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INSPIRE 20 Podcast: Vandana Verma Sehgal, Infosec Girls

Linda Rosencrance Freelance writer/editor

An experienced security solutions architect, Vandana Verma Sehgal is president of Infosec Girls, an initiative that assists women in their cybersecurity careers.

Verma Sehgal started Infosec Girls to provide support and mentorship to encourage women to pursue careers in the field of information security. The goal is to get more women curious about cybersecurity by urging them to actively participate in events such as security conferences and community meet-ups.

Many of the Infosec Girls chapters are based in Verma Sehgal's home country of India. However, the influence of the organization is growing, and there are now chapters in the United States and Italy.

The INSPIRE 20 podcast

Verma Sehgal is one of the executives taking part in INSPIRE 20, a new podcast series that is showcasing 20 executives from around the world who are making a difference in terms of inclusion and diversity in their organizations, communities, and/or in their industries.

Listen to the podcast with Vandana Verma Sehgal on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, or Spotify. Plus: Listen to all of the INSPIRE 20 podcasts here.

A wide-ranging security background

Verma Sehgal is a seasoned security professional with experience ranging from application security to infrastructure to DevSecOps. She participates in the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) and has been a keynote speaker and trainer in various venues, ranging from OWASP application security events to Black Hat conferences and regional meetings, including BSides in India.

She is also a member of the OWASP global board of directors and works on diversity initiatives in various communities. She has been the recipient of multiple honors, including the 2020 Cyber Security Woman of the Year award, and Instasafe has listed her as one of the top women leaders in the field of technology and cybersecurity in India.

In the podcast, she explains why Infosec Girls is so important.

"Sometimes people have the notion that women [belong in] the kitchen and men belong in tech, but that's not the case. I know some really wonderful women who are doing amazing work in the tech industry."
—Vandana Verma Sehgal

Why it can be difficult to recruit women

In the podcast, Verma Sehgal also talks about the struggles with getting more women into tech careers.

"The main challenge is our own misconceptions," she said. "We think that this field is not for us and we would not be able to thrive because it's such a dynamic field." Another difficulty can be figuring out how we are going to balance our family with work.

To overcome these problems, women need to ask for help, she said in the podcast.

"Nothing can be done without that. We have to look for people who can guide us. We have to share things with them."
—Vandana Verma Sehgal

For example, managers and organizations can provide women with more flexibility to manage their home and work lives by allowing them to work remotely when possible.

In the podcast, Verma Sehgal also talks about OWASP's future plans as well as the importance of mentorship, which she sees as a means to "uplift others," help them conquer their fears, and guide them in the right direction.

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