Women in IT Security: Women of influence
Women in IT Security: Women of influence

Eva Chen, CEO, Trend Micro 

What have you done to help influence the direction of IT security?

Pursuing and encouraging innovation has always been important to me. I am passionate about finding new ways for technology to positively influence society. Having been involved in IT security since the beginning, I have seen how technology has evolved to dramatically influence daily life for businesses and consumers alike. Unfortunately, these great strides attract unsavory elements aimed at exploiting it. I am hopeful Trend Micro's commitment to innovation and desire to make technology safe, helps foster an attitude throughout the industry to stay focused on a common adversary, rather than business competition. 

How do you view gender gap issues in the IT security field?

The technology field in general has a lack of females, so IT security is not unique. Although, two of the three founders of Trend Micro are women, which certainly stands out and we are very proud of that! While there is room for improvement to attract more women, those in the IT security industry are seeing greater chances to succeed. This field has awarded me tremendous opportunity to expand my horizons in terms of how technology and innovation can help improve lives. I feel a responsibility, along with other female leaders, to use my personal story to help young women understand the tremendous opportunity this industry offers. 

How have you reached this point in her career/expertise?

My lifelong interest in technology led me to R&D for a major PC manufacturer, which helped to define the direction of my career. This experience exposed me to the pressing need to protect computers against those who seek to do harm. It was at that point I helped found Trend Micro with my sister and brother-in-law. Over the years, I have seen technology grow exponentially, and along with it an onslaught of cyber threats. Both of these developments inspire me to push for more innovation so we can stay ahead of the bad guys.

What drew you to this career (or how did you end up in the industry, etc...)?

Unyielding curiosity and the pursuit of challenges drove me to this career. Curiosity about technology, the way it can help to improve lives and making it safe to use is fascinating to me. This curious nature has also revealed challenges that need to be resolved. And, rest assured, IT security offers many things to be curious about and many challenges to face. Being exposed to these challenges on a daily basis is truly invigorating and consistently creates new excitement. I can't imagine a more intriguing field to be a part of that touches so many lives, and allows me to fulfill my insatiable curiosity. Because of this, I can't wait to see what new challenges lie ahead.

What advice do you have for female professionals entering the industry?

Be confident and embrace your ability to succeed in this predominantly male-driven field. Throughout my career, I have experienced numerous situations where my thoughts and value could have been overlooked. Fortunately, I had a strong support system of family and female colleagues. The confidence they helped me develop remains with me today. Most importantly, you can have both a career and family. Raising two children while establishing a leading company in the IT industry presented challenges, but it has been very rewarding. Finally, look to other female colleagues for mentorship and support to guide you. 

Interviewer: Leah MacMillan, VP, global market strategy, Trend Micro