Watch the Top Women in Cyber Security Celebration

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Earlier this year  ITWC and WISECRA reached out to the technology community and asked for nominations of individuals who deserved to be recognized as one of the Top Women in Cyber Security.

The response was overwhelming. In 90 days we had more than 170 nominations for Canadian women who worked in cyber security across a wide variety of organizations. There were nominations for CISOs, company founders, professors, directors, and women holding numerous specialty positions in both the public and private sectors.

Fawn Annan, president of ITWC and co-chair of the recognition initiative, said the testimonials were passionate…so passionate it became clear an honor roll recognizing the top women was not enough. Their accomplishments needed to be celebrated at a special event, so the virtual Top Women in Cyber Security Celebration was created.

The 75-minute interactive event featured short video profiles of the women named to the honour roll, a panel discussion exploring ways to get more women involved in cyber security, an opportunity to download related white papers, and the chance to visit sponsor breakout rooms for conversation.

Our Featured Panel

Women and Cyber Security: The Uneven Impact of the Pandemic

As organizations find their footing in the new work from home world, there’s more than just putting patches over security holes to be considered. In this session, top women in cyber security discuss the challenges and implications of the new normal on women with technology careers. The panel will also discuss how to create more opportunities for diversity in cyber security.


Deborah Gill, Dell Technologies VP of Business Operations for Global Security 

Deborah’s responsibilities span the full spectrum of developing and implementing security and resiliency strategy, including program management, finance, training and awareness, metrics and talent management. Deborah has extensive experience leading security strategy teams for both the U.S. Government and the private sector. Deborah held multiple roles in the U.S. Government focused on cybersecurity policy, including Deputy Chief of Staff, National Protection and Programs Directorate for the Department of Homeland Security and Senior Professional Staff on the Senate Homeland Security Committee.


Sherry Rumbolt

National Information System Security Officer – DND/CAF

Sherry Rumbolt is a National Information System Security Officer for DND/CAF at the Directorate Information Management Security. She advises and coordinates with stakeholders and service providers at all levels of the DND/CAF Information Program to assist with the safeguarding of the Defence Wide Area Network’s Information and Information Technology (IT) assets. She is a Certified Information Systems Security Officer (CISSP) and a Certified Information Security Manager and very passionate about empowering women to have a voice in Cybersecurity.

Vanessa Henri

Associate, Fasken

Henri specializes in data protection and information security law. She advises organizations on the operationalization of related concepts such as privacy and security by design. She is a Certified Data Protection Officer (CDPO) with proven experience in assisting organizations with data protection legislation, such as the General Data Protection Regulation, and other standards affecting entities operating on a data-driven market. She is a published author and has participated in global conferences.

Bonnie Butlin

Co-Founder and Executive Director, Security Partners’ Forum

As Executive Director of the first-of-its-kind agile international network of security professionals, Butlin created the Women in Security and Resilience Alliance (WISECRA)  which engages a growing network of women in security and resilience associations/groups globally, and the Canadian Cybersecurity Alliance (CCA), which has since become the largest inter-association cyber initiative in history.

Abhilasha Bhargav-Spantzel

Principal Engineer, Intel

As Principal Engineer, Abhilasha focuses on hardware-based security product architecture. She joined Intel in 2007. Abhilasha drives thought leadership and the future evolution of cyber security platforms through innovation, architecture and education. She has written five book chapters, numerous articles and has 25+ patents.

“This is an opportunity to find out more about the extraordinary women who have advanced the industry and are shaping the path for future generations,”

said Bonnie Butlin, International Co-ordinator, Women in Security and Resilience Alliance and co-chair of the Top Women in Cyber Security initiative. 

The Judging Panel

Top Women in Cyber Security Co-chairs

Bonnie Butlin, International Coordinator, Women in Security and Resilience Alliance

Fawn Annan, President ITWC


The organizing committee is pleased to announce the following cyber security heavyweights have committed to be judges for the awards program:

Namir Anani, President & CEO at Information and Communications Technology Council
Rima Aristocrat, President & CIO, Willis College
Robert Beggs, CEO, DigitalDefence
Terry Cutler, Founder & CEO, Cyology Labs Inc.
Francoise Gagnon, CEO of ADGA Group Consultants Inc.
Ali A. Ghorbani, Director, Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity
Le Ha Hang, VP Global Security, CGI
Franca Palazzo, Executive Director, Internet Society – Canadian Chapter
Sharon Polsky, President & CEO, Privacy & Access Council
Sarah Shortreed, CTO, ATCO Group
Suzie Smibert, CISO, Finning International

The winners who make the 2020 list will be featured on the IT World Canada website in July following the celebration.