We Did It! The WiCyS Annual Conference 2021 met live on September 8 through 10 in Denver! 

Women in CyberSecurity (aka WiCyS) just wrapped up a live annual conference in Denver that exceeded everyone’s expectations!

To capture the essence of #WiCyS2021, one must feel the energy shared among the participants and the speakers. 

There is a spark that ignites a flame that burns throughout the WiCyS conference!

WiCyS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with an international reach dedicated to the inclusive community within the cybersecurity workforce. WiCyS was established in 2012 by Dr. Ambareen Siraj of Tennessee Tech University through a National Science Foundation grant. In less than ten short years, the organization has grown into a leading alliance between trailblazers from academia, government, and industry.

The 8th Annual WiCyS conference is the flagship conference for women in cybersecurity and regardless of gender, is the largest cybersecurity conference with equal representation of professionals and students. 

The conference showcased a diverse, talented group of cybersecurity professionals on a global stage. We know that more women advance their careers in the field through the relationships initiated and solidified at the conference. Let’s not forget the men who attend and advocate for more women to join the cybersecurity field. 

With over 1,300 attendees, WiCyS issued 750 scholarships, grants, and awards, 203 of them included travel stipends. With the help of over 300 volunteers, the conference was off the charts with 23 technical sessions, 16 workshops, 15 lightning talks, 12 presentations, 6 featured speakers, 6 information sessions, 4 keynotes, 4 leadership events, and 3 MeetUps.

Thanks to the 87 sponsors that invested in the inclusion and diversity efforts of the cybersecurity workforce! These fine supporters sent 95 recruiters to tap into the cybersecurity talent pipeline. In addition to receiving resumes, on-site interviews took place, and volunteers were brought all attendees up-to-speed on resumes, Linkedin profiles, and mock interviews through the WiCyS Career Village.

Here are Some of the Highlights:

Standout Comments on LinkedIn:

Tonia D., Strategic Advisor at COFENSE

“Professional Development. No matter where you’re at in your career journey, we all need to invest in our own personal professional development. Two years ago I had the opportunity to do a lightning talk at Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) annual conf. It was that moment that I decided this is my must-do list each year – even if its on my personal time & dime. This year was just as exciting to attend in person – getting to network with students – peers – and thanks to Alissa Abdullah, PhD – expanding my “table”. But the trick to getting a seat at the WiCys table for this annual event is to plan early! By planning early I put the “registration” open date on my calendar – it fills up within a few short hours!”

Noureen Njoroge, Director of Global Threat Intelligence at Nike

“Individually, we are One Drop. TOGETHER, we are an Ocean” R. Satoro. While at the 2021 Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) conference, I got to meet so many of my industry peers & a special highlight was meeting some of my mentors & many of my mentees.

Rutu Ataliya, Cybersecurity Incident Responder at Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Enthusiastically participating at the Career Fair at #WiCyS2021It was an extremely great experience communicating with all our amazing booth visitors and providing guidance and information about how they can start their “Security Journeys” with Amazon Web Services!”

Monica Saraf, NASA SCaN Summer Intern, Cybersecurity at Purdue

Incredibly grateful that I was able to attend Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS)’s #WiCyS2021 conference last week! I arrived with a sense of curiosity and excitement, and left with the invaluable advice of industry professionals, countless new connections and friendships, and even more admiration for those who work in the field I hope to impact.”

Shelby Caldwell, M.S. Student at University of South Alabama | CyberCorps Scholar (NSF-SFS)

Very honored to have attended the 2021 Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) conference in Denver, Colorado and received the BIPOC Fellowship Award. This experience was truly fascinating and I had the opportunity to network with an extremely diverse group of women in technology. Thank you to all of the sponsors who made this event happen!”

Standout Comments on Twitter:

@beeminky

I don’t know how we pulled it off a 2 table selfie at #WiCyS2021. We were all @WiCySorg “strangers” when we arrived. 7 of us met the first night. #chickenbiscuit grew to 17 amazingly supportive and beautiful souls over the course of 3 days. #foundmytribe #cybersecurity

Alyssa Miller, Hacker, Public Speaker, BISO Bison | Co-Host @CompromiseLive

“Goodbye @WiCySorg, it’s been a blast. Until next year, remember to always #DoBetterBeBetter. Much love to everyone that attended this week!!! <3 <3 <3 #Wicys2021”

Kimberly | @kcanfixit

“So fun to network with all the amazing students and professionals at the 2021 @WiCySorg Women in Cybersecurity Conference in Denver at @gaylordrockies #WiCyS2021 #womenincybersecurity #cybersecurity #womenintech #careerchange #lifetimelearner”

Lori Murphy | @elloinfosec

“This week is buzzing with excitement High voltage signas women and allies from all backgrounds come together for the #WiCyS2021 conference in Denver, CO. Looking forward to inspiring  sessions and spending time with this amazing community! #WiCyS #WomenInCyberSecurity #StrongerTogether”

Our Extensive Agenda:

This year #WiCyS2021 offered something for everyone in attendance:

  • Career Fair and Village
  • Interviews 
  • Socials 
  • MeetUps
  • Pre-conference workshops
  • Keynotes and featured speakers
  • Technical presentations, workshops, lightning talks and more on a multitude of cybersecurity-related topics
  • Capture the Flag (CTF) game, coaching and CTF After Dark
  • Networking opportunities galore
  • Scholarships, Grants and Awards

Every speaker gave outstanding presentations. Here are a couple of gems: 

  • Morgan Adamski, Director of NSA’s Cybersecurity Collaboration Center, presented: Leaning forward to create partnerships. NSA values the diverse perspectives partners bring to the table, including women in #STEM.
  • U.S. Digital team member Elizabeth Schweinsberg learned about mainframe security after she joined in August 2020. Now, this year she presented: “Highlights of Mainframe Security” live at #WiCyS2021! Wow!
  • Keynote on Day 3: “Securing a Path for Success” moderated by Donna Byrd with Leslie Burns, Alexandra Heckler, and Tina Oberai, all from Raytheon Technologies panel discussion: Provided attendees with impactful anecdotes about their career journeys and when they shifted to cyber.
  • Lunch Keynote: “The Courage to Succeed: The Door is Open (For A Change)” with Aimee Cardwell, UnitedHealth Group 

Thank You to All 

Thank you to all who attended, presented, and our crew that organized the conference this year! WiCyS often says “Together, we thrive” and it truly was showcased through the outstanding support, commitment, attention, contributions, and hard work from our community! 

What’s Next at WiCyS?

If you missed the conference, or if you attended and want more of a good thing, then join us live at our 2022 WiCyS Conference on March 16-19, 2022, in Cleveland.

Conference sponsorship received before November 15th will be discounted 10-15%. Click here to learn more. If interested in possible collaboration, connect with WiCyS executive director at lynn@wicys.org.

Call for Participation #WiCyS2022 March 16-19 Cleveland

Submissions to present at the conference are open now, from September 15, 2021, closing on October 18, 2021, with acceptance notifications by November 21, 2021.

Click here for the Submission Link

Program Theme for 2022: Being Smart about Security and Privacy of All “Smart” Things

As today’s modern technological world continues to grow, we see increases in security and privacy challenges associated with these cyber-physical things (aka the Internet of Things or IoT). 

Smart cities, transportation, industries, and homes have many benefits and yet expose us to more cyber risks. 

At #WiCyS2022, we seek to discuss issues or concerns that we need to tackle for new technologies and practices that will keep us safe now while allowing them to light up the path for tomorrow’s safe, smart, and connected world.

We look forward to seeing you at #WiCyS2022 in Cleveland, Ohio!

Together, we thrive! Let the WiCyS community lead the way.

Contributor: Dawn Kristy, JD, Founder & CEO of The Cyber Dawn, a cybersecurity awareness training and communications consultancy.