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Synack Commits to Supporting the Advancement of Women in Cybersecurity by Launching a Courageous Women in Security Initiative


New York Times reporter Jessica Bennett observed that the 2020 female Democratic candidates have largely avoided the phrase “glass ceiling”, prompting linguist Robin Lakoff to speculate that the phrase just “seems tired”. On the debate floor, action-oriented and empowering words like “persist” are replacing phrases like “glass ceiling” and the “stuck-ness” implicitly suggested by them. It’s not just in politics that women are intentionally working toward changing society’s perception of them in the workplace; it’s happening in cybersecurity too.

Today, women make up only 20% of the cybersecurity industry’s workforce. This largely untapped demographic could be the saving grace for an industry desperate for skilled labor and on pace to hit 3.5 million unfilled jobs by 2021 according to Cybersecurity Ventures. This is why today Synack launches their “Courageous Women CISO Initiative” which aims to encourage more women to enter the cybersecurity field; offer support by creating a strong network for women; and provide a platform for women to share their voice in the boardroom, across the aisles in policy, and from the podium at leading industry conferences. Synack will build upon efforts that aim to close the talent gap in other ways (like encouraging young women to enter into STEM fields) by empowering women to get to the forefront of cybersecurity innovation and lead the charge in making our organizations more secure. The company is also encouraging more women to apply to their elite Synack Red Team, the world’s best and most trusted crowd of ethical hackers.

“When the concept of harnessing a crowd of ethical hackers was novel, Synack found that women CISOs were 2x more likely to adopt crowdsourced security, which showed that female security leaders are willing to be bold and courageous when facing decisions that can make their organizations more secure. Cybersecurity is a field that needs more diversity in thought and action, and women are an underrepresented group. We need more female leaders in the field who have successfully navigated the industry to be examples and mentors to newcomers,” said Aisling MacRunnels, Synack CMO and Courageous Women CISO Initiative Chair.

Synack’s initiative aims to connect and empower security’s female change-makers through a series of networking events and opportunities to speak from the podium at industry-renowned conferences. Synack has partnered with Microsoft/M12, CyberWire and now Booz Allen Hamilton to host popular women’s networking events at Black Hat USA, RSA Conference, and Billington Cybersecurity Summit; later this week, the company will host their 3rd annual Women’s Brunch at Black Hat USA. Through these efforts, Synack aims to …

  • Close the talent gap in cybersecurity by increasing the number of women entering the industry by 50% by 2022.
  • Increase the number of women speaking at industry conferences, so that the percentage of female speakers is on par with the percentage of male speakers by 2022.

After the women’s lunch at the RSA Conference 2019, partners M12 and CyberWire said, “We had a great time with the Synack team today - if only every lunch could be filled with so many impressive women! A big thank you to our amazing hosts: Lisa Nelson, Microsoft Ventures and Aisling MacRunnels, Synack,” (M12), and “It is our pleasure to support and empower women in the field of cybersecurity!” (Cyberwire).

Synack’s Courageous Women CISO initiative was developed to bring female security leaders and executives together to support each other in having a bigger impact in their companies and industry. Through this initiative, Synack’s goal is to create an environment that fosters authentic conversations and provides a support network for women in cybersecurity. Let’s change the status quo in cybersecurity together - RSVP for upcoming events for women and learn more about Synack’s Courageous Women CISO Initiative here:

About Synack

Synack, the most trusted crowdsourced security platform, delivers continuous and scalable penetration testing with actionable results. The company combines the world's most skilled and trusted ethical hackers with AI-enabled technology to create an efficient and effective security solution. Headquartered in Silicon Valley with regional offices around the world, Synack protects leading global banks, federal agencies, DoD classified assets, and close to $1 trillion in Fortune 500 revenue. Synack was founded in 2013 by former US Department of Defense hackers Jay Kaplan, CEO, and Dr. Mark Kuhr, CTO. For more information, please visit

Contact information

Ellie McCardwell, Synack Communications

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