I got into cyber through first joining the Nevada Air National Guard. I then started networking myself on LinkedIn because at the time I knew nothing about cyber but everything about growing a social media presence. From there, luckily Reno being the small cyber talent pool that it is (and before a mostly remote workforce) I got my first job working in IT Risk as an analyst, working with SOC2 Type2 documents, learning technical controls and audit procedures and mitigating third-party risk for my org. At the time the woman performing my job had a master’s in cyber and information assurance and I wasn’t sure I would be able to do the job. Knowing my knowledge limitations in a technical capacity, I had a conversation with her about what exactly the job entailed and learned it was absolutely within my realm of capabilities and took on the challenge to learn.
The attributes that help set me up for success were my academic aptitude and my ability to take highly complex, technical concepts, learn them quickly, and break them down into an easily digestible manner for non-technical stakeholders. I had a strong passion to learn and the ability to keep up with the subject matter.
I would tell my younger to have more faith in my abilities. I am strong in what I do and do not know and therefore not only am I resolute in my knowledge and skills, but I know what to ask and where to go to develop my deficiencies.
I used to hold myself back by thinking I couldn’t do it, or what if I fail, or what if I am not good enough? But I learned to bring that tenacity, embrace failures as learning opportunities, not to be afraid of the unknown, and that if I dedicate my time and energy to anything there is no way I will not be good enough and that I will fail. But it was only when the risk of staying stuck outweighed the risk of trying and failing that I did. So, I wish I had trusted myself to simply try much sooner.
The quote I live by is “But what if I fall? But what if you fly?” and “Beware your mindset for it becomes your thoughts and actions.”
My inspiration is and always has been my children. They’re the reason I push myself so hard to succeed. I want them to see that no matter where you are or when you start you can achieve absolutely anything you want as fast as you want. You’re not limited by someone else’s timeline or idea of success.