Violaine helps bridge the gender gap in cybersecurity.
For Violaine Langlet, a new arrival in Canada after immigrating from France, the heavy equipment industry was as foreign as her newly adopted home. But when Violaine saw the opportunity to be part of a culture change at Ritchie Bros., she couldn't help but lean into a new challenge.
"I joined Ritchie Bros a few months after my arrival in Canada, and to be honest I didn't know about this industry," says Violaine. "But the challenge to develop the data privacy and cybersecurity culture and practice at Ritchie Bros. was appealing.
"It was comforting to enter a company with a good reputation for employees, but also a bit scary to join a global company, coming from a small company (in Luxembourg)."
"Working for the trust of our customers"
Violaine started her career as an intellectual property consultant before pivoting with a professional course on information security management. She received a specific certification on data privacy and became a data protection officer in the national eHealth agency of Luxembourg before moving to Canada in early 2018.
She is now part of the Ritchie Bros. cybersecurity team, whose goal is to ensure data privacy best practices are aligned with regulations, business strategy and the expectation of customers. This includes assurance action for protecting the customer's personal information while providing them service.
"By working for the trust of the customer we are supporting the business," explains Violaine.
Violaine's path to the cybersecurity field started with an interest in tech from an early age. However, she says women are underrepresented in cybersecurity – only 20% women in the field worldwide (10% in Canada), and there is a big shortage of workforce to fill all the vacant cybersecurity positions. Part of the reason for this, according to Violaine, is a lack of support for women at various stages of professional development.
"Girls and women miss the chance to do what they want just because they don't have access to the information resources and help they need. We need to raise the awareness of the current situation to change it, and get funding for more training, mentorship, support and a change of mind."
A way to get involved.
Violaine is part of the Women CyberSecurity Society (WCSS), a non-profit community dedicated to providing support, information and resources to women interested and working in cybersecurity. International Women in Cyber Day (IWCD) is one of their key initiatives which aims to bring awareness to the unique challenges women face and celebrate their achievements within the industry.
By calling upon governments and the United Nations to recognize September 1st of every year as the International Women in Cyber Day, it will demonstrate to women and girls considering cybersecurity as a career that the support exist to allow them to be successful and empowered in this industry. The results would be lowering the gender and skills gap within the industry.It will also assist to fund more research to help understand why women are exiting technology and cybersecurity sectors.
You can learn more about the Women CyberSecurity Society by visiting their website at https://womencssociety.org or following them on Twitter @womencssociety and @womenincyberday.