Podcast – The New CISO Podcast Episode 99: Know Your Strengths: How to Lead with Skills You Already Have
Podcast Transcript | Air Date September 7, 2023
Listen to Steve and Maria discuss being confident in your strengths while understanding your weaknesses and what first-graders and board members have in common:
Meet Maria (1:36)
Maria reflects on why her current role is her dream job. With a diverse background, Mara found that healthcare customers were the people she wanted to serve.
She didn’t plan on landing in healthcare, but she resonates with the mission of the field, which is why she feels she has her dream job. She recommends that everyone find an industry that aligns with them.
Getting Her Start (6:00)
Before starting her IT path, Maria worked as a secretary, a term not often used today. During this time, Maria went through personal family issues and needed to evaluate her financial future for herself and her children.
Always interested in computers, Maria talked to the IT department at her company and asked how to get involved. Their advice led Maria to get a certificate, thus beginning the rewarding career she has today. It was scary initially, but Maria allowed herself to try and fail to succeed.
Successful Communication (13:39)
Steve presses Maria on whether she always had the clarity and confidence she showcases today.
Maria understood she would never be an engineer, but her strengths lay in being diligent and taking notes. Therefore, she was excellent at communicating technology to people without a technology background, giving her a robust career skill set. Empathy, communication, and public speaking abilities made her the leader she is today.
Explaining to a First Grader (16:33)
Maria shares her experience talking to her granddaughter’s first-grade class about her job. She found these kids incredibly bright and showed a firm understanding of technology and computers.
Learning how to communicate technology ideas to an audience without experience is critical.
Standing Out (23:45)
When evaluating a resume, Maria likes to see if they have motivation. Nowadays, more people than ever are interested in security. So, it’s essential to evaluate if the people coming in are serious.
Maria is looking to hire a self-starter who takes advantage of the resources available to work in security. She also admires when applicants understand their strengths and weaknesses and where they can be best utilized.
Confidence In Communication (27:22)
Maria could always communicate effectively. As the child of Italian immigrants, Maria was responsible for speaking on behalf of her parents and helping them navigate the US.
Her childhood also gave her empathy and the ability to read non-verbal cues, which has been helpful throughout her career. Learning to communicate with those around you is critical, no matter your role.
Don’t Fake It Until You Make It (39:51)
In terms of security, you really can’t fake it because the consequences could be dire. But outside of security, Maria has never liked the phrase “fake it until you make it.”
This saying irks Maria because she thinks it is terrible advice. If you don’t know something, you should learn it. If you need a mentor, find one. You should want to get whatever you don’t have because that will make you better.
If you wish to apply to a job in which you don’t have direct experience, show your confidence in your skills and demonstrate how applicable experience has prepared you for that role.
Valuable Tips (48:04)
Maria reflects on her rules to follow when evaluating a new company.
If you are interviewing for a leadership position, you already have a robust resume and a breadth of experience. Now that you’re in the room, you need to interview the organization as much as they are interviewing you.
You and the company must be a personality fit for the opportunity to work.
The New CIO/CISO (51:37)
To Maria, being a new CIO/CISO means understanding the importance of security to the organization and that you are bringing this information to your peers.
You are making business decisions, so you need to speak in terms of business.