Women to watch, Email security, Leadership

Abnormal Security’s Nicole Jiang: Looking for team members with a CEO vision

Nicole Jiang, second from right, was the eighth employee at Abnormal Security (Abnormal Security)
Nicole Jiang, second from right, was the eighth employee at Abnormal Security (Abnormal Security)

Nicole Jiang, director of product and design at email security company Abormal Security, said when she joined the company in 2018, she was the eighth employee and many of the people didn’t really have experience in cybersecurity.

While it was daunting to always talk to the security experts in the room during those initial customer meetings, Jiang credits those early members of the team with active listening to ultimately solve problems.

Jiang lists three reasons why Abormal Security was the right place for her: First, she wanted to join a company and industry where she could make a difference and the security industry really needs good young people with experience and an interest in technology. Second, Jiang wanted to sign on with an organization from the ground-up. Finally, she saw Abnormal Security as an “all-star team” of serial entrepreneurs she respected. 

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“I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity to work with people whom I truly respect and look up to,” Jiang said.

Today, Jiang has about eight reports on her product team and the company has done well. Abnormal Security employs some 500 people and this past May sealed $210 million in Series C funding.

In her first few years, Jiang worked closely with the executive leadership team to create the first version of the product and has had a significant impact in each iteration since. Jiang has collaborated with more than 300 enterprises to solve their most pressing challenges around business email compromise, account takeover, and supply chain fraud, working closely with them to understand their exact needs and turning that into a product that solves them.

“Everyone here should be the CEO of the product that they are responsible for,” Jiang said. “They should be the visionary for how we choose to innovate our solutions that will bring maximum value to customers and to the business. Can we bring something that’s different and innovative and offers some value to the customers and also to the business in the financial sense? Our product managers and product design people have to take on the CEO persona, but also have a deep understanding of the core pain points that we’re solving. Having the security background is helpful, but they also have to be an efficient CEO problem-solver.” 

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