Name: Kavitha Mariappan
Title: Executive Vice President, Customer Experience and Transformation
What does Kavitha enjoy about working in the cybersecurity field?
I was inspired by my father to pursue mathematics from a very young age. This pursuit led me down the path to STEM subjects, where I ultimately chose to study engineering in university in Australia. I have always been someone who likes to understand how things work – be it by building or deconstructing them – and this inquisitiveness drove my interest in technology. It was this desire to solve problems that brought me to cybersecurity.
There is never a dull moment in the cybersecurity world. There is always one challenge or another that needs to be addressed, always an adversary that needs to be taken down. The cybersecurity industry is a unique beast with deep roots that requires security teams to not only understand the breadth of evolving cyber risks but also the depth of it all. It is exciting to be in a space that is constantly changing and challenging technology professionals to adapt and evolve.
Any advice to encourage other women to work in the space?
Even though we are seeing a greater push for gender equality in tech companies, we are still far from balancing out the persisting gender disparity. While there is no one path to success, there are some leadership principles that I have followed throughout my tech career journey that have proven to be effective:
- Strengthening technical know-how: While many see the value in lifelong learning, very few embark on this journey. The term lifelong may make it seem like a daunting task that requires upheaving your routine and lifestyle but it doesn’t have to be. It could be something as small as being inquisitive and exploring different tools and technologies. These small steps are the ones that go a long way in boosting your confidence as a tech professional.
- Building a network and staking your claim: For any young professional, it is vital to seek out thought leaders and experts in your field of interest and build a network for you to ideate and have discourse about the industry. Why is this important? For one, diverse opinions are pivotal in elevating the outcomes you are hoping to achieve. It will give you a different perspective, inadvertently leading you to grow and develop professionally.
- Don’t force yourself into a mold: One thing I learned very early on in my career was the importance of being yourself. Every individual brings their own set of unique ideas and talents to the table – and trying to mold yourself into what you think is deemed as “acceptable” will only do a disservice to your career in the long run.