IWD2017: women in information security

To celebrate International Women’s day, all week BlueNotes will be guest edited by experienced journalist and author Catherine Fox. We’ll be publishing content on women, their experience in the workplace and the future of equality as the world looks to #beboldforchange. We hope you enjoy it. #IWD2017

Information security, like a lot of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields suffers from a lack of diversity at the senior level.

"I think that we need to work harder and more creatively to make security easy, seamless and understandable to the general public."
Jacqui Loustau, Journalist and author

For IWD 2017 on March 8, we spoke to three information security professionals at ANZ about their experiences in the industry and how they found success.

Despite the gender balance in this field, these stories show women interested in this fields can thrive – sometimes through quite disparate channels.

Jacqui Loustau - Associate Director, Cybercrime, ANZ

How did you get into this field?

I started out on a helpdesk and as a Unix administrator before heading to the UK to travel.

An opportunity arose to undertake intensive training to become a consultant where I started to specialise in Information Security.

I believe security, fraud and cybercrime have and should have a very close relationship. It’s been a great transition for me.


I completed a Bachelor of Information at Monash University. For the past 16 years I have worked for various government agencies, European Commissions, financial institutions and utility companies on a range of different security projects.

Now I am working on cybercrime controls for ANZ’s institutional bank.

What I like best about my role

Although I have only been in this role for only three months, I like the variety, the challenges and hope what I am doing will eventually help protect our community and customers.

Complementary skills

Two years ago I started the Australian Women in Security Network, which aims to connect and inspire women to pursue careers in security through collaboration.

This is now a national group of 400 members across Australia with linkages to 22 other women in security groups and partnerships to other local women in IT groups.

This network is very precious and has showed me the world and everything we do is interconnected.

Thoughts on the future

I have so many! I think collaboration with external companies, organisations and people is the only way we can win the battle against cybercrime and fraud.

I think we need to work harder and more creatively to make security easy, seamless and understandable to the general public. Humans are our weakest link, we need to build a secure culture which people are aware and report fraud scams.

I think teams need diversity of thought and skillset (UX, marketing, HR, legal, business and technology working together) in order to help achieve this.

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photos of women in security

Tamsyn Harris - Head of Fraud Risk Strategy, Enablement Functions, ANZ

How do you get into this field?

My advice for those trying to enter this field is to be curious, ask questions, show interest and know when you need support, through workplace experiences and formal study.


I am a chartered accountant with 19 years in risk management, fraud and financial crime.

What I like best about my role

I enjoy the creativity required to look into the future, look at what is changing around us, decide what is relevant to ANZ and set about influencing stakeholders to make those changes.

I enjoy knowing what I do makes a difference in helping to protect customers.

Complementary skills

As a former auditor I always had a choice whether to do just what the audit required or to engage with clients to better understand their needs.

Sometimes it’s just a good conversation and other times it leads to other opportunities to work together.

The same still applies. If you spend the time to understand what other people may need or want, you will always get a better outcome.

Thoughts on the future

The continued need to work together, recognise and play to each other’s strengths (we don’t all have to be techies) – and to encourage more people to work in our fields. – will be very important for women in this sector in the future.

Erica Hardinge - Security Culture & Capability, ANZ

How did you get into this field:

Honestly, I fell into it and I’m so glad I did! An opportunity to work at ANZ in a security communications role sounded so fascinating I had to give it a go and I haven’t looked back. 

The scope and the challenges have grown as have the opportunities to learn from my peers and test out new approaches.


I studied arts and science (criminology and psychology) as my undergraduate and subsequently completed an MBA at Melbourne Business School - as well as a certification in Change Management. 

I’ve worked in a variety of roles across human resources which have provided a good basis for understanding people’s motivators and how these align to organisational goals.

Over the last 10 years I’ve built a career in what the industry refers to as security awareness. I see the role as a mixture of culture change and enabling secure capabilities in a digital world.

What I like best about my role

I enjoy the ever changing nature of my role, two days are rarely the same! In the same way the people I work with come from a variety of backgrounds: risk, technology, business, finance and much more. 

It’s also a role significant in both the personal and organisational worlds – as lives become more and more reliant on digital channels people must be empowered to be safe online. 

Complementary skills

HR and change management have provided a great basis for my career in security. However, the biggest contribution comes from our industry community: security, influence and trust which we co-founded about 18 months ago.

This group believes collaboration, consistent messages and simple actions are vital to empower people to protect themselves in the digital world. 

Together we seek to both share experiences to improve the security awareness function in our region and enable people to be cyber safe.

Thoughts on the future

I think we are at a turning point. There are more conversations in the general public about online security than ever before and as such growing awareness that - in the words of a fellow SIT founder - “cyber safety is a life skill”. 

In the same way road and sun safety are lessons we intuitively teach our children, we must also ingrain simple life lessons to make the internet a better, safer place.

There is also growing evidence effective education can and does work – making people our strongest link! 

Generally, people want to do the right thing – my role is about making the right thing, the easy thing to do.

In February, ANZ appointed Lynwen Connick as chief information security officer. She joins the bank after serving as first assistant secretary, information sharing & intelligence at the Prime Minister’s department in Canberra. She has also served as CISO at the Department of Defence.

“I am a technologist, I love technology… but I want to know I can do that securely and I think our customers think the same way. You can watch her speak to BlueNotes on video HERE.

Catherine Fox is an author, journalist and guest editor of BlueNotes

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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