Women Transforming Tech: Brianda Macedo

Share :

Arctic Wolf’s Women Transforming Tech (WTT) Pack Unity Alliance serves as our platform for women and their allies to build community, create strong professional networks, foster career development, and identify informal and formal ways that Arctic Wolf can be more inclusive in both our organization and the larger cybersecurity industry. Today, we’re sharing the perspective of Security Operations Manager Brianda Macedo, a member of our WTT Pack Unity Alliance.   

Personal Journey and Motivation

Can you share a bit about your personal journey in the cybersecurity field? What initially drew you to this industry and inspired you to pursue a career in it?  

I started my career in a call center for the Geek Squad. That led me to identifying my passion for information technology (IT), continuous learning, and helping others. Once I realized my passion for technology, I received my associate degree in IT. That decision led me to taking a Linux course, where one of my Linux course professors recommended I explore a career in cybersecurity. She inspired me to not doubt my abilities and start a career path I never imagined was an option. The rest is history.   

Overcoming Challenges

The cybersecurity field can be quite demanding. What were some significant challenges you faced along the way, and how did you overcome them? Any advice for our readers/attendees on dealing with obstacles in this industry?  

Some issues I’ve encountered throughout my career up to the present day are imposter syndrome and burn out. I’ve constantly doubted having what it takes for the various roles I’ve taken on throughout my career and felt a need to constantly prove or challenge myself to feel adequate. The way I’ve actioned these doubts has caused me to overwork and not set proper boundaries for a proper work-life balance. The way I’ve overcome these challenges is by accepting them as an endless number of mountains to climb.

Whether it’s work or a life challenge, I’ve come to realize I will always have moments when I feel I’ve reached my peak. The top of a mountain. There will always be challenges where I have what it takes and others where I don’t (at least not yet!). No matter where I am on a mountain, I will always have something to learn, grow, and evolve from. My progress has been aided by reminding myself that I chose this career for the continuous journey of learning and was chosen for the positions I’ve been in for a reason and don’t always have to prove myself. From my knowledge and skills to my dedication, I am enough.  

My recommendation is embracing the ebbs and flows of this career, perform ‘lessons learned’ exercises for opportunities identified and missed, and learn to set boundaries to establish a good work-life balance. Lastly, be kind and loving to yourself as we tend to be our worst critic. You are enough!  

Skill Development  

Cybersecurity is a rapidly evolving field. How do you stay up to date with the latest technologies, trends, and best practices? Could you share some strategies for continuous skill development?  

Create an RSS feed to keep you posted on the most up-to-date articles being released. Attend security-focused webinars, conferences, podcasts, or join a well-versed cybersecurity group such as Women in Cyber Security. Lastly, where possible, keep up to date with your security certifications and strive to attain cybersecurity-focused trainings or certifications.  

Navigating Career Progression  

Many women face unique challenges in advancing their careers. What strategies did you employ to progress and succeed in your cybersecurity career? How did you advocate for your own professional growth?  

I’ve come this far in my career by striving to continuously learn new technologies, techniques, and tactics utilized within cybersecurity. I attempt to take the initiative to resolve any problem and take advantage of any opportunity I encounter, doing my best to resolve it without being asked. Additionally, I try and empathize with those in all situations I encounter, whether it’s someone making a mistake or a customer who has encountered ransomware. How would I like to be treated during vulnerable situations? These actions and many more have helped me advocate for my career, but those are the highlights.      

Mentorship and Networking  

Mentorship and networking can be instrumental in one’s career growth. Have you had mentors who guided you in your journey? How has networking with peers and colleagues influenced your career path?  

I owe a lot to the mentors I’ve had throughout my career. I have so much gratitude for the amazing managers I’ve relied on and had the fortune to work for throughout my career. They have supported and guided me to where I am now. Some from previous roles, such as Jared Stanko and Paul Solie, to those I’ve had the pleasure to work with here at Arctic Wolf including Ben Clark, Christopher Kwong, Anastasia Orzine, Marcio Larroyd, Samantha Van Aaken, Bryan Quesnelle, Anthony Hernandez, and Lisa Tetrault, just to name a few. Colleagues have also been valuable resources who influenced my decisions throughout my career. They have been role models and inspirations, without whom I would not be where I am today.  

I’d also like to give my family, fiancé, and friends a shoutout as they have been like mentors in supporting me when I have not felt enough for roles I was considering applying for.  

Photo of Brianda Macedo

Photo of Brianda Macedo

Work-Life Balance  

Balancing a demanding cybersecurity career with personal life can be tough. How do you manage your work-life balance? Any tips for maintaining your well-being while excelling in your role?  

Full transparency, I’m not the best at this myself but am a firm believer that “practice makes progress.” I believe the combination of learning to set boundaries, asking for help, and having awareness of the problems brought on by an unbalanced life are key to finding a successful work-life balance. Reminding yourself that (depending on the criticality) it will be there tomorrow. Learn to ask for help when you don’t have the bandwidth to support additional work. It’s better to ask for help and share the workload than put it upon yourself to attempt to do everything. It’s not sustainable in the long run, and eventually something will get dropped without being willing to ask for and receive help. Finally, have awareness that it is difficult to set boundaries or ask for help. Practice where possible and be kind to yourself.    

This year’s Women’s History month theme is” Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” – What does it mean to you?  

To me, this year’s Women’s History month theme of “Women who advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion,” is a celebration and remembrance of who I am and where I come from. There are few women in IT, and it only gets smaller as you look at cybersecurity or Latinas and other minorities. I’m very grateful the theme highlights how the fight and effort from powerful women throughout history was not in vain. We are now living in a day and age where women and non-binary people can attain a career and have amazing colleagues of all different backgrounds. Having representation inspires younger generations to join STEM programs and continue growing the female, non-binary, and diverse community. 

Additional Women Transforming Tech Interviews

Vic Wiesner

Chelsea Contessa

Sule Tatar

Chelsea Lowman

 

Arctic Wolf

Arctic Wolf

Arctic Wolf provides your team with 24x7 coverage, security operations expertise, and strategically tailored security recommendations to continuously improve your overall posture.
Share :
Table of Contents
Categories
Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter