Two groundbreaking women shared their thoughts on why they love cybersecurity and what we can do, collectively, to promote more female representation. They are: Dr. Ellison Anne Williams, Founder and CEO of Enveil, and Dr. Inka Karppinen, Lead Behavioral Scientist at Cybsafe. [...]
Williams and Karppinen started their careers in cybersecurity under very different conditions. Williams earned masters’ degrees in mathematics and computer science, and a PhD in mathematics. After her formal education, she knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur, but ultimately chose to begin her career in the intelligence community. After about a decade of experience, she knew she had the skills and drive to build a startup and, more generally, help pioneer solutions in the area of Privacy Enhancing Technologies.
To do so, Williams had to block out extraneous “noise” from external entities that may not have wanted her to succeed. From the start, and to this day, she focuses on her mission: enabling critical business functions in a way that prioritizes the security and privacy of companies’ most sensitive data assets. [...]
At Enveil, William describes her company as “being built on math and grit,” meaning, her personal attitude is “have the willingness to persevere despite setbacks.” She advises her team to prioritize people and embrace flexibility, which she sees as an advantage for all team members, not just women.
“My advice to anyone with aspirations in tech is to just go for it. Don’t let fear or any other assumptions hold you back—find meaningful work that you’re interested in and pursue it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from people who are walking a similar path. I’m blessed to have been surrounded by a number of fantastic mentors and colleagues who have helped me achieve more than I could have on my own.
“I like to ensure I’m never so focused on my own lane that I lose perspective on bigger picture tech trends and market opportunities, so I tend to consume a wide cross-section of research and media. I also particularly enjoy outlets focused on founder stories and leadership—Harvard Business Review and First Round Review are a few of my favorites.”
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