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10 top women chief information security officers to watch

Sep 08, 20175 mins
CareersData and Information SecurityInternet Security

As girls and young women become interested in cybersecurity, they can look to these women information security officers for inspiration.

Group of diverse women standing lined up in a row
Credit: Thinkstock

Women head up information security at a multitude of organizations globally. They are role models for young girls learning about cybersecurity for the first time and for high-schoolers contemplating an education and career in the field.

Roughly 11% of the cybersecurity workforce are women, compared to 25% in technology and 50% of professional occupations overall.

And according to the latest Cybersecurity Jobs Report, the worldwide deficit of qualified cybersecurity professionals will reach 3.5 million by 2021.

To encourage girls’ interest in cybersecurity and hopefully reduce that deficit, Palo Alto Networks and Girl Scouts of the USA recently announced a collaboration with the introduction of 18 new cybersecurity badges for Girls Scouts of all ages.

The 1.8 million Girl Scouts in the U.S. may be the largest talent pool of future women in cyber.

As girls show interest in cybersecurity, parents and educators can point to women leaders in security to help them imagine themselves as cybersecurity professionals.

10 women security leaders to watch

Cybersecurity Ventures is on a research project compiling a list of women information security officers globally. These 10 women are on the list:

Meredith HarperChief Information Privacy & Security Officer, Henry Ford Health System

Meredith Harper leads the privacy and security program for Henry Ford Health System, a not-for-profit corporation composed of hospitals, medical centers and one of the nation’s largest group practices, which includes more than 1,200 physicians practicing in over 40 specialties.

She’s been with Henry Ford for more than 14 years and has served as a board member or volunteer for numerous medical and tech industry associations.

Chandra McMahonSVP & CISO, Verizon

Chandra McMahon oversees information security for Verizon, one of the largest communication technology companies in the world with more than $126 billion in annual revenues, and 163,000-plus employees worldwide.

She spent 10 years in senior roles at Lockheed Martin, including nearly three years as their chief information security officer.

Ann DelenelaVP & CISO, Ameren

Ann Delenela is the new chief information security officer at Ameren. A Fortune 500 corporation employing more than 8,500 personnel, Ameren powers the quality of life for 2.4 million electric customers and more than 900,000 natural gas customers across a 64,000-square-mile area.

She was previously the CSO at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the flow of electric power to 24 million Texas customers — representing about 90% of the state’s electric load.

Holly RidgewayEVP, CSO, Citizens Financial Group Inc.

Holly Ridgeway oversees security at 150-year-old Citizens Financial Group Inc., which became a fully independent publicly traded company in 2015, just over a year after the successful completion of the largest commercial bank initial public offering (IPO) in U.S. history.

She was previously CISO for PNC Bank and CISO for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Myrna SotoSVP, Global CISO, Comcast

Myrna Soto is senior vice president global chief information security officer (GCISO) of Comcast Corporation, a global media and technology company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal.

She’s been with Comcast for more than eight years. Previously, Soto was a CISO for MGM Mirage.

Jenna McAuleyVP, Information Security and Information Technology Oversight & CISO, US Banks, American Express

Earlier this year, Jenna McAuley became chief information security officer for US Banks at American Express, the world’s largest credit card issuer by purchase volume.

She was previously CISO for Mercer, the world’s largest human resources consulting firm, and before that, she was a security specialist at two of the Big 4 firms — EY and Accenture.

Jill KnesekVP Information Security & CISO, Mattel, Inc.

Jill Knesek is responsible for enterprise-wide information security at Mattel Inc., a global learning, development and play company with a global workforce of approximately 32,000 people operating in 40 countries and territories.

She’s been CSO and head of the Global Security Practice for BT Global Services — a leading global business communications provider with more than 17,000 people worldwide — and CSO for BT Americas.

Kim KeeverSVP & CISO, Cox Communications

Kim Keever oversees information security for Cox Communications, the largest private telecom company in the U.S., with $11 billion in annual revenue.

She was previously CISO at the Coca-Cola Refreshments and Bottling Investments Group of The Coca-Cola Company and director of security at Coca-Cola Enterprises. Before that, she was CIO at Invesco Retirement Plan Services.

Jana MonroeVice President Global Security and Enterprise Risk Management, Herbalife

Jana Monroe heads up security for Herbalife International, a global nutrition company with approximately 8,000 employees in 91 countries and revenues of approximately $7.8 billion.

She’s held senior-level security positions with Southern California Electric Utility, KPMG and the FBI Cyber Division.

Marene AllisonWorldwide VP of Information Security, Johnson and Johnson

Marene Allison is in charge of information security globally at Johnson and Johnson, an American multinational medical devices, pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods manufacturing company with over 125,000 employees in 60 countries.

Her prior positions include vice president of global security at Medco, director of security at Avaya, vice president of security and safety at Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, and a special agent for the FBI. Allison was also a Military Academy Liaison Officer (MALO) for the U.S. Army from 1990 to 2010.

This small list barely scratches the surface of the top women in cyber — but it’s enough to get parents, educators and young girls thinking cyber.


Steve Morgan is the founder and CEO at Cybersecurity Ventures and editor in chief of the Cybersecurity Market Report. The Cybersecurity Market Report is published quarterly and covers the business of cybersecurity, including global market sizing and industry forecasts from consolidated research by IT analyst firms, emerging trends, employment, the federal sector, hot companies to watch, notable M&A, investment and IPO activity, and more.