Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Non-profit encourages more women to enter cyber-security fields

Last year, Leticia Gammill, who oversees Cisco’s security- channel sales in Latin America and Canada from Fort Lauderdale, created a non-profit called LATAM Women in Cybersecurity to encourage more women in Florida and Latin America to enter the field. “Quite frequently, I am the only woman in business meetings discussing cyber-security,” she says. A beneficiary of mentors, she now enjoys being a mentor to other women, she says, “so that they can have an easier path.” Gammill spoke to FLORIDA TREND about working in cyber-security.

Background: “I'm originally from Brazil and grew up in Rio de Janeiro, where I lived until I left for college at 18. I come from a typical middle-class family. My dad, now retired, was a chemical engineer for the Brazilian oil company. My mom worked in the events-planning industry. I decided early on I wanted to study abroad, and I attended college in Porto, Portugal, where I graduated with a degree in hotel management. After graduation, I got an opportunity to come to the U.S. on a work visa and never left.”

Turning Point: “I was in technical sales for a long time. It was natural to me to transition from a direct sales role to my current position at Cisco. I also have worked with international markets for many years. But the turning point for me was completing my MBA at the Kellogg School of Management” at Northwestern University.

Job: “For the last two years, I have managed the cyber-security-channels team for Latin America and Canada. I have a very diverse and multi-cultural team located in seven countries. We are responsible for the strategy, positioning and enablement of cyber-security solutions for Cisco partners, service providers and distributors. Every day, we adapt to new strategies to deal with threats, especially during these challenging times. The need for secure remote access and connectivity forced a lot of companies to adapt quickly while adopting new security practices.”

Advice: “A career in cyber-security does not mean that you need to have hard technical skills or a STEM background. There are several areas where you don't need to be technical. For example, a liberal arts degree can get you working with international malware trends and threat analysis, marketing, communications or government affairs. The cyber-security challenge is huge, and there is a great need for people with different educational backgrounds to help solve it.“

LATAM Women in Cybersecurity: “About 18 months ago, I was on the web looking to join an organization that focuses on women in cyber-security in Latin America. I found several organizations for women in IT but nothing that was geared toward women in cybersecurity. ‘That's my opportunity,’ I thought. After doing some research, I decided to start a non-profit in Florida to specifically focus on women in cyber-security.”


Read more in Florida Trend's July issue.
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