s one reason why I was very excited for the recent invitation to deliver a video message to students of Atlanta’s Westminster Schools, a private academy for kindergarten through 12th grade students, as part of its Conversations Around Race and Equity (CARE) initiative.
Westminster aims to instill in its students a strong belief that they can do anything they put their mind to, as long as they create meaningful goals and work hard to achieve them. In the US today, their choice of profession isn’t limited by anyone else. So, it’s important for young people to open their minds and explore a wide range of career options.
As a woman in the male-dominated field of information security, I was able to talk about my experience and how, through hard work and focus, I have earned the respect of my (all-male) colleagues along with the position of chief operating officer (COO).
I also had some fun explaining how being a penetration tester allowed me use my gender to my advantage. I have literally walked past security guards who assumed that a petite, professional woman couldn’t possibly be up to anything nefarious. Some cheap surgical scrubs from Walmart were all I needed to enter a nurse’s station and access a hospital’s computer network. A birthday cake was my ticket onto a secure elevator and directly into the office of a corporate vice president.
My intention was to present the infosec field as a fun, challenging, and meaningful career choice. It’s also a field that is inclusive and accessible to everyone, regardless of race or gender, as long as they are willing to invest the effort.
Congratulations to Westminster Schools for introducing students to a broad range of career options and for teaching them that all are within their reach. I was proud to be a part of that effort.
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