By Lori Webster

Lori Webster, manager of Global Communications for Xerox Information Management

“Back seat driving conversations really do matter. Who knows what may come from them?” — Lori Webster, manager of Global Communications for Xerox Information Management

Some of the best conversations I have with my ten-year-old daughter take place in the car. I think gazing out the back seat window spurs a relaxed daydreaming state for her. It’s also uninterrupted time for us to connect. What I do know is that the drive opens up a world of topics to explore and discuss.

For instance, I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. “I don’t know,” she replied. “Maybe work at Wegmans (our local grocery store chain)…or be a vet…or maybe a teacher.”

“That’s wonderful, ” I said, quietly acknowledging her choice as a teacher since we listen to her read to her class of stuffed animals every evening.

Making use of our meaningful conversation time, I asked, “Have you ever you heard about cyber forensics? Kind of a big term,” I said.

“What’s that?” she wanted to know.

“It’s when you take information and data from computers and use it to analyze and prove something. Have you ever had to share facts in school about how you came up with a solution? Cyber forensics is similar to that.”

This impromptu chat with my daughter was inadvertently spurred by a conversation I had with an IT colleague the day before. I had the pleasure of meeting Melissa Sokolowski, founder and team leader of the newly formed “Women in Security” group at Xerox.

Make a Difference for Girls and Women

Xerox Women in Security

“Clockwise from upper left: Melissa Sokolowski, Jennifer Lang, Cynthia McLean and Pat Massey.”

Melissa, Pat Massey, Jennifer Lang, Cynthia McLean  and extended members of the Women In Security team have spearheaded an initiative to promote  awareness and educate girls and women about the rewarding information security career path they could have. The journey starts early. By reaching school-age girls early, the team can help them explore the possibilities of being part of a fast-paced, continuously evolving industry.

Inspired and sponsored by Xerox chief information security officer Mark Leary, the group focuses on three key areas:

  • Community outreach for girls and women: Melissa will present to approximately 600 elementary and middle school-aged girls at the annual STEM Conference, Girlstart, in April in Austin, Texas. The Women in Security team will also engage with local universities and colleges to source new talent and attend conferences to connect, inspire and educate.
  • Connect Xerox women through internal Yam Jam sessions, and answer their questions on Yammer.
  • Provide mentorship and coaching for information security enthusiasts, in partnership with the Women’s Alliance, a caucus group at Xerox.

 “This is an important cause for our industry. Women in information security are underrepresented. We intend to change that here at Xerox.” Mark Leary, chief information security officer for Xerox

Melissa and the team’s passion runs deep. “We can have the biggest impact when we reach girls early and help them cultivate their natural interest in science, technology, engineering and math,” she said. “And we can share our personal perspectives on this fulfilling career path.”

It’s about closing the gap, empowering girls and women in the community and our workplace, and it begins with an open dialogue.

It seems those back seat driving conversations really do matter. Who knows what may come from them, maybe a career as a technology teacher?

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