Jennifer Roderick has been named in a Top 100 Women’s list on more than one occasion; she has travelled around the world with her career and now works as a Cyber Threat Intelligence Specialist here at the NMC. She has previously worked in the Armed Forces preventing terrorist threats, served in Afghanistan, and has even worked as a Security Advisor for the White House.
She has also managed to collect multiple degrees along the way- all this and she’s still only 37 years old.
“I’ve got this distinct protective instinct in my life – I was born with this desire to serve and protect. To then be in the Threat Intelligence environment, especially in the NMC, I’ve just found my niche to be able to do this!”
“A lot of the technical roles in cyber involve following a trail or pattern, but with the Threat Intelligence the pattern can be very diverse and that’s the beauty of working as a Cyber Threat Intelligence Specialist; it’s really nice to be involved with that here at the NMC."
Jenni is also a mentor for young women, travelling toprimary schools and speaking to young girls about what a career in cyber islike. Prior to COVID, Jenni had done alot of talks at events all around the world in addition to running RECONVillage, an open space withtalks, live demos, workshops and discussions with a common focus onreconnaissance, for the past three years at DEFCON, which is a hackingconference that has been around for two decades.
We have also spoken to a new arrival at the NMC, Olivia Dodding, who joined the NMC in January this year as a Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst.
Liv said: “The National Management Centre is a very inclusive organisation and since joining, I have found contributing to the protection of UK Police Forces against cyber threats very rewarding. I have enjoyed learning about organisational values and identifying different opportunities to help further develop our service for law enforcement.”
Prior to working at the NMC, Liv worked as a Cyber Protect/Prevent Officer at Lancashire Constabulary and lead the cyber volunteer’s programme, developing a cyber PCSO programme and managed to secure funding for VR headsets that could be used in the community to provide cyber protect advice. She said:
“I was the first woman to join the Cyber Crime Unit which felt a bit daunting, however, I was able to bring a different perspective to the team which contributed to the development of a strong, coordinated response to cybercrime in Lancashire.”
Liv explained how she never expected to find herself as a cyber specialist after finishing her Undergraduate Degree in Psychology and then her Master’s in Forensic Psychology and Mental Health.
She’s also had people tell her that her job is ‘boring’ and say ‘I didn’t expect you to look like that or be so young’ - a lot of stereotypes have been thrown at her in this industry however that hasn’t stopped her from seeing anything but positives in her work.
“I have found being part of the cybersecurity industry very rewarding. I can do little things in my everyday life, for example, educating my grandma about current online scams and keeping her passwords safe but then I am also able to contribute to national work. There are no limits to cybersecurity and the industry can help you develop a vast array of new skills!”
Alex Brown who is part of the Senior Leadership Team here at the NMC. Alex started out as a Cyber Security Apprentice at BT in 2015, then assimilating into commercial SOC lead and finally progressed into her current role at the NMC; Cyber Threat Service Manager, where she leads a technical team of security experts. She has now been a family member to the NMC for three years and got her newest senior role February 2020.
“The last five years have been a whirlwind for me career-wise! I fell into my apprenticeship by chance and loved every minute of it. I’ve had many great opportunities and experiences over the years, spending time with various security teams – Threat Intelligence, Security Incident Management and Global Security Operations – and I’ve learnt so much from them all.”
Similarly, with Liv, Alex had never thought of Cyber Security as a career path for herself as she saw herself becoming a midwife or nurse. Before her apprenticeship with BT Alex worked in a pharmacy, so anything medical was her calling at that time in her life.
“I didn’t even know cyber was a thing before hearing about the apprenticeship through my dad – he worked for BT at the time. It was definitely a challenge to start with, I’m not overly technical so it was something I’d never imagined doing or thought I could do.”
Once she had spent time learning what Cyber Security was and all the different aspects of it (non-technical side), Alex felt like she fitted in with her new calling.
Alex said how she would highly recommend a job in cyber security; “It always keeps you on your toes”.
And last, but certainly not least, Candice O’Halloran who is part of the Force Liaison Team, bridging the gap between the technical teams and Police forces, to enhance stakeholder relationships. Candice studied Law and had worked within Fraud teams in Policing for several years when the opportunity to create a Cyber desk within her department emerged, she was the only woman to apply.
“I knew little about cyber, but I knew it would be a great place to position myself and that there would be greater opportunities for training and development.”
“I find that women can be more risk averse. This may appear to be a weakness, but to the contrary, women are inherently in tune with associated risks and have a great deal of self-awareness; this is imperative in cyber security. We are more likely to be transparent around skills gaps and observant of the business/reputational risks resulting from decisions.”
In Candice’s experience women are generally strong communicators and are good at considering the wider implications, which is why women are vital in senior positions and they should feel confident in their abilities.
“I’m happy to say that throughout my career I’ve been surrounded by men who have championed me and actively encouraged my aspirations. The imbalance of women in these industries is not the sole responsibility of women, men are integral in bringing about a shift in culture across cyber security and government sectors. I’d encourage all women with an interest in cyber security to explore the sector, there are so many pathways. You’ll be welcomed in.”
Candice says: “I once read somewhere that you need three women in a boardroom before you start to see a change in culture. One woman is a token, two is a minority but three changes the group dynamic, overall dialogue, and wider sway on stakeholders. Women naturally provide a strong moral compass in a competitive business environment, which can result in more diligent, fair decision making.”