HeForShe: Derek Lin | Chief Data Scientist, Exabeam

Derek Lin

Derek is a seasoned data scientist passionate in the art of building data-driven defence against cyber threats and fraud.

Derek holds numerous patents and peer-reviewed publications. He is currently the Chief Data Scientist at Exabeam, building out the data science capacity to Security Information and Event Management (SIEM). Prior to Exabeam, he was the Head of Security Data Science at Pivotal Software, leading consultation projects in data analytics for enterprise security and IT operations. He has also worked at RSA Security, architecting online banking fraud detection.

Why do you support the HeForShe campaign?

Any initiative that strives to create a level playing field, regardless of the game, should be encouraged. I have two young daughters and I see absolutely no reason why the choices they will make and the opportunities that will be open to them will be different because of their gender. Whether that’s in the classroom, on the sports team or in the workplace, I expect them to have the same opportunities as anyone else.

Why do you think it’s important for men to support gender equality in the workplace?

The question is why not support gender equality in the workplace? There’s a reason why companies spend millions of dollars workplace diversity programmes. It’s been well reported that conforming thinking is not healthy for a company, or the teams within it. There have been numerous studies that show having more women in the workplace actually makes an organisation a better place to work. Ultimately a successful organisation needs diverse opinions and ideas – and women do add different, and valuable, perspectives on problems.

How welcome are men in the gender equality conversation currently?

Thanks to the continuing public education effort from promotion groups, organisations, and movements, I think men are in general more perceptive to gender equality conversation.

Do you think groups/networks that include the words “women in…” or “females in…” make men feel like gender equality isn’t really their problem or something they need to help with?

If groups/networks using these words make men feel like gender equality isn’t their problem, it’s all the reason we should support such groups/networks. I’m looking forward to the day when there are no reasons for groups to highlight women in particular, but until then we must continue to promote awareness of gender equality.

What can businesses do to encourage more men to feel welcome enough to get involved in the gender debate?

There are many things businesses can do to help men feel relevant, and comfortable, in these conversations. I think awareness and education are at the heart of it. One simple, but effective, idea is to tap into the large number of very successful female executives out there, and have them comes speak to your team to share ideas.

Do you currently mentor any women or have you in the past?

I am proud to say that the data science team in Exabeam that I am guiding is gender balanced, at 50-50% women to men.

Have you noticed any difference in mentoring women – for example, are women less likely to put themselves forward for jobs that are out of their comfort zones or are women less likely to identify senior roles that they would be suited for?

No, personally I haven’t. I have come across women from multiple different backgrounds with varying life experiences. Individual women do differ in their attitude to the workplace, but no more or less than men. To me each individual is unique when it comes to mentorship, regardless of gender, and take different paths to progress their growth in their organisation.

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