The Many Faces of the Global Cyber Alliance

By Aimée Larsen Kirkpatrick

A few weeks ago, GCA held it’s semi-annual, all-hands staff meeting in Annapolis, MD (US). This is time spent working collaboratively on GCA issues – strategy on current initiatives, strategy on organizational issues, a look into the future, and team building. We convene in a conference room during the day and retire to socializing in the evening. The team building and socializing is the most important.

GCA is a start-up organization and as such we are constantly changing – taking on new projects, new partners and new staff.  The organization started almost 5 years ago as an idea and just a handful of people working to bring it to life. Since then, GCA has grown and matured significantly. As a small organization, in cybersecurity in particular, diversity is hard to achieve. As I looked around the room in Annapolis, it struck me that GCA is officially now a diverse organization. We can always be more diverse, but in an industry that is known for and struggling with this issue, GCA is ahead of the curve.

Here is what I saw when I looked around the room at my colleagues:

First and foremost, a group of individuals who believe in the GCA mission and are dedicated to changing the world. Most, if not all, of these people could go (and have been) somewhere else and earn greater financial rewards. But we are mission driven people, and doing good is in our DNA.

Next, I saw diversity. Real diversity. People from all walks of life, with different backgrounds, different skin color and (almost) a balance of gender. Some facts:

  • Within GCA, the three major religions are represented
  • 44% of the staff are women (an anomaly in cybersecurity)
  • 33% of the executive staff are women (again, doing pretty well for cybersecurity)
  • 28% of the GCA Board of Directors are women
  • 5 members of GCA are lawyers (that number increases if we include those on the Board of Directors – so perhaps a few too many legal eagles)
  • GCA people hail from all over the world. By my count, we have at least ten nationalities represented
  • GCA is multi-lingual. Between us we speak at least 12 languages (granted, we have a few ringers in this category)
  • The youngest members of the GCA team are in their early twenties
  • The most seasoned members of the GCA team bring decades of expertise and a wealth of wisdom

Of course, we can still do more. We could use a female developer (or two). We could stand to increase the number of women on the executive team and the Board of Directors. We could use more diversity of ethnicity. However, I suspect that as GCA grows, these things will happen naturally. In the meantime, the GCA team is a crack team of dedicated, whip-smart folks who bring their individual talents to bear and work to solve a really big problem: securing the Internet for everyone.