Menu Search through site content What are you looking for?

International Women's Day 2021 #choosetochallenge

  • Report 09 March 2021 09 March 2021
  • Asia Pacific

A reflection from female leaders in our Australian cyber team

Every day we choose to challenge gender bias and gender inequality by calling out the accepted norms and the status quo of a single path to success, leadership and gender roles in our industry. IWD2021 #Choose to challenge ignites us to champion diversity of thought, backgrounds and our unique skills in our emerging industry and the broader cyber eco-system. As we embrace our diversity and our authentic selves, we shape this industry and we better collaborate with our clients and provide market leading solutions to today’s cyber threats.

We choose to challenge any defined paths and systems enabling gender bias and inequality, there is no defined path to cyber, our diversity is our success. As we celebrate IWD 2021 and our women who #choosetochallenge John Moran asked female leaders in our cyber team to reflect on their unique paths.


My role in the cyber team

I am always striving to bring the team together. When I am around, this usually starts with food and ends with laughs. For me, this kind of incidental team building drives connection and respect beyond the standard working relationship.

What we most enjoy about working in cyber

Cyber allows us to become more than just lawyers - we become trusted advisors. Unlike my previous experience in a corporate legal environment, Cyber, being a novel and growing area of the law, pushes me to be creative and think outside the box. I love that every day is different and every day is challenging in its own way.

Best life advice/wisdom to share

My top two pieces of advice would have to be:

1) take risks in your career – they pay off. If they don’t, at least you’ll have a good story out of it; and

2) you never know who you’re talking to. Treat every conversation with a stranger like you are talking to the most important and impressive person out there. It’s an amazing way to learn about other people and network, and you just never know what may come of it.


My role in the cyber team

As a Senior Associate in the cyber team, I lead a team of exceptional cyber lawyers in supporting organisations through significant cyber breaches from the immediate response where the breach is still ongoing, reviewing the risks of data compromise under the Notifiable Data Breach Scheme under the Privacy Act, through to resolution of consequential third party claims and regulatory responses.  With a long background as a lawyer in the Australian Defence Force, my experience in risk analysis and decision-making in a pressured environment was a great precursor to my current role. We are fortunate to live and work in a country where gender does not dictate opportunity. I hope that by putting our hands up as females who work in cyber we can be a role model for women starting out in this area and a testament to previous generations of how far female leadership opportunities have come in our country.

What we most enjoy about working in cyber

Cybersecurity has become critical to the operations of any modern business, and yet it’s almost 'intangible' nature means that it is a risk that is often underrated or misunderstood. Working in cyber breach incident response allows me the professional satisfaction of supporting businesses through a crisis while the ever-changing nature of the threat environment means that there is always a new puzzle or problem to understand and resolve.

Best life advice/wisdom to share

If your password is password, then we have a cyber breach problem.


My role in the cyber team

I work as part of the operations team within our Cyber practice. I assist our Cyber Partner, John Moran, managing his day to day needs, his appointments and client relationships. With the operations team I work collaboratively on a wide range of projects, identifying opportunities for growth and practice improvement. Due to the fast pace of the work that we do and the high volume, it is critical that the team are agile and our practice management tools support us in a way that reduces administrative pain points. We are therefore constantly refining the way we operate to work more efficiently as a team.

What do I enjoy most about working in cyber?

It’s such an interesting & diverse area of law. Because it is an upcoming area, there is something new to learn about it every day. Due to the fast pace of the practice, it’s very rewarding for the team to be able to achieve good outcomes for our clients in a very short timeframe. It’s exciting to witness our practice rapidly grow and play a significant role in shaping the global landscape of incident response.

Best life advice/wisdom to share

Take breaks! Very basic but essential advice in my experience. With the volume and pace of the work that we do in cyber it is easy to get overwhelmed with our workload and impending deadlines. I see a lot of value in stepping back and taking time out which in turn helps give some perspective on what we are working on and ultimately improve the quality of our outcomes achieved.


My role in the cyber team

In the scheme of things, cyber security is such a new space. Australian businesses are still grappling with the best way to secure systems and face off cyber risk and we see varying levels of cyber preparedness daily. Everyone is dedicated to helping our Insureds land in a better place than what they started with and part of that is training. At Clyde’s I organise fortnightly CLE sessions for the team. Everyone is invited to present on a favourite topic and we find they are pretty interactive sessions. The team also loves the chance to get together after so long working separately – it’s great to see everyone again!

What do I enjoy most about working in cyber?

It’s difficult to answer this one. I’m a project manager at heart so the combination of lawyer and incident responder is perfect for me. I would say that my favourite aspect is getting a good result for our clients – dealing with a cyber incident especially for someone who has never experienced one before is incredibly stressful. It’s a real trust building exercise when we are first engaged and it’s a little bit chaotic, systems can be completely down and no-one has access to emails on the client side. We have dealt with every possible worst-case scenario and I find it incredibly rewarding as we steadily help rebuild a client’s business. Being able to help my clients through the A to Z of a cyber incident is so much more rewarding than stopping at providing black letter law advice – we’re in there in the trenches with our clients.

Best life advice/wisdom to share

If you can be a curious person, constantly interested in what is going on, actively listening to your colleagues, being engaged with what is happening in the sector I would say this will stand you in good stead. It’s not hard being curious in the cyber space given the rate at which things change!


My role in the cyber team

As a Special Counsel in the cyber team I help clients with their privacy law compliance, minimise cyber threats and support their digital transformation needs. The best part is sharing my technology experience within our cyber team and collaborating with our clients to develop solutions for their cyber challenges and digital opportunities.

What do I most enjoy about working in cyber

The constant change. The challenges in technology demand creativity, constant innovation and learning. I have always loved technology and the intersection with many laws is the bonus I discovered overseas following the path less travelled. In my early legal days, I left the Australian shores with an optimistic view of the unknown and to kindle a passion for all things technology, law, cyber security and data. I returned many years later with a depth of technology experience that continues to develop today. The evolving ways we engage technology in our lives produces commercial and legal challenges, cyber threats, opportunities for data use, privacy and ethical implications that demand our clients’ solutions  be creative, pragmatic, commercial and compliant - a combination that I share in every client opportunity.

Best life advice/wisdom to share

Be curious, be compassionate and respect others …and my school motto – no reward without effort.


Role we play within the cyber team as female leaders

I feel fortunate to work in a diverse and progressive practice that has exceptional women in lead roles in every area – legal, business, and support – who are a great example of the contribution of women make in so many ways both in their professional and personal lives. As a Senior Associate in the cyber practice I have the opportunity to be a leader and guide to a hugely talented group of lawyers. I encourage the lawyers that work with me to discuss their ideas, ambitions, and challenges. Too often women are discouraged from coming forward and I try to set an example of being open and approachable, but also direct and unapologetic about my enthusiasm in everything I do.

What we most enjoy about working in cyber

Cyber is such an exciting and dynamic area to be working in. Every incident that’s managed by my team opens up a new dimension to the landscape of cyber risk facing our clients. The risks that exist in a complex cyber environment and the way forward when an incident occurs are so opaque to the majority of businesses and individuals, and yet we’re in a world where cybercrime is has become a highly sophisticated and extremely profitable industry. Being in a position to help clients navigate through incidents which threaten the reputation and viability of their businesses is really rewarding.

Best life advice/wisdom to share

Something that’s been important to me is to remember that its best to run your own race. To me that means taking risks and pursuing opportunities without worrying about where that places you against everybody else!


Additional authors:

Sophie White, Chloe Sevil, Menaka Vasudevan, Brenda McKenna, Georgia Schulberg, Andrea Mitchell

Stay up to date with Clyde & Co

Sign up to receive email updates straight to your inbox!