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About Us – Secure Diversity
Secure Diversity Team
ecure Diversity is an innovative non-profit organization with leaders that think out of the box who have created strategies & solutions in placing qualified women and underrepresented humans into cybersecurity roles. We foster gender diversity, equity, and inclusion in the cybersecurity industry through conferences, networking, mentoring, professional development, and community outreach. One of our primary goals is to raise awareness and increase the number of women and underrepresented humans in the cybersecurity workforce.
Founded in 2014 by Deidre Diamond; our mission is the equal representation of women and men in the cybersecurity workforce by engaging and collaborating with organizations and businesses to improve the recruitment and retention of women; utilize marketing and social media platforms to raise awareness of women in cybersecurity careers; remove cybersecurity institutional barriers and innovate new strategies to leverage existing resources.
#Brainbabe: Changing Name To Secure Diversity, and Why
Deidre Diamond, Founder & CEO – January 10th, 2020
Because I care deeply about inclusion, I have decided to change our name. When I founded Brainbabe, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization 4 years ago, “boothbabe” was a term and a service that was used at cybersecurity industry trade shows. Hired models at events being paid to look sexy and bring men to vendor booths were creating an environment that was very uncomfortable to women who were there to learn and network. When RSA Conference brought up the topic of boothbabes in 2015 I was focused on our talent shortage. My brain instantly said, “we need to train these women not ban them from our working our events”. Brainbabe was then founded and you can read the full story here.
During the last four years, we have learned and accomplished many great things:
- Co-created Day of Shecurity events in SF and Boston. These are free, one-day training conferences led by women with an average of over 250 women in attendance.
- Organized Day of Shecurity Presents, an evening meet-up series that has been active for over a year in San Francisco
- Supported and created partnerships with many wonderful NFP Organizations and chapters all over the US such as ISC(2), OWASP, ICMCP, ISACA, ISSA, CSA, WoSec, OWASP WIA, WIT, WiCyS, Cyberjitsu, Annie Cannons, and B-Sides, all over the US.
- Public speaking about creating a diverse and inclusive work culture at least twice a month at industry events and educational institutes.
- Launched the STEAM-Conference Connect, which connected students of all genders with an interest in cybersecurity to work booths at cybersecurity events.
- Provided DEFCON attendance scholarship packages to 5 women
- Co-Organized the first TiaraCon (now Diana Initiative) and co-founders of the Hacking Diversity Conference
I am very proud of our team that made these accomplishments happen and I am super proud to be a part of a community that has such wonderful people who volunteer their time to better the community.
As we move forward and expand our organization’s efforts, it’s important to us that everyone in the community participates. Together we are stronger and inclusion truly matters. We have big challenges to solve and we need everyone to solve them. We have learned over the years that a significant part of our community dislikes our name greatly. While there is an argument to be made for keeping the name, we prefer inclusion and that means everyone must like the name. We have eliminated companies hiring models to work events and we have established a strong brand, we will spend the time and money to change our name so that everyone feels comfortable participating. It is my commitment to be inclusive and this is why I have decided to change the Brainbabe name to Secure Diversity.
Diversity is about inclusion. We can’t be diverse if we aren’t being inclusive and I am happy to lead by example 🙂
So with this, I say to all of our community, we care about you and we want you involved.
Happy New Year Love,
Deidre and the Secure Diversity Team
Deidre Diamond, Founder & CEO
he “#brainbabe” leadership platform and non-profit securediversity.org was born out of frustration that “booth babes” still exist. Calling a person a #brainbabe isn’t about calling them a “babe,” or about how someone looks. It’s about pushing back on the technology community to look at why we still have “booth babes,” and supporting necessary changes to better attract and utilize women in cyber security. For the few of you who don’t like the name—we will change it when booth babes no longer exist!
I was inspired to create #brainbabe in February of 2015 when I saw an article published about RSA’s “ban” on booth babes. While reading it with my fellow teammates, I said out loud, “Let’s not just talk about the clothes that these women are wearing and ban them—let’s train them! Let’s make them ‘brain babes’.” At that moment, my team and I decided we were going to help make a difference in solving the problem of women leaving tech and also help encourage more women to join the cyber security community by creating the non-profit securediversity.org. My team and I love the name #brainbabe because I frequently talk to them about the brain and about making conscious decisions. I find the brain to be very fascinating and so I wanted to highlight decision-making and active thinking with our name.
Let’s not just talk about the clothes that these women are wearing and ban them—let’s train them! Let’s make them ‘brain babes’.
I’ve worked in the technology industry for twenty-one years and in that time booth babes have always existed. I’ve often wondered why many tech companies don’t train booth babes to actually be knowledgeable about their products and services, but it wasn’t until I read the article from RSA 2015 that I was inspired to speak out. Call it the timing of my career, call it frustration, call it a desire to help; it’s certainly a combination all of these things. As a woman who was hired as an entry-level employee with a liberal arts degree and trained to lead sales teams for tech companies, who has been the CEO of a software company, and who is currently the Founder and CEO of a cyber security company, I have a lot of content and enthusiasm to offer the tech community about training people—specifically, women.
As I thought more and more about booth babes and the overall lack of women in tech—not to mention the shortage of cyber security professionals overall (to the tune of over a million people, and ISC2 reports that only “approximately 10% of InfoSec professionals” are women) — I realized that the following three concepts can make a difference in solving this massive problem:
Redefining what it means to be in cyber security. Instead of only defining cyber security roles as high-tech positions, we must consider all the roles that don’t require this skill set in order to get more people involved in the field. We need to speak more about all people joining the cyber community via positions that are not traditionally technical. These roles require “business skills” and have nothing to do with being able to write code or understand network protocols. By redefining what it means to be in cyber security we can attract the college graduates who think they wouldn’t be a good fit for cyber security jobs because they “aren’t technical.”
Training, training, and more training. I was trained as an entry-level person and was part of a model that trains entry-level people for non-technical and technical jobs in technology companies. We need more commercial organizations to take responsibility in training—especially consistent training. We need fully thought-out roles and responsibilities that people can work hard at to move up the ladder, along with clear definitions of how to do so. Our military is a good place to mimic: they have training down. You will never hear a military person say, “I don’t know what my role is.” In the commercial space we hear this every day. In my world, training is mentorship!
Improved communication skills between men and women, among women, and among men. Enhanced soft skills allow for greater retention of employees (both women and men), more revenue and happier work environments. I have seen this work first-hand over my entire career. Some of these imperative soft skills are: how to hold win/win conversations; how to make agreements; how to break agreements; how to take accountability for mistakes and wins; how to have transparency in the workplace; how to lead by example; how to work in a calendar; and the art of listening, among others.
Today, the #brainbabe platform is passing on knowledge and communication empowerment by way of speaking events where trained #brainbabe ambassadors (both male and female) and myself will share our skills, stories and experiences.
Soon, the #brainbabe platform will be hosting free training videos on the skills listed above (and more) at securediversity.org. These videos are focused on lean language and execution of win/win communication. We are also now offering an anonymous message board for women and men to post about the experiences and challenges of working together. We envision securediversity.org to be a place where anyone can post about his or her work experiences and receive feedback. Awareness seems to be low on the sides of both women and men, so let’s share stories and offer advice in a safe way. Together, we can raise awareness around the challenges we face each day in communicating with one another.
Working together, we can create powerfully positive work environments. We can attract more women into cyber security while fostering the lean language, interpersonal and communication skills needed to retain them 🙂