Setting the scene: First Day of #HackerSummerCamp, the Vegas strip, 96 degrees Fahrenheit ( ~35 degrees Celsius).
After spending a 10hr day at DefCon NOC (running around testing ports, configuring switches, carrying cables) in a t-shirt and jeans, I was excited to dress up and attend my first the Cybersecurity Woman of the Year 2019 awards gala. With over 100 women and men gathered in Luxor, the event started out with nothing short of a red carpet event (except for the red carpet).
I along with 12 others were fortunate to attend on a scholarship provided by Microsoft, Herjavec Group, thanks to Chloé Messdaghi (co-founder of Women in Security). After an initial networking session, the main event commenced with a performance by DeAnna Carpenter, few words by the main organizer, Carmen Marsh, and a keynote by Cherie Aimée. Aimée’s personal story of overcoming industry & personal obstacles was heart touching. My favorite line from her speech was:
“There is a seat for you on the table. If someone doesn’t have room for you on their table, build your own.”
After the powerful and inspirational start, various announcers came to share the finalists of the nominations & the award winner for the following categories: Cybersecurity Woman “Barrier Breaker”, Cybersecurity Woman Influencer of the Year, Cybersecurity Women Supporter of the Year, Woman Cybersecurity Leader of the Year, Cybersecurity Woman Hacker of the Year, Cybersecurity or Privacy Woman Law Professional. Hearty congratulations to the nominees, finalists & winners!
The best part for me in the entire event was after all the winners were announced. There was just so much of a community, lift while climbing vibe as both everyone in the room (thank you to the allies that showed up in support) shared and celebrated their journeys in the industry. Thank you Chloé, and all the Gala sponsors, organizers and volunteers for inviting me to take a seat at the table.
“With the support of Carmen Marsh, she helped me on my mission to bring a crew of incredible women to attend a gala that embraces and celebrates women in cybersecurity.” – Messdaghi (pictured in Red dress on the right)
This year #HackerSummerCamp is flavored with diversity events! Below is a non-exhaustive list compiled by Women’s Society of Cyberjustu, I highly encourage you to attend!