We at CyberSN pride ourselves on our success in creating equitable and diverse work environments both internally and with our clients. Diversity is a result of inclusive cultures and we are super thankful for the leadership from our Founder and CEO Deidre Diamond, a woman who has been a wonderful ally to all genders and created amazing work cultures that women can thrive in. Deidre had the opportunity to share a keynote at the Ally of the Year awards during RSA 2022, she decided to write a poem called “Why Do I Need an Ally?” Due to many requests, we are formally sharing it with all of you. 

Thank you for all you do to create inclusive behaviors at CyberSN and Secure Diversity.org!


Why do I need an Ally?

I am a woman from a privileged life
Why do I need an ally?

1 in 4 girls are molested as a child
Why do I need an ally?

1 in 6 women are victims of rape
Why do I need an ally?

Money buys health and safety and yet only 11% of billionaires are women
Why do I need an ally?

Women are said to be equal and yet there are laws that govern their bodies
Why do I need an ally?

Women are said to have equal employment opportunities and yet men dominate the power seats
Why do I need an ally?

Women are said to be safe at work and yet 28% of women working in male dominated professions reported sexual harassment
Why do I need an ally?

I am a woman
And I now know I need allies.

I was molested for years as a child and a teenager
I needed allies to heal.

I dreaded school because I was fat, my body’s natural way of protecting me
I needed allies to see me through school so I had a chance at health and safety.

I was 9 when my sister committed suicide due to her years of sexual abuse
I needed allies to convince me life can be good.

I was told I can’t be an attorney because I must get married and have children
I needed allies to encourage me to provide for myself and graduate college.

I see my sisters having less opportunity than I, especially those sisters of color
I need allies to lift up my broken heart.

I live in a society with laws that harm myself and my sisters
I need allies to fight against injustice.

I am a woman
I have created a socioeconomic power that grants me safety. 

I am a woman
Two entrepreneurial men hired me out of college and provided me with an opportunity in tech and cybersecurity for 21 years.

I am a woman
LUCKY to be of the 15% who are truly given equal opportunity and support at work. 

I am a woman
Who represents 2.3% of women who are the sole founders of a tech company.

I am a woman
Who represents the less than 1% of women who have self funded and solely founded a tech company. 

I am a woman
I needed allies every step of the way.

I am a woman
I long for a day when no human needs allies.

I am a woman
I pray that the generations to come will be allies to each other regardless of gender.

Until that day, join me, join us, be an ally, stand up for equality, fight for equality and be equality
For if you don’t, my story will be just a rare LUCKY story to be told on stages like this.

This is why I need an ally.
Deidre Diamond

For more information on our diversity and inclusion values, please visit Diversity, Equity & Inclusion - CyberSN 

If you were at the RSA Conference 2020 this year in San Francisco, you may have caught Deidre Diamond’s presentation on talent exfiltration and the keys to retaining top cybersecurity employees. Deidre has appeared as a RSAC speaker in the past and this year was recognized by the event as a top rated speaker.

The recognition is reserved for only a handful of top individual or co-presenters who receive an attendee feedback score above a 4.3 (out of 5) at two or more conferences. It’s also evidence that Deidre’s take on the cybersecurity hiring process and worker retention is resonating with those in the industry. Like Deidre, many in cybersecurity believe the hiring process is broken and are looking for ways to make the process easier and less painful for both those hiring and those looking for a job. 

You can watch her presentation, “Talent Exfiltration: An Insider’s Guide to the Talent Attack Life Cycle” here, or check out Diamond’s key takeaways here.



Changing the Cybersecurity Industry

With more than 20 years leading technology and cybersecurity organizations, Deidre is considered a leader in the industry and is active in tackling issues that matter most to those in cyber. She founded CyberSN in 2014 with the goal of transforming employment searching and is also the founder of Secure Diversity. The organization aims to empower all genders, specifically women, to find career opportunities in cybersecurity.

Retaining Cybersecurity Talent: Takeaways From RSA Conference 2020

At the RSA Conference in San Francisco last week, I spoke with many, CISOs, and cyber leaders about the tough hiring market for cybersecurity professionals today and what companies can do to improve their recruiting efforts. While there are many methods companies can use to recruit better, operating a well-staffed cybersecurity team also requires retaining  the people you have.

CyberSN Founder and CEO Deidre Diamond spoke about the importance of talent retention during the RSAC seminar, Personnel Management and Building Successful Cybersecurity Teams. Her talk, “Talent Exfiltration - An Insider’s Guide To The Talent Attack Lifecycle,” focused on how culture, professional development, and diversity can be real difference-makers in retaining top talent. If you didn’t catch Deidre’s talk, here are the key takeaways you can use to ensure you’re retaining and advancing your most talented cybersecurity team members.

Why does cyber talent leave?

We find people ultimately leave their jobs most often because of two reasons: the culture and the leadership. Generally, cyber professionals have passion for their work and enjoy what they do, and despite cyber being a technical field, it’s still a people-centric profession.

When hiring in highly specialized fields where the labor pool is tight, companies must put in effort to counter exfiltration. Check in with people to see if they are unhappy and how the company can address their pain points. Remember, people don’t change jobs, they change leadership and companies. Here are some of the most common complaints my colleagues at CyberSN and I hear:

The company doesn’t take cybersecurity seriously

We’ve all seen how companies respond to a security breach or adverse industry event. The company takes a new found focus, announces investment in cybersecurity and additional people to show the issue is being taken seriously. The staffing efforts inside the building may tell a different tale. Funding for new cyber positions doesn’t always translate to new team members. Without a budget for HR support or for professional services of an external recruiting team, those positions go unfilled and the team feels overworked and disrespected. 

No one wants their work to be seen as low priority or less important. Cybersecurity leaders must be willing to go to bat for their teams to get the resources they need or valuable people may be headed for the door.

Not being heard

While respect from company leadership helps improve work culture, having the respect of peers and direct managers is just as important. Managers must be diligent when it comes to ensuring mutual respect among employees and that all voices are heard. Unfortunately, the cybersecurity community, and the tech industry in general, still has hostility toward talent that is not white and male, as a few high-profile employment lawsuits have revealed. Even at companies that say they are making efforts to increase diversity, the diversity of the team doesn’t always line up with stated goals. Hiring a diverse team and addressing issues of workplace hostility quickly will make non-white and female employees feel valued.

Burnout and poor work life balance

This is something we see all the time. Working long hours, staying current with trends, constantly being asked to do more with less, and a poorly defined role can leave staff feeling overwhelmed and burned out. When 68% of cyber professionals say their job can be taxing on balance between personal life and work life, it’s no wonder nearly three-quarters of cybersecurity professionals are open to a job change.

Lack of opportunity and growth

What attracts people to cybersecurity is also what gives them the desire to keep moving forward in their careers, such as a wanting to solve problems and challenge themselves. A 2018 Capgemini survey found that lack of career progression was the number-one reason cited by cybersecurity professionals for being dissatisfied with their current job. Conducting regular performance reviews, setting a defined career path, and providing relevant training will show people the company is invested in their success and wants them to stick around. In turn, people will feel more invested in the company if they believe it will help advance their careers.

Look for red flags within your company

As a cybersecurity recruiting firm, we’ve become skilled at finding the cracks in an organization and its cybersecurity team. Keeping an eye on the news and maintaining a deep network within the cyber community lets us know who’s happy and who’s not—sometimes even before they do. Coaxing talented but unhappy people away to another company is the secret to success.

Every year, the RSA Conference offers cyber professionals the opportunity to connect with their peers to gain the intelligence, insight, and connections needed to prepare for the future of the dynamic cybersecurity industry. This year will be no different, with hundreds of sessions available for you and your team to learn from the industry’s top experts.

Now that RSAC2020 is just weeks away, it’s time to start planning. With over 600 breakout sessions to choose from, it can be difficult to prioritize which you should attend. Don’t worry though. If you’re looking to maximize your exposure to the most disruptive thinking and cutting-edge solutions the cybersecurity industry has to offer, you’ve come to the right place. Here are five high-value presentations you must attend—check them out!  

1. She Speaks Security: Amp Up Your Impact

Speakers: Dr. Reem Al-Shammari, Joyce Brocaglia, Kelly Jackson Higgins, Alyssa Miller, Juliet Okafor, Bobbie Stempfley, and Lynn Terwoerds 

This session features seven women from around the globe who will share their powerful personal experiences about fighting to have their voices heard. Learn from their ups and downs and discover valuable techniques for self-improvement and conducting conversations with confidence. At the end of each speaker’s segment, tie it all together at table discussions and exercises designed to make you apply the skills you’ve just been taught.

You deserve to be heard. Head down to Moscone West February, 24 from 12:00 - 4:00 p.m. to empower your inner advocate! 

2. Personnel Management and Building Successful Cybersecurity Teams

Speakers: Steven Allen, Deidre Diamond, Lisset Diaz Cervantes, Malcolm Harkins, Rosanna Kurrer, Winn Schwartau, and Caroline Wong 

Diverse, impactful cybersecurity teams don’t assemble themselves. Pop in for this half-day seminar to learn from global figures—including CyberSN’s Founder and CEO, Deidre Diamond—how to build effective teams with talent from different generations, geographic backgrounds, and genders. This session is perfect for cybersecurity leaders who want to challenge their current hiring structure to promote a culture that embraces diversity and enhances cross-team communication.  

It’s time to fortify against talent exfiltration! Don’t miss this impressive panel of speakers in Moscone West February, 24 from 1:30 - 5:00 p.m.

3. Effective Leadership and Motivation: What It Took to Race Around the World

Speaker: Tracy Edward MBE

What similarities can be drawn between the cybersecurity industry and the world of sailing? Find out in this interactive session led by the captain of the Maiden, Tracy Edward MBE. 

Hear Tracy recount her grand adventure racing across the world’s oceans with an all-female crew. Drawing from her experiences, she’ll shed light on how to effectively guide teams towards realizing their full potential. 

Join the discussion February, 25 from 3:40 - 4:30 p.m. in Moscone South!  

4. Overcoming Candidate Skills and Diversity Gaps in Hiring

Speakers: Alyssa Miller

Finding qualified candidates to fill cybersecurity positions has never been tougher. Organizations everywhere are being affected by the industry’s talent shortage. So, how can your business overcome the hiring crisis in cybersecurity?

Tune in to this interactive discussion led by Alyssa Miller to find out. During this 50-minute session, Alyssa will dissect strategies for addressing candidate skills and diversity gaps in hiring. Engage in her powerful talk on February 27 from 9:20-10:10 a.m. in Moscone West.

5. Geopolitical Risks, Elections, and Cybersecurity

Speakers: Juliette Kayyem and Admiral James Stavridis

Cyberthreats to U.S. national security and industry should be top of mind for everyone at RSAC2020, as it has potential ramifications for all of us. Uncover the most important and current geopolitical risks threatening our country in this discussion led by Admiral James Stavridis, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Fmr. NATO Supreme Allied Commander, PreVeil board member, 12th Dean of Tuft’s Fletcher School, and chief international diplomacy and security analyst for NBC News, who will be joined by Prof. Juliette Kayyem, a Harvard’s Kennedy School graduate, former Asst. Sec. at DHS and CNN security analyst.

Catch them in Moscone South, February, 27 from 1:30 - 2:20 p.m.

The best sessions at the RSA Conference fill up quickly and these are no exception. If you want to guarantee your spot, head to the RSA website to reserve your seat now. And make sure to check back here on the CyberSN blog during and after the conference for news and key takeaways from the event. See you at RSAC2020!

It’s going to be a great year for diversity at RSA Conference 2016! Several crowd sourced sessions and speaker topics are scheduled which will prompt discussions around the issue of the lack women in tech and cybersecurity. These topics, along with groups and panels, seem to show that this issue is going mainstream at #RSAC this year. CyberSN and #brainbabe both have a vested interest in seeing the diversity conversation come to the forefront at tech conferences, RSA in particular, because the name of our not-for-profit organization www.brainbabe.org was born out of a frustration that booth babes still exist. These “babes” are a large percentage of the women at tech conferences, and yet the discussion about their presence so far has been about “banning” their outfits (a subject we wrote about last year), rather than recruiting and training them, which would help us expand the amount of women in technology professions! You can read more about this subject in “Why #brainbabe,” a blog by Deidre Diamond, Founder and CEO of CyberSN and Founder of Brainbabe.org.

Within our own company, we are seeing an awesome swell of support surrounding the topic of women in tech and cybersecurity. For the second year, RSA held public voting on Crowdsourced Submission Topics to round out their schedule with topics from the cybersecurity community, and the call for speakers was open to the public. From all the submissions received, the judges chose 35 of them to compete for 17 speaking spots and Deidre’s talk was chosen as a finalist. Since a version of this article was originally published, she has officially been selected to speak! Her talk “From pigtails, to prom, to a cyber career: what about your daughter?” will be shared at RSA Conference 2016 on Tuesday March 1 in Room 130 North from 1:10-2:00pm. If you plan on attending the conference, we hope you will check it out. Deidre will be speaking about encouraging women to consider careers in tech that they otherwise might not think about choosing. A major obstacle in getting more people into tech is the perception that one must be technical to be a part of the profession–but the major of all cybersecurity roles are actually not technical. We can empower more people to join the community by expanding our definition of what it means to be “in tech.” Her inclusion in the program, by popular demand, proves that people are seeking out topics about how and why we can empower women in cyber security.

If you are looking for ways to join the diversity conversation while at RSA this year, here are some suggestions:

  • On Monday, February 29th, you should go see, “Should I Stay or Should I Go? How to Attract/Retain Women in the Industry,” with panelists from (ISC)2, AIG, Optiv, Booz Allen Hamilton and HP. This topic is encouraging as it means the biggest companies in the world are finally embracing the need to address this national security problem.
  • In addition to Deidre’s talk, which is Tuesday at 1:10 in Room 130N, there is also a session titled: “A Fitness Test for Fostering Women Leaders in IT Security” which sounds like it will be a great talk.
  • Returning this year, happening on Wednesday evening, March 2nd, is the “Executive Women’s Forum Meet & Greet” where women attending RSA can enjoy a “fun, relaxed, and professional get together.”
  • Thursday, CyberSN and #brainbabe are hosting an event at Bespoke (only 6 minutes from the Moscone Center) and we would love to have you join us to find out how you can help us be part of the solution.

In closing, I must also highlight a group called Equal Respect, which is “a grass root initiative that promotes open and respectful environments at professional events,” that is planning to have a presence at RSA this year. They call for events that, “prohibit and discourage promotional or marketing behaviors that disrespect groups of attendees based on gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, or ethnicity,” and we at CyberSN.com and Brainbabe.org are proud to be co-sponsors of their presence at RSA Conference 2016. It is groups like Equal Respect that will help raise awareness and overcome the obstacles that are keeping more women from joining the cybersecurity community.