Women in Cybersecurity


Kailyn Johnson
Sibylline – Cyber Intelligence and Geopolitical Risk Lead

Where do you work?

How long have you worked here?
About 3 months now!

What do you enjoy most about your job and company?
I love the variety of the work as it is a strategic consultancy that focuses on (geo)political risk and I love being able to work with people who are incredibly well-versed in the on-the-ground politics and events in various regions, and how those affect greater geopolitical relations to businesses globally that I can then apply cyber threat intelligence and risk analysis to. I enjoy working in such a dynamic and fast-paced environment that keeps me engaged and informed.

How did you get into cybersecurity?
I did my Master’s in international security and intelligence, and decided to specialise in cyber security shortly after WannaCry and NotPetya happened because the method and global impact was fascinating. My first post-graduate role was with a Threat Intelligence Platform, doing strategic intelligence research and analysis. I applied as the role sounded really interesting and fun (which it was!).

What are your hopes for women in cybersecurity in the future?
I hope more women from a young age are encouraged to pursue STEM and that resources and opportunities are accessible to people of all backgrounds. I hope that more cybersecurity conferences, offices and other public spaces bridge the often wide gap between the ratio of women and men in attendance. The field currently already has an environment where women who already are in the industry support each other and try to build each other up. I hope that continues to grow and we foster each other’s strengths to support other women.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #EmbraceEquity. What does that mean to you?
For me, I think it means that we must provide a variety of opportunities so that everyone has access to what they need to be successful. Not everyone learns and works in the same way, and we can’t apply a “one-fits-all” approach. The playing field does not always start equal for all women entering the STEM work sphere. We need to acknowledge intersectionality and how our differences in backgrounds can be our strengths. Education, work placements, job interviews, work places, job parameters, it all requires tailoring to each individual to ensure everyone thrives and is able to grasp opportunities, which in turn, allows the work force to benefit from a variety of unique perspectives.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a professional singer or a chef.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
You know more than you give yourself credit for. I’m always questioning my own knowledge and have an awful case of Imposter Syndrome constantly. You need to trust in your abilities and remind yourself that you are more capable than you give yourself credit for.

Who is your female hero and why?
Two of my closest pals are two women I really look up to, both personal and professionally. They both are the most genuine and kind people I’ve ever met; they treat every person they meet like they’re important and are interested to learn more about people, asking questions as active listeners. They both have suffered adversity in their lives but don’t let it affect how they go about their lives, getting them down or holding them back professionally and still try to live with such vibrancy and enjoyment. They’re both unbelievably intelligent, thriving in their jobs within the intelligence sector. They are naturally humble and have an absolute thirst for knowledge, even the strange or random tidbits that may only ever be useful for a pub quiz or fun fact. Having two strong, brilliant, and kind women like that in my life, they enrich mine and others lives, and I always work to be more like them in how I live my life.

If you want someone more in the public eye: Jacinda Ardern. She’s an absolute icon! The way she’s dealt with major global events like mass shootings, natural disasters, and COVID, with such grace and decorum, always prioritising people and safety. As well as her constant mantra that effective leaders can lead with compassion and kindness are something I think more people can aspire to emulate. I really admire her for making the tough decision to step down and bringing awareness to the effects of burnout, which was brave and controversial to do as a woman.

Kailyn Johnson


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About ThreatQuotient™

ThreatQuotient™ understands that the foundation of intelligence-driven security is people. The company’s open and extensible threat intelligence platform, ThreatQ™, empowers security teams with the context, customization and prioritization needed to make better decisions, accelerate detection and response and advance team collaboration.
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