• 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

Gender diversity in cyber. Why aren’t there more women in leadership roles? - With Jo Stewart-Rattray, CSO at Silver Chain

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To say that Jo is heavily involved in the cyber security industry is an understatement. Jo has worked in security leadership positions with a host of of organisations, and has also has served in industry bodies such as AIIM and ISACA.

In this final part of our interview with Jo we dive into the topic of gender diversity. We talk about International Women’s Day, societal representation in leadership, pay gaps, period poverty, education and Jo’s work as part of the Civil Society Member of the Official Delegation to the UN’s 62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

 

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The Get Cyber Resilient Show Episode #50 Transcript

Garrett O'Hara: Welcome to the Get Cyber Resilient Podcast, I'm Garrett O'Hara. This is part two of our conversation with Jo Stewart-Rattray Chief Security Officer for Silver Chain. In part one, we covered Jo's perspective on security leadership, her insights into reporting structures, cyber strategy, and budgeting. It's worth listening to that part first, if you haven't already. Today in part two, we get into the topic of gender diversity. We talk about International Women's Day, societal representation in leadership, pay gaps, period poverty, education, and Jo's work as part of the civil society member of the official delegation to the UN 62nd session of the commission on the status of women. Over to part two of the interview.

Something that I'm very, very, very keen to, talk about, and it was international women's day on the 8th of March. So we're recording this two days after that and I, I'd be very keen as an opener to get from you, what you did on the day. How did you celebrate it?  it feels like it's become a pretty big thing. You know, the women in my life embraced it. My, my wife sort of works in that space peripherally and is sort of involved in that stuff. So yeah, I'd be very keen to hear from you.  how, how was the day?

Jo Stewart-Rattray: Well, I actually started International Women's Day early. I started it on the, Thursday before in Darwin. I was the guest of the Australian computer society and the Northern territory government to give a keynote on, the gender perception gap in the time of pandemic. So, so it was, that was amazing. We had 75 people in the room, some, a few very brave males came along, which I was delighted for.

Cause I actually think this is a story for men and women together. You know, the only way we make change is by standing shoulder to shoulder. And so, it, it, it went very well. So that was lovely. I, I had a great time, ended my day going out with some beautiful friends of mine I haven't seen for ages and just having a good laugh, you know.  on the actual day, my husband is also a proud feminist and happy to say so. So, we, we just, we had a special day of just, celebrating, essentially. And I was hot on sending tweets and I was, you know, pushing, messages out.

Particularly, particularly I'm a great fan of Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the UN and, his, his International Women's Day speeches are always incredibly powerful. So that was one that I was pushing out.  and so that was my day, really. It was about celebrating other women and celebrating with feminists. And, and, and Mr. Guterres has said openly on the floor of the general assembly twice that I've heard, he s, he said that he is also a proud feminist, so...

Garrett O'Hara: Yeah. It feels like... we'll get to this. So, I was going to steal my own thunder a little bit, but, I want to quote you, and the quote is, “I realized that even those who support the idea of empowering women and girls often do not understand the issues facing them or the severity of the problem.” And I'm, I'm clearly a male and with that I'd probably would want to ask, like, what's the questions that we should be asking about women in technology?

Jo Stewart-Rattray: Why are they so few? You know, we hear some crazy stats, right? We hear stats, “Oh, there were 30% women. And there were 40% women. There are...” If we look at, at women who are in solid technology slash security roles, it can be as little as 12% in this country. So, what we're really looking at is what those numbers are made up of. Let's report this, properly. I mean, I, I, I've seen recently up to 29%, but when I looked at it, they were counting anybody who worked in a technology company. So, I might be a woman, but I might be on the loading dock, or I might be a woman and I'm the receptionist. And I might be a woman and I'm doing something that's really not related, but I, I was being counted in those numbers. So that's where we get a skew.

So, we need to know what the real, number is, and indeed what the real problems are. We need to also, I guess it really is about recognizing that we need to work together on this. Let's do things like if we're going to recruit, let's take the bias out of recruitment, and this is good for diversity generally. Right? So, and how do you do that? Well, you ask HR and HR hate this, cause they're always under the pump, but you ask HR to present the first round of CVs and application that is to you blind.

And when I say blind, I mean, no photos, no pronouns, no nouns, no names. And certainly not the names of universities, because it might be an all-female college or it might be, or it might be, somewhere from a foreign land. So, you take all of that out. And so, what you're looking at is the core competencies of that person. So, you make a decision to go to the next round, not based on any of your biases, right? Cause we all have them. We all have conscious and unconscious biases, right? And so, it takes the baggage away from us. So, we end up, we get to the point where we're going to interview people and that's perhaps the first time that we know we have three women and one man, you know. So that's one way that we can, we can do that is to make sure that we take the bias out.

Garrett O'Hara: It's a huge conversation. And definitely not anything we can do justice to in the next 20 minutes or whatever. But one, one of the things that I've sort of read a little bit about in the last week, and probably because, you know, these stories are being pushed to the forefront and it was actually The Big Issue, I think it was one of the articles was around some of the challenges that,  arise as, as a female going through kind of education processes or things like menstruation can affect your ability to be in a place to learn.

And while that might affect, you know, people in Australia, when you go to other, eh, less developed or developing countries, like that's a huge or a bigger issue, it's, it's, it's just enormous. And there's things like as a man, you just, it never occurs to me because I've never dealt with it. But how do you change the understanding of those challenges?

Jo Stewart-Rattray: You might be horrified to know that in Australia, we also have what we call period poverty. We do have young, we have young women in often in remote communities, who cannot go to school because they do not have the money to buy those sanitary products because they are not inexpensive. So that's a problem. We certainly see that problem in, in Africa, and, and many developing countries, um. And so what happens is we see young women begin to fall behind their male peers at school because it's at least a week, a month they're not able to go to school. So, we need to be looking at how do we connect those young women to education, so they don't fall behind. We have to look at ways of connecting them. Now in the Australian Bush, that is a real issue, right? Because connectivity is not necessarily brilliant and there's not necessarily the money for internet connectivity outside of school. So, we have to really start thinking hard on how we deal with this.

Garrett O'Hara: Yeah, totally agree. And, and there's well established correlation between female education and general societal wellbeing. Like it's, it's not magic. We know, we know how important work the, the, how big the effects can be and how important this stuff is.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: We actually have a.... the effects are actually can be on the bottom line of countries.  Julie Bishop, when she was Foreign Minister of this country made a statement, exactly to that effect, that we need to consider, how we empower women and girls to ensure that the country is also, empowered.

Garrett O'Hara: It's a, you know, what is it? Just, 50% of the population

Jo Stewart-Rattray: 51%.

Garrett O'Hara: Yeah.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: 51% of women, 51% of, of us hold up the sky.

Garrett O'Hara: There you go. That's, that's like something on a t-shirt.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: Yeah, it should be a t-shirt.

Garrett O'Hara: It should. Yeah. There's an organization called Do It In a Dress.  which-

Jo Stewart-Rattray: Oh, yes, yes.

Garrett O'Hara: Uh. Do you know them? Yeah. So, we did some stuff with them a few years ago. It's so much fun.  but actually a friend had asked for the photos, so I got to see myself on a mountain bike, in a dress. And one of my favorite photos of me, bizarrely is in a dress.  anyway-

Jo Stewart-Rattray: We're not going to, we're not going to... yeah, we won't go into that too deeply. Because that might be a whole other podcast.

Garrett O'Hara: Yeah. There's, there's a whole conversation there and let's best, best not to have it right now. Let's, let's put it, put it away.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: [crosstalk 00:08:50] But you know, you raised some really good points about that. One of the things that I will just, just say also is that in some countries in Africa, productivity is not actually an issue, because the whole country is connected. Um, and, and indeed connectivity is free to the citizens, citizens re, but what is not necessarily free are the devices by which they connect.

Garrett O'Hara: Yep.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: So it's, it's, you know, we have a double edged sword, so that is the issue in some countries in Africa. Here, it's all of that. You know, we have remote communities. We have, you know, I, I live in the, the country and I go to the end of my street and we might have two phones, two different providers, one will stay connected and the other one will not. So, it's, as simple as that, connectivity is a real issue in this country. It's also an issue. And this will surprise you, in parts of, of North America as well. So, countries that are seen as being developed, there are still issues. And these issues are about connectivity is a really important thing. Beyond education, it's also about safety of women as well. You know, there was at one stage, there was talk of removing all the 16,000 that are still left telephone boxes in Australia.

Garrett O'Hara: Mm-hmm [affirmative]

Jo Stewart-Rattray: And in some communities, if women are, are fleeing from domestic violence, for instance, that telephone box can provide them with safety. They can get in there, they can barricade themselves in, they've got a light over their heads and they can make a phone call to get help. And without those, we suddenly take away of, you know, we take away some of the safety mechanisms that women might have. So there are things like that that we have to consider that you wouldn't normally consider.

Garrett O'Hara: And potentially those decisions are made by people who are so far removed from those po, you know, those problems, have no personal experience. Or, or maybe, yeah, the, they're the traditional cliched version of when you, when you think of a, you know, senior leader, unfortunately there's an image that pops in, into people's heads and then, you know, they're pretty well removed from those decision, um the impact of those decisions.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: And I must admit, you know, I, some, some of my colleagues and I refer to it as, as city folk thinking. Because they, those people who, who are in the city, they don't have understanding of what it's like to live in a, a rural regional remote area of Australia. And, and that's, that's not, that's understandable, but they need to gather that intelligence.

Garrett O'Hara: Yeah. And it's funny, we, so myself and my wife spent a year traveling around Australia and got into some of the very remote parts. And honestly, like having lived in, in Sydney and cities, most of my life, and, you know, traveled around Europe, the unbelievable isolation of some of the communities that you pass through, it's astonishing. Like it is, is we would, we would often ask ourselves like, "How would it be to live here? You know, there's literally nothing around." And I mean, you know, it's, it's a station, a petrol station, but as far as the eye can see in any direction, there's, literally there's just nothing.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: You know, it's interesting. I live in the beautiful, Clare Valley in South Australia.  and you know I'm, I'm in a little village of 600 people if you count the outlying farms, but I also have another property, which is in the next valley over, the Gilbert Valley. And it's a Hamlet where we have the old school. There's the church, there's the mess, no longer occupied by that, by the pastor and the old teachers' house, that's it. There is nothing else around. And that's 17 kilometers from where I live, but it is, it is still, if you were out there and you had, 'cause the... there's only one of those houses that's occupied. So, you know, if you were out there and something happened and you had no device, you've got a 17-kilometer walk in one direction and 25, the other to the nearest people.

Garrett O'Hara: Yeah. And unless you're a, seasoned half marathon runner, like that's not going to work. Right? So yeah.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: No. And I might run into the weird kangaroo or something on the way.

Garrett O'Hara: The Drop bears will get you on the way.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: Yeah, they're the ones.

Garrett O'Hara: Yeah. Like does it... So it feels like the, there's a move. It's a very, very slow move, I would say.  towards having a, I dunno like societal makeup, the demographic makeup reflected in leadership positions. And I might be wrong, I'd love, if you feel free to challenge me on that. I think we're moving in the right direction. Just unbelievably slowly to the point where it's hardly, you know, noticeable. What are the things? Well, first of all, do you agree with that? And then secondly, like what are the things that we need to, to change? Or what would you like to see change in terms of how we approach leadership and how do we get those people represented?

Jo Stewart-Rattray:   I agree with you, it's glacial. The pace is glacial. I stood in front of a sign, a banner, a couple of years ago now. That said, “In this country, at the current rate of, of impetus, it will take us 80 years before we reach parity in the tech workforces.” Now, I don't know about you Gar, but I don't think I'm going to be around in 80 years to see that. And I thought that was, I was pretty horrified by that. And, then, again my hero Antonio Guterres said that he is not prepared to tell his granddaughter that she will have to wait for her granddaughter's granddaughter before economic parity for women is arrived at.

Now, that's scary because, you know, the pandemic has actually created a situation where the move forward has actually stalled in some countries, and in other countries it's gone backwards as a result of the, the pandemic. So,  it's, it's sad and scary times. And I, and I think what we do have to do, and I've said it before in, in this discussion is that we have to stand together with our male allies. And we have to look at how we can work together to ensure that we,  work towards a level of parity. We have to make those changes in our own spheres of influence. And we each have them. So in our own sphere of influence, we can make a difference. And each little step that we take, all that adds up to the last step that we took. And we end up with a large, all the littles make a large.

So,  from that, you know, that song From Little Things, Big Things Grow. And it's really what we're talking about here. We need to, we need to keep moving forward and we need to move forward together. It's a story for men and women, let's do it together. Let's move forward. Let's see how we can make the change. Even if it's in the language that we use, we don't have manpower. We have a workforce, it's not man hours, it's staffing hours. There are all sorts of things like that. That, that I just, I have to say my little, my little fists curl when I hear them. 'Cause they are things that we don't have to say. We can change those, that, that language to be inclusive. Inclusivity is, is part of the game.

Garrett O'Hara: Yeah. And I totally agree the, the idea of violent language, which was a concept that I had no idea that,  but, like I say, my wife is slowly but surely educating me on this stuff. But,  yeah, she called it out and is good at pointing it out when it happens, because it often just sails past me.  just because of,  you know, I don't want to sound like one of those people, but, yeah, I'm come from fairly privileged, just given a male whites, got a good education, all those things that kind of give me a pretty significant,  headstart in life. But,  a lot of this stuff sails past me, but she's,  she's been pretty good at pointing it out.

And it's funny, you know, that thing where, you know, you maybe go buy a red car and then you see red cars everywhere. It just takes your, your attention to be there. And then you realize how common it is. And it feels like that's similar. You know, when somebody points it out, it's like, "Ooh, Ooh, this is everywhere." Like it's, it's so embedded at a subconscious level or conscious. I mean, you know, whatever you want to call it, it's there.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: You know, I think your, I think your wife's a good woman. I'm going to say that out loud-

Garrett O'Hara: I hope she is.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: Um [laughs]-

Garrett O'Hara: So far so good. After 10 years.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: [crosstalk 00:17:07] she's married to you, but you know, um-

Garrett O'Hara: No, she, she settled. You know [laughs]-

Jo Stewart-Rattray: But, but she's right. You have to call out bad behavior. Whether you're man or woman, you need to call out bad behavior. You know, I, I've been in a situation, where this is, this is, this will stun you. but it's not uncommon. I was in a meeting a couple of years, it's only a couple of years ago. I had a CFO and I had, I had two very senior women in the room with me. The CFO was male and I had a consultant on the phone and we were talking about a very difficult audit this organization was going to have to go through.

Garrett O'Hara: Yep.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: And,  one of the financial controller was a, a lovely woman and she said, “Oh, look, it would better for us if we could, you know, schedule it here.” And he, the CFO just looked at her and said, “I wouldn't worry about that.” He said, “By the time we get to that, you'll be pregnant again. Anyway. So it won't matter.” My mouth, my jaw dropped.

Garrett O'Hara: Yeah, wow.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: The consultant on the other end of the phone, just, I could hear him clearing his throat. The two women across from me would... one was red from the tips of her toes to the top of her head. She was so embarrassed about it. And the other one was just stunned. And so I called it out. I said, "Look, you can't say that. That's, that's just the most discriminatory thing that you could possibly have said.” And he, he just had no idea. So there was no understanding from him that what he had said was inappropriate. I mean, I just... so I said to him, “Would you say that to a male colleague?” He said, “Oh, why would I do that? He can't get pregnant.” So still didn't get it. So it is about calling that out and, and recognizing, and, and the sad thing is it's not just men of a particular age. It can be people of all ages.

Garrett O'Hara: I feel like the cringe factor is getting bigger with that stuff.  again, we're not where we need to be, but I've certainly noticed the things that would happen when it's men. Only if I'm honest in that group, we don't really do that, so much anymore. You know, the, this, you know, what they call locker room humor and all that stuff. Like, it's not that it's gone away, but I've, I've personally noticed a big difference.

And I don't think it's fully reflective of my friends. They're, they're good guys, I'd like to think. But in the sort of wider world, it just feels like people get that, you know, they, they won't make the assumption, let me say it that way. They won't make the assumption that it's okay to say stuff that's inappropriate. And I think, I don't know, maybe I'm being over, over the top, honestly. But it feels like that's a good thing you know?

Jo Stewart-Rattray: Well, I think we have to keep, we have to keep pushing forward because you know, maybe for every group of guys like your group, there'll be another group who's not anywhere near as far down the path as that. Right? So we have to keep pushing this. And we have, because... if we look at it from the tech workforce's, perspective, if we want more women to come into these ranks and indeed to want to,  walk up that corporate climb, up that corporate ladder, we have to make it a welcoming environment.

So locker, locker room humor is not part of it. But if you, if a woman experiences that she has to call it out. I mean, I've had to say to somebody, “Look, I know you think you're being funny, but I actually find it really offensive.” And just go on, then just go on with whatever it is you... don't make an overly huge deal about it. But just make sure that they understand that, that you found it offensive. But so we have to make that environment welcoming.

And one of the things I said to a small organization that I do some work with, um that they said, “Oh, we're having trouble recruiting women.” And I said, "You know why? Because you don't have any women. The moment you get a woman, you'll start to see others will be more welcome. Will, will, will,  be more likely to apply for jobs. Because at the moment they think it's unfortunately the old fashioned boys' club." So, you know, that's I think something to be very mindful of that if we want more women, we have to showcase the women that we have and show...

Garrett O'Hara: Do you, do you think there's something in transparency around things like board makeup, C-suite makeup? And then dovetailing on that things like the gender pay gap being like almost regulatory requirements to somehow, you know, make that transparent so that you can pull some of those leavers to sort of force societal change, but like transparency. Yeah. I think the board makeup and leadership makeup-

Jo Stewart-Rattray: [crosstalk 00:21:22] There is, there is this, if we don't take, take the last thing first, take the pay thing. There is this discussion currently about,  about the push for companies of over 250 people,  to be transparent about their pay gaps. Well, that's all well and good, but Australia runs on small business. So there's a whole range of women who are potentially going to be left out of that,  scenario. Right? And, and there's still going to be a pay gap. So I'm not, I'm not sure that that mandate, I'm not sure that that notion is the right notion, that has to be crafted to be all businesses.

Um, and I think the other thing with that is that,  I've, I've heard, I heard a CEO, not that long ago, say, “Oh, well, I've made a difference since I've been at my company, you know, there used to be a 17% pay grap, gap. And now there's only 13.” I'm sorry, that's still a pay gap. So I, you know, it comes back to, if you're doing a fair day's work and you are performing the same role as your, your colleague who happens to be male, then you should be being paid the same. Pretty simple.

Garrett O'Hara: It seems so obvious when you say it out loud.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: I know it does, doesn't it? So,  but then let's go back then to the next part of your question, which was about, quotas and mandates.  I would love to think that all boards were at parity, 50/50. So not quite parity, 'cause it's 51%, but we won't go there. But, you know, you essentially have half, half.  the problem with mandating and regulating if we, if we regulate and say, “This is, this is now in legislation that you must.” The problem that we face is that we bring in a whole range of new biases. This has happened in, in the, some of the Arctic countries. And I have colleagues working both male and female working in the Arctic countries who have said that they're now seeing this bias coming in, people saying, “Oh, she only got that senior executive role or that board role because of the, the mandated quota.”

And so then you have to say, “Or did she have the qualifications? H, did she have the experience?” And if they say, yes, it's like, “Well take your bias off the table.” So you have to be careful with, with regulating and, and making something become law because you end up with a whole set of other biases that you, you don't need. I would like to think that we are evolved enough to be able to move towards 50/50, to mo, move towards parity without, obsessive regulation or excessive regulation.

Garrett O'Hara: Yeah, I think... so for me, it's, it was less about the quota stuff.  'cause I can see the challenge that arrive with that, but more the, the transparency where... I think that's part of the problem is that while we, we sort of abstractly talk about having male dominated boards and leadership, there's something about seeing the number that becomes meaningful, where, what you're really, it's almost like the truth and reconciliation approach. You have to have the, the uncomfortable knowledge before change happens. And I think part of that is actually just seeing the numbers, you know, what is the board makeup or leadership makeup?

Jo Stewart-Rattray: I think that's absolutely reasonable. Absolutely reasonable. I, I think the interesting thing was, you know, there was,  the Japanese Olympic Committee, the, the chair of the committee was recently,  recently resigned as a result of unsavory comments about,  having women on the committee and why would we have women because they talk too much and blah, blah, blah, everybody thought that was appalling. Well, about two or three years ago, the AICD here in Australia interviewed,  board chairs of 12 ASX 200 companies that did not have any women on their boards.

And one of their, their chair, chairs actually said, "Oh no, we couldn't have that. Meetings would go on too long, 'cause they'd want to talk too much." So whilst everybody thought,  that the Japanese chair of the Olympic committee was, was out of order, we need to look at our own backyard and find out what happened just fairly recently. So, you know, and, and I've heard that we're seeing diversity fatigue setting in, in some of these boardrooms situations. Whereby, I, I've heard comments along the lines of, “Oh, it's much easier to get somebody from a culturally diverse background than a woman because we don't know any.”

I think you do, perhaps it's about,  advertising the roles properly, perhaps,  or not tapping people on the shoulder to come work on the board, but actually to, to, to do it properly.  and the other thing too is, you know, diversity of thought leads to innovative decision-making so it's, it's, it's, I think it's imperative that you have,  gender and diversity,  bro, more broadly encapsulated in your board.

Garrett O'Hara: Yeah, I, I totally agree. Like it feels like the, the numbers are right there again, you know, this business drive is for diversity, it's not, it's just a feel good factor. It's actually better for business. And I think that's the thing that maybe, you know, when, like I said, when you said it out loud, it just seems so obvious. It's amazing to me that we, we miss out on talent purely because of biases that we've got and, you know, some sort of societal inertia that stops us accessing really good people because of preconceived,  preconceived ideas. I think it's, yeah, it's a pretty weird one. We can, Jo, you know, we, we've talked about big stuff here.

Um, you know, that the leadership in this area, day-to-day things that you would do at a leadership level. I'd be very keen. You, you've you've already said some of them, I think about calling it by behavior, et cetera. But what are the smaller things that people can do on a day-to-day basis? So not those grand gestures, but just the small little things that maybe some of us don't notice or don't think about, that can help kind of move the doll or move the needle on this stuff.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: See, I don't think of them as big ticket items. I think calling out bad behavior is something that we should be doing on a daily basis. We should also be checking ourselves sometimes too, right? I mean, we're, we're all capable of saying the wrong thing and offending somebody. That's human nature, but we need to be big people and be able to, to apologize for that as well. And particularly if it's something that you didn't realize might be offensive, that's where perhaps you need to really have a real think about it.  so I, I think that's, that's one of the things I, I, I think just being inclusive, consider inclusivity, it's a really important thing. I used to, I worked for a professional services firm for some years and I will leave the name blank and you'll find out why. I was the only woman on the exec team.

And I... about, well probably 10 days in, I suddenly realized that every morning that 10:00, 10:30, all the rest of the exec or men would disappear for about half an hour. And I thought that was kind of odd. So I went and I asked my AI and I said, you know, “Where do they all go?” And she said, “Oh, oh, they go for coffee walk. They go down, they pick up a coffee, they have a chat.” She said, “Oh, they come back with bright ideas that I end up by having to do stuff for.”

Um, I said, “Oh really? What do you mean?” Well, it turned out that they were actually making, decisions for the practice in those walks. So I went to the managing partner and said, “I'm just curious about these coffee walks.” And he said, I said, “What happens?" He said, “Secret men's business, Jo. Secret men's business.” So it was at that point, I realized I was not going to be included. And I wasn't for three years. Now you asked me, why did I stay there for three years? Because I didn't want a, a gaping big hole in my CV. So I stayed on. But that did not change. That attitude did not change, they didn't even think about that as being, not being inclusive.

So particularly now, during the time of pandemic, we have to be really careful if, with so many people still working from home, we have to be really careful about ensuring that even with our own teams, we are inclusive, right? Really important. I do what I call the virtual water cooler break. So, and we'll just have, my team will get on the phone, get, get on a Teams' call, just have a bit of a chat, um cup of coffee, cup of tea in the hand. You know, and all those things that you would normally do in the office.

Where you'd be in the, the, the coffee room and you'd have a chat, or you'd your stick your head over your pod, or out of your office door and, and, and have a chat to somebody. Continue to do that. I have a woman who loves inspirational quotes. So if I get a good one, I'll send it to her. Somebody else loves music, Australian music. So if I hear something that I haven't heard for a while, I'll send her a YouTube link. So that sort of stuff is, these are all the things that you can do to make people feel included. Right? And I think inclusivity is really, really important in this whole discu....

Garrett O'Hara: And you just mentioned the, you know, COVID and the pandemic. Have you seen any changes there in terms of proximity bias and the stuff that you've described? You know, physical proximity in those coffee walks, where is there some leveling that's happening because we're all working on Zoom, h, has it helped? Has it hindered? Has it done anything?

Jo Stewart-Rattray: I, I think for some people it's really, it's really changed some of the thinking of employers. Those employers, who once upon a time, did not trust their staff suddenly had to. You know, they had the bums on seats mentality. You had to have your bum on that seat from eight o'clock, until four o'clock, or 9:00 till 5:00, or 10:00 till 6:00, whatever it might've been. Right? All of a sudden they couldn't do that. I had a client who actually asked me whether they could put surveillance software on for their staff, because they didn't think they could trust them.

And I said, “Uh, actually, no, you are an organization in more than one state.” Not national, but, you know, in several states. I said, “You know, one of those states does not have workplace surveillance, legislation. So it's illegal for you to do that.” Oh. And then they came back to me and said, “You know, you were right, Jo. Productivity is way up, sales are way through the roof.” I said, “Well, there you go. You see it's about trust.” It comes back to that, that, that, that word again. So,  so I think there has been a significant change. A lot of people have flourished. I know that another organization did a survey of their staff to see how many people enjoyed working from home.

And it was something like 69% really enjoyed it. Didn't care if they never saw the office again. 1% said, “Got to go back to the office now.” And the rest of the crew, the other 30% said, “We'd really like a hybrid model, where we come in every so often and, and we can collaborate that way.” So a lot of organizations are now doing things like they're actually looking to cut their,  footprint in the office. Because they realized that, that the world of work has probably more or less changed forever, which is amazing, really.

Some people have suffered. I do have to say some people have suffered, they have suffered because they, it might be because of their living environment. They might live in a tiny way apartment somewhere or a studio somewhere. And, you know, how miserable would that be? So I, I think they're the people who've suffered.  I'm a bit of a hermit, so I've loved it.

Garrett O'Hara: Yeah. I'm probably, I'm probably in your boat. I'm, I'm also at a point where, you know, that hybrid model is, is appealing to me. You know, a couple of days in the city being around people and, and really just to change, I think that's the thing that I've, I've noticed about this last year is just the sameness of every day. It's a little bit like the Truman Show or, you know, just a little bit of a bubble. I just feel like it's the same day, every day. I'm just reliving.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: I think the thing that we have to do is make some, make some real,  put some parameters around what we do now. Now, I'm wanting to talk, right? I said to you earlier that I'd started my day with a call at 6:30 this morning, and I will finish with one at 9:30 tonight. That's an extraordinary day, but usually my den is off the main living room. So, and I have glass sliding doors. And if I hear the SBS news theme, I know that that's time for me to pack up. So I literally will shut down, go out, close the doors behind me and start my, my,  my family life. So really important. What are the other things that I try and do as...?

I've, I've actually scheduled for myself now, a lunch break, and that might be that I just go out in the garden and, and have a cuppa with, with my husband, which is lovely. Right? So I think it's about, it's also about how we manage our time.

Garrett O'Hara: Yeah. So last question. Speaking of managing time, we have managed to talk for quite a while, which is, which is always a good sign. I really, really wanted to ask you about your, representation of Australia at the 62nd session of the United Nations Commission. And I think it was over in New York.  we'd love to hear about that. What amends, you know, the experience.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: Okay. It was,  I'll be honest and say it was a life-changing experience for me. I, I was, you know, as the global, volunteer founder of the, SheLeadsTech Initiative, I had been, hosting a lunch in,  Canberra and, you know, a group of women to tell about the initiative, you know, and there were, I dunno, 24 women. Now, the same group... And I made this statement at the end of it that we're kind of late to this party, but I think that we have some, you know, we have some traction here. And I would love to collaborate we've used that thing again, right?

Collaborate with like-minded organizations to get as much rubber on the road as possible. I would love to meet with the Australian ambassador for women and girls and, and, and have a with her. I'd love to be working with UN women. And so, a woman in the audience as she, in most of this group, as she was leaving,  said to me, "Jo, I'm going to send you an opportunity to, for something that I want you to put your hat in the ring for, you must promise me, you'll do that." I went, "Okay, fine." Go on. The aircraft, went home. Sure enough, there was, as soon as I was getting my bag there it was. And, and this opportunity was to be part of the Australian, the official Australian government delegation to the UN, to the 62nd session on the commission of women. So... the status of women. And so, I thought I can't do that.

But I had the same discussion I have, you know, that I tell women that I mentor not to do. I was having a discussion with myself going, "No, I can't. Yes, I can. No, I can't." In the end, I put it in and I was successful. So I was one of only two civil society representatives. and off we went to New York, to UN HQ. And I had the most extraordinary experience advocating as a technical advisor to the delegation for and on behalf of rural women and girls across the world. The theme for the session was the empowerment of rural women and girls through the use of technology. Sweet spots.

So,  the idea is that you have to come out with a roadmap that all 193 member states agree to. And if they, if there is one clause that they do not agree to, there are no agreed conclusions for the next six years. And you have two weeks in which to do this.

Garrett O'Hara: Wowser.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: Oh yeah. So I decided to take the night shift because I discovered that diplomats get quite crazy, come about 11 o'clock at night. And so to be in that room and to hear the negotiations, was,  just an amazing experience. And so, you know, we got to 10 to six in the morning, on the last morning, the Friday morning. And, and we, I didn't have all the paragraphs. The clauses are great too. And I was walking back to the hotel with one of the women from DEFAT and Department of,  Foreign Affairs and Trade, and, and, I, she said to me, "Do you reckon we're going to get this through?"

And I said, "Don't think so, not looking good." And she said, "You know, last time this theme came up, we got nothing as well. Oh, dear." And so the next morning had to be up again at 10, 10 o'clock to get back to the UN to do the final days negotiation. So I was doing day shift. So we did the, final negotiation. And I was stunned at about two o'clock in the afternoon with two and a half hours left to go, paragraphs began to fall, one after the other, agreed conclusion, agreed conclusion, agreed conclusion.

And finally, we got to the very last paragraph. And when it was agreed, I thought I would just feel the greatest sense of relief because we've actually made a difference, right? We'd actually got there. Instead, I had the greatest sense of elation. I was, weeping and this amazingly gorgeous Amazonian woman, but out of Africa came and gave me this big hug and said, "Jo, we've done it." And I went, "Yes." I've got no idea who she was, but she knew my name and that's all that mattered. I don't know. It was just, it was just the most beautiful experience. Just realized that we had made a difference and that we had given 193 member states, the roadmap for the next six years. That each year, those countries I held account for. So and the next year they have to come back and say where they have gotten to on that journey. So, yeah. And I'm going to be speaking to the delegate community again in two weeks' time.

Garrett O'Hara: Phenomenal, phenomenal. I feel like we've, we've hit a high point. That would just be a perfect point to, to finish it. Jo, phenomenal conversation and very, very much appreciated. I'm, I'm so glad we, we got to do this. Like I said, it was, it was clear to me that you had plenty to say and plenty of insights,  when I saw you on the panel. So,  it's not lost on me. I always say this, you know, I know you've, you've clearly a, a lot on, 6:30 to 9:30 today. So nine minutes that was spent with us. So yeah. Very, very much appreciated.

Jo Stewart-Rattray: Absolutely. My pleasure guys, thank you very much for the opportunity.

Garrett O'Hara: Big, thanks again to Jo for that conversation. One that was big enough to warrant our first two-part episode. As always, thank you for listening to the Get Cyber Resilient Podcast, jump into our back catalog and like, subscribe and leave us a review. For now, I look forward to catching you on the next episode.

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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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