A Journey of Passion, Innovation, and Change!
In today’s rapidly-evolving digital landscape, cybersecurity has become a crucial priority for individuals and organizations alike. With the ever-increasing threat of cyber attacks and data breaches, the demand for skilled professionals in this field has skyrocketed. However, despite the growing need, the industry has historically lacked diversity and representation, with women and people of colour being vastly underrepresented. Despite these challenges, one woman’s passion for innovation and change led her to enter the field of cybersecurity.
Meet Kimberly Simon – A cybersecurity professional who breaks boundaries and challenges norms. Driven by her passion for innovation and change, she entered the industry despite the lack of diversity at the time. Kimberly saw it as an opportunity to make a difference and pave the way for other women to boldly enter the field.
Driven by her belief in the importance of cybersecurity compliance and her desire to make a meaningful difference, Kimberly saw every obstacle as an opportunity to pave the way for other women to join her in the industry. Her visionary thinking and unbridled enthusiasm have made her a true pioneer in the field, inspiring countless others to follow in her footsteps and drive positive change in the world of cybersecurity.
Today, she is a VP Partnerships & Alliances at ControlCase, where she continues to lead the charge for diversity and inclusivity in the cybersecurity industry. Her work has been instrumental in breaking down barriers and creating new opportunities for underrepresented groups in the field. Under her leadership, ControlCase has become a leading provider of compliance solutions for businesses around the world.
As we flip the pages, let’s delve into her magnificent journey.
Please brief us about yourself and what inspired you to embark on this sector.
I am a cybersecurity leader, author, and keynote speaker. I have worked in cybersecurity compliance for over a decade and am an expert in the industry. I also advocate for diversity and inclusion in tech and speak on women’s empowerment and career development topics. I have given several keynote speeches and have been featured in various publications.
My inspiration to embark on a role in cybersecurity was driven by my passion for innovation and change, coupled with my belief in the importance of cybersecurity compliance. Despite the lack of representation of women and people of color in the field at the time, l welcomed the challenge and saw an opportunity to make a difference. I wanted to pave the way for other women to be bold and enter the field.
I also recognized the increasing significance of cybersecurity compliance very early on. I truly believed the cybersecurity industry had the most potential for growth and development. The dynamic and ever-changing nature of the cybersecurity industry appealed to me. I have always enjoyed taking on new challenges and staying up-to-date with emerging technologies. I was inspired by how fast-paced the industry is and saw my interpersonal skills as a strength that would be valuable in the field.
Could you please elaborate on your story as the beacon of your organization, and how you have positioned it as a dependable player in the competitive market?
My journey at ControlCase is a true testament to my unwavering dedication, hard work, and commitment to excellence. When I joined the company ten years ago, I was the only person in the marketing department. My primary responsibility was to build a pipeline for the sales team so that the company could meet its revenue targets. With my exceptional skills and abilities, I quickly made a significant impact and took on more responsibilities. I excelled in this role, and within a year, I was invited to learn about the sales side of the business. I was trained by the company founder, Kishor Vaswani. By my fourth year, I had become the top new-business salesperson globally. My efforts have generated millions of dollars in revenue for the company and helped many Fortune 500 companies build their cybersecurity programs.
Over the years, I have proven to be a beacon at ControlCase. Today, I have moved up in the organization and am currently VP of Partnerships and Alliances. In this new role, I have a crucial responsibility to increase company revenue through strategic partnerships. I have established strong relationships with industry leaders, which has helped ControlCase position itself as a dependable player in a competitive market.
My contributions to the organization go beyond my role. I actively share my knowledge and expertise within the cybersecurity industry and mentor aspiring professionals who want to enter the field of cybersecurity. I believe these efforts have contributed to narrowing the skills gap within the cybersecurity industry.
Could you please brief us about your company and how your expertise has contributed to the development of the company?
ControlCase is a globally recognized leader in the cybersecurity compliance industry. They offer a wide range of services, including compliance assessments, certifications, and continuous compliance services for frameworks including PCI DSS, SOC 2, ISO 27001 and CMMC. The company’s mission is to empower organizations to develop and deploy strategic information security and compliance programs that are simplified, cost-effective, and comprehensive in both on-premises and cloud environments.
I have been a key contributor to the development and growth of ControlCase over the last ten years. Starting as the only person in the marketing department, l quickly demonstrated my talents and moved into a sales role, where l became the top salesperson within four years. I have generated millions of dollars in revenue for the company and assisted Fortune 500 companies with building their cybersecurity programs.
Today, as the VP of Partnerships & Alliances, l help ControlCase establish partnerships with leading technology providers and firms to drive cybersecurity compliance adoption. I continue to be a key team member and have contributed to positioning ControlCase as a dependable player in the competitive cybersecurity market.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in cybersecurity?
I have faced several challenges throughout my career in cybersecurity, particularly as a black woman in a predominantly male-dominated industry. One of the biggest challenges I encountered earlier on was the lack of representation of successful black women in cybersecurity. This meant that l had no guidance or support within the industry. I had to be self-motivated and work harder than my peers to succeed.
The lack of support and mentorship from other women in the field made navigating the industry and advancing in my career difficult. I also had to deal with being overlooked and underestimated by my peers, particularly in the “boys club” environment where l often struggled to be heard and respected.
Despite these challenges, l persevered and proved that l had the right to be in the industry. My resilience and patience have helped me to overcome obstacles and establish myself as a respected and accomplished professional in the field. Through my hard work and dedication, l have become a role model and mentor to other women who aspire to pursue careers in cybersecurity.
What initial challenges did you and your organization face, and how did you drive your organization to overcome them?
We initially faced challenges around the lack of awareness and understanding of the importance of cybersecurity compliance among companies, particularly among small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). At the time, only companies mandated to show compliance cared about our solutions, and it was difficult to get buy-in from SMBs that were not required to be compliant.
To address this challenge, we focused on education and partnership. We consciously tried to be an organization that shared knowledge and value instead of just trying to sell their services. We invested a lot of time in learning about our clients’ specific cybersecurity challenges and building service offerings that addressed those challenges. We also created valuable content and shared that knowledge with the industry for free, which helped grow our network.
Finally, we’ve always been dedicated to being partners with our clients, ensuring that each engagement had a human touch and that we were getting to the core of our client’s challenges. We overcame our challenges by focusing on education, partnership, and providing value. We positioned ourselves as a reliable player in the competitive cybersecurity market.
As an inventive leader, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
- Believe in your vision: I have been a visionary from the start, seeing the potential in cybersecurity compliance even when it was still a nascent industry. I would advise entrepreneurs to trust their instincts and believe in their ideas, even if they go against conventional wisdom.
- Be adaptable: Cybersecurity is an ever-changing field, and ControlCase has had to be flexible and adaptable to keep up with new threats and challenges. I would advise entrepreneurs to be similarly open to change, willing to pivot their strategies and offerings as needed to stay relevant and meet the needs of their customers.
- Focus on relationships: ControlCase’s success has been built on partnerships and alliances, and I would advise entrepreneurs to prioritize relationship-building with customers, partners, and stakeholders. I emphasize the importance of understanding and addressing the needs of others rather than just focusing on one’s own goals and objectives.
- Invest in education: ControlCase has invested heavily in education and knowledge-sharing, and l believe entrepreneurs should do the same. By building a reputation as a thought leader and sharing valuable content and insights, entrepreneurs can position themselves as trusted experts in their field and build a loyal following of customers and supporters.
- Persevere: Finally, as a woman and a person of color in a field where l have often been overlooked or marginalized, l would like to emphasize the importance of perseverance and resilience. Be prepared for setbacks and obstacles, but stay focused on your goals and keep pushing forward, even when the going gets tough.
Please give us a few testimonials from your clients and awards or recognition that accurately highlight your achievements in this sector.
Kimberly was recently awarded Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 by Business Elite. She has also been recognized as a “Rising Star Executive” by WomenTech Network.