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 Channel Sales Manager Vic Wiesner, a member of our Women Transforming Tech 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 at a technology provider straight out of college with a bachelor’s in mathematics, later joining the Channel via distribution, with a focus on converged infrastructure (computing, storage, and networking). At the time, many high-profile breaches and attacks were starting to impact the national security of countries and cost businesses millions of dollars. At the same time, next-gen cybersecurity approaches were emerging. Channel Partners had evolved by creating “security practices” and this was quickly ramping up. One day I received a call from a former colleague with an exciting opportunity in cybersecurity at Arctic Wolf. I did not hesitate to make the leap!
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?
Specializing in distribution within cybersecurity comes at a cost. Everything is urgent, hours are long, and we’re usually seen as a pain point for vendor sales teams. I believe versatility has served me well here. Instead of focusing on the things I cannot control, I focus on what experience I can provide others while working with distribution and determining where can I add value to required processes.
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?
In the beginning, I had very little knowledge around cybersecurity. Any opportunity I’d receive to take training or learn a new tool, I’d accept. I’d consume a new topic, whiteboard it for myself, then teach it to another and learn through that experience.
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?
Rather than focus on that promotion, pay increase, or title upgrade I focused on getting my boss promoted!
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’ve been fortunate to work with several tenured women (and Allies) that have helped me to build and sponsor my brand. With mentorship, I keep myself in check — I’m the person that cares about my development the most, so I had to invest the time to drive these relationships. Being remote for most of my career, networking in person hasn’t always been simple, so I take the time to connect over the phone with those that have invested in me, and then pay it forward to those that I mentor.
The cybersecurity field has traditionally been male dominated. Have you encountered gender-related stereotypes or biases during your career? How did you address these challenges and help break down barriers?
A strategy that has helped is to deliver data-driven facts, while educating on the “why” to demonstrate alternative viewpoints.
Photo of Vic Wiesner
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?
I incorporated time in the morning for exercise and made it part of my daily routine. The most important thing is consistency and creating those boundaries to ensure that time is uninterrupted.
- Practice saying “no” without providing an excuse.
- Move your email app to another page of your phone so that you don’t see the notifications.
- Set *reasonable* daily calendar blocks to ensure you have time to eat, exercise, grab a coffee, etc.
Advice for Beginners:
- For women who are just starting in cybersecurity, what key advice would you give them? Are there any resources, communities, or strategies you recommend for a strong foundation in the field?
- Take the time to research what your company offers from a DE&I perspective and if they don’t have a program, create one!
- Find an experienced mentor in your field who aligns to your future aspirations.
- Embrace change. The best advice I ever received was “The people who change the most in life, win!”
- The only way to achieve true success is TOGETHER! Don’t go it alone.
Vision for the Future
As experienced professionals in the cybersecurity field, what is your vision for the future of the industry? How do you hope to see it evolve, especially in terms of gender diversity and inclusivity?
Specific to my area of expertise in value-added distribution, I envision automation to become commonplace, revolutionizing the ability to help Partners scale with insights on their customer base, as well as the quote-to-cash process, delivering faster security outcomes to customers. As it relates to women in distribution and cybersecurity, I believe more will move into technical enablement roles, and the evolution will include a greater drive for women to achieve leadership roles, as organizations work to provide more programs that help them realize work/life balance.
Throughout your career, what moments or achievements have been most inspiring or fulfilling to you? Is there a particular experience you’d like to share that could motivate others on their journeys?
I once had a leader who practiced “servant leadership” and their presentation about defining joy and achieving success together was most inspiring for me! From that day, I decided that I wanted to emulate that leadership style, in service to others. As an individual contributor, I’ve won awards and accolades because of going above and beyond, but as a leader, it’s been the most fulfilling to hear my team members share feelings of being empowered and appreciated.