CEO Forward to Women in Cybersecurity Blog Post Series
In observance of Women’s History Month, I am pleased to introduce Spirion’s new blog series, Women in Cybersecurity, that celebrates the vital role and contributions of the many women of IT security who are on the front lines of protecting what matters most—the sensitive personal data of our colleagues, customers, and communities.
This week, we kick-off the series by profiling Spirion’s female privacy champions. Spirion is dedicated to creating an equitable, inclusive, and diverse workplace. At Spirion, women represent 29% of the entire employee population. While Spirion is 9% above the industry average for women in technology, we have an unwavering commitment to workplace diversity and increasing that number each day. We appreciate the women who advocate for customer privacy across all aspects of our business, including product management, marketing and demand generation, technical support, and leadership.
As part of the Women in Cybersecurity series, we plan to shine a light on women in the IT security trenches at our customer sites and across the industry. If you would like for us to recognize a female colleague in IT security, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope you enjoy the series.
President and CEO
Cully Buchanan, Director of HR at Spirion
Can you tell us your current job role and provide a summary of your career?
For the last 20 years I have enjoyed serving in various leadership roles within Human Resources. My first taste of HR was in my home state of Virginia where I supported 11 locations at Universal Health Services as the Director of Human Services. My prior roles include VP of Human Resources for a CCRC in Dunedin, Director of Human Resources for Medical Facilities of America and HR Management with Rehab Management, Inc., where I supported 50 long-term care facilities in 3 states.
Volunteering my time is something I am passionate about and most recently served as an Executive Committee Member for The National Alliance on Mental Illness. In addition, I have been active with Richmond Society for Human Resources Management, Virginia Society for Healthcare Human Resources Association, and Family Advocacy Creating Education and Services (FACES). While acting as a Committee Member for FACES, I testified before the General Assembly on behalf of Mental Health Courts where we brought attention to the importance of mental health awareness.
As Director of Human Resources at Spirion, I am responsible for ensuring a warm and inviting work environment, overseeing our hiring process and new hire onboarding, providing timely benefits information and expanding the perks we offer to our employees.
Why did you make the switch from the healthcare industry to IT?
I began my career working for a small technical staffing company, which now has nearly 5,000 employees. Over the years I have found that being a part of building something great – helping write a company’s story–is truly an honor. The excitement of finding the right talent to ensure that story plays out with a happy ending–is a true motivator for me personally. I thrive in an environment that has a shared purpose amongst employees in all departments. Spirion is providing a much-needed tool that has a compelling purpose: protecting what matters most when it comes to personal and sensitive data. Like healthcare, technology is a critical part of everyone’s life. The technology industry moves quickly with constant changes, and that is exciting.
Why is diversity in IT important now more than ever?
Now more than ever, we need diversity in cybersecurity. In a time when we are talking about essential industries, IT security is one of them! As we currently navigate a major pandemic (a first for me), it is important that women have a seat at the table and share their perspective on the crisis. Cyber Hackers are diverse – different intents, different backgrounds, different races, different genders. The diversity in IT security is essential; in fact, it’s been shown that when teams increase diversity, they make more informed decisions that result in better outcomes. The number of open cybersecurity jobs is already enormous–let’s get rid of this stereotype that IT people are male and geeky. 29% of the Spirion workforce are women. We are working to grow that number everyday by locating talented individuals that not only bring experience to the table but different ways of thinking.
What interested you most about a role with Spirion?
After having worked in healthcare administration for so many years, I have an even greater appreciation for a product such as the one offered by Spirion. Patient data security was critical in my prior role and healthcare data breaches were always a risk. The ability to be part of a company that protects both patient and employee information, particularly with the rate of turnover in healthcare, as an example, provides me the opportunity to make a difference. I am excited to be a part of the story that is being written at Spirion.
What are you most proud of at Spirion?
Our people. We have a strong, multi-disciplinary workforce with a lot of industry experience, that possess high levels of passion for what we do. In addition to that, we are an agile organization that has the flexibility to move an entire office to a remote work setup in a matter of days. COVID-19 tested our agility and we successfully passed the test by getting our entire workforce up and running from their homes with minimal disruptions to the business. This demonstrates both the independent, driven abilities of our team, as well as the trust from leadership, to create a dynamic work environment, where the focus is on what is achieved, not where. The quick action from our leadership team to mandate remote work, demonstrates the intention to maintain business operations without risking the health and well-being of employees
Gender diversity at Spirion is above the national average for the technology industry, as a whole. Women are represented in nearly one out of every three positions at Spirion. This is exciting and something I am very proud of!
What advice would you give any women in IT looking to advance their careers beyond entry-level?
You should remain up to date on changes within the industry. Raise your hand, if you have bandwidth, to volunteer for additional projects outside of the scope of your current role. I cannot express enough the importance of getting involved in networking opportunities, and creating a personal career advancement plan. Also, if you are able, act as a mentor for other women beginning their career in IT.
Finally, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
My fiancé and I plan several adventures per year, such as ziplining, snorkeling, or riding ATV through the rain forest. The work/life balance offered at Spirion is priceless. We thoroughly appreciate the unlimited paid time off benefit at Spirion and the opportunity it provides for us to check things off our bucket list.