Having pursued a career in the technology since graduating from BU, Laurie Gibbett has become a champion for greater gender equality in the sector.
Laurie graduated with a BA (Hons) in Business and Marketing in 2014, but after spending a year in marketing decided to shift her focus to technology and joined IBM’s graduate scheme. Having specialised in security and risk while at IBM, last year she joined KPMG as a Cyber Risk Quantification Manager. In this role Laurie advises organisations across multiple sectors on how best to prepare for and manage emerging cyber threats to their data and systems.
Laurie loves the challenges and variety of work and wants to inspire more people – particularly more women – to consider a career in cyber security. She was recently shortlisted for the #TechWomen100 awards and has spoken at conferences including Reframe Women in Tech and teiss London Security Resilience, Response and Recovery.
She said: “People assume that roles in technology require in-depth technical knowledge, but my role is much more about strategy, problem solving and communication. I need to have a broad understanding of the technology that underpins the systems, but ultimately, I am here to guide clients through different scenarios and help them plan how to minimise the risks to their business. Cyber threats are changing all the time, so this role is great for anyone with a low boredom threshold!”
While she counts herself as a natural introvert, Laurie hopes that by contributing to panel discussions and sector awards schemes she can help to change the makeup of the technology sector. She said: “This is still a male dominated area, but women have a lot to offer. I want to help challenge the stereotype and increase diversity for the benefit of organisations and the clients we work for. While I haven’t always enjoyed public speaking, my BU experience helped me to build my confidence and develop soft skills which have taken me a long way. I’ve also learnt how to achieve balance when the role requires me to put myself out there more than I’d ideally like.
“The worlds of technology and cyber security are so fast moving that we need to help young people prepare now for the jobs of tomorrow – many of which don’t yet exist. Cyber security and working in the tech industry generally wasn’t an area I would have considered, or even known about when I was at school, so there’s a need for empowering the younger generation about the future of the workplace.”
To help raise awareness, Laurie continues to support BU staff and students via the Business Studies Alumni Panel and recently ran a cyber security crisis simulation for MBA students, helping them to develop an understanding of what happens in the reality of a cyber-attack and the challenge of making tough decisions under pressure.