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The Inclusive Cyber Space

Hello everyone! Steph here, I want to tell you about the journey to the inclusive cyber space. We were given the opportunity to curate speaker tracks and activities with a singular aim: to foster learning, forge connections, and cultivate a sense of belonging within the cyber-security community.

UK Cyber Week  approached us to build out a space how we see fit, and we are thrilled to announce a ground-breaking collaboration, unveiling - The Inclusive Cyber Space, in partnership with NeuroCyber, renowned speaker Holly Foxcroft and the award-winning The Zensory. Sponsored by Stott & May Consulting and Telefonica Tech.

What's in it for me?

This has been my day to day over the last three months; securing 13 speakers that bring senior technical back grounds from both private and public sector, including critical national infrastructure; plus human behavioural experience from industry to share their insights about inclusion building within their own companies and the detail about what's worked well for them to pass onto you and more importantly why, because this is where the passion lies.

We have Zensory, NeuroCyber, Cyblack and Fezzant banner stands to talk to you about their networks and products that support inclusion, and graduates looking for cyber roles, who have volunteered their time to running the space with us. We are offering a pacing exercise delivered in between the talks that can be used to assess your working week to identify and navigate those energy zapping actions building balance towards the actions that energise you. We hope you come for a talk and stay for the pacing exercise - this will be a window into seeing where your energy is spent and gaining an understanding of how to support other colleagues (especially those neurodivergent) with this take-away framework exercise of 30 minutes!

What are the problem statements we hope to find solutions to?
There has been huge support for this dedicated space. I am not an expert in the field of inclusion or burnout, but although research shows that circa 20% of your staff could be neurodivergent, that the industry is suffering burnout and that cyber departments are understaffed, most of the events I attended in 2023 saw young people with their cyber degrees, approaching company stands looking for work. Taking time to speak with them they'd been trying hard since leaving university, and without family connections to industry - looking for their first inroad was proving difficult. So, improving pipeline into cyber, building inclusion by design across the whole of employee lifecycle model and delivering practises that can help will be discussed and on show.
How can one person help? 

I have been back in cyber for exactly a year with my ADHD diagnosis. I was so glad to bump into old friends who quickly gave me fun projects to work on which is leading me to train in data analytics. Whilst reconnecting, today I find myself sitting on two special interest groups for education and skills; linking back to my Cyber Security Challenge days of DE&I and outreach. The Welsh Government and their Cyber Innovation Hub is doing some fantastic work in this space and my transatlantic group via the NCyTE Centre, mean that with my NeuroCyber hat on I get to support, connect and have influence into the cyber skills and education space related to inclusion. I gained a certification in cyber security, freely awarded by ISC2, and was invited to input neuro-support into the onboarding process of the 9/12 Challenge competition - as well mentor and judge their finals! It's this work on behalf of NeuroCyber that I am passionate about and grateful to be part of.

What does collaboration look like?

Once Holly and I caught up, I found out she'd built an online training management system that helps companies build neuro-inclusive change management so that companies who really want to invite lasting change for future return-on-investment for their companies, can do so. The platform Holly delivers practices from the Zensory app, which helps users build resilience through scientifically proven techniques. All of this wrapped around Holly's onsite support to keep the learning moving along, a completely flexible approach to each company who engages.

Music to my ears - being at the 9/12 Challenge dinner allowed me to hear Ollie Whitehouse, the CTO for the UK's National Cyber Security Centre and Government Science Advisor deliver a message about the need for all of us "to do more to bring that difference of thought, of background, of colour and gender diversity into the industry."

Awareness campaigns is where you start and acceptance means you have built a network internally that feels comfortable enough for staff to open up; but to be fully operational means building inclusion into your company strategy, and that takes leadership buy in. If you want to see leadership delivering awareness, sharing acceptance and showcasing what it takes "to do more"  then attend The Inclusive Cyber Space, next week. We hope that you know, we built this dedicated space for you.

See you next week - Steph

Thank you to our speakers;

and the team at UK Cyber Week - Bradley maule-ffinch, Dixit Patel and Bonnie
and Ollie Whitehouse for his words.


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