University of Advancing Technology May 2019 honorary doctorate recipient Dr. Rebecca Wynn likes to go fast. As the Head of Information Security and Data Protection Officer (DPO) at Matrix Medical Network, Dr. Wynn leads the overall security strategy, security architecture development and security programs. She is always working on multiple projects at the same time, finding new ways to leverage cutting-edge risk management tools, machine learning and artificial intelligence to narrow the gap between a specific event detected on the network and first responders receiving actionable data.
Dr. Rebecca Wynn
But she doesn’t always get to go fast. It took her more than six months to get her first job in cybersecurity. When a friend told her about a possible position opening up, Dr. Wynn reached out to the director of information security at that company. She had to keep in touch for several months until the job finally opened up. Then she went through a lengthy interview process and made it on a short list of potential hires.
During that waiting period, Dr. Wynn spent her time learning and studying everything about the industry and information security. “I wanted to be ready to be a corporate asset immediately,” she said.
Women have a long road to climb in the cybersecurity world, and Dr. Wynn doesn’t see that changing anytime soon. That’s why she recommends that women stay on their A game because certain people will always be looking and waiting for their female colleagues to fail.
In order to get infosec jobs, women have to apply for them. Dr. Wynn has noticed that women routinely do not apply for jobs unless they meet every single qualification. Men, on the other hand, “just go for it.” Dr. Wynn wants more women to do and think the same. “Stick to your dreams and go for them. Good things will follow with confidence,” she said.
What if you’re a student and not exactly sure what you want to do or how to find a job? Dr. Wynn has some homework for you. “Find out what sector energizes you and keeps you interested,” she said. Make a short list. Then reach out to alumni, members of the cybersecurity community or professionals who work at your target companies in your target positions. Try to set up 30-minute calls or meetings with at least five different people to get as much knowledge as possible. “Follow up with a thank you email, and always keep in contact,” she added.
Everybody makes mistakes and encounters people they don’t particularly like throughout their careers. Dr. Wynn makes mistakes daily, and working with people who aren’t “type A go-getters” can be challenging for her. “The goal is to keep level headed and treat everyone with the same respect and professionalism,” she said.
Dr. Wynn’s favorite part about her job is being able to go home at the end of the day and knowing that she made a difference. She believes that talents develop naturally when they are nurtured, so she recommends seeking out companies that appreciate hard work and talent and offer the opportunity to move up. “Never settle for not being the best you can be,” she said. Dr. Wynn sure doesn’t.
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