I got into cyber – through project/program management, computer science, technical communications, psychology, and neurodiversity. Cybersecurity was not a major when I was in college because computers and the internet were still developing as were security threats, so I majored in Computer Science and Technical Communications in my undergraduate studies and Industrial and Organizational Psychology in my graduate studies. The studies were complementary in that we all need physical and cyber security as well as physical and mental health. My twice exceptional gifted attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) brain wiring also comes with superpowers like attention to detail, hypervigilance, and such that are valuable in cybersecurity.
I was awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) Gateway Design Instructor Excellence Award for leading a department of 50+ lab instructors, developing strategy, redesigning curriculum, offering community outreach, and presenting results to the Board of Trustees at my alma mater, which led me to be hired right out of college as a Project/Program Manager. I am among the first 6% (#67093 to be exact) to achieve PMP certification that now over a million people hold and have been an IBM Project/Program Manager for about 24 years in client-facing delivery, finance, and operations, and data automation for IBM Security Worldwide Solution Excellence. I was accepted into the IBM Academy of Technology (AoT), an action-oriented society of 600 leading thinkers and problem solvers who provide cross-industry technical leadership.
For me, a positive cyber mindset is – a healthy one that balances the needs of self, others, and the world. It involves humane technology, digital equity, and trauma-informed, healing-centered approaches. The Center for Humane Technology created a ledger of harms of compelling studies and articles because “under immense pressure to prioritize engagement and growth, technology platforms have created a race for human attention that’s unleashed invisible harms to society.” Artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing have the potential to exacerbate existing harms from social media and such, so I was invited to join the IBM Trusted Artificial Intelligence (AI) Center of Excellence (CoE) and Inclusive Design Guild Leadership Squad.
The quote(s) I live by – are from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Here are excerpts from his call for “creative maladjustment” and his final speech on remaining awake through a great revolution that remain relevant to this day.
“There are some things in our society, some things in our world, to which we should never be adjusted…We must never adjust ourselves to economic conditions that take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few,” so that, “we may be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man’s inhumanity to man, into the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice.”
“Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this. We must all learn to live together as brothers, or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”
My true calling is – in mental health because hurt people can hurt people, but healed people can heal people. By practicing a healthy cyber mindset and creative maladjustment, advocacy has become a form of care for self, others, and the world.
While serving as Board Chair of This Is My Brave, I led the production of the “Stories from the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Community Show” and presented “Intersectional Mental Health Stories: The Impact of Black and APIDA Voices” at annual conferences for the Association for Psychological Science (APS) Annual Convention and Arts Schools Network (ASN). I co-implemented roundtables through Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) to better support abuse survivors and co-presented “Led by Lived Experience: Working Ethically with Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse” at the Virginia Victim Assistance Network (VVAN) Annual Conference.
I was awarded the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Northern Virginia Youth Education Champion Award for my mental health contributions as Lead Presenter of Ending the Silence, Family Support Group Facilitator, and Board Member. I also received the first-ever Loudoun County Resilience Award for collaborations with Inova Action Committee, Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, Loudoun Human Services Network (LHSN), Trauma-Informed Community Network (TICN), Virginia Mental Health Access Program (VMAP) and Unite Us to ensure access to human services to meet holistic needs.