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Feb 17, 2021

In this episode of What That Means, Camille talks diversity and inclusion in cyber security with Isaura Gaeta. Isaura is the Vice President of Security Research at Intel, a 5-time winner of The Intel Achievement Award, and an international speaker on diversity and inclusion in the tech workplace. Tune in for a great convo around:

•  What diversity and inclusion is

•  Why diversity and inclusion matter in cyber security

•  Why diverse teams lead to better innovation

•  What neurodiversity is

•  The importance of updated and inclusive language in tech

And more. Don’t miss it!


Here are some key take-aways:

•  Diversity refers to the unique attributes that we all bring to the workplace. Inclusion is about getting the mix of unique attributes to work together.

•  A diverse and inclusive workforce allows us to bring more perspectives (and more solutions) to the challenges we face. 

•  It’s important to remember that one single approach is not going to solve every problem. An inclusive environment is a flexible environment that makes room for different points of view and different approaches.

•  In tech, a curious mindset is common amongst team members. A manager’s job is to give guardrails and then let the curious minds get to work within those guardrails. 

•  Neurodiversity is about recognizing that we all have different abilities and approaches. It’s about being aware that the ways we prefer to work and the environments we need to do that work may be different. 

•  As a manager in the tech space, it’s your job to create an environment that allows everyone on your team to be successful.

•  There are outdated terms in the tech space that can be triggering for many people. There’s a need to update engineering terminology to be more inclusive. 


Some interesting quotes from today’s episode:

“By bringing people in that see the problem in a little bit of a different way, you may come up with something you hadn't thought of yourself or something that like-minded individuals may not come up with by themselves. As you bring in these different perspectives, someone might say, ‘What about this?’ Or ‘What about that?’ And suddenly, a breakthrough and new innovation can really come.” 

“If you're a technology company, if you're doing anything in technology, you definitely want to make sure that you have a very diverse workforce, because it will lead to better innovation. And of course, better innovation leads to better products, better sales.”

“In cyber security, we really need professionals that know how to break things. It's actually a different way, cognitively, to approach the problem. So what are the weaknesses in this product that I just designed? What did I forget to think about? What did I forget to secure? What is it that is the weakness in this particular design? Someone that can approach a problem in that regard is highly valuable, because as an engineer, I don't see that perspective. I build it to the specifications and I'm done. And without that different perspective, I just don't know what I don't know." 

“For me, the learning as a manager has been to not add too many rules. Just give guardrails.”

“People operate differently and in cyber security you might find a few more people that are neurodiverse than you might in the general population.”

“But as you expand and broaden the workforce, some of those terms feel different. So if I hear ‘master slave,’ and I came from an environment, for example, where those terms are very traumatic or it's tied to my heritage, to my family, when I see them show up in engineering terminology, it's hard for me to overlook it.” 

“The terms that we're really trying to avoid are terms that hurt people.”

“I think 2020 really opened eyes for a lot of people of inequities that we have. We have inequities in the corporate system, inequities in society. And if we can feel comfortable to bring up things that we see that are not equitable, and when we bring them up, that management, that leadership is receptive to make those changes, then we're going in the right direction.”