Tina Thorstenson, vice president of the Public Sector Industry Business Unit at CrowdStrike, loves a challenge. Just tell her she can’t, and she will happily prove you wrong.
“I've always been one of those people who's just curious to learn the next thing. And when someone tells me I can't do something, my response is usually: Just watch me.”
That spirit has served her well and is an important mindset for women in today’s workforce, she said. It also rallied her peers to honor her as a Cybersecurity Veteran, part of SC Media’s 2023 Women in IT Security program. Women in this category have delivered consistent performance and innovation over a long career.
With three decades in the cybersecurity industry and 11 years as a CISO, Thorstenson demonstrates her expertise daily tackling intricate client challenges. Her peers credit her for consistently providing intelligent guidance to customers whether it be refining IT roadmaps, streamlining tools or harnessing managed services.
In the last two years, Thorstenson established CrowdStrike's first Industry Business Unit, which has grown to a team of six. The program is both internal and external facing and designed to give her team insights into the day-in-the-life of a CISO. Externally, the Industry Business Unit is designed to spark conversations with CISOs, CIOs and key IT stakeholders within companies.
“I’m always excited to have that conversation with anyone in a company building programs. My passion is to be a positive force to those eager to double-down on IT security and interested in challenging themselves in their careers. I’m a big believer in continuous education.”
Thorstenson is also a big believer in what you do, not who you are. “It’s important to tease out hidden talent among those around you,” she said speaking to her longstanding mentoring efforts.
A seasoned CISO, she not only connects women with mentors but is a mentor herself, especially aiding women during career transitions, such as military exits or shifts from public to private sectors. Thorstenson's mentorship efforts aim to foster leadership and confidence, as evidenced by a long list of professionals who she has had a positive impact on.
Thorstenson actively ensures women's equal participation in panels and events she oversees, emphasizing the significance of diversity, equity and inclusion.
At a recent CrowdStrike annual user conference, an all-female panel took center stage, spotlighting the pioneering efforts of several U.S. states in the realm of comprehensive state cybersecurity. The panel featured prominent female cybersecurity experts from Colorado, Arizona and Minnesota.
“We continue to see that there are many more open jobs than we than we are filling within the IT security space,” Thorstenson said. “This isn’t news to anyone. That’s why a modern solution approach to bridging the employment challenge is needed and why embracing a diverse workforce is so important.”