Women Talk IT: Women in Security | Bank of America Merrill Lynch and WeAreTheCity Event | In Pictures


Bank of America Merrill Lynch recently held an event called Women Talk IT: Women in Security, which brought together information security professionals for networking and roundtable discussions.

Taking place at Bank of America Merrill Lynch's central London offices the event connected female professionals in the information security industry and offered an opportunity to learn from experienced senior leaders on how to successfully navigate the information security landscape.

The agenda consisted of a panel discussion followed by a round table and networking session over drinks and canapés. The panel provided an overview of challenges and opportunities for women in information security, ways to attract and retain women in this industry, and share lessons learned from their own careers. This event was also open to aspiring information security professionals.

The evening's panel discussion included:

  • Simon Riggs, Regional Information Security Officer, Global Information Security, EMEA
  • Ursula Mapley, Managing Director, Global Banking and Markets, EMEA
  • Andrew Butcher, head of Technology & Operations, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, EMEA
  • Moderator: Polly Cameron, COO, Global Information Security, EMEA

WeAreTheCity and Huddle event | Imposter syndrome is normal and so are you

“Every person that comes out of every womb has imposter syndrome. It is normal and so are you,” said Deena Gornick, Executive and Board Level Coach at Penna, during a WeAreTheCity and Huddle event recently.

WeAreTheCity recently partnered with Huddle to hold an event entitled You are not an Imposter: How to Beat Imposter Syndrome. 100 ladies gathered at Huddle’s offices, in London, to overcome their own worries about feeling like a fake in the workplace.

During the event Deena Gornick, Executive and Board Level Coach at Penna, (pictured below) led an interactive workshop on how to overcome imposter syndrome.

Deena Gornick, Executive and Board Level Coach at Penna delivers her session on Imposter syndrome

She explained: “I was an actress in Los Angeles and I trained to become a psychotherapist and later became a coach to help businesses.

“I was sat in black wooly tights, Doc Martins and denim skirts and I sat with high up people during meetings and they’d lean over to me and say: ‘I’m frightened I’m going to get busted and found out.’ I was amazed that people so accomplished and earning so many zeros could feel that way.”

Gornick admitted that she still suffers from imposter syndrome herself: “After working with such companies and taking all those notes on the subject, I’m still suffering from it.

“I’ve read a lot and sat down and looked at my own imposter syndrome and I have experienced it through board members too, but I know the pain you feel and I know the talent I don’t own.”

She noted that many perfectionists are frightened of following through on plans, because they do not own their own talents: “Procrastination is down to perfection and architects live in crap houses because the one they designed in their head is a phenomenal.

“90% of success is showing up. Perfectionists forget to show up.”

Locus of Control

Gornick continued: “It was thought for a long time that only women suffered imposter syndrome, but men suffer it too. Locus of Control is where we feel Guest strike a power pose to overcome Imposter Syndrome

we have control over our lives and influence our own destiny.”

“Women have an external Locus of Control, which means if they want to apply for a role, internally in a company, and they think the role is great but they’ll get in early and leave late and will wait to be asked to apply. Whereas a man has an internal Locus of Control and will see the ad, will feel it’s not right for him but will apply anyway. Both places are terrifying if you’re not owning your talent.”

She stressed how it is important to own your talents and to know that when you succeed that it was not through good luck but through your own hard work: “Being in this world requires lots of courage and that means vulnerability. We think we achieve things with luck. Luck is what happened to Cinderella. Hard work leads to preparation and that leads to opportunity.”

“We don’t take our vitamins when we’re given praise. We deflect it instead of saying thank you and taking the vitamin.”

She finished her interactive workshop by saying: “Know that you’re normal. Stay present. Take your vitamins. Every person that comes out of every womb has imposter syndrome. It is normal and so are you.”

Panel of imposters

To finish the evening Huddle invited a panel of industry experts (pictured right) to share their own experiences of imposter syndrome.

On the panel Vanessa Vallely, Managing Director and CEO of WeAreTheCity, said: “I was in a job when I thought I was not worth my salary and that HR would come in one day and tell me that they had made a mistake.”

Ian Cooper, Head of Architecture at Huddle, said: “I have thought that other employees are better than me or have questioned why am I here. I reacted badly to this and overcompensated by coming across as too pushy and in your face.”

Vanesa Vallely, Managing Director of WeAreTheCity; Deena Gornick, Executive and Board Level Coach at Penna; Rosemary Cooper Clark, International Executive Coach and Management Consultant; Ian Cooper, Head of Architecture at Huddle discuss their own experiences of Imposter Syndrome

He advised: “Have a support system – someone that you know well enough and can say to them that you’re worried and you’re really not for this role. A support system can help silence those voices.”

Rosemary Cooper Clark, International Executive Coach and Management Consultant, said: “I was headhunted so I hadn’t been through an interview process for a while. I remember candidates talking about their degrees. I didn’t go to university until I was a mature student, so I used to wake up at 3am thinking they haven’t found me out yet.

“You should talk to yourself as if you would to your best friend. We talk terribly to ourselves sometimes.”

Vallely agreed and added: “I didn’t go to university so I feel out of my comfort zone when people are knowledgeable with a posh accent. But I know that is my problem not theirs.”

Gornick said: “After 32 years of coaching imposter syndrome and the only time I don’t suffer it is when I’m with the person I love. I am a trained actor so I know what to do with my body, to breath and to make eye contact. But I suffer it every day.”

“When you think or know that someone has imposter syndrome be open and warm to them.”

Vallely said: “Everyone has a persona that they’re trying to get across. When I think of imposter syndrome I think of someone that looks like a rabbit in the headlights, but they do not look like that because they are hiding it.

“If you never take praise or always say it wasn’t you then people will start to believe it. Just have a polka face and say thank you.”


WeAreTheCity and Huddle event | You are not an Imposter: How to Beat Imposter Syndrome | In Pictures

WeAreTheCity recently partnered with Huddle to hold an event entitled You are not an Imposter: How to Beat Imposter Syndrome.

Led by Executive and Board-level coach, Deena Gornick, and featuring a panel of business leaders, attendees learnt how to overcome Imposter Syndrome, how to increase confidence and better celebrate their successes. Guests left feeling empowered and able to properly take credit for and acknowledge their successes.

100 ladies gathered at Huddle's offices, in London, to overcome their own worries about feeling like a fake in the workplace.

To realise your full potential you not only need to have the skills, you need to be confident in them – to not only succeed, but to take ownership for this success. And yet, for the 70% of people that suffer from Imposter Syndrome this is much easier said than done.

“I am not a writer. I’ve been fooling myself and other people,” John Steinbeck wrote in his diary in 1938. 

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has said, "There are still days when I wake up feeling like a fraud."

Deena Gornick

Executive and Board-level coach Deena has over 20 years’ experience in coaching both men and women to help them with confidence, presence and communication. Deena will give a short introduction to the subject of the Impostor Syndrome, then she will run 3 sessions that have the aim of enabling attendees to stand by their achievements and to be able to articulate them to others clearly without feeling like a fraud.

You can find pictures from the  Imposter Syndrome event below.


Women 6.0 | Being a Tech Role Model | A Morgan Stanley & WeAreTheCity event | In Words

Women across the technology sector gathered to join, celebrate and learn about becoming a tech role model during the Women 6.0 event last week.
Mona Niknafs, Technical Associate, Morgan Stanley - Talking Tech role models
Mona Niknafs, Technical Associate, Morgan Stanley - Talking Tech role models

For the fourth consecutive year, Morgan Stanley and WeAreTheCity presented an innovative event, which heard from inspiring speakers such as Maggie Philbin and the next generation of tech; as well as showcasing not-for-profit organisations supporting the growth of women entering the technology industry.

Opening the night, Vanessa Vallely, founder of WeAreTheCity said, “It is humbling to see so many women who want to give back to technology.”

Continuing Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, Gerard Hester said, “It is extremely inspiring to see so many female technologists passionate about shaping the pipeline of women coming into technology. Whether you feel comfortable speaking at a school assembly, running an after-school club, sharing expertise via Skype or mentoring a fellow female technologist, we hope to offer something for all aspiring role models tonight.”

Tech journalist, former presenter of Tomorrow’s World and CEO of TeenTech, Maggie Philbin inspired the audience with her own journey into the tech industry.

She said, “I loved science at school and I thought that being a vet was my only option – and in many instances young girls still face this today.”

“It doesn’t matter what age you are, you are potentially a role model who can make a difference. Never underestimate the difference you can make as an individual.”

Further highlighting the need to promote and encourage more women to become tech role models, three young speakers spoke about their personal need to have a female influence when pursuing technology.

Ella Rosa, 12, spoke of the need to have a more in-depth technology curriculum and to ‘hear from adults who have fun tech careers’. She also did not want to be the only girl in a classroom of boys. Mohima Ahmed, Imperial College Student and AppsForGood graduate, encouraged attendees to say, ‘so what if I’m a girl’.

She continued, “This is the kind of generation we are so close to building. If you are interested in something, you can continue to be so.”

Mona Niknafs, Technical Associate at Morgan Stanley spoke of the need to promote women into the technology sector and encourage mentoring among them. She said, “In my experience, having a mentor has been extremely beneficial and I think others in my position will appreciate having one to help find their unique path in technology. As the network grows, there will be more members and therefore more mentors and so our cycle can continue.”

Over the course of the evening, attendees were given the opportunity to learn about each enterprise’s initiative and how they could get involved or inspire others to pursue a career in technology. Amongst the organisations were Stemettes, AppsForGood, #techMums and Code Club.

To view all the photos from the Women 6.0 event, click here.


Women 6.0 | Being Tech Role Models Event | In pictures

Women 6.0 - Tech Role ModelsAs an industry, IT is crying out for more “real life” female role models at all levels, so WeAreTheCity and Morgan Stanley partnered for a fourth consecutive year to hold an innovative event to show 150 women how to become one.

The technology industry is full of potential role models, yet many women believe they have to be a “super woman” to deserve the title of “role model”. In a speed networking style event format, not-for-profit organisations, who are supporting the growth of women entering the technology industry, shared what opportunities are available and how to get involved.

Not-for-profits included TeenTech, BCSWomen, CompTIA, Aimar, CodeClub, Code First Girls, FutureFirst, Socitm, Inspiring the Future and Your Future, Your Ambition, Color in Tech, #techmums, AppsForGood and Stemettes.+