An interview with Elisa Ball, Director of Human Resources at Fortinet for Latin America and the Caribbean, after winning the “Gold Stevie Awards ” for attracting and retaining the best talent in cybersecurity.
Studies show that women working in cybersecurity and technology make up less than 30% of the workforce. How do you face this challenge from your position and the industry you are in?
For me, it is an honor to be part of this moment; it is true that the cybersecurity and technology industry continues to have a huge gap for several reasons: the cultural issue and the possibility that women can have a career in the industry. However, we also have to recognize the progress that has been made on this issue and the involvement of universities and companies; talking about diversity and inclusion addresses the issue of gender and provides opportunities for people.
FORTINET IN FIGURES
Founded in 2000
500 thousand customers
Headquarters: Sunnyvale, California
Elisa, you have participated in several talks and presentations on diversity; how do you promote the construction of diverse teams?
At Fortinet, we have several programs, the most important, in my opinion, is at the external level, the alliance with universities for the certifications available with our Academy at NSE levels 1, 2, and 4, aimed at anyone who wants to take it. We took this measure based on our social responsibility, realizing that many people lost their jobs during the pandemic.
Internally, we have a diversity program, with a report on the progress made by the company per quarter and its annual impact. It is to demonstrate the true commitment of what we are doing to change the scenario.
Also, in Latin America, we have a group of women, Fortinet Latam Women’s Networking, where meetings are held every two months with volunteer work; mentorships are offered there so that women learn about tools and how to enter the industry.
How would you define Fortinet’s DNA?
It is a very young company but very aggressive in terms of innovation, teamwork, and offering improvements. We have a very strong commitment to our programs, and we believe that the most important thing is people, so we constantly work on improving our recruitment processes, retention, and experience with the brand in general. We see ourselves as a ForteFamily!
What can we expect from this company for 2022?
These last years have been very resilient, the pandemic taught us to work in new scenarios, but we learned quickly. And although it had a substantial impact on all sectors, for us, it meant a huge growth opportunity of 25%, and we hope it will be 35% in 2022.
What inspires you, and what can we learn about you that does not appear on social networks?
I am passionate about my work. I always dreamed of working in a technology company. I started in my country Brazil, in human resources areas, and my dream came true after 15 years of career.
What makes me happiest is creating opportunities for people and contributing to their promotion and development. Every day I learn more and consider myself a better person.
My recommendation for young people is that they look at the cybersecurity industry. To do so, they must prepare through university education, some organizations’ internship programs, and even the certifications of our academy.
Elizabeth Ball | Director of Human Resources at Fortinet for Latin America and the Caribbean