“In the cyber realm, where a ‘good ole’ boys’ club’ has traditionally prevailed, WiCyS stands out as a beacon of change, fostering a supportive and inclusive atmosphere led by women. It’s reshaping the cybersecurity landscape, providing a network where I no longer feel dependent on traditional channels. Instead, I can lean on the relationships cultivated through conferences and programs. It’s empowering to be part of this transformative movement, where a diverse group is leading the way forward.”

– Hannah Rapetti, CyberSecurity Analyst

In the vast world of cybersecurity, building a solid career foundation can feel like navigating an overwhelming labyrinth of certifications, degrees and resources. Hannah Rapetti, a former librarian, military spouse and graduate of the WiCyS Security Training Scholarship Program, found a path to success illuminated by the guiding light of Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS).

As a military spouse, Hannah faced unique obstacles in her career journey, often feeling constrained by circumstances beyond her control. She had reluctantly shelved her own aspirations to adapt to the unpredictable rhythm of military life, uprooting whenever duty called. Amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the nomadic lifestyle inherent to being a military spouse, Hannah found herself standing at a crossroads, yearning for a career trajectory she could cultivate rather than continually restart.

WiCyS emerged as a transformative force in Hannah’s professional narrative, offering her a renewed sense of purpose and a roadmap for her career transition. It served as a beacon of empowerment, facilitating a seamless shift into cybersecurity and providing her with a supportive community where her contributions were valued and recognized.

The WiCyS Security Training Scholarship was instrumental for Hannah, offering tailored programs that honed her cybersecurity expertise, bolstered her confidence and networking skills and propelled her toward career advancement opportunities she had once deemed unattainable. The sense of camaraderie and inclusivity within WiCyS resonated deeply with Hannah. In an industry often perceived as a “good ole’ boys’ club,” WiCyS offered a refreshing alternative—a supportive “good ole’ girls’ club” where women uplifted and empowered each other. 

Hannah’s career breakthrough coincided with her early participation in the WiCyS Security Training Scholarship Program. A month into the program, she landed her current role as a Cyber Security Analyst at Proofpoint. As she progressed through the WiCyS program, earning certifications and leading her division to victory in the conference CTF, she shared her achievements with her employer. This resulted in a promotion and raise—a recognition of her dedication and newly acquired skills. Her success was celebrated at a company town hall, where she was highlighted with a dedicated slide showcasing her accomplishments and WiCyS’s impact on her professional development.

This exposure expanded her network, connecting her with professionals who eventually became colleagues and enhancing her team’s capabilities. WiCyS empowered Hannah to reject imposter syndrome and step into new roles, even being invited to share her story and expertise as a panelist at conferences. Overall, WiCyS has not only provided tangible career benefits but has also opened doors to various opportunities, enriching Hannah’s professional journey in multifaceted ways.

As Hannah reflects on her journey with WiCyS, she emphasizes the importance of seizing opportunities and embracing resilience. She encourages women to push past their fears, knowing that every rejection is a stepping stone toward growth and success. Her story serves as a testament to the transformative power of the WiCyS organization in breaking barriers and advancing women in the industry. With each stride forward, Hannah embodies the limitless potential of women in cybersecurity, fueled by the unwavering support of the WiCyS community.