She supports the “Go Girl, Go for IT” program which encourages Victorian school girls to take up careers in technology. She has also been the chair of the University of Melbourne’s advisory board to the Academic Centre of Cyber Security.
Connick says it is important for young women to see the example of women working in cyber security roles.
“They often have this image of people who work in technology or security as being men in hoodies, back room, not talking to other people,” she says. “We need a diverse group of people, including gender diversity, to have enough people working in these fields. But also to get that diversity of thought.”
She said technology and cyber security can be the key for women to access interesting roles all over the world.
“It's going to shape what we do in Australia, what countries do around the world to have these skills, no matter what you might end up specialising in or moving on to, is really important for everyone. But you can make a whole career in it and do some amazing things.”
When she moved to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in 2013 she became acting National Security Adviser just before Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine in July 2014. On board were 38 Australians.
“It was an incredibly tragic and difficult time. We had a lot of work to do to help the families of those people.”
Her experience offers Connick a view over the larger issues and how they now impact our daily lives. She says the thing that has changed the most in her working life is how ubiquitous cyber-crime is now.
“It wasn't something that happened every day. It wasn't headline news every day,” Connick says.
The business model of cyber criminals has transformed – it is now big business, with smaller set-up costs and off-the-shelf cyber attack tools which criminals use to target victims.
“Criminal gangs, even nation states, can make a lot of money in cyber crime. And the ease of doing it just got much simpler,” she says. “Organisations offer cybercrime as a service, so small organisations without the capacity of criminal gangs, without significant technical capacity can conduct crimes that give them an opportunity to access a lot of money.”
She says cyber-security is a crucial component to allowing a society to function and getting it right is very much about mindset. The culture at ANZ – which embraces diversity and inclusiveness – feeds into a strong security culture as well.