b'Story Behind the Story: Interview with Quiessence PhillipsD F:What has changed in the relatively short time you have been in D F:Still, you continued to get promoted. cybersecurity? QUIESSENCE:QUIESSENCE: Ive moved up pretty swiftly based on my track record. I treat everyone the same. Im fairly young in this Were doing the same thing now that we were doing tenHowever, times are changingindustry. I did get some backlash, especially from older men who were my seniors before I became their boss. years ago. I took a lot for granted at the Federal Reserve thatand I think both parents want aThey werent very happy with it. That was challenging for me being a leader. It takes time to understand the people are now just doing. Theres more spotlight on thehealthy lifestyle for their childenvironment and why people feel certain ways. I did second-guess whether I was ready to lead a team of that industry. There wasnt a lot in the news about the threatssize. At the end of the day, you get over that. You are awarded this job because of skill.(or children) that allows parents we were facing at the time. A lot of the foundational work is D F:How did you overcome those feelings?the same. Now we have added components such as cloudto be more involved.computing, amassing so much more data because of the inter-connected devices, etc. At its foundation, the work is QUIESSENCE:the same. Women have to get out of our own way. We undersell our abilities. If theres one job and ten responsibilities, a woman will say, I can only do seven of ten.Whereas a man may only be able to do five out of ten but will say, Ill D F:What do you see as the biggest challenges learn on the job.Its one reason more women arent applying for top jobs in cyber. Women tend to look at things in cyber? we cannot do and say, We are not enough. That mentality is flawed.QUIESSENCE: D F:What about mentors? Theres so much data and only finite resources. ThatQUIESSENCE:is and was one of the biggest challenges. Thats where you have a lot of need for automation andAll the bosses I had that were men were incredible. Ive heard horror stories from other women. Thankfully, I orchestration. We know we are under-resourced.havent had those experiences. My bosses have been super allies for me. I had one female boss, and she was We have a lot of doors to protect and only finiteawesome. She taught me a lot about how to carry yourself as a female leader.resources. D F:What are a few of the lessons your female boss taught you?D F:What about on a personal level? QUIESSENCE:QUIESSENCE: Dial into people:People who are busy looking at their Theres a lot of bromance culture. Its a male- phone are not dialed into you. My female boss was totally Women have to get dominated field. It wasnt a huge issue for me, butthe opposite. No matter how many calls, if it was time out of our own way. not all women feel comfortable in that environment. Atfor you to meet, she was completely dialed into you. It We undersell our times, you have to have a thick skin; things men do or sayset the stage for me to be that way for and with others.in these environments may not have malicious intent butI think it goes a long wayrecognizing that both your abilities.may have some negative impact on their female counterparts.time is valuable and equally important.Everyone has inherent biases. Lead without managing:My manager at the Federal D F:You went on maternity leave while at the Federal Reserve.Reserve promoted me to Operations Manager of the Threat Analysis Center. Prior to that, I did amazing work, but I didnt talk much. Im a social introvert. Ill speak to a lot of people, but I like to How did that affect you?be in my bubble and work with my computers and look at data. She said, Youre always behind the computer screen, but I started looking at how people come to you for things and noticed how youre QUIESSENCE: leading without managing.That really stood out to her. I was twenty-five years old and gone for about six months to take time to focus on myself and my child.Be financially strategic:I was going to leave the Federal Reserve and take a consulting job with a Coming back to an environment that is so dynamic, where things change so fast and theres a race to the Fortune 500 company but decided not to. Im very much into finance. I made good investments. I had top, if youre a driven person, you worry, Did I miss out on showing my worth? Also, when you come back, been at the Fed for about four years. I was 80% vested. If I left, I would lose my vesting. My manager you have to juggle parenthood. Sometimes thats a real issue for a lot of women. You question, Am I at ansaid, One, this has nothing to do with career growth, but if you take this new job, I feel you will not be impasse where a man has an unfair competitive edge over me? However, times are changing and I thinkhappy. Two, you are going to lose a lot of money if you leave before being fully vested. How much are both parents want a healthy lifestyle for their child (or children) that allows parents to be more involved. they willing to pay you?Page 17 Page 18'