Elevating Women in the Workplace: A-LIGN Celebrates Women’s History Month 2021

A-LIGN celebrated Women’s History Month this year and its theme “Choose to Challenge” by sparking critical conversations with women leaders within the organization and offering opportunities for CLIMBERS to learn how they can elevate women in the workplace. 

Elevating Women in the Workplace: A-LIGN Celebrates Women’s History Month 2021 

A-LIGN celebrated Women’s History Month this year and its theme “Choose to Challenge” by sparking critical conversations with women leaders within the organization and offering opportunities for CLIMBERS to learn how they can elevate women in the workplace.  

Kicking off the month, we sat down with Emily Schuckman, Senior Manager, Alex Welsh, Associate Manager, and Arti Lalwani, ISO Practice Lead at A-LIGN to share their unique perspectives about women in the cybersecurity industry and the pivotal experiences that have shaped their professional growth  

Women’s representation in cybersecurity is often a topic of discussion. As a woman in a predominantly male industry, what is your experience working within the security and compliance field? 

AlexI believe it is important to remember that being the minority as a woman in a predominantly male industry can be exciting. There is no set course for us since we are forging a new path. Using this mindset at work as a minority can allow for acting without fear. 

How do you show your commitment to choosing to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes, and help forge an inclusive world when it comes to women in technology? 

Alex: Stepping up to the plate and doing your best without hesitation is how I see to forge an inclusive world when it comes to women in technology. 

Arti: The best thing I can do is create a culture that makes women around me feel supported, respected, and encourage them to believe they can do anything. 

Why did you choose this career path? How did you get to where you are now? 

Alex: This career path is exciting because it is new for both men and women. I fell into this path by accident and couldn’t be happier about the way life turned out. Having the right mentors around me and always saying yes has gotten me where I am. I encourage others to always say yes to opportunities. 

 What are the biggest challenges that you feel women still face in this industry today?  

Alex: Sometimes, our biggest challenge is ourselves. If we hold ourselves back due to fear of not being competent, then we will never get anywhere.  

Emily: When I first started my career, the number of women in my position was extremely low and the client impression was that as a woman, I didn’t have the right IT experience to be able to have technical conversations. Since then, I have drastically seen an increase in the number of women represented at all levels in compliance. I’ve always appreciated the representation that women have at A-LIGN, specifically in our SOC group. It’s inspiring to see that we value talent not just based on gender. Specifically, as a working mom, I feel that the biggest challenge is being able to care for my family but also succeed at my career. At times it feels as if you must choose between the two, but I believe that we should be able to have a family, be involved and be present, and have a thriving career. 

Arti: I’ve faced diversity obstacles more times than I can count throughout my career. The biggest issuwomen will continue to face in a maledominated industry is being heard and respected. It’s not something that will ever be handed to women, it’s something you must demand from your peers. 

What is one thing that you respect and enjoy about being a woman on the A-LIGN team? 

Alex: I appreciate how inclusive A-LIGN is. A-LIGN has always encouraged me to try new things, improve processes, and do anything I need to better my career. From supporting me in attaining my CPA certification to inviting me to join groups outside of the organization, the support I have received from A-LIGN has been invaluable. 

Emily: I respect that A-LIGN values the potential that women bring to the table. Having representation in practice leadership roles shows that our executives understand the value of what we bring based on experience and ideas. I appreciate that we have a solid representation within the SOC group. 

Arti: I have a voice at A-LIGN – a voice that is heard and respected by management and my colleagues 

Who/what experience was most formative to your professional development as a woman? 

Alex: Scott Price has encouraged me to be my best and not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone. Since he interviewed me as a sophomore in college to now, he has always given me the best advice and following said advice has led to my success. 

Emily: The female leadership that I’ve experienced during my entire career has always been positive and encouraging. My professional development while at A-LIGN has grown significantly and I owe that to the support that I’ve received from senior and executive leadership.   

Arti: I owe a lot of my professional development in this industry to Steve Simmons and Petar BesalevSteve genuinely believed in me when at times I did not have confidence in myself. I am so incredibly grateful that he saw something in me that I didn’t. He continuously pushes me out of my comfort zone and drives me to be a better leader. Not only does he lead by example, but he has been that pillar to advise me in the best direction and become the best version of myself. Petar has taught me a level of finesse I would have never learned from anyone else. When I made a mistake, Petar was quick to call me and let me know directly what happened, but more importantly, he asked how we were going to work through it and advised me in the best way. He has taught me that mistakes happen, but it’s how you deal with them that matters. These are the leaders I aspire to be for my team.  

What hopes do you have for the next generation of women within this industry? 

Alex: Don’t be afraid! Be bold in your goals and your actions while also remembering to pull those around you up. We are all in this together, both male and female. 

Emily: My hope for the next generation is that women don’t feel awkward or self-conscious about wanting to achieve big goals and advance their careers. They shouldn’t have to worry about having a family and career, they should be able to do both and have the support of their company. 

 

Wrapping up Women’s History Month 2021, A-LIGN’s Women’s Network hosted a panel discussion with Milinda Rambel-Stone, Vice President & CISO at ProVation Medical, and Angelia Brown, Leadership Coach and Learning Facilitator at A-LIGN as part of the network’s efforts to empower and educate CLIMBERS. Nearly 100 CLIMBERS joined the call and conversation around creating a welcoming environment for women and the unique qualities and perspectives they can bring to the table.  

Interested in joining the trek with these women at A-LIGN? Visit our Careers page and apply today!