More women are entering the cybersecurity industry and breaking down barriers to leadership. Recently, I had the honor of spending time with over 80 women in cybersecurity who held various roles from CISO to cybersecurity scholars at a Vision & Voice networking breakfast at the FS-ISAC Spring Americas Summit. The women in the room shared stories of the most impactful leaders they’ve worked with and together, we also compiled a list of great books that help us with our leadership skills and career advancement.
One attendee expressed her gratitude for the support and camaraderie of her colleagues in the FS-ISAC community, stating, “I value our friendships and what you all bring to my personal and professional life. So lucky to have you all as part of my crew!” This sentiment was echoed throughout the room, as many acknowledged the unique challenges women face in a male-dominated field and the importance of female role models and mentors.
Another participant shared her appreciation for the long-lasting connections she’s made, saying, “I don't think you hear it enough that I am grateful our paths have crossed and intertwined over all these years, and know how lucky I am to have an awesome set of women in my corner.” These bonds extend beyond the workplace, offering emotional support and encouragement as these women navigate career challenges.
In a testament to the power of collaboration and shared wisdom, one woman recounted how her peers had helped her negotiate a job offer, “The women in this room helped me negotiate my last job offer and I couldn’t have been as successful without their transparency and advice.” A supportive community where women feel comfortable sharing their experiences and seeking guidance can be transformative in shepherding women from middle management roles into higher echelons of leadership. This is how we can accomplish substantive change in cybersecurity diversity and culture, all of which can contribute to more effective teams.
Throughout the event, a number of influential books were discussed, which have played a pivotal role in shaping these women's leadership skills and career trajectories. Some recommended reads include Lean Out: A Professional Woman's Guide to Finding Authentic Work-Life Balance by Dawn L Baker, Moments of Impact by Chris Ertel & Lisa Kay Solomon; and Imperfect Leadership: A Book For Leaders Who Know They Don't Know It All by Steve Munby. (Full list available below.)
These books explore the journey towards authentic work-life balance for professional women, the importance of designing strategic conversations for transformative change, and embracing the imperfections inherent in leadership while fostering growth and learning.
As more women continue to break down barriers in cybersecurity, the importance of fostering a supportive and inclusive environment cannot be overstated. The power of mentorship, collaboration, and sharing knowledge is evident in the stories shared at this event, and serves as a reminder of the positive impact we can have on one another's careers and lives.
Our collective strength and resilience are the driving forces behind a more diverse and inclusive industry, ready to tackle the evolving challenges of cybersecurity.
Women Cyber Leaders' Booklist from the FS-ISAC Spring Americas Summit
- Am-Bitch-Ous: Learn to Be Her Now by Debra Condren
- Lean Out: A Professional Woman's Guide to Finding Authentic Work-Life Balance by Dawn L Baker
- Earn It!: Know Your Value and Grow Your Career, in Your 20s and Beyond by Mika Brzezinski, Daniela Pierre-Bravo, et al.
- Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by The Arbinger Institute, Steve Carlson, et al.
- The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict, Suzanne Toren, et al.
- Moments of Impact by Chris Ertel & Lisa Kay Solomon
- You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
- Managing Up by Mary Abajay
- Work Here Now: Think Like a Human and Build a Powerhouse Workplace by Melissa Swift, Daniela Acitelli
- The Book of Beautiful Questions: The Powerful Questions That Will Help You Decide, Create, Connect, and Lead by Warren Berger, Michael Quinlan
- How Women Rise by Sally Helgesen, Marshall Goldsmith
- It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy by D. Michael Abrashoff and Hachette
- Imperfect Leadership: A book for leaders who know they don't know it all by Steve Munby
- Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts by Brené Brown
- Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott
- Women in Tech: Take Your Career to the Next Level with Practical Advice and Inspiring Stories by Tarah Wheeler
- You Don't Need a Title to Be a Leader: How Anybody, Anywhere, Can Lead Anytime by Mark Sanborn
- The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues: A Leadership Fable by Patrick M. Lencioni, Stephen Hoye
- Coffee Lunch Coffee: A Practical Field Guide for Master Networking by Alana Muller
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
- The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream by Paulo Coelho, Jeremy Irons
- The Oz Principle: Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability by Roger Connors, Tom Smith
- The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller, Jay Papasan
- The Gift: 14 Lessons to Save Your Life by Dr. Edith Eva Eger, Tovah Feldshuh
- Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less by Tiffany Dufu and Macmillan
- How Women Rise by Sally Helgessen & Marshall Goldsmith
Learn more about our Vision & Voice: Women in Cybersecurity community, which is dedicated to lifting women into leadership roles. The community is free to join.