• Garrett O'Hara

    Garrett O’Hara is the Principal Technical Consultant at Mimecast having joined in 2015 with the opening of the Sydney office, leading the growth and development of the local team. With over 20 years of experience across development, UI/UX, technology communication, training development and mentoring, Garrett now works to help organisations understand and manage their cyber resilience strategies. When not talking about the cyber security landscape, data assurance approaches and business continuity Garrett can be found running, surfing or enjoying the many bars and eateries of Sydney's Northern Beaches.


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Garrett O'Hara

This week’s show is hosted by the newest member of our podcast team, Amy Holden. Amy is joined by two extremely talented women in the technology and cybersecurity space - Berys Amor the Director of Technology at Corrs Chambers Westgarth, and Alison O'Hare who is a Technical Director at Mimecast. 

Amy, Berys and Alison swap stories around unconscious bias toward women, the advantages of being a female in the tech and cyber space, some of the most exciting aspects of working in the industry, along with some of the challenges as well. The episode provides some great advice for anyone, especially women, considering a career in technology.


The Get Cyber Resilient Show Episode #79 Transcript

Amy Holden: Welcome to The Get Cyber Resilient Show Podcast. I'm Amy Holden, hosting today's very special episode where we are joined by two extremely talented women in the technology and cybersecurity space. We'll be speaking with Berys Amor, Director of Technology at Corrs Chambers Westgarth and Alison O'Hare, Senior Technical Director at Mimecast. Berys brings with her more than 25 years working in the legal sector before starting her career in finance administration, and then moving into information technology. She has worked for a number of the top 10 law firms and has managed a range of areas within information technology, including service delivery, training, system administration, help desk, infrastructure and application support and project management. Alison brings 19 years of experience in the IT industry across roles in cybersecurity and network engineering, including 14 years at Mimecast and a variety of leadership positions.

In this episode, we discuss the war stories, unconscious bias, and the advantages of being a female in the tech and cyber space, as well as some of the most exciting aspects working in this industry and some of the challenges as well. This episode provides great advice for anyone considering a career in technology and would be a really good one to share it with a female in your network that might be considering a career change, over to the conversation.

Hello to our listeners. I'm Amy Holden. And I'll be your host today for this very special episode where we'll be discussing women in technology and cyber. I'm honored to have two very special guests with us, both with, both women to share their career journeys and insights in this male dominated field. We have Berys Amor, the Director of Technology at Corrs Chambers Westgarth, and Allison O'Hare, the Technical Director at Mimecast. How are you built today?

Berys Amor: Very well. Thank you.

Alison O'Hare: Great, thanks.

Amy Holden: That's great to have you both on the podcast. Um, before we get started, we usually t- have the guests kinda tell us about their career journey and how they got to where they are today. So thought Berys if you could kinda kick us off and take us through that, that would be great.

Berys Amor: Sure. Um, well, I've been working in technology for a little more than 25 years now, and I first started working on Unix Systems. I was electronic data processing supervisor, so I used to write scripts in Unix to, you know, manipulate and data and analyze data. Um, I moved into being a NetWare systems engineer, people who remember NetWare, showing my age and I used to install servers and, and do systems administration, but as my career progressed I became much more interested in understanding the business needs rather than the technical side of the industry. Uh, and I was really interested in how technology could, you know, enable a business, how it could you know, be used to help grow to, you know, to win new business. Uh, so I steered away from being a technical expert and I think that set me up well to move into, you know, the CIO, director of technology role.

Um, I mean I have great technical people in my team, whom I have great confidence and trust, but certainly my role has moved much further away from being technical. Um, so currently my role, I'm responsible for a range of areas, including client and digital solutions. So I have a team now that are developing web based solutions for our clients and we're actually generating revenue, which is great. Um, I'm responsible for the project management office, information and cybersecurity, obviously service delivery cloud and infrastructure applications, process automation, and data and analytics.

Amy Holden: Wow. So pretty big role. And a wealth of experienced that you have. Do you think it's helped to have that technical background and then be able to pivot into the business world as well? It sounds like that could be a really good skill set to draw from.

Berys Amor: Yeah, I think so. I mean, l- like I said, it's been a long time since I was hands-on. Um, but it certainly gives you a good background and foundation. Um, although, you know, I think it's more important nowadays that, that technology leaders have the softer skills perhaps than having deeply technical skills, but to be able to, you know, bring both to a role is certainly an advantage.

Amy Holden: Great. Well, thank you Berys. We do hear that a lot when discussing the skills that we need in this industry, that the soft skills are so important as well. Well, Allie, I love that your career path started in a non-traditional way and there are certainly all types of career paths. And I shouldn't say that there is the traditional way to join this industry at all, but I think that you have a great story to share, and I'd love for you to tell us how you got into this space and how you've been able to apply the skills, your previous skills to the job that you do today.

Alison O'Hare: Yeah. So thanks, Amy. I had quite an interesting or different start, I guess, to my career in technology. So sort of as a physical therapist, went to university, studied that for four years headed over to the UK almost straight after I had my degree. And it was very excited to start my career as a physiotherapist, but quite early on, I became quite interested in the potential for a career change and London was perfect for that. Everybody reinvents themselves. It was kind of Y2K which is quite funny to think about as, as I think we've all forgotten about that, but there was a lot of growth in technology then, and they were looking for, you know they were trying to recruit to get more people involved and it was the ideal opportunity to go into that field.

And I loved it because I saw lots of similarities to my experience, and I guess skillset from a physio theory point of view that I could use across in IT, which was, you know, problem-solving, working with people constant change you know, just resolving day-to-day challenges. And are, I really thrived in that environment. Um, so started off kinda hands-on, second line, first line support, and then gradually grew and moved into security, which I really liked because I thought it was ever-changing, lots of innovation. Um, every day was a different day. And I really liked that aspect of it and quite so much embarrassed that I, I slowly kind of grew in my career to move away from being hands-on per se, to more understanding people and what motivates them? What cyber crime looks like, what it is to work as a leader in IT and understand business challenges and resolve those et cetera.

And I really liked that, loved the the experience I had with hands-on. 'Cause I think you get to understand the technology side, which is super helpful, but I think the transition to understanding the business needs and challenges and innovation, et cetera, has really, it's really helped me in my career.

Amy Holden: Great. Thanks for sharing Allie. And one of the objectives on speaking on this topic today is to create more awareness for women that might be considering a career path in technology. And we know now that women make up about 50% of the workforce, but only 25% of the technology workforce. So I wanted to kind of dive into that and discuss some of the challenges or even maybe some of the advantages of being a female in this space. So let's start with you Berys, would you say that there's been any unconscious bias, discrimination, or even advantages of being a female in the technology space?

Berys Amor: Yeah. Um, look, I think in some respects I've been my own worst enemy. I certainly when I started my career and to some degree now it hasn't moved as quickly as I'd hoped, but I would be the only female, whether it's on a training course, at a conference, at a seminar. Um, now, you know, it's, it's, there's more women that, that in the industry that, you know, I'm still often one of only a few. Um, and I find, I found that really intimidating. Um, it took me a long time to find my voice and and find the confidence to speak up. And I think that could be effective that puts females and women off moving into the technology industry and into the cyberspace.

Um, and it was really after um, a couple of years that I thought, you know, this is scary, but you know, it's okay to do things that scare you and you need to adjust some, you know, you've put yourself out there. Um, don't presume that, you know, the least of everyone in the room and and you know, the more you speak out and, and contribute, the more you realize that you know, there's, there's a lot of people that might be feeling the same way as you, a lot of males. And you don't, don't presume that my asking questions or giving your opinion that everyone in the room knows more than you do. A, and I think in some respects I did that. I always felt like you know, I knew the least, and that's not the case. I'm certainly not the smartest person in the room either, but it just takes time, I think, to build up that confidence.

And now when I'm faced with, you know being in a group I'm, I often make, try and make sure that I'm the first person to speak up. If there's a question put to the room, you know, I've, I put my hand up first and that's really helped me to build my confidence in this space. Um, look, and I think that, yeah, for young women technology still is very much seen as, as a male path to take. And I think as women who work in the industry, we have to try and encourage young women and show them what we can achieve, you know, what, what the career path is. And it's really exciting, you know, to help develop young women and get them interested in the industry. Um, I'm gonna, I'm going to hand over to Allie then knowing this, I've got quite a few examples, but let's let's discuss and, and, and, you know, we'll share some war stories afterwards.

Amy Holden: Yeah.

Berys Amor: [laughs].

Amy Holden: Yeah. I would love to hear some of those war stories and examples. So let's definitely come back to that after we throw to Allie. And I think that's some really great advice. And when I was doing some research around this topic, one of the reasons that women don't choose cyber and technology as a career path is they don't have women to role model or a female role model in technology. Allie, can you take us through what your experience has been like?

Alison O'Hare: Um, I think back and I've often, I have often pondered this, especially now, because there's much more of a focus on women IT and promoting it and making sure that there's diversity and inclusion. Um, I think I was lucky in some ways, and I think going back to my childhood, I know that's, [laughs], going back awhile, but I was one of three daughters and my dad was very much a, "You can do anything you want," kind of dad, which I think put us in the right state. My sister works in IT, my other sister is a pediatrician and he always kind of drove us to like think big and dream big. Um, and then when I changed my career from physio to IT my friends were super supportive. They loved the idea of a career change and thought it was exciting for me to go into what was to your point Berys, very much a male dominated world.

Um, and I think because it was a time in my life where I was totally fine with taking a risk, it, it made sense. Um, what I find in my time, and this was specifically working in London was I think one of the defining moments for me was having an interview in a role whereby the hiring manager said that although he'd seen other people potentially with better skillset aligned to the job description, he was going for diversity and there was a team of eight and he really wanted a, a female on the team. And he'd love me to take the role and hope that I wasn't offended based on what he was saying there. Um, and I totally latched onto, because I thought this was my chance to get into, it was more moving into a security role. So it was my chance to get into a team that I was super excited about and hope that by him welcoming in, me in like that, he could role model that behavior to the team and therefore feeling treated.

So I think what probably my most defining moment in terms of my experience, which was super positive. Um, and there'll always be doubt as I reckon, or there would have been in those days. I, I do think it's changed a lot now to where we sit and I don't necessarily feel like there's a lack of inclusion, but I think for a lot of us, 100% as Berys says, we're our own worst enemies. And that we feel that we don't belong in the, in the, in that particular zone or that it's a male dominated world. Whereas it just takes a matter of putting yourself out there and you'd be surprised in terms of response you get and how you feel in those scenarios and what you can actually bring to the table.

Berys Amor: Yeah.

Amy Holden: Yeah. I think that is really great advice. And it sounds like in your case, it was kind of an advantage of being a female and having a different perspective and helping create diversity in the team. Now I wanted to jump into some of those war stories and examples, and I, myself, as an American female in Australia, I'm often asked if I moved to Australia for an Aussie man. And I guess it's just that unconscious bias. But when I say, "No, no, no, I actually have an American husband." I'm then asked if I moved here for his job. And we actually moved here for my career and a job offer that I had. So I'm curious to hear if you have any similar stories relating to unconscious bias, Berys, let's start with you. As I know you said that you did have some of those war stories.

Berys Amor: A, a, absolutely. Particularly early on in my career. And you know, I have an unusual name. So unless you speak to me, hopefully, [laughs], it's not if you've spoken to me, but if I'm exchanging emails or people are looking at my profile without a photo, they presume I'm actually a male. Um, and I've had lots of instances where I have exchanged emails with with people. And when they've come in to meet me, come into the office to meet me have been absolutely gobsmacked that I'm a female, you know? One, I came into reception, one gentlemen, I walked up and said, "Hi, how are you? How can I help you?" He looked me up and down and said, "It's okay, I'm fine. I'm waiting for the IT manager." Um, and I said, "Well, that would be me." Uh, and he was terribly embarrassed, [laughs].

Amy Holden: [laughs].

Berys Amor: Which I was very happy about. Um, but you know, there's just, you're right, it's unconscious bias. And I think because as we said earlier, if you can't see people, see women in our roles, then you're going to make a presumption. Um, the other funny thing is too, a lot of, I do get invited to a lot of corporate events, well I used to before you know, the world changed. And you know, sometimes I think I probably got invited because I was a female, which I was absolutely fine with. Um, but I usually was when I met other m- of my peers that I didn't know, people often presume that I was the plus one and often spoke if I had a male with me would speak to them and say, "Oh, so, you know, how do you know Mimecast?" Or, you know, "What do you do for a job?" So that's quite amusing and used to happen quite often.

Amy Holden: Yeah, definitely amusing. I think it may be like, that is kind of part of the role that we, we bear as women is, we're kinda breaking down those stereotypes and kind of, you know, calling it out and you know, saying it, "I am the IT manager." [laughs]. Um.

Berys Amor: I have to tell you another funny story. It's actually not directly related to technology, but it was pretty funny. So I bought a few years ago, I bought a high performance car. I'm not going, I'm gonna try not to name the brand. Um-

Amy Holden: [laughs].

Berys Amor: ... and because I had bought this beautiful high-performance car, I was invited to a drive day. Um, it was at Sandown, Sandown Race track, in Melbourne. Um, and when I got there, there was a large group of people of which there were four women and then probably 20 or 25 men. So we all got split up into groups like we've, we had an assigned to driver with us and off we went. We had a car for the day that we drove around the track. And, you know, I noticed that all the guys got like the cool cars and, and we got this people mover out like a, you know, eight or 10 person.

Amy Holden: [laughs].

Berys Amor: Which was just hideous. Right. So we hopped in and w- we were set off to the first, you know, obstacles, if you like. And I said to the driver, I said, "Why are we in this car?" And he said, "Um, well, it's a great family car. You know, it's, you know, it's got a great safety record," and I was furious. I mean, I don't have a family, I don't have kids. Um, and I said to him, I said, "Well, I don't, I don't want to spend the day in this car." And I turned around and said to the other woman, "You know, how do you feel?" I said, "Let me put it this way. I am never going to buy one of these cars, but I might buy one of those." And I pointed to a convertible and we stopped and we got out and we got into the convertible straightaway, but I thought, "What a terrible, unconscious bias," you know, it's and I was all right. You know, I was never gonna buy one of those people movers. [laughs].

Amy Holden: Yeah. I love that you're studying everyone's straight and challenging that, [laughs], in and out of technology. But, w- what about you, Allie? Do you have any of, o, any stories that are similar?

Alison O'Hare: Yeah. I do. And you know, it's so interesting Berys, as you say, there's that you don't mind being invited because you're a female. Um, and I feel often the same thing is that I purposefully get invited or some of the guys that I work with, even in my current role will, will ask me into meetings because they want to have a female representation there because it brings a different perspective and conversations, but also it's unusual to some extent, so it can kind of break down barriers, make things a little bit more relaxed. You know, I think that the, what we bring into a meeting or how we think about people or the outcomes or challenges is sometimes softer or just slightly different to what a male colleague would. And maybe that's, that's not always correct or not, or shared by everyone. But I do feel that to some extent is that I'm often invited and whether that's an unconscious bias or a benefit, it's definitely there.

Looking back to my kinda early days in IT, and I think it was a lot more prevalent there. It was really funny because I used to work all over Europe for the company that I was working for. And I used to go into data centers and we do hardware, software, configs, cabling, et cetera, which I guess was e- even more kinda IT focused. And I often traveled with a colleague who would inevitably a male, be a male. And I was superior to him in terms of planning the move and the you know, and setting up the hardware and the configuration and installation everything. And every time we went into a data center, we would obviously met by someone who, who worked with a particular organization or was the security related to us going into the data center.

And I don't think there was ever a case where they didn't think that I was just tagging along to watch or learn. Um, so whenever they would arrive and we would talk, they would always direct the conversation to the guy who would normally just look at me and say, "She's actually running this." [laughs]. "I, like, I don't know really know what I'm doing. I'm just helping with caving or whatever." Um, and I love that because the guys that I worked with, my colleagues, I always just felt so respected by, but also how embarrassed they were, because they were always the ones that were spoken to in those scenarios. And I was always like, "Hi," [laughs], "You know, it's me." Um, but I, I don't know, I just c- I kinda got to used to it and just gradually-

Amy Holden: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Alison O'Hare: ... feel that things have changed and that people have changed their views over time. Um, and by constantly persisting and showing your value, showing your worth to various points, speaking up, don't assume that you don't know, or that you've got questions that other people don't have gradually change the nature of the conversation and, and where we fit.

Amy Holden: Yeah. I think that's excellent advice and it is great for our listeners to, to hear it. And, and good for women and th- that might be intimidated by technology or kind of considering this career path. I'd love to dive into, to kinda your, your roles and just kind of what you'd consider the, the most exciting aspects and the most challenging aspects of, of what you do. Um day-to-day. If you wanna start with Berys.

Berys Amor: Sure. Thanks. Um, look, I think for me at the moment, the most exciting part of my role, as you know, we've transformed the technology team and., in, in a law firm from being a, a back of house function into actually helping to win new business and to generate revenue. So, you know, I have a team that, as I said, earlier, development based solutions. Myself, and the director of that team, we go out and we meet with with the firm's clients. And, you know, we listened to their business challenges, w- w- we let our clients leverage our technologies and our experience and we help solve not at, not just the firms problems, but the firms clients problems as well. That's incredibly exciting for myself and the team and it changes the whole conversation and the whole value that you bring to the business. And so there's that, and there's also just using technology to, like I said, enable the business when new business and to, you know, provide efficiencies and productivity for the firm's clients.

Um, the other part of my role that I love is actually developing team members and in particular young women in the industry, but certainly, you know, I think as the more senior you get, you know, the more opportunity you have to develop other people, and it's so rewarding to be able to do that. Um, and you know, over my time, during my time in this role, you know, I now have two senior managers who are female. You know, we have one young woman who, you know, started on the help desk and is now the IT service manager. And that is incredibly rewarding for me.

Amy Holden: Great. Yeah. I love that. It, it sounds like you've been a great advocate for, for women and an excellent leader in, in and really yeah, able to give back a lot as well to the community. Uh, what about, what about you, Allie? What would you say has been kinda the most rewarding aspects of, of your role, the most exciting?

Alison O'Hare: So if I think about my current role, it would be around the people side. So I, I love, I love managing people. I love being involved in their life professional and obviously taking, being cognizant of their personal life and how that impacts the workplace. So I love that aspect of it. And, you know, Berys mentioned the coaching and the development of those, those individuals. I find that really rewarding and exciting, but also hugely challenging because people are the most complex beast when it comes to work and technology. Um, so that would probably be the, the most exciting thing. I think if I look at a technical or technology layer, it's probably the, the most exciting, but also the most challenging would be just how the innovation around how quickly things change the sophistication when it comes to security threats. And that's something that we deal with all the time.

So I think I love that because I don't think that I would ever have lasted in a role this long if it wasn't dealing with something that changes so frequently. And that's where I think technology has always kept me excited and interested because it changes all the time. So you're never, still, you're always learning. Um, you're, you're always adapting your style or the way you work or the people that you work with or the technology that you work with, which, which I really love, 'cause I think it keeps things active, but it's also challenging at the same time. 'Cause it's exhausting because things change all the time. What you did a week ago. It might not work this week because there's something different that's happened or different technology and different products, different features.

Um, and thinking about what you said Berys about females and the team and their development. It's really interesting. 'Cause if I reflect back to my roles, especially the last role that I've had, this will be the first time, but since about a year ago that I've had a female in my team. Um, and a lot of people would say, "Oh, you know, so why aren't you recruiting females," females just typically don't interview or put themselves forward for these jobs. So although we hugely promote diversity, is just not something that I come across when it comes to recruiting. Um, so this is super exciting because you can just see the dynamic changes and the s- the, the support in the team to make sure that this particular individual grows into that role. Um, which I find super exciting, 'cause I think it's just the start of changes to come in the future.

Berys Amor: Yeah. Which, which is why I think sponsorship is so important too, is sponsoring particularly young women to help, to, to direct them a, and help them grow into a career in technology or cybersecurity. You know, I know that I, I have been sponsored by many people mostly men in my career. And it's really important, I think, as leaders to do that as well, and to look for the, your top talent and and really push them. And sometimes you do have to push them, don't you? You have to really encourage them to apply for roles and, and give them the confidence.

Alison O'Hare: Yeah. And I think, I think you're right. A lot of, I don't think a lot of females necessarily see the option of technology as a career. So it's only when you start talking to them about it and talk about what it's like and what the workplace is and the opportunities, and, you know, hard to get into a role like that. I think a lot of people associated the fact that you've got to have done an IT related degree, and that's the only way to progress.

Berys Amor: Yeah.

Alison O'Hare: Where in fact, that's just a very small part of it in terms of what you studied. There's so many other skills and attributes that make people right for the role, as opposed to a degree.

Amy Holden: Yeah. I wanted to dive into that a little bit. If there was any kind of skills that you would look for when you are hiring members of your team or any skills that you think are, are transferable.

Berys Amor: Um, customer focused is, is really important for me. Uh, as I think we've said throughout this conversation, that technology is, is actually about people. Um, so, you know, having that, that attitude and that client or customer focus is really, really important for people working in technology and even, you know, even our technical people in our team, you know? I want to see a client focus, you know? They need to understand what they do at a deeply technical level will impact the person at the end of the keyboard. And you know, that's, that's their client. Uh, so that's certainly one area that I look for. Also great communication skills, and that includes listening, you know, being able to listen and, and, you know, and convert that into understanding your clients and, and customers. Um, those are probably two really important ones from my, you know, from my perspective.

Amy Holden: Great. And, and now you Allie, what about from your side? Are there any skills that you, that you look for?

Alison O'Hare: Yeah. I was just thinking about it and it's such an interesting one because I think if I'm in an interview and I'm trying to think, "Is this person right for the team and the role and just technology in general," probably a couple of things, obviously backing a set in terms of communication and client focus. Massively, it's the people side and understanding and wanting to get into the detail and listening. Um, and then the only other thing that I'd call out was a learning attitude-

Amy Holden: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Alison O'Hare: ... um, and adaptability. So making sure, 'cause there's some people who like to work in a career where they're, you know, not much changes and it's very predictable, whereas this person would need to be adaptable and wanting to learn and embrace change. And then the only other thing I'd call out is problem solving, troubleshooting attitude is, is so helpful. So someone who will go into a situation and there's not a particular fix or solution that works, but what about if we take a little bit of this, a little bit of that, or we pull this person in or we talk about potentially a different way of doing it and being able to work around being creative in terms I guess, of troubleshooting or problems.

Berys Amor: Yeah, absolutely. And w- you've just made me think of another one Allie, and that is curiosity.

Amy Holden: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Berys Amor: You know, I love people-

Alison O'Hare: Yeah.

Berys Amor: ... who are curious. Um, and I remember I was presenting via Zoom to a group of Clark's, you know, university students. Um, and one young woman asked me about, she was really interested in the innovation program and she said, "What do you think? You know, what do you think y- is the best thing, if you wanna get involved in innovation?" And I said, "Curiosity," you have to have a curious mind and want it and ask questions and, and, you know, want to understand. And I think it's really important.

Amy Holden: Yeah. I love that. I think that that's all excellent. Um, and you know, just such a quick changing the fast pace industry we're kind of getting to time already. Um, it's been lovely chatting. I wish it was over tea. Um, th- [laughs], as kind of a parting question I wanted to ask if you had no, we've, we've gone through a lot of advice for, for women and people in general, I guess if, if they were considering a career path in technology, but if there's kind of any final parting advice that you would give to, to someone, or especially a female considering a career in technology, what would that be?

Berys Amor: Hmm. I think that what I said earlier is it can be scary and it's okay to do things that scare you. Um, it, it takes courage, I think, for, even for anyone to get into a new industry, but and, and don't necessarily listen to the noise around you. You know, sometimes you can be put off doing things because of commentary and, and noise around you, but, you know, really look into what you want to do. And you know, don't, don't let other people talk you out of it. I'm not saying that they might do that on purpose, but you know, if people are, "Oh, you know, what about this? And this will be a challenge." And just, just think about what you wanna do and take, take a leap of faith and go for it. And find people who are going to be positive and support you. And don't be afraid to reach out to people that you might've met or, you know, through, I don't know, through networking or through friends.

Amy Holden: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Berys Amor: And, and reach out to them and ask them. I've, I've mentored a few young women and they've, it's come about by people. When one, was at a conference where a guy approached me and said, "There's a young woman in my team who I think would really benefit from from your mentoring." Um, and then I've had another woman who reached out as well. So I know it's a hard thing to do, and-

Alison O'Hare: Yes.

Berys Amor: ... it's something that I haven't done when I was developing my career, but don't ever underestimate how much other people want you to succeed.

Amy Holden: That's great advice. And I did wanna touch on the sponsorship that you had mentioned earlier and that the mentoring, I think it's so important, but a lot of, I think a lot of people don't know how to go about it. So it's great to get that advice and kind of just be proactive and approach somebody that you look up to, or that you've seen in the industry and see if they can help support you and, and give some advice.

Alison O'Hare: Yeah. I love that mentoring side. I think it's, I think proactively reaching out to someone. I mean, I would love it if somebody said to me, "Hey, I, I'd love you to mentor me and talk me through what you did and just give me support and be a sounding board." I think it's an amazing thing to do. I think for the mentor and the mentee, I think you can both so benefit from that. And I think you're right. It can give the confidence, even if it's a small chunk of time for someone to either go through a career change or feel confident with the role that they're in. Um, the other thing that I mentioned is not, I guess, in terms of someone who's embarking on that change or is a female in IT, is not to be worried about being minority. You know, I try and, and whether it's conscious or subconscious, if you walk into a room or join a, a conference call and you are one of 20, you know, 19 males and just one female, don't worry about it. Like, it doesn't matter.

It doesn't mean that you don't have as good an opinion or important and opinion. And I try and just look through that and think i, it really doesn't matter whether I'm one of the other or how many they are in terms of the balance of numbers. Um, it's what I bring to the table. It's what I ask. It's what I offer. It's how I conduct myself. Um, and then the only other thing would be focusing on the skills, like if you know the role that you wanna be, once again, think about the skills that you have to do that job and what you bring to the table. So, you know, we talked to my curiosity and listening skills and detail, if that suits you and that's who you are, then that's all you need to be able to go through that career change or progress in your career because you've got the attitude and the capabilities and skills that you need to do that well.

Berys Amor: Yeah, absolutely. And, and I think that leads into take responsibility for your career. I know that, you know, often people in, in my team, you know, w- we'll ask about what training, you know, the business will provide. And we absolutely will provide training, but I'm really big into your own personal development. You know, you take taking a proactive approach to, you know, what training can I do in my own time you know, to get where I want to go? Yeah.

Alison O'Hare: Yeah. I love that. Actually you're 100% right. People are looking always well, not always, but to some extent, "Who's gonna help me?" But there's so much that you can do for yourself, even if it is asking other people for help, but it's all that proactive, I guess, lead from the individual.

Amy Holden: Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Yeah. Finding the course yourself and asking for, for permission, rather than asking for what training the company would provide. What's excellent advice. And it was fantastic talking to, to both of you, and I'm sure this, this episode will be very valuable to, to our audience and to women considering getting into tech as well. Um, thank you so much again, Berys and Allie, for, for joining the podcast.

Berys Amor: Thanks very much for asking me. It's been a pleasure.

Alison O'Hare: Yeah. Likewise. Thanks, Amy. That was a really interesting chat. So I appreciate it.

Amy Holden: Thanks so much to Berys and Allie for joining us on that last episode and thank you to our listeners of The Get Cyber Resilient Podcast. Jump into our back catalog of episodes, like, subscribe, leave us a review and share. Goodbye for now. And we look forward to catching you on the next episode.

Principal Technical Consultant

Garrett O’Hara is the Principal Technical Consultant at Mimecast having joined in 2015 with the opening of the Sydney office, leading the growth and development of the local team. With over 20 years of experience across development, UI/UX, technology communication, training development and mentoring, Garrett now works to help organisations understand and manage their cyber resilience strategies. When not talking about the cyber security landscape, data assurance approaches and business continuity Garrett can be found running, surfing or enjoying the many bars and eateries of Sydney's Northern Beaches.

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