CAREER CHOICES

I have always loved technology; I knew I was going to school for an information technology degree. I chose a major in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance because of the cybersecurity incident that happened in 2010, threat actors broke into Heartland Payment Systems, 7-Eleven, and other companies, stealing credit card information via SQL injection attack. It is sad that companies and individuals lose their money and data due to cyberecurity incidents. I want to be able to help companies and individuals protect their data and assets.

PROFESSIONAL INTEREST & DRIVE

I am a product of change and moving from Lagos, Nigeria to the United States over thirteen years ago changed a lot about me. I see life from a different perspective. I try to understand intent and see how I can drive change. My professional passion is cybersecurity, implementing, supporting, and improving cybersecurity operations by improving information technology and cybersecurity processes and procedures to drive organizational change. I previously worked at SMC as the Cybersecurity Operations Supervisor, working with the team to improve, processes and procedures, drive incident response, and I tried some experiments combining teams together to form agile teams. I was also the product owner for the Security Event Monitory and Response, Endpoint management and Vulnerability management teams. I currently work at Eli Lilly as the Manger – Medicines Development Information Digital solutions. Part of my role deals with disaster recovery efforts including moving from on-premise to the cloud. We are also going through Agile transformation; I will also be part of the devsecops effort.

MENTORS & INFLUENCERS

I have had several mentors throughout my educational and career journey. I continue to identify and reach out to mentors. I can not mention one and not all of them. My mentors guide, coach, and hold me accountable. They support and assist me in achieving my goals. I also had the privilege of joining some women in tech organizations where they facilitate events and prepare women for careers in technology. My mentors see qualities in me that I do not see in myself, they also share ideas on overcoming barriers in my career and personal life. They guide and coach me to be who I am today. Their diverse opinions and diversity is empowering.

MENTORSHIP VALUE

Mentorship is critical in supporting and advancing the careers of women in technology. Leaders guiding younger professionals help them overcome challenges quickly. Being mentored by a successful female leader in technology helps boost the confidence of students and young female professionals. Despite the barriers, If you see women succeeding in their information technology careers, you can be one of them (a successful woman in tech.)

LEADING THE NEXT GENERATION

Know the technology. Whatever you learn in school, you have to be able to apply that knowledge back to work. If you’re talking about processes, you should understand the defined processes for that actual work and be able to intelligently speak about it.

Find the solution. Don’t linger on the problem for too long without a solution. Everyone can identify a problem. The unicorns are the ones that come up with a solution.

Speak the truth. To be able to survive in this field you have to know what you’re doing. You have to speak intelligently about what you’re doing because that’s what most men do. They may not know 100% of what they need to knowbut they speak so intelligently and with confidence about the 50% that they do know, so you assume they know everything.

Soft skills. Have an understanding who your coworkers are as people and meet them where they are. It’s easy to group all men together. Get to know them as individuals.

Stay the course. Don’t let any situation stop you from achieving your dreams because I think those challenges are there to either encourage or discourage you. You just have to just get on the correct path. That’s like your reward for going through the things you went through. I was going through a whole lot of things while earningmy degree, but I stayed focused – this is what I want; I’m gonna earn it. And at the end of it when I earned it, I look back to say that, well, despite what I went through, I’m still here. I have something to show for it.

ADVANCING GENDER PARITY

The greatest challenge is the talent pipeline. Organizations need to connect to women in technology organizations and schools to identify women with leadership qualities, hire talented women through these pipelines, and retain them by creating an inclusive cultural environment for them to learn and grow. The traditional way of hiring using automation engines with code that looks for certain words in resumes causes unconscious bias.

Some men need to be educated on behaviors that make women uncomfortable in the work environment, like talking over women, and not looking at women based on their qualifications. Women have a lot to offer in the work environment, we need organizational culture and support to give us the chance to blossom.

About Tosin Ajayi

Dynamic, strategic, and disciplined cybersecurity information assurance professional with proven success in managing multiple projects involving a global workforce and guiding teams toward improving the way they work in an agile environment. A solutions-driven servant leader with exceptional analytical, organizational, and technical abilities. Possesses a strong understanding of business functionality and efficiency. Former member of Global Information Security Operations at SMC. An Alumni of Ivy Tech college Alumni and Western Governors University majored in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance.

Achievements & Recognition

  • CompTIA NET+ Certified
  • CompTIA SEC+ Certified
  • ISCE SSCP Certified
  • Certified Scrum Master
  • Certified Scrum Product Owner
  • Member Women & Hi Tech

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