The Benefits of Diverse Teams 

On Episode 23 of The Content & Media Matters Podcast we spoke to Martin Sebelius, the SVP and General Manager of EMEA and LatAm at Accedo.tv, about the importance of diversity in the sector. Here’s what he had to say on the topic: 

Diversity is challenging for us. We’re not exclusively recruiting from schools that we already have recruited from, or settling for posting our job ads on the usual job boards – we’re trying to look further. Also, it’s not only where you look, it’s how you look, how you explain a position and what the company does. We probably do it in a man’s way, so we’re limiting ourselves in a very bad way. 

We need to make sure that we have a work environment that is equally inspiring and engaging for both men and women. We’re working on finding out what those parameters are, and how to improve them for the people that we already have. The big question is ‘How can we provide equal opportunities to grow as individuals and grow careers at Accedo?’. 

The benefit of improving cognitive diversity is that we do better business when more perspectives have gone into something. It’s a better outcome. Why is that? Well, if you have a team that wants to or needs to achieve something, and that team is homogenous, it’s probably easier as a project manager or leader to achieve that goal in the short term. But in the long run, yes, it’s stable, but it’s probably also stagnating. You won’t innovate without different ideas. 

Another benefit of diversity is that when you bring in different backgrounds, perspectives, views, ideas and inspirations, it stirs things up in a good way. It impacts the quality of what Accedo delivers, which is an experience. So who’s the subject of that experience? Well, that’s a diverse set of human beings. How can you pretend to bring optimal value in that setting if you don’t have diverse teams? You can’t.


To learn more about Martin’s work at Aceedo.tv, tune into Episode 23 of The Content & Media Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

How Can the Satellite and NewSpace Industry Engaged With External Talent?

At neuco, we’re experts at sourcing talent for the Satellite & NewSpace industry. We recently spoke to Tamara Bond Williams, the Director of Engagement at Space and Satellite Professionals International, on Episode 24 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast about how the industry can attract talent from other sectors to improve the diversity of skills within it. Tamara works to expand and enhance the professional lives of SSPI members, giving her valuable insights into the working lives of those within the Satellite & NewSpace industry. Read on for her insights on the topic. 

How have things changed around attracting people from outside STEM into the Satellite industry?

I think the only big change that I can really speak to is the awareness. There have always been people in the industry who came from outside of STEM. That has been true the entire time, but we are becoming increasingly aware of that fact. This is largely because of the rate of expansion in our industry, the number of startup companies and the way that legacy companies are diversifying how they engage. There’s just so much happening, and it puts pressure on the industry to think about ‘Where’s all this talent coming from to manage all this expansion?’ We’re now looking at it, not because it’s new, but because we now have competitive pressure to meet a need.

What other industries could people enter the satellite industry from?

There are several. For example, there is a specific investment community that has specialised in investing in space and satellite. We have insurance companies that are specialised in the same way. We have legal companies that do space law. There are so many companies that already exist whose niches fit our industry. The question is not ‘Are they out there?’ The question is, ‘Have we done enough to promote participation in the space industry itself?’ 

We should be saying ‘Hey, we’re going to the moon again. Where can you fit in?’. We need to advertise the career paths around lunar exploration. Our conversations should be around ‘We need more colloquiums around the legal ramifications of going to space. What are the international ramifications? What is the investment opportunity?’ We haven’t explored the opportunities enough, and we haven’t yet communicated outside of our bubble that there are plenty of opportunities here and that we want people to be a part of them.

What can companies do to proactively find talent outside the industry?

I think that companies need to be having the conversation themselves. SSPI is working to expand that conversation through our various webinars and roundtables. We had this conversation recently to talk about the idea of what I called ‘outside in’. That means people who are outside companies themselves need to be proactive to have the conversation. 

One of the things that would be super beneficial is for them to create a path. Let’s say ‘If you have these skills, here’s how it maps to what we need in our company, this is how you get in and this would be your growth opportunity’. It’s all about giving people who are outside the industry a clear view of how they can get into it. If companies don’t know where those paths are, they can work with a recruitment company to articulate those pathways. You’ve got to do the groundwork of figuring out where people with these skills fit in, and then find ways to keep that talent once you’ve attracted it. 

To hear more from Tamara, tune into Episode 24 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Elevating Women in the Telco Industry 

The telco industry is full of opportunity, but is it full of diversity? On Episode 3 of the Women In Telco miniseries on The Connectivity Matters Podcast we were joined by Maria Lema, one of the Co-Founders at Weaver Labs, to talk about her experiences of working and leading in the connectivity industry. Read on for her perspectives. 

What have you experienced as a woman in the telco industry?

I think the telco industry is male dominated, but it’s not sexist. I’ve never experienced the issues some women have with being a successful professional in this industry or getting my voice heard or people not taking me seriously. This industry values knowledge and skills. So, if you know your stuff, people are gonna listen to you, regardless of your gender, age or other characteristics. There are a lot of imbalances in terms of age in the telco industry, which is something I would like to highlight. I think that telecoms is an industry that is very eager to have more diversity and more women and more young people. 

I have met loads of inspirational women in this industry in leadership positions from early on. I’ve always seen myself growing into a leadership role in the industry, because I have always seen female leaders in the industry. I’ve also had extremely good male mentors who have put me in positions that allowed me to grow, develop and challenge myself, and I’m thankful for that because it’s taken me to the place where I am now. If you don’t have anyone that really challenges you and takes you out of your comfort zone, it’s impossible to grow. Nothing good happens in your comfort zone. 

Telco is still male-dominated. What needs to happen for that to change? 

There are a few things that need to change. The first is that telecoms needs to become attractive to the younger generations. For that to happen, we need to start doing things that are attractive. We’ll attract more young people with startups and innovation and actually breaking the status quo. That rebel approach was brought into the software industry 20 years ago, and we can certainly leverage some of those learnings. 

We also need to show that there is a diversity of skills needed in this industry. Why do we only talk about engineers? We can attract marketing professionals, designers, and all sorts of people from different disciplines into the telecoms industry. We don’t need to focus on the techies. The other element is to incentivise women to get into engineering, because it’s actually quite rewarding. That goes back to school and younger education. 

I think the telecoms industry is taking a great approach by putting more women in leadership. BT just announced that they’re going to have a female CEO, which I think is another great step in the right direction, because it’s bringing diversity into the leadership teams. That trickles down to everyone everywhere in your organisation. However, we need to stop tagging people as ‘female CEO’, ‘female founder’ – it’s a job, and they need to be treated exactly the same as any other person would be treated. 

The other thing that I think it’s quite important to tackle if we actually want to evolve as an industry, is the fact that female-founded startups only attract 2% of the funding in our industry. I was saying that the telecoms industry is male dominated but it’s not a sexist industry, but the finance industry is male dominated and it’s very sexist. If we want to incentivize women in leadership and innovation, we obviously need to fund them. Without money, there’s no nowhere we can go.

Do you think there are any tech advancements or trends that will empower women to get into the industry? 

Software is a catalyst of innovation for telecoms, and it is going to continue to impact this space, because it isolates complexity of the network. With AI there’s so much going on now. We can bring developers from the AI community to do something with all the data that we gather in our networks. They can help us organise our data and enable intelligence. 

DevOps professionals could come and help us organise better infrastructures too. Opening up to the developer community would bring more skills and diversity to the industry, and it would bring monetization opportunities. Every industry that has engaged with the developer community through API’s has created a business model out of it. So we could expand our innovation landscape through them. 

To learn more about women in the tech industry, tune into the Women In Tech miniseries on The Connectivity Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Addressing Human Behaviour in Cyber Security

In the Cyber Security industry, one of the biggest risk factors is human behaviour. On Episode 23 of The Cyber Security Matters Podcast we were joined by Ira Winkler, the Field CISO and VP at CYE. He shared his insights on the risks of human behaviour, as well as some great anecdotes from writing multiple books on cyber security. Read on to learn from his experience. 

How have you seen cyber risk progress over your career?

When I do speaking events, I always ask people ‘how many of you are security professionals?’ Most of the audience raises their hands and I go, ‘Okay, you’re all failures, because there is no such thing as security. The definition of security is being free from risk, and you’re never going to be free from risk. So technically, we’re all cyber risk managers.’ If we’re all risk managers, how are we mitigating those risks? I do what I call cyber risk optimization, where we’re quantifying and mapping out the risks according to actual attack paths and vulnerabilities. That allows us to determine how we optimise risk by taking your potential assets, mapping them to vulnerabilities to get an actual cost, and then figuring out which are the best vulnerabilities to theoretically mitigate. 

Now, we’re at a point where machine learning is actually able to start doing things we were not able to do before. Everybody thinks machine learning is this really fancy thing, but it’s taking big data and putting it through mathematical calculations that were not available to us 10 years ago. Now we’re actually able to crunch data, look at trends, and come up with actual calculations of how to optimise risk. I’m finally able to take the concepts I wrote about in 1996-97 and implement them today. 

How do you balance user responsibility and the responsibility of the operating system? 

The solution I’m putting together is human security engineering consortia, because here’s the problem: awareness is important. I wrote ‘Security Awareness for Dummies’ because awareness is a tactic. Data leak prevention can be important to stop major attacks, and anti malware can be important to stop major attacks, so those are tactics too. The problem is that currently, when we look at the user problem, it’s being solved with individual tactics that are not coordinated through a strategy. We need a strategy to look at it from start to finish that includes both the operating system and the user responsibilities. 

You’ve got to stop and think, ‘what are my potential attack vectors? What capabilities does a user have?’ A user can only do things that you enable them to do, they only have access to data you allow them to have, they only have a computer that has the capabilities you provide them. You need to stop and think, ‘given that finite set of capabilities and data provided to a user, what is the strategy that looks at it from start to finish and best mitigates the overall risk?’ I’m not saying you can get rid of risk completely, but you need to create a strategy to mitigate as much risk as possible from start to finish, knowing the capabilities you provide to the user. 

One of my books is ‘Zen and the Art of Information Security’, which includes a concept of what makes an artist, and it’s the person’s ability to look at a block of marble and see a figure in it. They can produce different pieces of art, but they’re all made the same way. There’s a repeatable process and what they use to get what they got. Now in the same way, there’s a repeatable process for looking at human-related errors. You look at the potential attacks against users and ask ‘What mighty users do, using good will, thinking they’re doing the right thing but accidentally causing harm?’ Most damage to computer systems is done by well-meaning users who inevitably create harm. 

You don’t go around and see people saying, ‘I’m getting in my car and crashing into another car’ – that’s why they’re called accidents. We have a science in how we design roads, literally the curvature of roads is a science and when they assign speed limits to it there is a science to understanding what a user does, what their capabilities are, and how you can mitigate that to reduce the risks. In cyber risk, you should be asking similar questions, like ‘How can I proactively analyse how the user gets in the position to potentially initiate a loss and mitigate that proactively?’ Then you design the operating system to reduce the user’s inadvertent risks. 

To learn more about human behaviour and risk in Cyber Security, tune into Episode 23 of The Cyber Security Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.