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04.24.2020Careers Blog

Diversity and leadership keys to driving Verizon’s Global Application Security Organization forward.

By: Verizon Careers
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These 4 female leaders are paving the way for women in cybersecurity.

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The global cybersecurity field requires a wide range of skill sets to address the ever-changing threat landscape, especially those looking to wrongfully prosper from the current COVID-19 pandemic. Led by a diverse team of leaders, Verizon’s Application Security organization meets the needs of the business, including navigation of diversity's new frontier – diversity of thought – in part by employing women in leadership roles. 

Eric Muse, Global Leader for Verizon’s Application Security organization, knows the more diverse a leadership team, the broader the viewpoints and perspectives,  and the more creative the problem-solving.

As a technology leader, I have a responsibility to identify diverse talent and ensure there are career pathways to enable success.

Eric Muse, Global Leader for Verizon Application Security

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Innovating with the latest tools in Verizon’s cybersecurity toolkit, these four women in leadership roles have been able to motivate and partner with parts of our business to communicate and implement strategic cybersecurity initiatives. Furthermore, these talented cyber-technologists help move Verizon forward through diversity of thought and integrity. Check out their career journeys.

Global Application Security Leaders

Jennifer D., Technical Lead

''Jennifer is the Technical Lead for implementing our IBM Guardium solution, a complex program that fortifies data security and meets internal policy requirements. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, Jennifer uses the program to monitor for misuse of database accounts with access to a centralized inventory. 

Q: What drove you to pursue a career in application security?

A: After 15 years as a database administrator, I had a passion to do more to secure our data, so I transitioned into the security sector.  I also love to challenge myself to solve mysteries, create new things and break personal records.  

Q: What inspires you about technology and working with technical teams?

A: I am a true geek at heart. It is a treat to listen and brainstorm with such intelligent and creative people. Technology is always evolving and it is challenging to keep pace to enable innovation in the cybersecurity space.

Q: What advice would you like to share with candidates considering a career in your field?

A: Learn and keep learning. Technology constantly changes, so you need to have skills and flexibility for the long haul. Listen and lead with confidence and consideration. Have integrity and character no matter what you encounter so you can walk in truth about yourself.  

Rae W., Senior Manager- GTS Global Clearance

''In her role, Rae is responsible for managing global information technology initiatives to enable Verizon’s global workforce. Her team oversees the process and educates application teams on Verizon’s policies and procedures.

Q: What drove you to pursue a career in application security?

A: The driver behind my career in application security — specifically, in clearance —  was my desire to apply my deep knowledge of process and understanding of systems and relationships that were fostered while in information security. My skill set enables me to drive changes to promote an efficient and effective clearance process. My goal is to create a  process that is more flexible and better supports Verizon’s long term strategic direction.

Q: What inspires you about technology and working with technical teams?

A: I’m inspired by the ever-evolving and dynamic nature of technology. Technology drives change requiring rapid adaptation to meet business needs. Working with technical teams is also inspiring because I get to hear different perspectives and I am exposed to different ideas and ways of solving issues.

Q: What advice would you like to share with young women considering a career in your field?

A: Stay engaged, challenge yourself and others to think outside the box, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Jamie P., Manager in Security Engineering

''Jamie is the Manager for Dynamic Application Security Pen Testing (DAST) for Security Engineering. This area of security focuses on ensuring that web applications are secure by testing the defenses we have created for applications with access from both inside and outside of Verizon. Through her leadership, Jamie works collectively with different areas of the business to identify challenges and innovate secure solutions.

Q: What drove you to pursue a career in application security?

A: Prior to joining application security, I spent 20 years working in IT. I had done almost everything there was to do: front-end and back-end development and design, infrastructure design, architecture and support, database design and support, as well as system administration. About 10 years ago, I started focusing on secure development and the importance of securing and automating the software development life cycle (SDLC). I started speaking at conferences and networking within my field. The combination of my work and conversations with other technology professionals led to me really taking an interest in hacking and security incidents. Ultimately, this pushed me to pursue the security side of applications. 

Q: What inspires you about technology and working with technical teams?

A: What inspires me most about technology is that it is ever-changing. I get bored easily and I constantly want to learn. A career in technology allows me to fulfill those needs, which keeps me excited and motivated. Working with technical teams keeps my knowledge current. Every day I  work with people who vary in experience level. Some are new to current technology while others have been experts maintaining their skills for as long as I have or even longer. But the common thread with these technical teams is that they are always adapting as technology changes, which trains us to think outside the box, look for new ways of doing things and keep moving forward.

Q: What advice would you like to share with candidates considering a career in your field?

A: My advice would be to never let anything get in the way of what you want to do. Stand up and be heard. Let your voice be the window to your strength. Be a social butterfly. Years ago, this was a challenge for me because people sometimes did not take me seriously or want to “hear” me. After a number of mentors, self-help books and motivational speakers, I was able to change that. My social skills help me motivate and lead people. I have learned how to use my voice to show my strength. 

Stephanie M., Security Engineering Team

''Stephanie leads the Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) Security Engineering Team. This team is tasked with protecting applications against ever-increasing and sophisticated global web attacks. Adding to the complexity are the advances in DevOps best practices, such as containerization, microservices, and cloud, creating a broader portfolio of platforms and architectures to secure. To scale this effort, the RASP solution serves as an additional line of defense against web vulnerabilities by enabling applications, in real-time, to detect and self-protect against web attacks by monitoring its own behavior.  

Q: What drove you to pursue a career in application security?

A: I went through quite an unorthodox path. Previously, I worked in Broadcasting & Media Production as a Technical Director, Producer and Audio Technician. I was always more interested in what happens behind-the-scenes, such as developing scripts and sitting in the control room's "hot seat" in the middle of all the action rather than being an anchor on-screen. This is where my passion for new challenges and technology began. At the time, I was a part of the Stability & Availability team ensuring a reduction in outages across the company's IT systems. Throughout the journey and as part of the Verizon Leadership Development Program (VLDP), I met colleagues in the App Sec field and quickly realized it was the perfect blend of interests — protecting people and organizations, dynamic experiences, no "average" days and stopping the bad guys!

Q:  What inspires you about technology and working with technical teams?

A: There is nothing more challenging and rewarding than working in technology. We are all collectively helping provide safer systems that have become part of our daily lives. Technology is such a dynamic field that it is able to attract people from diverse backgrounds like myself. Even though we might not always be on the frontline, technical teams are some of the most persistent groups I have met. We are the supporting pillar to all types of people and organizations in this digital world. 

Q: What advice would you like to share with candidates considering a career in your field?

A: If you enjoy solving new puzzles, want a career that is not stale and challenges you on a regular basis, then this is the career for you. You will find yourself digesting new concepts and will undeniably experience rapid change. If you are also curious and self-motivated then unexpected failures will not stop you - it will only bring you surprising discoveries. Learning never stops and you will be a part of delivering new solutions that help move the business forward. 

Learn more about cybersecurity at Verizon.

About the author(s): 

Verizon Works is a blog that offers career insights and advice. Gain the power to go beyond at Verizon.

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