Name: Lisa Sim
Company: Palo Alto Networks
Title: Cyber Safe Kids Program Director, Head of JAPAC Marketing
Why do you enjoy working in the cybersecurity field?
I wear several hats at Palo Alto Networks and my work is pretty diverse. I do everything from running CISO advisory boards and developing thought leadership content to presenting to community groups and educators on our Cyber Safe Kids education program. I love knowing that my work is meaningful, and I have completely bought into our mission to protect our digital way of life and make each day safer and more secure than before. I can’t think of a more rewarding place to be right now, and to know that I am part of helping kids to learn life skills to look after their digital health and welling – is just gold! I love it.
What are your words of advice to encourage other women to work in the space?
There is a perception that you need technical qualifications as a prerequisite to becoming a cybersecurity professional, pathways typically more travelled by our male counterparts. But in fact, cybersecurity is a vast field, and many different roles require skills like problem-solving, creative thinking, and effective communication. We have had men and women come into our sector from legal, performing arts, and medicine. I have a Bachelor of Business and a Bachelor of Arts, and I started out specialising in international business, which landed me in my first job in Japan. When I came to Palo Alto Networks, I didn’t have deep knowledge of cybersecurity, but I’m a fast learner and I like the pace of innovation and disruption here – it keeps me on my toes! What it comes down to is my favourite four-letter word – grit. To have the patience and focus on playing a long game, keeping people on the journey and knowing how to push through the tough moments while also looking after yourself and those around you…that takes grit. Many other attributes are important too, but that one is core for me. A great place to start is to reach out through your network to connect with people who work in cybersecurity. Either through your career counsellor at high school, your tertiary institution, or the events hosted by ACSC and AustCyber. I think that cybersecurity professionals, on the whole, are very approachable because we all have a common goal to attract more talent to our industry – we need more people!