These women started in different places and have been navigating the changing security landscape long enough to be considered veterans, navigating pitfalls and seizing opportunities as they’ve come along.

Celeste Fralick
chief data scientist and senior principal engineer, McAfee

Even for the 1980s, Celeste Fralick’s first job in data science was a bit old-fashioned. At Texas Instruments it was her job as a quality engineer to implement Statistical Process Control, a technique that had been invented way back in the 1920s. Flash forward nearly 40 years later, and now she’s right on the bleeding edge, studying adversarial machine learning to fend off digital attacks that haven’t even been invented yet.

As chief data scientist and senior principal engineer at McAfee, Fralick chairs the cybersecurity company’s Analytic Center of Excellence, overseeing technical analytic strategy for consumer and enterprise products. After 22 years at Intel Corporation, she took on this new role in 2017 when her company rebranded its Intel Security unit into McAfee – fully embracing this new opportunity despite a cancer diagnosis that was successfully treated but still requires lifelong chemotherapy.

At present, Fralick’s team is focused on preventing machine learning-fueled attacks designed to defeat companies’ AI-based cyber defenses by manipulating their data and algorithms, so that malware can sneak into the enterprise, undetected. Just this past March, Fralick addressed the threat in a keynote session at the RSA conference, where she co-presented with McAfee CTO Steve Grobman.

Named one of America’s Top 50 Women in Tech by Forbes in late 2018 for her contributions to cybersecurity, Fralick is also author of the book “Intelligence Analytics: Bringing Analytics to the Internet of Things.” – Bradley Barth

Yogita Parulekar
head of information security, Pear Therapeutics

Yogita Parulekar describes becoming a security professional as a “happy accident.”

Parulekar earned a business degree in the 1990s and not long after that began working as a manager at consultancy Ernst & Young, focusing on risk management.

“My ex-boss called me and excitedly told me about Ernst & Young and about the technology audit and risk field and how it would be a very good field for me,” Parulekar explains.

Parulekar began taking courses on the side, got involved in the Silicon Valley Chapter of ISACA and for much of the 2000s worked for Oracle as director of security and head of IT audit. Later she worked as a consultant and then at ThreatMetrix before landing in her current position with Pear Therapeutics.

When asked what it would take to encourage more women to enter the cybersecurity field, Parulekar recalls a change former Cisco CEO John Chambers made at one of the companies he invested in.

“Chambers made a simple policy change,” she says. “The idea was that for every open position, the managers would interview at least one woman. She may or may not get the job, but over time, more women will get a chance to get a seat at the table.”

Parulekar has become a strong advocate for the concept of “security by design” and speaks on the topic at many industry conferences.

“It’s important for leadership to set the right tone,” Parulekar says. “We can make better security products, but we have to build in security and privacy in the design phase. I spend a lot of my time evangelizing those ideas.” – Steve Zurier

Becky Pinkard
vice president of intelligence and IT, Digital Shadows

Becky Pinkard leads the Digital Shadows Threat Intelligence team of more than 35 analysts who speak more than 20 languages and has taken the lead at the company by founding the Digital Shadows Women’s Network which launched in June 2018 with the goal to promote inclusivity and diversity to create equal opportunities within and outside Digital Shadows. Pinkard is passionate about security, women in security and bringing awareness. Craig Ellis, the company’s head of cybersecurity and IT called Pinkard a great advocate, adding that her enthusiasm is second to none.

Her dedication to women in security was rewarded with the Women in IT Awards Security Champion of the Year in 2016. In September 2018, she cofounded Women Empowering Diversity in Startups (WEDS). The network was founded by women in startups who believe that diversity and inclusion of all kinds are essential and drive happiness and success in the workplace. At her company she launched the Digital Shadows Women’s Network alongside CEO Alastair Paterson. That network is a key part of Digital Shadows’ broader diversity initiative, and aims to continue the company’s tradition of being a very female-friendly workplace, encouraging more women into the cybersecurity industry. – Doug Olenick

Haiyan Song
senior vice president,  general manager, security markets, Splunk

When Haiyan Song joined Splunk in 2014, she leveraged her decades of experience in the security space to help transform the data analytics firm into a leading provider of security solutions, growing that portion of the business from $100 million in revenue to over $1 billion.

In her more than five years on the job as SVP and GM of security markets, Song has grown her team by 700-plus percent, while helping land Splunk in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for SIEM for six straight years. She also oversaw the strategic acquisitions of security players Caspida and Phantom.

Previously the vice president of engineering at cybersecurity solution provider ArcSight, Song became vice president and general manager of ArcSight HP Enterprise Security Products after the company’s acquisition by HP. Prior to that, she held VP or directorial roles at SenSage, Omniva Policy Systems, Ketera Technologies, Escalate and Informix.

A strong advocate for hiring more women into the cybersecurity workforce, Song was recently was honored as one of the San Francisco Business Times Most Influential Women in Business and has made the National Diversity Council’s Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Tech list for three years running.

Bradley Barth

Annette Warren
president, iSECURE

A “working president,” Annette Warren can be found side by side with her executive team participating in all aspects of iSECURE’s business. With nearly 25 years in the tech industry – leading one of the first local ISP and VoIP companies in Rochester – she was the first in the region to host events with national cybersecurity pioneers. Warren is known for creative problem solving and leveraging her partners to address security issues.

She’s a member of the Rochester Chapter of ISSA (Information Security Systems Association) and for four years has graced the board of the Rochester Security Summit, a community-based cybersecurity event. Along with her team she is a member of The Western New York Society for Information Management (SIM). She has served as mentors for students in grades 9–12 at Edison Tech in the Pathways in Technology (P-TECH) program. A passionate advocate of STEM, she has participated in Rochester Institute’s WiC (Woman in Computing) Hackathon. 

Warren also helped develop the security certificate program at Monroe Community College. She holds certifications from Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and Women Owned Small Business (WOSB). – Teri Robinson