Leading Cyber Ladies. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

Cybercrime Magazine Visits The Leading Cyber Ladies In New York City

Local women in cybersecurity group joins arms with SOSA NYC

Ruth Bashinsky, Senior Editor

Northport, N.Y. – Oct. 28, 2019

They are called industry disruptors.

Their mission is to make some noise, so others join their growing community.

Their stories of breaking into an industry that still faces gender imbalance are awe-inspiring.

The group is called the Leading Cyber Ladies (LCL), a sisterhood of sorts that is comprised of a fierce troupe of women innovators all driven, accomplished, and passionate about tech and cybersecurity.

Sivan Tehila is the leading disruptor, and don’t let the heels and long hair fool you.

An intelligence officer for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), she held various field positions, including CISO of the Research and Analysis Division and Head of Information Security Department at the Intelligence Corps, before being honorably discharged as a captain. After her military service, she was an information security officer and profiler at a defense technology company and a cybersecurity consultant for Israel Railways. Earlier this year, she became the director of Solution Architecture at Perimeter 81, a leading cloud VPN and software-defined perimeter provider.

An agent of change, Tehila has been committed to the LCL movement, which started in Israel in 2015, to ensure that women and minorities have opportunities in the field. Today, there are LCL chapters in the Middle East, Europe, and North America.

“The goal of our initiative,” she explains, “is to expose more women to the cybersecurity profession and create an empowering and friendly environment to share knowledge and inspire others.”

Additional cyber enterprises she has created are the Leading Cyber Ladies, NYC, a meet-up group that offers educational and technical workshops and training, currently with 124 members; and CyberW19, a social entrepreneurship platform she co-founded back in Israel that offers low-cost cybersecurity courses, employment options, and mentoring programs.

 “I have always been involved in promoting women in tech, women in STEM and now women in cybersecurity,” says Tehila, who draws on her own experience as female in a leadership role in the cyber sector. “After ten years in the army, I knew there were not enough women in the cybersecurity field, and when I retired and started to work for the Israeli Defense Industry, I saw that there were still not enough women.”

Until now.

Last month, the Leading Cyber Ladies and SOSA NYC presented a panel on Entrepreneurship and Leadership at SOSA NYC’s Fifth Avenue offices. During the series, Tehila introduced other industry disruptors such as: Tamar Shlimak, the director of Cyber and Fintech at the Government of Israel Economic Mission; Christine Baird, CEO and co-founder at Clarus Tech Partners; Tricia A. Howard, cybersecurity thought leader and marketing manager at HolistiCyber; and Sharon Mirsky, co-founder and COO at Firedome.

Each panelist shared their inspiring story of leadership in a field that is gradually becoming more female-friendly but still very much a male-dominated culture.

“Being a woman in a male-dominated space — in tech generally and in cyber specifically — it is a challenge but is also very rewarding,” explains Mirsky, who spoke candidly with the group about leaving the cyber industry to go into another direction only to return with a new purpose — to help solve and find innovative ways to fight these hackers.

Today, Mirsky is the co-founder and COO for a cybersecurity company that does endpoint protection for IOT manufacturers, based in both Tel Aviv and New York. She is optimistic about the future.

“It’s funny. A few years ago, if you would have asked me about cyber, I would have said, ‘OMG! It’s all-male, middle-aged guys,'” she admits, “But today I am happy. I feel a change. And, at least in our company, I try and hire as many females as possible.”

Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that women will represent more than 20 percent of the global security workforce by the end of 2019. An encouraging prediction; however, industry experts assert that figure is still too low.

To help raise awareness Tehila has joined forces with SOSA NYC, a leading global innovation platform that connects corporations, governments, and cities to innovative technologies and ecosystems.

“We realize the percentage of women in cyber is low,” says Guy Franklin, general manager, SOSA NYC. “Today is our fifth event that we are arranging. Each time we have an event, more and more women are coming.”

And, women are joining the movement (even some men), and that is just fine with Tehila.

“I am opening it up to males too. I think it is important for men to encourage women,” she says.

Dressed in a suit was Brandon Lee, one of the males in the mostly female audience. Lee didn’t know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised.

“The event was amazing. I liked the perspective that all the panelists had,” says the sales executive. “The takeaway for me was that you no longer have to be siloed anymore if you are a technical person in cybersecurity. You can come from different backgrounds. It was a new and refreshing take on the practice.”

On a personal note, the event was significant to cover. For one, it was my first official cyber event since joining the publication so that was exciting in itself. And, two, being female and a mom of three girls, it is wonderful to see these capable and courageous women that are carving out a path for the next generation.

Suddenly, the chatter in the room lowers as Tehila moves in front of the crowd. Grabbing the microphone she announces enthusiastically, “I’m very excited today. The Leading Cyber Ladies is growing.”

Applause follows.

Ruth Bashinsky is the Senior Editor at Cybercrime Magazine.