Diversity, Equality, & The Diana Initiative 2019: What We Can Achieve Together

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It’s the constant question: what it will take to fill all the empty roles in cyber security? And the ongoing challenge to gain a strategic advantage as adversaries continue to up-the-game in tech and tactics. Let’s start here. Draw a bigger circle. Invite people in who don’t conform with traditional requirements because what we’ve been doing isn’t getting things done. Different experiences, cultures, backgrounds – these expand our field of vision in terms of understanding by widening the lens we see through. We need to look beyond what we expect to see to find what we’ve been looking for. The fact is, we con’t know what we don’t know – but you can bet there is someone out there who does. Have we opened the door to let them in?

There has been growing realization and appreciation for what collaboration and communication bring. Just look at the power of fusion groups, or when various international law enforcement agencies work together to take down dark web markets. Let’s talk about synergy, when two or more entities combine to create a result that is greater than the sum of their individual efforts. We’re limiting our potential when we set limits on others. You can hear my thoughts on this episode of the Insecurity Podcast by Cylance.  Here’s some basic definitions to get us started.

Diversity:  reflects the full spectrum of human differences to include race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious beliefs, ethical values, national origin, political preferences and more. It’s time that panels, workplaces, boards reflected everyone in our society and on the basis of merit.

Inclusion:  ensures there is involvement and encourages empowerment, to recognize the inherent worth and dignity of all. A sense of belonging is promoted and nurtured; respect is shown for everyone’s values and practices, talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living. It’s time to stop discarding people and ideas because we don’t like how they are different.

Equality:  ensures that individuals or groups of individuals are not treated differently or less favourably because of their race, gender, disability, religious belief, sexual orientation and/or age. Think “Equal pay for equal work” and no more glass ceilings.

blackhatlogoI am excited and honored to have been invited by Salesforce as a speaker at their feature event at BlackHat this August,  “How to Make Equality a Priority in the Security Industry”. I aim to carry forward what’s been said by those in our security community, to represent and respect.

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Go ahead – ask me how proud, how excited I am to be part of  The Diana Initiative  (TDI). We’re back for our third year in Vegas, right in the midst of all that is Hacker Summer Camp.

Yes! Everyone is welcome. We’re about inclusion and diversity. Let’s do a quick refresh on what those mean.

For those who don’t know what got us here, this is us:

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Yes! You can still register online to come. At only $30 it’s a bargain, but you have to register to attend. 

TDI is a smaller, comfortable, less-intense version of the big conferences going on around us, set in its own oasis at the Westin Las Vegas, just a short walk down from the Strip where Defcon is being held. This year we’ve gone above and beyond to offer all the good stuff attendees hope for:

Talks & Trainings. This speaker list is a wishlist of topics and expertise! Three tracks featuring technical and non-technical talks, as well as a separate training track. Outstanding contributors who’ve got amazing ideas and insights to share in a smaller, more intimate venue that will encourage and inspire some great conversations after.

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CTF. Yes! In response to popular demand, we are having our first-ever capture the flag (CTF) event, involving some of the coolest, brightest folks in our community to plan it all out. We even have a CTF 4N00BZ training because everyone has to start somewhere, and this is an encouraging and supportive environment to make sure you do! This one you have to register for in advance and it’s FREE.

earringsLockpick Village: If you haven’t tried it, you’re in for a treat. From experience (really!) it is a life-skill, especially when you leave your keys 700 miles away and discover that at 2:00 am. It also brings people together as they share the fun of learning a new skill together, and encourage each other. It’s FREE. Plus, you can buy the picks and some fabulous lockpick earrings while there.

Soldering Village: Ohhh who does not love blinky badges?! You can learn how to make your own at our Soldering Village. We have a terrific instructor who will walk you through the process, set you up with the tools and supplies, and help you make your very own keepsake badge.

Career Village: Opportunities abound. TDI has always been about networking and mentoring. Attendees can meet with professionals to have their resumes reviewed, schedule a mock interview to gain interview skills, and meet in-person with company representatives who are hiring.

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Let me leave you with this. I was recently a guest on the InSecurity Podcast by Cylance with Matt Stephenson, where we had a candid conversation about diversity and equality, how far we’ve come and the distance left to go. Have a listen and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. When it comes to making the changes we need in diversity, inclusion and equality, there’s a lot more to be said and done and our journey is just getting underway.

 

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