Last week, onShore Security’s Caron Grantham attended GirlCon Chicago, which we were proud to sponsor. GirlCon Chicago “was a really engaging event for the teen students”, says Caron, after the event at Google Chicago. Students attending the event ate lunch with cybersecurity practitioners and their peers, encouraged to ask questions of the professionals in attendance. Caron met some students from her high school alma mater; Kenwood Academy College Prep, as well as students from Lindbloom, King College Prep, and Walter Payton College Prep. Caron engaged with the students and discussed their interest in computer science and cybersecurity.
After lunch, Caron stayed for keynote speaker Ann Yeung. Ann Yeung is Vice President of Technology at Northwestern Mutual, where she currently heads software engineering teams in imagining and building the next generation digital solutions to enable 7000+ financial advisors; helping to create financial security for Americans. Ann spoke about her experiences in college and how she went from changing her major at UIC from liberal arts to computer science & coding, although her male dean was not encouraging nor confident that she could succeed against her male peers who’d arrived at UIC with previous computer experiences. She then elaborated about the work she currently does. Ms. Yeung expressed how she is still uncomfortable walking into a meeting and sometimes being the only woman in a room; as the banking/financial services industry still predominately employs men and there are few women working at the highest levels within the information technology (IT) space that supports the industry. The students, inspired by the keynote, asked great questions before they headed to afternoon workshops.
We’re looking forward to GirlCon Chicago in 2020 and many more events that will inspire our youth to consider studying cybersecurity and to help create more diversity in our field.