#IWD2020: Highlighting Female Leaders at Herjavec Group

March 5, 2020

March 8 is International Women's Day, a global initiative that celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Now in its 119th year, International Women’s Day is a call to action for accelerating gender parity, supporting unity, and driving celebration, reflection, advocacy & action.

The Herjavec Group team wanted to take this opportunity to elevate our female team members across our technical and business operations departments by highlighting their journey in the cybersecurity industry and learning more about who inspires them.

Here’s what they had to say:

Meral Daniel, Principal Consultant in Identity Services, US

How did you get into cybersecurity?

It was during my deployment to Bosnia during the Bosnian war while I was working with NATO. I was in charge of the servers and security, had to authorize access to systems after reviewing hard copy military orders and IDs.

Please share a quote that motivates you.

“Nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough.” - My high school principal

Who is a female leader you look up to and why?

Queen Elizabeth - she has been wearing her crown for many decades and no matter what, she is always composed. During crises, she maintains professionalism and does what is right. She has always put her duty to her country above all else - that is dedication but also loyalty. One has to be loyal, at times do what's best not for one's self but for the institution we work for or the family.

Nicole Robinson, Bid Manager, Canada

How did you get into cybersecurity?

I was introduced to the industry when I joined Herjavec Group.

Please share a quote that motivates you.

“And when they dare to tell you all the things you cannot be, you tell them I am both WAR & Woman, you cannot stop me.”  Nikita Gill

Who is a female leader you look up to and why?

Erika Pittman – She is the guiding force behind many of the brands and companies created by Sean Combs. She is a powerhouse, intelligent, low key and fabulous. She celebrates herself and the women she is around by empowering them to be themselves without apology.

Christine Walters, Account Executive, UK

How did you get into cybersecurity?

I worked in customer services for a Security distributor and found the subject interesting, so I took additional training courses to understand more.  

Please share a quote that motivates you.

“Don’t downgrade your dream to fit your reality, upgrade your conviction to match your destiny.”

Who is a female leader you look up to and why?

Constance Hall - a lady that overcame hatred, complications, being poor and low self-esteem to becoming a self-made leader of woman everywhere. She believes in having a positive attitude, being yourself, and loving yourself. She keeps it real, does not hold back and I find her inspiring to listen to.

Tabitha Gallo, Principal Security & Privacy Consultant in Advisory Services, Canada

How did you get into cybersecurity?

I have a background in civil and computer engineering. In my 20s, I was intrigued by risk modeling in multiple disciplines from biology to emergency and incident management.

After teaching a couple of years, and digging into software engineering, I needed to gain practical experience in an organization and was hired to be the IT coordinator and the project manager for the implementation of an ISO 9000 quality program, where I had to manage patch, change and vulnerability management. I also designed and programmed some of the first sources to product tracking and traceability databases for my organization. It gave me an appreciation of IAM, security and resilience requirements in manufacturing, product quality, and recall processes that need to be incorporated in any business or IT process.

My company wanted me to take what I learned throughout the organization and put me in a multidisciplinary audit team with global reach. After a few years, I transitioned into Information Security for all of Canada and Alaska, about $5.6 B in assets. This was my non-linear move into Cybersecurity. It has not always been the primary focus of my career, but it has always been one of its foundational components.

Please share a quote that motivates you.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” Maya Angelou

Who is a female leader you look up to and why?

I am gender-neutral and have never been driven by external role models. Instead, I look up to the precepts of Socrates – always question and challenge yourself, your facts and your logic, use cooperative argumentative discussion to develop the best hypothesis, solutions and never just accept something without independent evaluation.

Megan Tejada, Inside Sales, US

How did you get into cybersecurity?

I came from another industry, but I was always fascinated by technology. When I came in to speak with HG, it was clear that everyone at the company had a real passion for cybersecurity and it drew me in right away.

Please share a quote that motivates you.

"Tough times don't last, but tough people do."

Who is a female leader you look up to and why?

Meg Whitman. I read that early in her career (while at P&G), she discovered that the company wouldn't issue credit cards to its female trainees because they didn't think it was safe for women to travel alone. She stood up against the policy and got P&G to change it. She's remarkable, progressive and powerful.

Ikshita Saray, Security Analyst, Canada

How did you get into cybersecurity?

I developed a passion for cybersecurity while I was in college, I was lucky to participate in a competition for IoT Security and got to visit a SOC as part of the reward and it was love at first sight!

Please share a quote that motivates you.

“Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to require the most from you.”

Who is a female leader you look up to and why?

First, my mother - She raised me to be patient, honest and strong. She is a teacher and never stops learning. She has multiple degrees, one of which she recently received! Despite being a single parent, she did it all and continues to inspire me every day.

Second, Erin McLean – She inspires me with her strength, passion, kindness, and compassion. She is always in the office before 7 AM! She gave me opportunities to inspire young women. She notices everything and she tries to help everyone she can.

Erin McLean, SVP of Marketing Communications & Human Resources, Canada

How did you get into cybersecurity?

I had been working in telecommunications for many years and wanted to pursue a role with HG because of the opportunity to market in a Business to Business capacity, in such a dynamic and growing industry.

Please share a quote that motivates you.

“If you want to achieve greatness stop asking for permission.”

Who is a female leader you look up to and why?

There's quite a few - I'm lucky to be motivated by a number of female leaders. First would be my mom. She was in the first class of OPP officers hired in the province of Ontario and I've always looked to her as an example of courage, strength, and grit.

More recently I've been motivated by the careers of Claire Gillies and Devorah Lithwick - two leaders I had the privilege of working with at Bell Mobility. I've also met incredible women through the Judy Project program who continue to inspire me and hold me accountable on a daily basis.


At Herjavec Group, we are lucky to have a cross-section of strong, inspirational women throughout our organization. In fact, we are proud to say that women make up 25% of our global staff and over 40% of our leadership team.

While it’s important to elevate the stories of our female team members for International Women’s Day, we need to continue the conversation around encouraging a stronger female presence in the STEM field all year long.  

With that goal in mind, this year Herjavec Group celebrated International Women’s Day by hosting 50, female, grade 7 students across the Durham District School Board in our Toronto head office as part of the Ambitious 7s program.

This initiative, led by HG’s SVP of Marketing & Communications, Erin McLean, encourages young female students to have ambitious conversations, celebrate their goals & achievements, and build a community of support amongst each other at an early age. The students received a Security Operations Center tour, were exposed to security awareness training, and got to meet various leaders across the organization representing HG’s Threat Analyst, Project Management, Marketing, and Legal Teams.

If you’re looking to start your career in STEM, Robert Herjavec, Founder & CEO of Herjavec Group, advises, “Do not hesitate! Ask questions, find a mentor, do your research and stay open to opportunities.”

Looking to start your career in cybersecurity? Check out the current openings at Herjavec Group! We look forward to hearing from you.


About Herjavec Group

Dynamic entrepreneur Robert Herjavec founded Herjavec Group in 2003 to provide cybersecurity products and services to enterprise organizations. We have been recognized as one of the world’s most innovative cybersecurity operations leaders, and excel in complex, multi-technology environments. Our service expertise includes Advisory Services, Technology Architecture & Implementation, Identity Services, Managed Security Services, Threat Management and Incident Response. Herjavec Group has offices and Security Operations Centers across the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.

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