Catharina Budiharto, Executive, Chicago Bridge & Iron
Catharina Budiharto, Executive, Chicago Bridge & Iron

Catharina Budiharto, better known as Dd, has spent more than 20 years in the cybersecurity industry handling tasks ranging building a cybersecurity team from the ground up to take an existing security program to the next level.

Budiharto has worked primarily in the oil and gas industry, a natural for this Houston-based executive, with stints at Chicago Bridge & Iron, Marathon Oil and Haliburton. Despite being in an industry better known for its heavy machinery than high-tech endeavors, Budiharto knows running a strong security department depends upon people. With this in mind, she has recently focused on melding how people, processes and technology work together.

“I transformed team members from being domain experts to true security analysts where they were no longer reacting to daily technology break and fix, instead they analyzed the underlying issues to come up with the solutions to prevent the repetitiveness of the issues.  It was a shift of a mindset with a typical learning curve,” she says.

Budiharto's understanding that people are truly at the core of making a company secure extends to her work to help teach others and bring more women into the cybersecurity field.

“I am very passionate in developing more women into the field as well as reaching out to other women leaders to create a support group for us,” she says. “I am a mentor to a couple of women and provide an informal mentorship to others as they reach out to me.  I am very invested in the mentoring relationship.”

She also has some food for thought for women looking for a mentor or who want to learn more about the cybersecurity industry. She encourages women to reach out to both male and female leaders to be their mentors and to not worry if they are not certain in which areas they need help.

“I would encourage women to keep reaching out to us, and also be prepared [to discuss] in the conversation which areas they want to develop. Sometimes, they don't know the specific, and that's ok, and by having regular conversations, these areas are developed organically,” she says.