Panel Discussion

Taking the Seat at the Head of the Table: Women Breaking into Cybersecurity

Panel Moderator: Christina Majernik.

Panelists: Gina Abate, Dr. Emma Garrison-Alexander, Melissa McCoy.

Women breaking barriers in male-dominated industries is not only growing across the board, but being celebrated widely on news outlets, blogs, and social media platforms. Despite the growth and encouragement, there are still significant gender gaps in numerous industries, especially technology. Today’s panel, moderated by Christina Majernik, senior vice president at Domain5, will discuss their journeys of breaking into the male-dominated field of cybersecurity—the highs, the lows, the lessons-learned, challenges to be overcome and potential solutions. This esteemed panel of women executives will dive deep into what it takes to have a seat at the head of the table in cybersecurity.

 Christina Majernik

Senior VP,  Client Solutions, Domain5

Christina Majernik is Senior V.P., Client Solutions at Domain5, a subsidiary of FEDDATA, a $350M leading provider of technology and data security services to industry and government. Previously, she was Founder and CEO of Secquity Advisors, a MD-based cybersecurity firm. She also played a leading role in creating the Center for Cybersecurity Training at UMBC Training Centers. A non-traditional cybersecurity professional herself, Christina is passionate about highlighting non-traditional cybersecurity career opportunities for women and minorities and currently serves on the Cybersecurity Association of Maryland’s Board of Directors, Workforce Development Committee and Diversity in Cyber Committee.

Gina Abate

President & CEO, Edwards Performance Solutions

Gina Abate is President and CEO of Edwards Performance Solutions, a woman owned small business helping organizations achieve secure operational performance. Under her leadership, Edwards expanded its offerings to include cybersecurity and IT services. She has 30+ years of proven leadership with executive, technical, and business management experience in the Federal Government as a Civil Servant and a commercial sector contractor. A strong proponent for more women seeking careers in cybersecurity, Gina currently serves as the Cybersecurity Association of Maryland’s Board of Directors Chairperson where she established its Diversity in Cyber Committee.

Dr. Emma Garrison-Alexander

Vice President of Cybersecurity & Info Assurance Dept. in graduate school at University of Maryland University College

Dr. Emma Garrison-Alexander is Vice Dean of the Cybersecurity & Information Assurance Department in the graduate school at the University of Maryland University College. Previously, she served as Assistant Administrator for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) under the Department of Homeland Security. She also served 25 years with the National Security Agency (NSA)/Department of Defense, starting as an Electronic Engineer and holding leadership positions in Technology and Systems, Signals Intelligence, Information Assurance, and Research & Development. She was recently appointed to serve on the Cybersecurity Association of Maryland’s Advisory Council.

Melissa McCoy

Chief Technology Officer, Kaizen Approach

Melissa McCoy contributes 30 years of security and information assurance experience to Kaizen Approach where she serves as Chief Technology Officer. Her background is primarily in commercial IT environments with recent years spent assisting the Intelligence Community. Melissa earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Penn State University and her Masters in Information Technology from George Washington University. She has earned various professional certifications and is a current member of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) and the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2.