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InfoSec for Caribbean Women and Girls

It’s a well-known fact that men outnumber women in the Information Security (InfoSec) industry, even more so in the Caribbean. The WISC initiative (a Slack group) was launched to give Caribbean women and girls more opportunities to develop a career in Information Security.  WISC is the idea of a Caribbean woman working in the information security industry and was brought to life with the support of Gavin Dennis, a  Cyber Security consultant, originally from Jamaica, who leads The Gavin Dennis Foundation Ltd.  The InfoSec industry in the Caribbean is still fairly small and one of our aims is to grow the number of opportunities available to women and girls.

Concept to Reality

We contacted a few other women within the Caribbean infosec industry and invited a few men from CCST as Volunteers, and just like that WISC became real! We made our public launch in November 2019 and saw several new Caribbean women sign-up, some of which were located as far as Japan.

Abygayle Ivey, a WISC member from Jamaica. Photo by Dwayne K. Smith Photography.

In December 2019 WISC was invited to join the meetup in Jamaica by the CCST group (http:/caribbeancst.org). Abygayle Ivey, a WISC member, attended and enjoyed the experience. She was able to discuss and listen to the experiences of people at various levels in the Caribbean Information Security industry. Abygayle is a university student in Jamaica who is eager to start her career in InfoSec once she has completed her degree program.

Services 

WISC provides three(3) core services: Education, Networking, and Mentorship.


Education 

  • Providing Members with periodic discounted costs to pursue their academic goals. This includes subsidies toward exam fees for certifications and other qualifications.
  • Supporting members with easy access to both online and in-person courses which may have otherwise been difficult to access. 
  • Supporting members with easy access to books and additional materials which may have otherwise been difficult to access. This includes but is not limited to virtual labs and online training.
  • Teaching Members how to use their knowledge to help others develop specific skills. We understand that some members require coaching, which is not the same as mentorship. We teach our members how to pass on the value of coaching so other members can grow also.
  • Giving members access to internally hosted training by qualified and experienced members and volunteers in the Information Security industry. Our training sessions help members to keep their skills up to date and build their CPE credits to maintain their security certifications.
  • Members receive community support to bring their security research ideas to life. We help research initiatives in various ways, such as individual members, participating, providing supportive funding, promoting the research as individuals, reviewing the content for quality.

Networking 

  • Organising both in-person and virtual meetup to facilitate members to bond and build lasting professional relationships. 
  • Connecting Members to job opportunities so they can earn and gain the experience they need to compete globally.
  • Helping members with self-visibility and marketing
  • Helping Members to craft and maintain a strong positive presence that will help them to stand out in their focus are
  • Helping Members benefit from the knowledge and experience of both members and volunteers so they can apply it to their personal development and ultimately help others.

Mentorship 

  • Helping members to assess their interests, passions and aptitudes to identify areas that fit them well.
  • Helping members to gather and connect with resourceful people, technology, and processes that can support their career growth. We provide a structured path for personal development.
  • Teaching members and volunteers how to mentor other women and girls so they can explore their potential and reach their goals.
  • Guiding members on ways to give back to our community of women and girls so they can also benefit from the progress we all make every day.
  • Training Members to be rounded individuals at all levels. We help members develop critical soft skills such as conflict management, negotiation, and public speaking.
     

Slack – where we live online 

WISC runs on Slack, and our entire community is separated into three(3) types of users: 

  • Members (women and girls interested in a career in InfoSec) 
  • Volunteers (men, boys other who want to support our Members)
  • Sponsors (corporate and individual sponsors)

WISC is operated by Leaders. A Leader is responsible for guiding one of the three(3) main services and Volunteers. The Leaders for the 2020 Calendar year are: 

  1. Yanika Miller, BSc., Security+ – Networking Leader. Yanika is a Jamaican Information Security Consultant and is experienced in Information Security and Data Privacy. 
  2. Kimberley Whyte, Security+ – Mentorship and Education Leader. Kimberely is experienced in Software Quality Assurance and continues to develop her InfoSec skills.
  3. Gavin Dennis CISSP, CISM, CASP, CySA+, eWPT – Volunteer Leader. Gavin is responsible for coordinating all support activities involving Volunteers. 

If you’re a woman who is not interested in InfoSec but still wants to support the initiative, then you would be considered as a Volunteer.

Early birds, Thank you.

Special thanks to the following CCST members who signed up in the pre-launch phase of WISC to help give us our first push: 

Early members (Women/girls)

  • Genelle Lake, BSc., MSc., GSEC, Information Security and Risk – St Kitts and Nevis
  • Kimberley Whyte, BSc., Security+, ISTQB, Software Quality Assurance | Jamaica
  • Yanika Miller, BSc., Security+, Security Consulting | Jamaica
  • Shaista Peart, BA., CIPP-E, Governance and Privacy | Jamaica
  • Taneisha Mitchell, BSc., DevOps | Jamaica
  • Abigail Williams, BSc., Security+, Software Quality Assurance – Jamaica

Early volunteers (Men/boys/other)

  • Gavin Dennis, Cyber Security Consultant | Jamaica
  • Gerron Thomas BSc., CISA, CAMS, Risk Management Professional | Jamaica
  • Ricardo Gowdie BSc., IT System Engineer | Jamaica
  • Rojaun Reid, BSc., System Support Specialist | Jamaica
  • Kurtes Allen, BSc., Technology Consultant | Jamaica
  • Andrae Harding, BSc., IT Security Engineer | Jamaica
  • Davrice Richards, BSc., Cyber Security Engineer | Jamaica
  • Michael Anthony Shamar Dunn, NSE4, Security+, Network Administrator | Jamaica
  • Alain N’Dalla – Digital Forensics and Incident Response Professional | Jamaica

2020 will be a brighter year. We will dive into multiple activities, aim to triple our membership and provide more meaningful support to Caribbean women and girls so they can claim their place in InfoSec.

Sponsor

Thank you to our first corporate sponsor, G5 Cyber Security, Inc, (g5cybersecurity.com), a Caribbean-based consulting company specialising in Cyber Security and Data Privacy. They covered WISC’s expenses to date. The WISC initiative is open to additional sponsors, so please contact us.

Group photo from the meet-up in Jamaica this Dec 2019 – Some CCST and WISC members

 

How to join

Become a member today. Click this invite link HERE to join the Slack group. Otherwise, you can always visit a registration page on our main website such as wiscaribbean.org/become-a-member and you’ll find the same invite link.

Credits:

  • Photography by Dwayne K. Smith Photography (a CCST member) – Visit his website to contact him at dwayneksmith.photography. You can also chat with Dwayne within the CCST Discord group, one of our related initiatives!
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