In a candid conversation at Disruptor Day by Distology, long-time friends Hayley Roberts and Annabel Berry, explore the intricate world of cybersecurity and technology. With a friendship rooted in their shared experiences within the industry for over a decade, the talk promises a unique insider perspective.
Annabel, a seasoned professional with a background in English literature, shares her journey into tech. Starting in the mid-nineties during the boom of the Internet security industry in the UK, Annabel found herself in telesales for a cybersecurity company. What began as a temporary stint turned into a 25-year-long passion for the fast-paced and ever-evolving world of cybersecurity.
The duo also tackles the skills gap in the industry, with Annabel emphasising the importance of diverse perspectives and inclusive leadership. It’s a thought-provoking discussion that promises a distinctive take on cybersecurity and leadership.
With a degree in English and an unexpected entry into telesales for a cybersecurity company in the mid-nineties, shared her journey.
Her fascination with the dynamic nature of cybersecurity and the opportunity to make a real impact on people’s lives led her to leadership roles in the field.
[02:31 – 05:45] From Cybersecurity to Leadership Development:
Having served as the CEO of a cybersecurity company for eight years, she transitioned into a new venture that focuses on leadership development and cultural transformation.
Her passion for organisational psychology and neuroscience became the driving force behind her current endeavour, “The Lamplight.” This initiative aims to create psychologically safe environments within organisations to foster individual and collective growth.
[05:46 – 09:15] Challenges and Reflections:
The conversation then moves into the challenges faced by businesses in today’s polarised world. Annabelle emphasises the difficulty in attracting and retaining talent, navigating conflicts, and developing effective leaders.
She underscores the need for businesses to focus on the well-being and engagement of their staff, citing the tangible impact on productivity and overall success.
[09:16 – 12:30] The Lamplight: A Symbolic Venture:
Annabelle shares the origin of “The Lamplight,” drawing on her Welsh heritage and mining background. The concept revolves around creating safe environments that allow individuals and organisations to shine.
By focusing on leadership development, cultural transformation, and inclusivity, she envisions helping businesses navigate the complexities of the modern world.
[12:31 – 16:00] Leadership Challenges and Responsibilities:
Hayley and Annabelle explore the challenges of leadership, acknowledging the increasing pressure on businesses to prioritise the well-being of their staff.
Annabelle stresses the importance of empathic compassion and inclusive leadership, highlighting the need for genuine engagement and the cultivation of trust within organisations.
[16:01 – 19:45] Addressing the Skills Gap:
The discussion concludes with reflections on the skills gap and the need for a shift in mindset. Annabelle urges businesses to move away from seeking validation of existing skills and to focus on recognising diverse talents and competencies.
Emphasising the importance of listening and creating inclusive cultures, she advocated for a deeper understanding of the motives and values of the younger workforce.
[19:46 – 22:00] Closing Thoughts:
In a world where technology and people are intertwined, Annabelle’s insights shed light on the imperative of fostering genuine connections, prioritising leadership development, and creating environments that empower individuals and organisations to thrive.