Next week the SC Awards Europe takes place, although this year it moves to a virtual platform. The awards will be streamed live on their website https://www.scawardseurope.com/ over 3 days online due to the coronavirus outbreak. Last year I was extremely humbled, honoured and proud to win the “Outstanding Contribution” award, and I couldn’t be there in person to collect my award, something I will always regret.

I couldn’t believe that I had been nominated, let alone find out I was a finalist in my category. I was up against some HUGE names in the cyber security industry such as Ian Glover from CREST and Dr Kevin Jones rom Airbus; I considered all the finalists to be far more worthy winners of my category.  To win the award was incredibly surreal for me and it still feels like a dream today.

This Time Last Year….

The awards ceremony takes place during the same week as Infosec, and with my father being in very ill health at the time I didn’t think I would be able to attend Infosec, let alone attend the awards ceremony. An operation that my father was scheduled to have that same week was cancelled, so at the very last minute I threw some things into a bag, contacted a friend I have in East London to ask if I could stay overnight with her and attended Infosec for 2 days. I thought that the awards ceremony would be sold out or full, so I decided not to attend even though I made it to Infosec at very short notice.

The first day at Infosec was brilliant, I was able to arrange some long overdue meetings with contacts such as Chris Windley and Tim Moran (who gave a great talk in the New Cyber Zone) from Lujam Cyber, Andy Laver from Proficio (although he has moved on from Proficio now), Steve Hood from NTE, Simon Wardle from bluesource and Andrew Lawton from FortressAS amongst others. I was able to network and visit a lot of old friends and contacts in the exhibitor zone and I was so pleased I had made it to Infosec after all.

On the night of the awards ceremony I was at my friends house and was just heading to bed when my husband texted me and said, in true Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses style: “You’ve only gone and done it!” He was following the award announcements on Twitter and saw that I had won the “Outstanding Contribution” award. I couldn’t believe it, and I wasn’t even at the awards ceremony – I was gutted!

The next day at Infosec was a huge blur, so many people came up to me to congratulate me, many I didn’t even know. I attended the “Women in Security” event where I saw the inspirational Professor Sue Black talk about her work and achievements, and women in there came up to me and said I had given them hope and was a huge inspiration.

I collected my award from the SC Magazine offices in Twickenham a few weeks later and got to meet the Editor Toby Morbin, it still felt very surreal, but it was true – I had won the award! It is now one of my most treasured things and has pride of place in my office where I can always see it to remind myself of how far I had come in a short time in the cyber security industry.

This Time This Year…..

Since winning the SC Awards Europe “Outstanding Contribution” award I went on to win “Cyber Security Personality of the Year” from the Cyber Security Awards, “Supporter of Women in Cyber Security” from the Women in Cyber Awards in the USA, and I was named as one of WeAreTechWomen’s 100 inspiring women in tech. I was also named as one of SC Magazine’s “50 Women of Influence” in November 2019, but yet again I couldn’t go to the gathering as my father was very ill at the time and I couldn’t leave him.

I had SUCH great plans this year and was going to do so much. I had been booked to speak at various conferences and events including the Cloud and Cyber Expo, Think Partners Cyber Security for Government Event, and the Identity Management Summit amongst others. They have all been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. I also planned to attend Infosec again this year, but this has also been cancelled. It looks like all events, conferences and networking events have been cancelled for the foreseeable future – and rightly so.

I have been busier this year than ever because of winning the “Outstanding Contribution” award.  My work with the UK Cyber Security Association keeps me very busy indeed, I’ve been approached to write numerous articles and blogs which I’ve had published, my book “The Rise of the Cyber Women: Volume 1” is due for release on Amazon Direct Publishing in mid-June 2020 and I’ve had cyber security awareness consultancy work coming out of my ears.

The coronavirus outbreak has not stopped me from achieving any of my goals, nor has my work in cyber security been affected. Instead of speaking at face to face events I have taken part in numerous online events, conferences, webinars, and meetings using Zoom, Teams, and other video conferencing platforms. My father has also improved considerably with his health since I won the award last year, which means I can dedicate much more of my time to my work in the industry and achieving my goals.

Winning the “Outstanding Contribution” award has meant the world to me and is a huge achievement. I hope I can go on to achieve even more in the cyber security industry in the coming years – coronavirus or not!

To all The Finalists in all the Categories for 2020

I want to send everyone who is a finalist in all categories in this year’s SC Awards Europe the very best of luck, and congratulations for getting this far – it is a huge endorsement of your achievements, work and the services that your organisation provides for the cyber security industry. You are ALL winners in my eyes and I’m very proud that you are all finalists.

I know the event isn’t what we are all used to with it taking place virtually due to the coronavirus outbreak, but I will be logging onto the live stream Tuesday to Thursday next week to share, retweet and extend my congratulations to all the winners.

If you do win – enjoy it. Leverage it. Be proud of what the award represents and of your achievements. I am very proud of my 2019 “Outstanding Contribution” award, even if my impostor syndrome sometimes gets in the way and tries to tell me otherwise.

To watch the awards and see the live stream at 4pm on Tuesday 2 June, Wednesday 3 June and Thursday 4 June visit https://www.scawardseurope.com/. Also follow SC Magazine on Twitter – https://twitter.com/SCmagazineUK – for announcements of the winners.

Until next week,

Lisa Ventura
CEO & Founder: UK Cyber Security Association
Winner of SC Awards Europe “Outstanding Contribution” Category 2019

mm

Lisa Ventura is an award-winning Cyber Security consultant and is the CEO and Founder of the UK Cyber Security Association (UKCSA), a membership association that is dedicated raising awareness and educating small businesses, SME’s, large corporate companies and the general public as to the importance of cyber security. Lisa is also a thought leader, author and keynote speaker and has been published in various publications globally. She is fascinated by all things related to nuclear war and loves dogs, the gym/keep fit, the rock band Queen, Freddie Mercury, sci-fi, films and TV series from the 1980s, especially American soap operas such as Dallas, Falcon Crest, Dynasty and Knots Landing.