Top Women in Cybersecurity: 10 Trailblazers to Follow This Year

In honor of Women's History Month, we're spotlighting 10 women leaders who are making invaluable contributions to cybersecurity.
March 12, 2024

March is Women’s History Month, making it the perfect opportunity to shine a spotlight on some of the remarkable women who are not only driving positive change in the cybersecurity industry but also breaking barriers and paving the way for other women to join the space.

These leaders all bring a unique perspective to the table, leveraging their diverse backgrounds and experiences to tackle complex challenges head-on. With their expertise, passion, and unwavering dedication, they play a pivotal role in protecting organizations from cyber threats. Most importantly, the women on this list are committed to being catalysts for change, fostering a more inclusive and diverse cybersecurity community.

Discover more about 10 of the biggest trailblazers in cybersecurity.

Top Women in Cybersecurity to Know in 2024

Top Women in Cybersecurity Sarah Armstrong Smith

Sarah Armstrong-Smith (Chief Security Advisor - EMEA, Microsoft)

Sarah Armstrong-Smith is a renowned industry leader with 25 years of experience in the IT space. Her expertise spans disaster recovery, cybersecurity, data protection, and privacy, with notable roles at AXA, EY, Fujitsu, and the London Stock Exchange Group. Armstrong-Smith emphasizes the significance of considering information validity in decision-making, especially with respect to evolving AI-generated threats like deepfakes and mixed reality.

She is a prolific keynote speaker and author and has received more than 30 awards, including being named one of the Top 25 Leaders in Cybersecurity for 2023 by Cyber Security Hub.

Top Women in Cybersecurity Jessica Barker

Jessica Barker (Co-Founder and co-CEO, Cygenta)

Dr. Jessica Barker MBE is an internationally recognized leader in the human side of cybersecurity. She has delivered face-to-face awareness sessions to over 50,000 individuals and given more than 80 keynotes at prestigious events, including NATO and the World Government Summit. She is a trusted expert for media outlets like BBC, Sky News, and Wired and is the author of the best-selling book Confident Cyber Security: How to Get Started in Cyber Security and Futureproof Your Career.

As the co-founder of cybersecurity company Cygenta, Dr. Barker advances cybersecurity awareness, behavior, and culture in organizations around the world. She focuses on the psychology and sociology of cybersecurity, empowering audiences worldwide to recognize the critical role that individuals play in safeguarding against cyber threats.

Top Women in Cybersecurity Kirsten Davies

Kirsten Davies (CISO, Unilever)

With a colorful career spanning four continents, Kirsten Davies has held influential roles at five Global and Fortune 250 companies, including Estée Lauder, Barclays Africa Group, Hewlett-Packard, and Siemens. She is a cybersecurity transformation thought leader and is well known for her expertise in refining ways of working, enhancing organizational culture, and optimizing security processes. Her commitment to excellence and innovation has also earned her a place on the NYU Tandon School of Engineering Cyber Fellows Advisory Council.

She is passionate about diversity and inclusion, evident through her groundbreaking initiatives at Estée Lauder that beat cybersecurity and IT industry averages for the inclusion of individuals across genders, ethnicities, ages, and nationalities.

Top Women in Cybersecurity Keren Elazari

Keren Elazari (Security Analyst and Researcher, Tel Aviv University)

Keren Elazari is an internationally renowned security analyst, researcher, and speaker who has dedicated her career to understanding emerging security technologies and trends. As a senior researcher at Tel Aviv University's Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center, Elazari delves into hacktivism, cyber conflicts in global politics, and crowd-sourcing security mechanisms. She has also written articles on emerging cyber threats for Scientific American, Financial Times, and WIRED magazine.

In 2014, Elazari became the first Israeli woman to speak on the main stage of the international TED Conference. She co-founded Leading Cyber Ladies in 2015, the only dedicated event for women in cybersecurity in Israel. It has since grown from quarterly meet-ups in Tel Aviv to include branches in New York City and Toronto.

Watch Keren's recent session from Vision 2024

Top Women in Cybersecurity Jane Frankland

Jane Frankland (Founder and CEO, KnewStart)

Jane Frankland is an award-winning cybersecurity expert, entrepreneur, author, and passionate women’s change agent. In 2015, after reading a report on the low numbers of women in cybersecurity, Frankland was inspired to investigate the issue and two years later published IN Security: Why a Failure to Attract and Retain Women in Cybersecurity is Making Us All Less Safe, which became an instant bestseller.

She subsequently launched the IN Security Movement to promote gender diversity in cybersecurity and has awarded scholarships to hundreds of women valued at over half a million USD. Now, as the founder and CEO of KnewStart, Frankland continues to make a lasting impact, offering consulting, training, mentoring, certification, and talent acquisition for women in cybersecurity.

Top Women in Cybersecurity Jadee Hanson

Jadee Hanson (CISO, Vanta)

Jadee Hanson plays a pivotal role as CISO at Vanta, leading the organization's security program and overseeing security, enterprise engineering, and privacy, risk, and compliance (PRC). In her previous role as CIO and CISO at Code42, she won numerous awards for her approach to helping internal teams and customers adopt right-sized risk management while enabling the company to safely achieve its strategic goals.

Prior to Code42, she held a number of senior leadership roles in security at Target Corporation and Deloitte. Hanson actively participates in the Women CISO Network Group and Athena Alliance and was also named a Top 25 Women in Cybersecurity by The Software Report and a Top 100 Women in Cybersecurity by Cyber Defense Magazine.

Top Women in Cybersecurity Theresa Payton

Theresa Payton (CEO, Senior Partner, and President, Fortalice Solutions)

Theresa Payton, a renowned cybersecurity authority and visionary in the digital world, is a true groundbreaker in the field of cybersecurity. As the first female White House CIO and a veteran cybercrime fighter, she draws on her unmatched knowledge and expertise to help organizations navigate the rapidly changing digital landscape fueled by developments in generative AI.

Payton founded both Dark3, which was acquired by Celerium, and Fortalice Solutions, a world-class cybersecurity consulting firm. Payton has written multiple industry-leading books on IT strategy and cybersecurity, including Manipulated: Inside the Cyberwar to Hijack Elections and Distort the Truth, which the Guardian included on its list of the Top 10 Books about Cybercrime.

Watch Theresa's webinar on ransomware trends

Top Women in Cybersecurity Chani Simms

Chani Simms (Managing Director and Co-Founder, Meta Defence Labs Ltd)

Chani is an award-winning cybersecurity leader and keynote speaker with over 20 years of experience in information technology. A recipient of international acclaim and multiple honors, Simms is a specialist in implementing and managing information security and data protection programs.

She co-founded Meta Defence Labs in 2015, an award-winning boutique information security service provider, which she then expanded into Sri Lanka to provide cybersecurity expertise and capabilities to South Asian communities. Simms also founded SHe CISO Exec., a platform that aims to bridge gaps in the cybersecurity industry by empowering emotionally intelligent cybersecurity leaders through boot camps, meetups, and monthly mentoring.

Top Women in Cybersecurity Tammie Tham

Tammie Tham (Group CEO, Ensign InfoSecurity)

Tammie Tham is the CEO at Ensign InfoSecurity, playing a crucial role in its establishment in 2017 and quickly rising through the ranks from the head of the enterprise portfolio management department to CEO. Prior to Ensign, Tham founded Accel Technologies, a company specializing in integrating cybersecurity systems, which was later acquired by StarHub Ltd and folded into Ensign.

Tham has over 20 years of experience in the cybersecurity field and has held leadership positions at IBM and BT Frontline. She currently serves on the Board of the Singapore Institute of Technology, MediaCorp, and iFAST. She is also a member of various advisory committees and councils, including the Personal Data Protection Advisory Committee and the Charity Council.

Top Women in Cybersecurity Wendy Thomas

Wendy Thomas (CEO, Secureworks)

Wendy Thomas is an accomplished executive and the CEO of Secureworks. Since joining Secureworks, Thomas has played an essential role in the company's growth and innovation, leading its strategic transformation into a software-driven organization focused on delivering cutting-edge security solutions that help businesses safeguard their digital assets against cyber threats.

She is also recognized as one of the Most Powerful Women in Technology by the National Diversity Council and actively promotes gender inclusivity within the tech industry. Outside of her role at Secureworks, Thomas serves as a Liaison for AFS Intercultural Programs and manages the Pride Employee Resource Group, fostering inclusion and education activities.

Celebrating Women in Cybersecurity

In celebrating the accomplishments of these extraordinary women in cybersecurity, we not only honor their individual achievements but also acknowledge the collective impact they've had on shaping the industry's landscape. These trailblazers have shattered stereotypes, overcome barriers, and paved the way for future generations of women to thrive in cybersecurity.

These women inspire us all to embrace diversity, challenge norms, and build a stronger, more resilient cybersecurity community for the future.

Top Women in Cybersecurity: 10 Trailblazers to Follow This Year

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