International Women’s Day: Career Advice from Women in Tech

At the Center for Internet Security (CIS), we are proud to have so many talented, passionate, and knowledgeable employees on our team. Their efforts have contributed to our mission of making the connected world a safer place, bringing Confidence in the Connected World. In honor of International Women’s Day, CIS highlights some of these talented individuals.

We asked some of the women at CIS what it takes to make it in the industry, along with tips on how to grow one’s career, all while supporting other women on their journey. Here is what they had to say:

Erin Dayton | Cloud Team Manager

Erin-Dayton-Associaite-Cloud-Specialist-CISErin has been with CIS since 2015, where she started off as a Program Specialist with the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center and gradually progressed to more technical positions. Erin’s eagerness to learn and grow professionally helped her achieve her recent promotion to CIS’s Cloud Security Team Manager. Here’s Erin’s advice:

It’s worth the struggle. Every time you went the extra mile for a member or coworker, took that night class, spoke up to address a wrongdoing, played mental gymnastics to solve that problem, or took accountability for a mistake, will all be worth it. Count on yourself to make it through the hard stuff.

Managing expectations makes a world of difference. When each individual or team understands their responsibility, deadlines are outlined and expectations are defined, and conversations can become more about process and not people. Leaving less up to interpretation can alleviate your and other’s natural inclination to take things personally and help to cultivate trusted, professional relationships.

Laura MacGregor | Vice President of Marketing

Laura-MacGregor-VP-Marketing-CISLaura has 15+ years of marketing experience. She joined the team four years ago, bringing her expertise and unmatched balance of strategy and creativity to develop and grow CIS’s Marketing program. Here’s Laura’s advice:

Add value to the conversation. You absolutely should get involved, but make sure that you’re contributing to the discussion or making valid recommendations. You’ll earn more respect if your input adds value versus just talking to speak up in a meeting. In some cases, this means doing your homework ahead of time and coming prepared, especially if it’s a new topic for you.

Your path might not go in a straight line – and that’s okay. Take advantage of growth opportunities that are presented to you, even when they might not seem like they’re in perfect alignment with your goals. You’ll almost always learn something that will strengthen your knowledge and experience.

Valecia Stocchetti | Senior Cybersecurity Engineer, CIS Controls

Valecia-Stocchetti-Senior-Cybersecurity- Engineer-CIS-Controls-CISValecia has been a part of the CIS team since 2016, where she originally started as an Intern on the Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT). Valecia brings a diverse background of experience to CIS, with a focus in digital forensics and incident response. Here’s Valecia’s advice:

Don’t be afraid to be different.

Failure is only final if you don’t try again. Otherwise, failure is just another chance at an opportunity.

It’s okay to say “I don’t know.” No one can possibly know the answer to everything. We aren’t super humans (yet!).

Maureen Kunac | Product Owner, CIS-CAT

Maureen-Kunac-Product-Owner-CIS-CAT-CISMaureen has been a part of the CIS team since 2018. She has more than 20 years of software development and project management experience. Here’s Maureen’s advice:

Put 100% effort into every task you do, no matter how small the task or how important you perceive the work to be. You’ll gain a reputation as a person that completes work well.

Be the person you want to work with. Be open, approachable, and respectful to everyone regardless of a person’s title or role. Positive working relationships matter.

Be honest with yourself and embrace your natural talents and work ethic. Trying to force yourself into a role that doesn’t connect with your natural talents and work ethic will usually lead you down an unhappy path.

Never believe “it can’t be done.” Keep asking. There’s a solution.

Lijia Naina | Senior Operations Data Intelligence Analyst

Lijia-Naina-Senior-Operations-data-Intelligence-Analyst-CISLijia joined the CIS team in 2018. She brings a background in data analytics to the Operations and Security Services department, helping them make informed decisions. Here’s Lijia’s advice:

Take inspiration from diverse fields, and be creative on how you can apply them to your day to day job.

Consider new opportunities as a way to enhance your skills.

Justine Buddie | Product Owner, Optimus

Justine-Buddie-Software-Q- Engineer-CISJustine has been with CIS since June 2019. She brings six years of experience working in the tech industry. Here’s Justine’s advice:

Take initiative! Challenge yourself to set goals daily and work towards them proactively.

Honor your commitments. Following through on commitments consistently strengthens your credibility.

Surround yourself with people smarter and more skilled than you. You are the average of the company that you keep. Observe those around you, be curious, and ask questions. This will help you grow, enabling you to succeed.

Kathleen Moriarty | Chief Technology Officer

Kathleen Moriarty headshotKathleen is a recent addition to the CIS team and brings 20+ years of experience with her. She was named CyberSecurity Ventures’ Top 100 Women Fighting Cybercrime and was a 2020 Tropaia Award Winner for Outstanding Faculty at Georgetown SCS. Here’s Kathleen’s advice:

Take chances and nudge others to take chances. Sometimes we see opportunities that are in reach for other women that they may not realize are possible.

Be consistent. If you are in a challenging position such as not having work recognized, continue to perform at a high level and your consistency will speak for itself. You will establish an expected baseline others will trust.