Ekaterina Khrustaleva

Inspirational Woman: Ekaterina Khrustaleva | COO, ImmuniWeb 

Ekaterina KhrustalevaI am a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at ImmuniWeb, a global application security company.

I lead our sales and partnership teams and also take care of large enterprise customers in Switzerland and Europe.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I grew up in Geneva and obviously had a dream to enter the world of global finance private banking. I studied accounting and finance, prior to joining a private bank and then a family office. By chance, I discovered the amazing world of cybersecurity and decided to try something completely new. Today, I think, it was probably one of the best decisions in my career.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

I would rather say that working in cybersecurity is a continuous challenge that I truly enjoy. We have amazing customers and partners from over 50 countries, with unique needs and requirements that require business creativity and ingenuity. My daily job is to deliver value to all of them by tailoring our offering for their unique environments and dynamic threat landscape. Sport and fresh air are the best allies to cope with stress and get back to normal after busy days.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I would not classify my achievements on a scale, I believe that all achievements are equally important. At ImmuniWeb, we are demonstrating amazing customer retention rate, steady growth of recurrent revenue, while staying cash positive and profitable. Of course, all these achievements belong not just to me but to our amazing team.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I think I owe my success to my colleagues and friends who have been providing me with relentless inspiration to move forward, to perceive failures as another step towards success, and to continuously learn new things.

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What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Never give up, continuously discover yourself and make new friends.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

I think that the most important barriers are internal ones in our minds. Overcome them, do what you want to do, and you will get well-deserved success and happiness.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

Providing your teams with ongoing support when they need it is essential. Moreover, I strongly believe that support should be proactive, not reactive when a person is already demotivated by strangling alone with a complex dilemma. Continuous education is also a vital element for career advancement, so providing your team with internal or external education will pave their way to leadership and success.

There are currently only 21 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

I don’t think we shall artificially push anyone towards cybersecurity or other industries. I’d rather make sure that since school, we all have an unbiased overview of existing career opportunities to motivate everyone to make decisions freely, thoughtfully and without negative or positive stereotypes.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

SC Media, Computer Weekly and CSO Online are probably among the best resources to stay up2date with the rapidly evolving cybersecurity, privacy and compliance landscape.