Uplifting women for leadership in the cybersecurity industry

We met Katie O’Malley, founder of (en)Courage Coaching and Counseling, at this year’s Women Impact Tech conference, and she gave a great talk about effective networking and giving confidence to tech professionals at all levels of the career ladder. Katie and I discussed finding your adjectives and using them to center your interactions, creating courageous workplace culture, and why women only being mentored by women turns into the new unpaid labor. Let’s all step up and make the workplace better!

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0:00 - Coaching women in cybersecurity
3:10 - How Katie O'Malley got into coaching
4:57 - O'Malley's start in cybersecurity and coaching
8:51- The evolution of leadership
12:00 - How career coaching works
18:00 - Importance of networking and branding
24:20 - How to achieve gender parity in cybersecurity
29:30 - Courageous workplace culture
33:21 - Pitfalls in new cybersecurity jobs
36:40 - Lead change at your cybersecurity company
38:55 - What is (en)Courage Consulting and Coaching?
39:33 - Outro 

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[0:00:59] CS: Today on Cyber Work, I talk to Katie O'Malley, Founder of (en)Courage Coaching and Counseling. I met Katie at this year's Women Impact Tech Conference in Chicago and she gave a great talk about effective networking and giving confidence to tech professionals at all levels of the career ladder. Katie and I talk about finding your adjectives to describe yourself and using them to center your interactions with new people, creating courageous workplace culture, and why women only being mentored by women turns into the new unpaid labor. Let's all step up, do our part, and make the workplace better. You'll get some personal tools to do so today on Cyber Work.




[0:01:40] CS: Welcome to this week's episode of the Cyber Work with InfoSec Podcast. Each week, we talk with a different industry thought leader about cybersecurity trends, the way those trends affect the work of InfoSec professionals while offering tips for breaking in or moving up the ladder in the cybersecurity industry. My guest today, Katie O'Malley, is a career coach and workplace consultant with 15 years of professional experience serving the non-profit corporate and education sectors. In 2012, Katie earned a master's degree in counseling and board certification and coaching. Since 2018, Katie has worked alongside more than 125 clients as the founder and principal coach of (en)Courage Coaching. Think about it, it's awesome.


Found with a noble mission of providing exceptional financially accessible coaching services to Chicago area professionals, (en)Courage Coaching has grown to support individuals and businesses from coast to coast, as well as United Kingdom. Coaching clients in the design of authentic career paths, effective leadership practices, and courageous workplace cultures is the DNA of (en)Courage Coaching. Prior to (en)Courage Coaching, Katie served as a leadership coach and course instructor to MBA and graduate students at Chicago Booth, the University of Texas at Austin, DePaul University.


Recently featured in Fast Company and Thrive Global, Katie's research and writing supports both sides of the workplace equation, encouraging employers and employees to remember we're all in this work thing together. Katie, thanks so much for joining me today and welcome to Cyber Work.


[0:03:03] KO: Chris, thanks so much for the invitation and the opportunity to connect with your audience.


[0:03:08] CS: Oh, it's my pleasure. Yeah, to start with, I'd like to know more about your initial interest in consulting and specifically coaching women and professionals in the tech industry. Was (en)Courage Coaching and Counseling based on this idea from the very beginning?


[0:03:24] KO: (en)Courage Coaching was based on the idea truthfully that work sucks, but it doesn't have to, through a variety of lived experiences that I had, my friends had. My training and education is as a therapist. The idea is, for me originally was how do we help people engineer work to fit into the life that they aspire to lead and not the other way around?


[0:03:51] CS: Got it.


[0:03:53] KO: When I started out, it was very industry agnostic, the work that I was doing, both in terms of career and leadership development. What I found are niches in industries where women tend to be underrepresented in the C-suite, VP level, director level positions, tech, obviously being one of those. We're on a mission to get more women into the rooms where decisions are being made, because until there's representation at the top, there's never going to be joy and justice in the workforce for 99% of the people that are making those products and services happen.


[0:04:34] CS: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I should mention that I met Katie at the Women Impact Tech Elevate Conference back in April, so that's why I specifically asked that question. She was leading a great panel about getting to know networking people and letting them know your personal brand. We'll talk about that in a minute here, but I want to just start with a little bit about your career history. This is my most reliable way of getting to know my guests here. I see that you've been involved in leadership development and coaching for a vast majority of career. What did you first realize that coaching and leadership development was your calling? I mean, like you said, you were a therapist before, but what was it that was so exciting to you about this and what is it that keeps you going in it?


[0:05:16] KO: For sure. For me, I was really heavily involved in student leadership development when I was in college. I knew that there was a path for me there if I wanted to take it, but I also knew it was going to require a master's degree to get there. I would have been the first person in my family to really pursue advanced education beyond an undergraduate degree. I had studied political science, graduated in 2004. It was an election year. I'm like, “Let me take the degree that I have and do something with it right out of the gate.”


[0:05:52] CS: Yeah. Sure.


[0:05:54] KO: My career path really, that brought me to career coaching and leadership development was the result of a series of, I don't want to call them failed workplace experiments and failed career directions.


[0:06:11] CS: Learning experiences.


[0:06:13] KO: Learning experiences for sure, but I got to the point where I tried politics, I tried non-profit, I tried corporate. Clearly, I've done my due diligence and let me put it into this thing that I thought I wanted to do a long time ago. What I found was in that exploration, something brand-new, which was coaching. Insurance companies not super keen to cover conversations about career, or a client, because work is not a mental health illness. Work is not a mental health diagnosis, even though work leads to burnout and the symptoms of burnout are identical to those of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress.


After earning the degree was really when I pivoted into coaching, so I would be able to support folks in the way that I thought they needed to be supported in their work. It's where we spend eight, 10, 12 hours out of our day, anywhere between five and seven days a week. If that part of our life is not functioning well and is not contributing positively to our wellbeing, we're going to have some struggles.


[0:07:25] CS: Yeah. Now, I want to circle back to that. You said, you started out wanting to do leadership development. Then you did your due diligence with all these other industries, because you felt – did you feel with leadership development and the stuff you actually wanted to do, was this something that you just didn't see a path to at that time? Did it just not seem like a realistic way to earn a living? Or what was the friction then and what unblocked it later on?


[0:07:57] KO: Yeah, I think a couple of things. One is the timing. When I was first really interested back in 2004, I didn't have the literacy to know what the path might even be, right?


[0:08:09] CS: Got it. Yeah.


[0:08:09] KO: Human resources, talent development. A certain level of understanding, or literacy of an industry, or of a field is required. The other pieces, leadership was not being talked about in the same way 20 years ago that we talk about it now. Career was not necessarily being thought about in the same way 20 years ago, that we think about it now. For me, it was always an interest. I did not, to your point, necessarily see a path, until I realized, my gosh, there are so many things in business that are not business or sale. There's that people side to it that really needed the best.


[0:08:52] CS: Okay. It wasn't so much that there wasn't a path. It was just that you hadn't been given the tools to see the roadmap to do something like that. Okay. Now, to that, and you said that leadership is thought of in different terms now than it was 20 years ago. What are the big changes? Is it in terms of, like you said, mental health and work-life balance and stuff?


[0:09:12] KO: Yeah. With leadership for a long time, management and leadership were used synonymously, right? For me, leadership is really activating the energy and others to create meaningful change, versus management, which is making sure the work gets done, the products get delivered, the client is happy. With leadership, we're really looking at inspiring others to be able to do the work that they were meant to do and contribute to something meaningful in the end.


[0:09:49] CS: Right. You're not just being plugged into a thing. You're actually turning it into a whole life.


[0:09:54] KO: Right. Right. It's interesting, so many – the vast majority of people who are promoted to a management role, which managers are often now referred to as people leaders, they're promoted into that role right around the age of 30, but they don't receive any leadership development training, or leadership education until they're 42. There's this 12-year gap of people wanting to do right by their employees and their direct reports, but not being set up for success for a dozen years, and unintentionally causing a lot of harm.


Now, what we know is people leaders and somebody's direct, whether you want to call them a manager, a people leader, they have more impact on an employee's mental health than that employee’s therapist, spouse or family. It's essential that we start looking at how we're equipping our leaders to communicate and support the people that report to them.


[0:11:01] CS: Wow. Yeah. It's like you're self-parenting for 12 years there.


[0:11:05] KO: Right. Right.


[0:11:05] CS: You're just like, “I have to learn these skills, because no one's teaching them to me.” Well, what is it about 42? I mean, it's just a median age, but is it just that they feel like, okay, you've made enough mistakes, now we're going to give you the proper path or something?


[0:11:19] KO: I honestly don't know why there's such a large gap, I think. Even before the moment somebody starts leading other folks, there needs to be development, right? There needs to be an intervention before somebody starts leading others. I think, like I said, for a long time, it was, how do you run a meeting, or how do you run a one-on-one with somebody, versus how do you really support and understand and motivate that employee?


[0:11:57] CS: Yeah. Help them craft a career path as well and a retention path and stuff. To turn to your own organization, can you walk me through what your first steps are when a new client walks through the door? I mean, we can do this at a couple different levels, but where do you start gathering information about someone who's maybe on the leadership track, versus someone who is more in the rank-and-file workspace? What are some common areas that need strengthening skill-wise and what do you provide for them?


[0:12:28] KO: Yeah, for sure. When someone reaches out for coaching, the first thing to suss out is, are you looking for career coaching, or are you looking for leadership coaching? I like to say, career coaching is for folks who are looking to make a pivot for any number of reasons. Often, it's a toxic work environment, a work environment where they feel they won't have opportunities to advance, or folks who are re-entering the workforce, or entering the workforce for the first time.


Sussing out, do you need career coaching, or leadership coaching? You love what you're doing, you know you're in the right field, you know you're in the right role, but you just want to advance where you're at. That's where we focus more in on leadership coaching. From a career perspective, one of the places I think folks in general struggle the most is with networking. You often hear, you have to know people these days to get a job. To a certain extent, that's true, right? To get a foot in the door, to be able to get an introduction is always helpful. Networking turns so many people off, and I know that's how you and I met. I think that's a place of development.


Also, how do you tell a compelling story about who you are and what's the differentiated value you bring to the table? A lot of people, most people don't like to sell themselves, especially women, we feel like we can't toot our own horn. There's a double-edged sword there for us. Then on the leadership side, I think the place folks struggle with is seeing empathy and compassion as a weakness, when it's really a strength in terms of leadership, but also communication. The way that we communicate, we assume is the way everyone wants to be communicated with.


A big part of what we do in leadership coaching is recognizing the way I communicate, what motivates me, while I'm biased to assume this is how everybody wants to be communicated with and it's what motivates them, there's so many different ways to do it. Being able to look at communication and motivation is more of a precision tool than a one size fits all is something that we work with clients on a lot, which is really just rooted in self-awareness.


[0:14:57] CS: It's interesting. I mean, this is just pinged in my head and I could be completely wrong, but it seems like with leadership development, you're almost giving them the skills that a therapist, or a counselor would have, or something where like you said, it's that you're not just doing your manager boilerplate. You're listening in and then calibrating your message accordingly. Is there a similar way of communication thinking like that?


[0:15:25] KO: Absolutely. I like to say, I was trained to listen for a living. A lot of times, a client will come into a session and they'll share a whole bunch of stuff and they're like, “Oh, my gosh. I just brain dumped on you for 20 minutes. I'm so sorry. Did you follow?” I'm like, “It's my job to follow. Yes. Now, let's plan some of those threads.”


I think the main difference between – Not I think. I know the main difference between therapy and coaching is therapy is really looking to make meaning of what's happened to a person, so what got them to that point? To unpack it, to validate it, affirm it. With coaching, I want to honor all of that, right? We're not going to unpack the suitcase of mom and dad and brother and sister and past relationships, but we are going to use it to inform how we springboard you forward to where it is that you want to go. The skill set that I use is the same, but the goals are quite different.


[0:16:34] CS: Yeah. I imagine that if you are a first-time manager and you have a team where one person cries every time something goes wrong and another person who lies every time that they don't – that they miss a deadline. It's going to be very overwhelming to craft messages that work for and feel like you've done the right thing and stuff like that.


[0:16:55] KO: Yeah. Brene Brown, I don't know how familiar Chris you are –


[0:17:01] CS: Oh, sure.


[0:17:02] KO: - but Dr. Brene Brown, one of the things that she says is a phrase, or something that we can say, often, won't make that much of an impact, if we're trying to offer solutions to that crying employee, or the employee that lies, because they don't have another set of tools to be able to say, “I need an extension, or I'm overwhelmed.”


The very best thing to be able to do in that moment is say, “Thank you for so much for sharing with me that you're overwhelmed. Or is it, I'm getting the sense, you may be overwhelmed by this feedback, or by this deadline. How can I best support you?” We don't have to have the answers for them as leaders and as managers, but we have to give them the space to develop their own solutions we can help them implement.


[0:17:58] CS: Okay. We mentioned a little bit, I want to come back, one of the things that you told us during your presentation at Women Impact Tech was the importance, when networking, being able to get some pertinent information about yourself, especially branding yourself in a very short time to the person you're speaking to, because if you hedge and hold back, or you said, you feel like you're wasting their time and you shrink away the person you're speaking to is going to lose interest before you can even get to the most interesting things about yourself. Can you give me a condensed version of what you taught us on that day? How do you ensure that you're hooking your potential contact from word one?


[0:18:34] KO: Yeah. The idea with networking, so I want your audience to stop thinking of networking as a transaction, as an exchange of business cards, as an exchange of LinkedIn QR codes. We did not endure two to three years of a pandemic for someone to walk up to us in an in-person space and say, “I'm Katie. I'm a therapist. Nice to meet you.” It's not why we're getting dressed up and leaving the house and reconnecting with folks again, right? We're doing it to really meaningfully connect with people.


We were physically distanced for so long. We've lost some of that ability to socially connect and engage in meaningful ways. The idea is being able to share with folks two adjectives about you from the moment you connect. What it is that you're interested in learning about them? Because when we think about networking, we often think about it as what can I get, instead of what can I learn, or what can I give? Then that third part is being able to share what it is that you want. Especially as women, we've been socialized to not have wants and to not have needs. If we do, to withhold them and not express them.


Getting very comfortable and saying, because what it is that you're looking for. For example, if Chris, we were to role play this together. My name is Katie O'Malley. I am energetic and creative. I'm here with you today to learn more about your audience, to learn more about cybersecurity. What I want is to connect with a new audience and hopefully, grow my business as a result. I guess, I'm wondering, what would you say to me after that.


[0:20:39] CS: All right, it’s interaction time. Okay. Hi, Katie. I'm Chris. I am communicative and talkative, I suppose. Yeah, and I'm here to learn more about some of the different – I'm here to lower the barriers to entry for women and diverse candidates to get into cybersecurity. To do that, I'm finding ways that I can find cool guests who will make people feel comfortable and make them feel welcome and make them feel like this is something that I can do, and so that's why I invited you on the show today.


[0:21:15] KO: Well, thank you so much for that. I can definitely get the sense you are very communicative. You wouldn't be having a podcast if that wasn't a strength and a superpower of yours. I heard you say, you're looking for guests that can really lower barriers of entry. Let me look at my network and see who I can connect you with. That's the important part is when you're going through this exercise with someone, not just thinking about what you can get from them, what you can take from them, but being willing to offer something you can give.


If you don't have the answer, if you don't have the right skill set for what they're looking for, my guess is someone in your network does. Being willing to make those connections, offer those resources, that's what makes you memorable. Generosity and gratitude, especially in the world that we're living in right now, that is just the best social currency I think you can offer someone.


[0:22:21] CS: Yeah. Yeah, I think about my days just after college and my first job, and I would read books about networking and about – or I would take advice from people who were 20 years my senior. There was always that sense, they would always say things like, “Oh, just check in with this person that you're contacting with. Send them an article that you think might be interesting.” It all just seem very overwhelming. Like, what did I possibly give to someone who's 25 years older than me and is CEO of a half million, 2-million-dollar company and stuff like that. I think, you just have to get yourself out of that and realize that even from the moment you hit the workforce that you have things that you can contribute upward and you don't just have to hold your hands out and hope that they'll give you something in exchange. It took me a long time to learn that.


[0:23:18] KO: Yeah, a 100%. We're all just people. As people, we’re here to connect with other people and to be seen and heard by other people. I'm sure you've experienced this, Chris, but leadership is lonely, especially the higher up you get. Just being able to form a genuine connection with someone, where you know they're not just doing this to try and take from me, transact with me, but because they actually care. Building meaningful connections happens before you need anything. Really cultivating that community and cultivating those relationships by giving, by listening, by holding space, people are going to be much more excited to support you in that moment that you need it.


[0:24:15] CS: Yeah. That's awesome and very true. As I said before, one of my goals with cyber work is to lower the barriers to entry in cybersecurity specifically, and make you feel like get over imposter syndrome, or feel like you're not qualified, or techy enough because you haven't been immersed in tech since childhood, or things like that. Or also, for outward base, for companies who sit through the same five certifications in the same backgrounds and same lived experiences, I want to connect these things a little better.


As the Women Impact Tech Conference made clear, there's a lot of great women professionals and I met dozens of them and there were hundreds there who are engaged, ambitious, and ready to make a difference all around. Katie, what are your recommendations for accelerating this trend, so that as someone said at the conference that we could possibly achieve gender parity sometime in the next five, or six decades?


[0:25:10] KO: Hopefully, right? The numbers are a bit –


[0:25:14] CS: Let's speed it up a little.


[0:25:13] KO: - a little bit more bleak than that. Yeah. I would love to see that happen at the rapid clip you were talking about. I think, one of the things that we often see in terms of trying to get people – it's not just getting people in the door, it's retaining them, right? What we need to do is really operationalize the diversity to give people a sense of belonging. Belonging can be difficult when people look around and they don't see anyone in leadership who looks like them. They don't see anyone on their team who looks like them. When we don't feel like we belong, it can really impact our well-being emotionally, physically, psychologically, and then reduce performance, get put on a performance improvement plan, and then we either leave or we're out the door.


Before even looking at what can women do and under-recognized groups can do, before even looking at that, it's what can the company do to create a sense of belonging and a sense of community? Because people do not readily leave their communities. There's no issue getting people in the door, if your eyes are open, if you're attending events that really focus in on diversity and inclusion, recruiting from those places that you don't typically recruit from. Once they're in the door, how are you making them feel like they belong there and that they matter? That's the first thing, I want to say. For the second piece, I'll say, and then I'll leave companies and organizations alone for a second, because we do have individual responsibility.


[0:27:06] CS: We'll come back to companies. Don't worry, it's fine.


[0:27:08] KO: Okay. This idea of sponsorship, right? Women have – or mentorship. Women have been mentored to death. Whether it is serving as a mentor, or being a mentee, those practices that are done within organizations actually becomes more unpaid labor for women to be. They'll often say, “I've been mentored to death. I've had these exercises. I've had these meetings.”


[0:27:41] CS: Yeah, it becomes almost like a team activity, or something. Now, you have to do your 14 hours of mentoring for the quarter.


[0:27:50] KO: Right, that you don't get paid for. We know that that mentorship is not going to get you to the next level. What we really want to start looking at is sponsorship instead. Who's talking about us in the rooms that we're not present in, right? It's so much more helpful when it is a man who is able to do that, or a man who's able to provide the mentorship. Because here's the thing, there's fewer women at the top, fewer women of color, fewer LGBTQ women, or trans women. When you have people who are coming into the organization, they're assigned to the one person that holds that identity. Then that leader becomes overwhelmed and burnt out with the amount of support that they need to provide. This is also a call to all my men and male identified folks. How are you sponsoring women and folks with under-recognized identities in the workplace?


[0:28:57] CS: Yeah. Again, I think that that feeds into the cycle of, like you said, emotional labor of the men in leadership see the one woman leadership who has 14 mentees, or whatever and like, “Oh, she's got it.” Then they say, “Well, I wouldn't even know where to step in, because they have their own little thing.” Which again, they don't have their own little thing, because they're trying to avoid you. It's because like, this is the only option that they've been given. Yeah.


[0:29:28] KO: Right. Right.


[0:29:31] CS: Yeah, that's a great point. We hear the M word. I'm here all the time, but mentorship stands, or mentorship. But yeah, that's an angle that we haven't necessarily addressed yet, is that it can't just be this operationalized thing that you do to make yourselves feel more inclusive, or whatever. Going back to that, as you said, with (en)Courage is that working with your clients, you try to create “courageous workspace cultures in our DNA.” This is another challenging area that we hear all the time about in cybersecurity specifically, whether it's the expectations that new employees will work long hours to make an impact, or a culture that only prioritizes certain types of team building activities, i.e., everyone goes out afterwards, or works weekends, or what have you, and that might not work for everyone who might have parenting duties, or elder care duties, or just doesn't want to do that, or is introverted, or whatever. What are some things that you've seen that are successful in helping to bring about courageous workplace cultures?


[0:30:35] KO: Yeah. For me, courageous workplace cultures, I think, if we can think about what that means for a second, right? Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is feeling the agency and the capacity and the support to be able to move through fear and know that when you get to the other side, it's going to be safe. We hear a lot about psychological safety these days, but what is it? A lot of people are like, “Oh, it's just a place where we don't disagree and nobody gets frustrated and there are no consequences.” That's not what psychological safety is.


Psychological safety, when you think about it in terms of a team, or an organization really is established on a foundation of clarity; clarity of roles, clarity of responsibilities and clarity of expectations. If we don't have clarity for our employees, they're never going to feel safe and they're never going to be able to feel empowered enough to take that risk that might take the team, or the company to the next level, the product, or the service to the next level, or for innovation. When in doubt, over communicate and be as clear as possible.


It is so much easier to effectively hold somebody accountable to their work, to their responsibilities, to a goal, or a benchmark if you were very clear about the expectations upfront. Where people get tripped up and where a lot of employees feel they're being set up to fail is the expectations were never clearly communicated. They get to their performance review, they get to the client pitch and suddenly, everything they did wasn't good enough. They don't know why and they had never received feedback along the way, which makes it very difficult for people to thrive and feel courageous.


Now all we have is fear. If I step this way, it's wrong, if I step that way. Communicating clarity of role, clarity of expectations allows us to hold other people accountable. Also, to be able to say, “I wasn't clear with you about what my expectations were. I'm going to do better next time, too.” Accountability works both ways. If we don't see our leaders taking accountability for their actions, or being held accountable for their actions, that's when a courageous workplaces is just not going to be able to develop, or emerge in a culture.


[0:33:21] CS: All right, so we're winding down the hour here, but I want to talk to people. I think of this as an entry level issue, but I suppose even leadership deals with this. But I wanted to give our listener some job hunting, or resume making advice. What are some of the big pitfalls you've seen incoming professionals make on a regular basis, whether it's the way they apply for a job, interview strategies, or their plan for the first few months of a new job, the way they, like you said, brand themselves and let the employer know that this is what they do and this is what they're here for?


[0:33:55] KO: For sure. If we start with collateral materials, right? Resume, cover letter, LinkedIn, I think one of the biggest pitfalls there for not just new professionals, Chris, but even people who have been in the workforce for a long period of time, is they use their job description as their resume. The job description is not compelling. It usually is very specific to the organization that you're at. What is compelling, what will keep people reading, because our attention spans have dwindled to almost nothing, is being able to talk about your achievements and your impact.


I always tell my clients, don't bury the lead. Start with the impact that you have, and then have the rest of the bullet point, or the rest of the sentence be about the responsibilities and skills that allowed you to achieve that impact, but always start with the impact, or the achievement. Also, with cover letters, these cover letters tend to be the thing that hold people up from applying to jobs.


I think now, as we're seeing with the onset of AI and ChatGPT, I always say, use it as a first draft. Put your resume in. See what it spits out. Often, writer's block goes away when there's something already on the page.


[0:35:18] CS: Absolutely.


[0:35:19] KO: The other piece is people are like, “Oh, my gosh. Every time I apply to a job, Katie, I have to write a new cover letter.” I'm like, no, you don't. The job might change. The company will change, but you and what you're bringing to the table does not change. If you are having to rewrite who you are with every cover letter, your job search is not focused enough, and you don't know what it is that you want. I always say, write your cover letter like you would a five-paragraph essay.


Write an introduction that talks about two of your strengths and a value that really drives and motivates you. Those become the three paragraphs for the body of the cover letter. Talk about how those strengths and values informed and influence things that you achieved in different workplaces. Then close out, telling them what you just told them about your strengths and how these would be something that you're able to bring to the table as differentiated value. Like I said, if you are having to rewrite your cover letter every time, it's time to focus in on what you want, not what you think the employer wants.


[0:36:34] CS: Okay. For listeners who might not be in leadership, or hiring positions, but so want to influence the diversity of their co-workers and staff and work culture, do you have any advice for ways that you can help change the tide from the lower part of the wave?


[0:36:50] KO: Yeah. Chris, if I'm hearing you right, the question is, how can I lead change and exert influence if I don't have a positional title?


[0:37:00] CS: Yeah. Right. Right.


[0:37:02] KO: Yeah. I think the one of the very first things to do is change your mindset. Leadership is a practice. It is not a position. How can you, if you are someone who has identities that are rooted in power, how can you use those identities to influence and advocate for those around you at your level? I say, talk about compensation, talk about salary. If you recognize that you're earning a whole lot more than somebody else who's at the same level, then you ask those questions. Ask them of your supervisor, ask them of human resources.


We can start just by having a positive impact, or a positive influence on somebody else's life. It can just be that one person. It doesn't have to be everyone. If it has to be everyone, that's too daunting, and no one's going to step in and try and make a change. I would say, the other thing when you're in a meeting and someone gets spoken over, whether that is a woman, or an under-recognized group, interrupting the person that interrupted them and say, “Hey, I'd really love to hear what Chris was saying. I'd love to have him finish his thought.” Or, if somebody takes an idea that has already been shared by a woman, or an under-recognized group, being able to say, “Hey, I'm pretty sure Katie said that five minutes ago. Katie, would you care to elaborate on what you were talking about?”


A lot of it is collecting observations, holding yourselves and others at the table accountable. These are the small micro practices and micro choices that can have a big impact, or a macro impact when other people start seeing happen.


[0:38:53] CS: That's awesome. Great advice. Thank you. As we wrap up today, we've talked about a little bit, but if you want to tell our listeners anything else about (en)Courage and Consulting, how our listeners can learn more, how they can find you, Katie O'Malley, feel free to do so now.


[0:39:08] KO: Yeah, sure. You can visit us at encouragecoaching.org. Also, on social media, Facebook and Instagram @encouragecoachchicago. I love building up my network. Connect with me on LinkedIn. It's \KateOMalley. I'd be happy to start a conversation and be of service, however I can.


[0:39:33] CS: Awesome. Well, Katie, thank you so much for providing our listeners with all this great insight and enthusiasm. It was great to reconnect and talk with you again.


[0:39:40] KO: Agreed. Agreed. Chris, thank you so much for this opportunity. I look forward to hopefully, meeting members of your audience on the socials, or LinkedIn.


[0:39:49] CS: Very likely that will happen. It's happened to a lot of our past guests. If you want to meet Katie, go do it. As always, thank you to all of you who have been listening to and watching the Cyber Work Podcast on a unprecedentedly high scale. We're so glad to have you along for the ride. We just passed our 1 million visits, or downloads. Yeah, and 70,000 subscriptions on YouTube. Keep it up. Thank you all.


Before you go, I just want to invite our listeners to visit infosecinstitute.com/free to get a whole bunch of free stuff for Cyber Work listeners. Our new security awareness training series, Work Bytes, features a host of fantastical employees, including a zombie, a vampire, a princess and a pirate, making security mistakes and hopefully learning from them.


Also, visit infosecinstitute.com/free for your free cybersecurity talent development eBook. It's got in-depth training plans for the 12 most common roles, including SOC analyst, penetration tester, cloud security engineer, information risk analyst, privacy manager, secure coder, and more. Lots to see, lots to do. You just got to get first to infosecinstitute.com/free. Yes, the link is in the description below.


Thank you once again to Katie O'Malley and (en)Courage Coaching and Consulting. Thank you all so much for watching and listening. As always, we'll speak to you next week. Take care now.

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