A participant’s perspective: Empowering Women to Lead, Cyber Security – Northern Ireland

Nuala Kilmartin, Innovation Lead, Digital Security by Design, Innovate UK, UKRI, outlines the value of this cyber security leadership programme for women.

I happened to be scrolling on LinkedIN and came across what looked like an ideal course for me having recently moved into a career in Digital Security operating across the UK. I automatically clicked through to read more and reach out to the tutor who posted the programme flier to express my interest. The course was being promoted specifically for Scotland at the time and I was told you had to be a resident of Scotland to apply. Totally understanding this, I parked my enthusiasm and forgot about the opportunity. However, a few months later, I received a notification that the course was being funded in Northern Ireland and as a great believer in manifestation, it seemed like fate was knocking my door. I applied immediately and received a call while on holiday during the summer to notify of my successful application. I was delighted and looked forward to commencing the course with other local Northern Ireland Women in Cyber.

On the first day of any course, curiosity and anticipation rise; however, the tutors, guest speaker and programme organiser put us all at ease. I knew the course would provide me with an excellent opportunity to not only meet and learn from a new network of fantastic women in cyber across Northern Ireland, but it would also help me navigate my leadership style and thinking within the Tech landscape and provide me with new and enhanced skills and tools to move forward as a Woman in Tech. I was not wrong, the course provided me with invaluable insights into the careers of the other course participants and we all learnt from each other and made some deep connections, whereby we will most definitely 'meet up' and 'share/support' again. I also had several lightbulb moments of how I was going to approach project teams and stakeholders in a different way with my new found learning.

The group project provided an opportunity to develop trusted relationships with individual group members and appreciate a deeper level of conversation and participation on our proposal 'The Future of Cyber within Northern Ireland'. At the course Graduation, all teams presented their focused research that offered real, sustainable deliverables involving a skills pipeline for girls in STEM, and highlighted efforts against ransomware attacks. The course also provided a few personal/professional coaching sessions which helped apply the learning.

I truly valued the experience and the opportunity to meet some amazing strong women leaders and I would definitely recommended the programme to other women seeking to develop their leadership style across the tech landscape.

Article by Nuala Kilmartin, Innovation Lead, Digital Security by Design, Innovate UK, UKRI

You can find out more about the Empowering Women to Lead, Cyber Security programme and apply here