Growing up in Colombia, one of the most beautiful countries in South America, Daniela Fernandez also faced her home country’s complicated daily reality, often involving violence and corruption. Now the Senior Manager Group Cyber Analytics and Reporting at the Commonwealth Bank in Sydney, Daniela took inspiration from tragedy, explaining, “Whilst studying in the first year of my Computer Science and Software Engineering bachelor’s degree, my mother was the victim of Colombian urban violent crime. She was leaving a bank in Cali when a criminal tried to rob her, she received five gunshot wounds in the process, but survived. This experience obviously affected me deeply in many ways, one of which was to develop a drive and a strong interest in security. I now wanted to shape my existing career to assist with crime prevention.”
On completing her bachelor’s degree, Daniela moved to Australia to complete a Masters of IT in System Security and seek out opportunities to use her professional experience in Analytics and Software Development, but applied to the security domain. “Initially I worked in protective security services, looking after physical security, such as analysis of bomb threats, gas attacks and ATM skimming attacks, then I moved into an intelligence team and focussed on combating fraud. Later, I joined the cyber security team at the Commonwealth Bank, where I was hired to build the reporting and analytics capabilities for the team.”
“Two of the key challenges,” Daniela highlights, “are the skills shortage and the need to raise security awareness. Lack of professionals with the right skills to work in cyber security is still a global challenge across organisations. Women in leadership roles have a key role to play here – by becoming role models they inspire other women who may have considered a career in security, but have been put off due to stereotypes, or an existing lack of diversity. We need new and better techniques to raise cyber awareness that can easily be understood by non-tech savvy people. Female leaders bring new perspectives and fresh ideas to design innovative techniques that can help raise awareness and encourage safer interactions with technology and information.”
Daniela contributes with leadership roles. “I currently have two mentees, a female student who wants to get into the cyber security industry and who is seeking advice for a potential career path, and a male who works in data analytics and is looking to overcome challenges faced to progress his career when English is not his first language. I also have a female mentor who has helped me with the progress of my leadership related goals. Mentoring has been great to gain useful advice and learn about others’ experiences. However, it’s also important to have good sponsors that can advocate for you and help you connect with the right people to get to the next step of your career…Click here to read full article.