I got interested in cyber by taking a cybersecurity class during graduate school. Then I interned at the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security in their cybersecurity division before starting my first real job at Booz Allen Hamilton in McLean, Virginia.
The experience that set me up for success was having a mentor who trusted in me to make my own decisions and any mistakes along with that. I believe that entrusting your team with autonomy and decision-making created an environment that encourages people to take pride in their work and strive to go above and beyond. I think this also decreases the likelihood of people lacking the confidence to do great things in their organization. Leaders should always empower their team to also be leaders.
The biggest influencers in my life have been my parents because they came from humble beginnings and sacrificed everything to give my brother and me a better life. I owe a lot of my successes to them because they gave me such a strong foundation.
I would tell my younger self don’t worry too much about knowing everything. People out there are faking it until they make it. You know what you know, and you’ll learn the rest.
The quote I live by is “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” By Ralph Waldo Emerson.
I think everyone being taught to do things by the book and in a specific way stifles innovation, so I like trying to do things in different ways just for the sake of doing so! The biggest creators and innovators forge their own path in life, even when it meant having an unpopular opinion.
My true calling would be running a cruise ship! I think it would be amazing to go to sleep in one country and wake up in another without having to catch flights or worry about transportation. I think it would also be a fantastic opportunity to meet people and see all corners of the world. I’m a big foodie too so trying all the local cuisines would be my highlight!
My inspiration is Dolly Parton because not only is she a shrewd businesswoman, but she has also managed to answer questions about controversial topics without ever offending anyone and does it with a smile. People underestimated her early in her career and she sure showed them just how successful blondes can be.
A favorite place of mine is Egypt! I’m a huge history buff so walking among such rich history was a dream come true! The people are some of the nicest I’ve ever met as well.
A random fun fact about me is that am originally from Kentucky so I know quite a bit about the bourbon industry.
My recommended read is The Art of Invisibility by Kevin Mitnick, which will leave you paranoid about “big brother” watching. It’s a very good read with recommendations for living in an interconnected society.