For this month’s Vision & Voice Coffee Chat, we sat down with Hayley Roberts, CEO and founder of Distology. We addressed various topics, all intertwined with the Vision & Voice mission: facilitating the ascent of women leadership in cybersecurity.

Acknowledging Individual Worth Beyond Comparisons

Hayley started the discussion by addressing the societal norm of comparing children from a young age, illustrating how this ingrains comparative behavior in us. She emphasized that self-worth is often measured through these comparisons, both in childhood and professional life. However, she attempted to redirect the narrative, stating, “We need to stop this need to look at good humans as good humans, no matter where they come from.” In the continually developing sphere of leadership in cybersecurity, we’re in agreement that acknowledging individuality beyond societal norms is crucial.

Appreciating Neurodiversity

In a judgment-prone world, Hayley illuminated her experiences with young cyber criminals. She highlighted that many of these people were neurodiverse, and this enabled them to bring unique skills to the table: “We're evolving as a species... our neurodiversity is super important.” Within cybersecurity leadership, this viewpoint emphasizes the importance of understanding and valuing diverse skill sets before forming judgments, without condoning criminality.

Navigating Through Social Conformity

Hayley talked about the pressure to adhere to societal norms that dictate our life stages – such as school, marriage, and employment – and emphasized that these do not determine our value. She candidly shared, “I've messed up. I've had to do all those really hard things and make some really hard choices.”

Leadership with Compassion

Hayley discussed the delicate balance leaders maintain between compassion and decision-making. She offered a perspective: "Being compassionate doesn't mean avoiding difficult conversations. It means having those conversations but with compassion." This serves as a reminder to leaders to remain genuine and authentic, especially during challenging times, and to always approach situations with empathy.

Reconceptualizing 'Normal'

Hayley ardently encouraged attendees to “recreate what normal is.” She advocated for breaking away from societal norms and exploring various life opportunities. "Good is going and experiencing so many different things. Just throw yourself into it."

Hayley's Advocacy for Authentic Leadership

Hayley Roberts’ insights align profoundly with the Vision & Voice mission. As the cybersecurity field continues to progress, the demand for leaders who embody compassion, authenticity, and vision becomes increasingly critical. 

Hayley’s call to action? To reshape the narrative on leadership in cybersecurity, emphasizing a compassionate and authentic approach; to advocate for a future where women not only ascend in this dynamic field but do so with their true stories and voices, carving a path that vibrates with authenticity.