The Most Influential Women In The Cyber World

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In 2022, women accounted for 25 percent of cybersecurity positions worldwide, marking an increase from 20 percent in 2019 and approximately 10 percent in 2013. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, projections suggest that women will make up 30 percent of the global cybersecurity workforce by 2025, with further growth to 35 percent by 2031. No doubt, women are becoming more and more influential in cyber.

In 1842, Ada Lovelace, an accomplished mathematician and daughter of the English romantic poet Lord Byron saw the hidden potential in Charles Babbage’s early mechanical computer, the Analytical Engine. She had the vision and foresight to understand that it was more than just a calculator, so she wrote an algorithm for the machine, and in that moment created the world’s first computer program.

With International Women’s Day coming up on March 8, we honor Ada Lovelace’s legacy by profiling some of the leading women in today’s cyber industry.

Michelle Drolet

influential cyber women

Michelle Drolet is the Founder and CEO of Towerwall, a leading cybersecurity company. With over 24 years of experience in the field, she has played a pivotal role in making Towerwall a respected name in the industry.

Ms. Drolet’s expert insights on sound information security practices frequently appear in articles for publications such as Forbes and CSO Online.

She was recognized as being one of the Top 5 Women in Cybersecurity in 2019, one of CIO Views’ Top CEOs to Watch in 2020, one of the Top 10 Influential Business Leaders to Follow in 2021 by Beyond Exclamation Magazine, and one of the 10 most powerful women in IT by VARBusiness magazine. At present, she serves on various boards and committees, including the MassBay Information Security Advisory Board.

Keren Elazari

influential cyber women

Keren Elazari is an influential figure in the cybersecurity field. She is associated with Tel Aviv University and is a renowned ethical hacker, researcher, and speaker interested in the intersection of security, technology, and society. She has delivered captivating talks at major conferences, emphasizing the importance of ethical hacking and the need for a secure digital landscape. Keren’s passion lies in raising awareness about cybersecurity and inspiring the next generation of professionals to join this critical field.

One of Keren’s passions is giving back to the security community – with two non profit initiatives she co-founded: the global Leading Cyber Ladies professional network for women in cyber security and BSidesTLV,  Israel’s largest hacker community conference. If you’d like to join Keren on stage this summer at BSidesTLV – submit your talks now at cfp.bsidestlv.com

Lakshmi Hanspal

influential cyber women

Lakshmi Hanspal is a prominent figure in the field of information security. She has served as the CISO at several major companies, including Box and Amazon Devices and Services.

Mrs. Hanspal served as the senior vice president at Bank of America for 10 years, followed by a senior information security and risk position at PayPal. She then joined SAP Ariba as CISO and then moved on to Box, where she managed data and platform protection, cybersecurity practice, and security operations.

Lakshmi sits on the advisory boards of various cloud companies and start-ups, and she is a strong advocate for women in tech.

With more than two decades in the information security sector, she has amassed considerable expertise in privacy and risk management, and she has garnered much respect along the way.

Kirsten Davies

influential cyber women

Kirsten Davies is CISO at Unilever and has previously held leadership roles at Barclays Africa/ABSA, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Siemens, Booz Allen Hamilton, Deloitte Australia, and the Estee Lauder Companies. Having lived and worked on four continents she has gained skills in business acumen, information security, and leadership.

Ms Davies is a proven leader in guiding organizations through large-scale transformations and she holds a BA in Government and International Politics.

Noam Zada 

influential cyber women

Noam Zada is TikTok’s Head of EMEA Global Mobile Gaming Business Marketing, and previously of its Israel marketing department. She grew the business across various metrics in both the home and foreign markets, supporting many local businesses to thrive on the global stage.

Zada has also worked at Google, 888Holdings, and Wix. She has served on the advisory boards at Fiverr, Microsoft, and Torq, the cyber industry’s first enterprise-grade hyper-automation platform capable of automating the most complex security infrastructures at dramatic scale. She also advises social change nonprofits for free.

In January this year, Zada spoke at Pocket Gamer Connects, London about the evolution of the mobile gaming landscape and the opportunities for publishers, sharing insights on the importance of cultural resonance, player engagement, and innovation in game marketing, as well as the potential of the AR and RTS genres.

In response Ms. Zada says – “Thank you for this. Basically, in my opinion, we don’t need a specific day to celebrate women’s leadership. I think that each day needs to celebrate every woman, her leadership values and impact”. 

Gal Shor

influential cyber women

Gal Shor is the VP and Director of HR and Operations at real-time software observability startup, Lightrun. Over the last four years, she has helped to build a team and shape a culture that is expert, focused, dynamic, and innovative. Her career has been diverse. She started as a producer at Tel Aviv Radio. She then became the HR and Operations Manager at both CHEQ and Lightrun, before achieving her current position.

Gal is an exceptional communicator, organizer, and team leader whose multi-disciplinary background has made her a strong asset.

Ms. Shor stated, “Thank you for including me in this list. My focus isn’t on how to be a successful woman but rather on how to be a successful individual. Looking ahead, my hope is that we reach a point where days like this are no longer necessary, and where all individuals, regardless of gender, receive equal chances, salaries, and opportunities. After all, each one of us brings our own unique skills to the table, and this is what truly matters.”

Alissa Abdullah

influential cyber women

Alissa Abdullah, PhD has been deputy CSO and board member at Mastercard since 2019, where she leads the Emerging Corporate Security Solutions team to protect the company’s information assets.

Previously, Dr Jay (as she is known) was CISO at Xerox where she set up and managed an information risk management program across the business. She also served as the deputy chief information officer of the White House, upgrading it with cloud services and virtualization.

She is the host of two Podcasts, called CISO 500 and Mastering Cyber for Cybercrime Magazine. Dr. Jay sits on the Women in Security Advisory Group for Security Magazine and the Board of Directors for Smartsheet, also serving as vice chair of BITS, the technology policy division of the Bank Policy Institute (BPI).

Dr. Jay holds a PhD in Information Technology Management, an MSc in Telecommunications and Computer Networks, and a BA in Mathematics.

Mei Leng Tham

influential cyber women

Mei Leng Tham is the Ministry Chief Information Security Officer (MCISO) at the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment in Singapore. She leads on cybersecurity for its various agencies, helping them develop their cyber and data security goals, strategies, and action plans. Ms. Tham is adept at navigating the complex realm of IT, ICS, and data security.

Ms. Tham has achieved the NUS-ISS Graduate Certificate in Designing and Managing Products and Platforms, which enables her to include cybersecurity measures in her stakeholders’ digitalization plans.

Avivit Kotler

influential cyber women

Avivit Kotler is an experienced cybersecurity and data privacy practitioner. She currently holds the positions of CISO and DPO at Clalit Health Services in Israel. With over two decades in the field, she is an expert in risk management, business continuity, and both technological and methodological aspects of information security. Her wide-ranging knowledge and experience make her a significant contributor to the cybersecurity industry.

“I am honored by Reflectiz decision to include me in their publication as a cybersecurity contributor. Referring to the International Women’s Day, the cybersecurity field is fascinating and inclusive, do not hesitate to join it if the interest is there.”
– Avivit Kotler, CISO in healthcare

Sam King

influential cyber women

Sam King is the CEO of Veracode, a SaaS application security company. She is recognized for her cybersecurity expertise, DevSecOps understanding, and business management skills. As a founding member of Veracode in 2006, she has significantly contributed to its growth from a small startup to a company valued at over $2.5 billion.

Here she is on NYSE TV’s Floor Talk discussing the company’s strategy for succeeding in a fragmented cybersecurity market.

Ms King has previously occupied leadership roles in tech and cyber security companies such as Razorfish and Verisign. She obtained an MScEng in Computer and Information Science from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Computer Science from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, where she gained the prestigious Charles Babbage Award.

Conclusion

Each of our profiles shows that women are still driving innovation in the tech world, and they all serve as a reminder to other women that they can thrive in this sector. They aren’t in any particular order, because each of them represents a win for all women.

influential cyber women

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