b'Story Behind the Story: Interview with Michelle Valdez both driven to execute. We have two separate teams but work in close partnership to lead our Cybersecurity D What kind of advice do you give to young women now?F:Organization, both of us sitting at the table, looking across the entire cybersecurity spectrum of people, processes, and technology. I do think a more risk management focus will be seen in more and more CISO MICHELLE: roles going forward.Beware of listening to your inner voice of doubt. It will tear you down. We all have those moments where we really start to doubt our ability to be successful. When that happens, let your actions reflect what you D F: You are at a great point in your career. What sort of mentors did youare capable of doing. Another is, seek out multiple mentors. Listen and learn from them.Be willing to hear have? what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.MICHELLE:D And finally, the golden chalice: how do you handle a work/life balance.F:Early in my career, I had a lot of male mentors, most of them military leaders with whom Id served.I asked MICHELLE:them to mentor me, then carefully managed the relationship. They were amazing people with very busy schedules, their own careers, their own teams, and their own lives. They were willing to tell me things IA few years ago when I was still in government, I realized my ambition was literally killing me. I had been needed to hear versus things I wanted to hear. diagnosed with the medical condition Fibromyalgia and I had to ask myself, Is it really worth it? I had to stop what I was doing and start making decisions to take care of myself, physically and psychologically.One of my very first female mentors worked in the White House. She was considered the nations foremost Without that, nothing else matters. I also had to get comfortable accepting that that my life had fundamentallyleader in cybersecurity.To have a woman revered as Americas top cyber expert, take time to talk to me, changed and that I had to assess what was most important.a junior person in a different agency, was really pivotal for me. Its when I realized, not all the women were like the ones Id previously engaged with. It opened my aperture to seek out more female mentors to learn I subscribe to the philosophy, Put your big rocks into the jar first. If you dont, nothing else will fit. My how to navigate in a male-dominated field.marriage is everything to me. My big rocks are having time with my husband and my dogs. When I go home at the end of the day, Im going to turn off and unplug. If someone really needs to reach me they D F: What was the best piece of advice you got from a woman? know how; and they should do the same. It was an agreement my husband and I made, because hes also an executive in a successful career and also works long hours. We had to force each other to do it. MICHELLE: The best advice I got from a woman was really bad advice, and I set out to prove her wrong. This womanThe advice I always give people about work/life balance is, Youve got to own it. Dont expect your bosswas incredibly accomplished but extremely difficult to work for. As she was leaving her role, I asked foror your company to give it to you. You need to set guardrails for your own life and know what is most advice thinking she was going to say something like, I know Ive been hard on you butI think youreimportant to you. Take time off when you can. Take flex time. Work a half day. Turn off whenever going to do great things. Instead, on her way out the door on a Friday night, she dealt the parting blow:possible. I have seen women who have kids, let this career You are never going to be anything more than a secretary, so dont even try. field destroy them. It breaks my heart. We feel we have to work longer hours and do everything were asked becauseYouve got to own it. Dont I was devastated but after taking the weekend to grieve, her words lit a fire. I thought, Youre so wrong;were worried our employers will use the fact we have aexpect your boss or your I actually am going to have an impact. I can achieve the things I want to achieve and become a great leader,family as a reason to keep us from getting ahead. Learn how to say no and set your own boundaries. company to give it to you. and who are you to tell me I cant. It was the most empowering moment of my career. I now tell people,You need to set guardrails the only person who can tell you youre not going to achieve is YOU. The other piece of advice I give is, the only time you run into obstacles in your life is when you lose sight of your goals.for your own life and know what is most important to Best advice from a male mentor: The grass is not always greener. Sometimes its just green. Leaving isyou. Take time off when you easy. Staying is hard. Dont jump because you had a bad day or because you feel youve failed. Make sureyou are truly going to something that is more challenging, more exciting, and makes you a little scared.can.Know when its time to leave and leave for the right reasons.Page 37 Page 38'