International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality.
For this year's International Women's Day, we interviewed Megan Gallagher who is the Client Relationship Manager for The Cyber Resilience Centre for the West Midlands.
What does IWD and its theme this year, #ChoosetoChallenge, mean to you?
For me, the theme of International Women’s Day means to push boundaries and challenge a status quo that does not represent everyone. The majority of the people I speak to in Cyber are men; however, it is super encouraging to see more women not only enter the profession, but thrive. Years ago, there were even less of us. Therefore, it’s important to challenge stereotypes and norms in order to make a difference. I’m excited to see how the industry looks in years to come.
Have you faced any barriers in your career and if you have, how did you overcome them?
One barrier I have faced in my career was my own self-doubt. I’d doubt my abilities and skills frequently early-on in my career and felt inadequate in comparison to other people around me. However, I overcame this by practising self-compassion and learning to be kind to myself, because there’s lots to be proud of even if I couldn’t see it at the time. Now, I think I’m pretty great!
Can you tell us about a role model who has inspired you over your career?
My mum is the one that has inspired me throughout my career. I’m the youngest of 6 siblings, and my mom has dedicated her entire life to make sure that we all got the best upbringing possible, and because of that I’m always inspired to put 110% into everything I do.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Speaking with members of the centre, whether they’re core members, Trusted Partners, Advisory Group members etc. It’s all my favourite part because we all know that we’re here collectively to increase cyber resilience across the region.
What career achievement are you most proud of?
I’ll never forget that moment of walking across stage at graduation. For 3 years, I invested everything mentally and emotionally into my studies, and it was all worth it to hear my name called to collect a first class degree in psychology. The second achievement of the day was not falling over on stage!
What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Technical difficulties! Due to the pandemic, many people have had to work from home, which has presented an array of challenges, from muted mics to internet crashes during meetings. Though I think myself and the team have adapted well to the change!
What is the most rewarding?
The most rewarding part of my job is working together with other members of the WMCRC; whether that be overcoming any challenges, working on projects or anything else to better the centre. It’s rewarding to see the positive effect that our work is having on businesses in the region and to see all of the preparation from everyone over the last few months paying off.
On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
When deciding on your future careers, your gender should be the last thing you worry about. Instead, I think passion is the key ingredient to success. If you have a passion and the desire to make a career in Cyber, or any sector, then you can achieve anything.