Women Talk IT: Women in Security | Bank of America Merrill Lynch and WeAreTheCity event

Women from across the information security industry came together on 12 July to celebrate and highlight female talent throughout the sector at Women in Security.

Hosted by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, in partnership with WeAreTheCity, the event offered the opportunity to learn from experienced senior leaders how to successfully navigate the information security landscape.

Delegates were treated to a canapé reception and initial networking, before being welcomed by Polly Cameron, COO, Global Information Security EMEA, Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Guests network before America Merrill Lynch event Women Talk IT

In his opening statement Simon Riggs, Regional Information Security Officer, EMEA, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said “The success of women across the industry is important for the bank. This evening is all about you – for you to share your life stories and what has worked for you. Tonight is about caring about the issue and sharing your experiences and ideas. I encourage you to use the opportunity to network with the wealth of talent here this evening.”

The audience was then introduced to the keynote speakers of the evening, Carmina Lees, Director, Security Business Unit, UK & Ireland, IBM and Jane Frankland, Cyber Security Entrepreneur, social media expert.

Carmina Lees, Director, Security Business Unit, UK & Ireland at IBM

Addressing the attendees, Carmina said, “I found the security sector more of a challenge to break in to as I didn’t come from a security background and I was a woman. I’d just come back from maternity leave and they thought I was just going to do three days a week.” She continued, “I’ve always tried to stay true to myself, by being a mum, having a career and being myself. From a woman’s perspective we do face a list of challenges and we don’t always talk about them, which is why events like this are really important.”

She also advised delegates on the importance of networking, “In my career, most opportunities have come from networking. People say they don’t have the time to network. I don’t believe that, especially if you make it part of your role.”

Jane implored the audience to support each other and be “change-makers, and leaders. It is the only way we are going to get more people into the industry.” She added, “I want to encourage women in the industry to step forward. We have to stand up and talk about where we are and why we are here. Gender doesn’t even come in to it. We are all busy, but we need to make time for this.”

Attendees discuss women in security at Bank of America Merrill Lynch event

A round table session facilitated by Bank of America Merrill Lynch employees saw enthusiastic discussions on ways to inspire school leavers to join the industry, recruitment practices, transitioning to leadership roles, and mentoring programmes. In the follow-up session moderated by Polly, delegates shared their feedback on the topics, while the panellists weighed in with their insights. The panel comprised the keynote speakers, Simon, Ursula Mapley, Managing Director, Global Banking and Markets and Andrew Butcher, head of Technology & Operations, Bank of America Merrill Lynch EMEA. Delegates had another opportunity to network with the team from the bank over canapés and drinks.

In his closing note, Andrew thanked the speakers, panellists and the delegates for their participation and extended, “a personal thank you to all from a father of daughters.” He affirmed the fact that the success of women in the workplace is a priority at the bank, which is reflected in the number of women in leadership positions. He concluded by saying that, “there is more we need to do to get the gender balance right in the technology space. We must continue the conversation.”

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