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In this episode, host Emily Wearmouth dives deep into the concept of personal resilience in cybersecurity with guests Shannon Jurkovic, CISO for Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, and Samm MacLeod, CSO & CRO for Culture Amp. Their discussion revolves around the role of personal resilience in strengthening corporate resilience and the effects stress can have on cybersecurity professionals. Shannon and Samm highlight the urgent need for organizations to address mental health, to identify signs of burnout, and to foster a supportive environment. Listen in as they share their own coping techniques to handle stress and build resilience personally and professionally.

There’s a propensity for tech people to be introverts and keep things to themselves. And so I think there’s a real onus on us, not just from a risk perspective, but from a helping people thrive perspective to figure out how we pull that out of people, and particularly in cyber, where I think the pressure is different in those roles compared to some of the other roles in the organization.

—Samm MacLeod, CSO & CRO for Culture Amp
Samm MacLeod, CSO & CRO for Culture Amp

 

Timestamps

*(00:01): Introduction*(11:31): Generational differences in resilience interpretation
*(01:29): Understanding personal resilience in cybersecurity*(14:26): Recognizing burnout signs within teams
*(02:29): The link between personal and corporate resilience*(16:36): Self-discipline and coping strategies
*(03:20): The role of mental health and resilience in risk planning*(18:15): Shared responsibility and resilience
*(04:57): Emphasizing psychological safety within organizations*(20:52): Identifying activities that bring joy to teams
*(06:45): Discussing challenges and impact of cybersecurity work*(21:41): Building resilience-focused teams and supportive culture
*(08:57): Mental health focus and leadership role in cybersecurity*(25:12): Final remarks on holistic approach to resilience

 

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On this episode

Shannon Jurkovic
CISO for Bendigo and Adelaide Bank

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Shannon Jurkovic

Shannon Jurkovic is Chief Information Security Officer and Practice Lead for the Information Security Practice of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. Shannon joined the Bank in 2019 after 15 years in senior technology risk, cyber security and business resilience management consulting roles. She is a strong advocate for taking a holistic approach to cyber-resilience, one that encompasses culture, people, process, governance and culture, as well as technology.

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Samm MacLeod
CSO & CRO for Culture Amp

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Samm MacLeod

Samm Macleod is an executive with comprehensive experience in cybersecurity, technology risk, and transformation for organisations globally, and within the Asia Pacific Region. She is a modern leader with more than 20 years of experience in technology and a passion for cybersecurity, technology risk management, and building diverse and inclusive teams.

She advises businesses on the impact of new and emerging technologies, technology and security risks, and I have directed a number of significant cybersecurity transformation programs and other technology investments. Samm also has experience directing the implementation of information technology and cybersecurity practices that support business effectiveness and the management of risks. As information technology continues its rapid pace of change, it provides a need for innovative and disruptive approaches to manage risk effectively and to keep people and organisations safe.

Having worked in large financial services, technology, and utility companies, medium tiered consulting firms, and run her own businesses, Samm brings a unique set of experiences and perspective to the management of technology and cyber risk building strong relationships, engaging with multiple stakeholders, and influence for change that drives appropriate commercial outcomes.

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Emily Wearmouth
Director of International Communications and Content at Netskope

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Emily Wearmouth

Emily Wearmouth is a technology communicator who helps engineers, specialists and tech organisations to communicate more effectively. At Netskope, Emily runs the company’s international communications and content programmes, working with teams across EMEA, LATAM, and APJ. She spends her days unearthing stories and telling them in a way that helps a wide range of audiences to better understand technology options and benefits.

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Shannon Jurkovic

Shannon Jurkovic is Chief Information Security Officer and Practice Lead for the Information Security Practice of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. Shannon joined the Bank in 2019 after 15 years in senior technology risk, cyber security and business resilience management consulting roles. She is a strong advocate for taking a holistic approach to cyber-resilience, one that encompasses culture, people, process, governance and culture, as well as technology.

LinkedIn logo

Samm MacLeod

Samm Macleod is an executive with comprehensive experience in cybersecurity, technology risk, and transformation for organisations globally, and within the Asia Pacific Region. She is a modern leader with more than 20 years of experience in technology and a passion for cybersecurity, technology risk management, and building diverse and inclusive teams.

She advises businesses on the impact of new and emerging technologies, technology and security risks, and I have directed a number of significant cybersecurity transformation programs and other technology investments. Samm also has experience directing the implementation of information technology and cybersecurity practices that support business effectiveness and the management of risks. As information technology continues its rapid pace of change, it provides a need for innovative and disruptive approaches to manage risk effectively and to keep people and organisations safe.

Having worked in large financial services, technology, and utility companies, medium tiered consulting firms, and run her own businesses, Samm brings a unique set of experiences and perspective to the management of technology and cyber risk building strong relationships, engaging with multiple stakeholders, and influence for change that drives appropriate commercial outcomes.

LinkedIn logo

Emily Wearmouth

Emily Wearmouth is a technology communicator who helps engineers, specialists and tech organisations to communicate more effectively. At Netskope, Emily runs the company’s international communications and content programmes, working with teams across EMEA, LATAM, and APJ. She spends her days unearthing stories and telling them in a way that helps a wide range of audiences to better understand technology options and benefits.

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Episode transcript

Open for transcript

Emily Wearmouth [00:00:01] Hello and welcome to another edition of the Security Visionaries Podcast, an all round excellent lesson for anyone in the cyber data or related industries. I'm joined today by two excellent guests. Shannon Jurkovic is the chief information security officer at Bendigo and Adelaide Bank in Australia. Her career background is in risk management and before her current role, she worked for many years as a consultant at both KPMG and EY. In a recent count, she determined that she'd supported more than 150 organizations in their risk management efforts. So there's no doubt that she knows a thing or two about things. Welcome, Shannon.

Shannon Jurkovic [00:00:34] Thanks, Emily. Great to be here.

Emily Wearmouth [00:00:35] My second guest is Samm MacLeod, who's also a CISO. At the moment, she holds the role at Culture AMP. But over the course of her career, she's held CISO or other security and risk roles within energy companies, banks and also the NBN, the organization responsible for building and running Australia's fiber network. Welcome, Samm.

Samm Macleod [00:00:52] Thanks, Emily. Pleased to be here.

Emily Wearmouth [00:00:54] I think it's clear from the little snapshot I just gave of Samm and Shannon CV's that they're no strangers to high stress roles in organizations that operate often very critical infrastructure. And so the thing I wanted to talk to them both about today is personal resilience. Research earlier this year suggested that 94% of CISOs reported suffering from work related stress. 94% is one of the highest percentages I've seen on any survey like this, so it really is no trivial topic. I wanted to start Shannon, Samm, just one of you want to kick off by helping us set the scene of what we mean by personal resilience. Maybe. Shannon, you want to go first?

Shannon Jurkovic [00:01:29] Sure so resilience in its pure form is really about the ability to adapt to changing situations and difficult situations and challenges. And if you look at, I guess, the conversation we're having today, really, you can look at it from two angles, one being the cyber perspective. So how we go about protecting our organizations and being resilient in terms of responding to cyber attacks and keeping the business running as we respond and then being able to bounce back as business as usual. But if you also flip it on, its on its head. It's really also around that personal resilience. And so again, it's about being able to identify and to adapt to challenging and changing situations. And certainly from a cyber perspective, we we deal with this every day and multiple times a day, but then really gets around having the mechanisms and applying those to respond to and now and ultimately bounce back from those sorts of situations.

Emily Wearmouth [00:02:25] Samm are personal resilience and corporate resilience completely intertwined?

Samm Macleod [00:02:29] Oh fabulous question. Yes, I feel like so particularly for CISOs. So if I look at, you know, what are some of those keys to being resilient? It's all about the contribution you're making, the control that you've got over the situation that you're in, how well you cope. And I think a lot of the things we look at from a corporate point of view is how do we control a particular set of circumstances, how do we make sure we've got teams that can work their way through problem solving to achieve a particular outcome for an organization. So I think they're very well intertwined.

Emily Wearmouth [00:03:04] When you're looking at your risk planning for an organization, how much do you factor in personal resilience or sort of the the negative side of that personal burnout? How much do you factor that into risk planning? Is it a conversation that organizations are realistic about?

Shannon Jurkovic [00:03:20] I think that it's growing in and how much we focus on that. And I think if you look at the cyber landscape that we are working in and operating in, it's relentless and there's no mental downtime. Whenever shore cyber professionals, when an attack will occur, when we need to respond, could be any time of the day or night. I think cyber teams certainly know the impacts that a single failure or event can have on an organization. And I think too, if you look at cyber today, we used to talk five, ten years ago. It was all about technology. It's not about technology today. It's holistic. It's about, you know, a huge role around people and culture. And so you need to be including that people and culture element in it. If you look at my role as a CISO professionally, you know, it's necessary, not the case, but you do feel personally accountable for protecting the organization and looking after your teams and also yourself. And so while there's a level of reality to that, it's an organizational risk. Security is everyone's responsibility. We hear that cliche, but we also reflect on the fact. And we're hearing this more and more that cyber is a team sport. And so you need to be looking at the personal elements of this because to be able to respond, to be able to do cyber, you need people and you need those people to be switched on. But you also need to make sure that they're effective and what they can do, and providing them with the balance and the support that they are not just 24/7 responding, but also looking after themselves and being able to to be resilient and bounce back.

Samm Macleod [00:04:57] Just to add on to what Shannon was saying there, we we can see in statistics that organizational performance is linked directly to to people and culture, and I think we spend a lot of time diving into what are the risks from a financial point of view, what are of the risks to cyber point of view, where are our operational risks, but I would question whether we're diving deep enough into what those people and culture challenges are, and some of those risks around how we look after our people. We do workforce planning fairly well to achieve our business outcomes, but are we really looking at how we take our people through their career trajectories? How do we work with them and support them? How do we help them be more resilient with some of the challenges that they're facing into? And cyber is just one of them. But you could throw anything out there. It could be the economic climate that we've been going through and in some of those other, you know, cost challenges and workforce challenges and how well our people bouncing back and how well we're looking after them from that point of view.

Shannon Jurkovic [00:05:53] I think the other thing I'll add to that as well, and something we're certainly focused on and growing our focus in, in our organization is the concepts of psychological safety and personal vulnerability, because we also need to be providing environments for our people and ourselves where it's okay to share how you're feeling. It's okay to share when you might be struggling and having a safe space that you actually can take support and get that support that the people need. And I think each person will be different in terms of the support that they need, but we need to be able to have that culture and that risk culture behind being able to speak out. And really it's about being able to raise issues. And if you think about it, it is the behavior that you walk past that you then accept as an organization and as individuals.

Samm Macleod [00:06:45] We're probably the worst at it. If you look at us as technical people or people who work in technology roles, we're probably the worst at that. And our people probably are too, where, you know, there's a propensity for tech people to be introverts and keep things to themselves. And so I think there's a real onus on us, not just from a risk perspective, but from a helping people thrive perspective to figure out how we pull that out of people and in particularly in cyber, where I think the pressure is different in those roles compared to some of the other roles in the organization. How do we make sure people are well supported, that they do feel safe to speak out, that it's okay to put your hand up and go, that was mad. We've just had the biggest leaks that we've ever had or, you know, it's just the propensity and the amount of work that is on top of us right now to try and protect the organization and [00:07:34]tech people do take, as Shannon said, a massive amount of personal responsibility around protecting the organization. And we've got to figure out how to help them protect themselves as well. There needs to be some sort of mechanism or barrier that we support people with. [12.9s]

Shannon Jurkovic [00:07:48] And I think on top of that too, the other thing that I find technology and cyber people aren't good at, but we're really trying to encourage and really grow this in our organization is around we do something, we respond to an incident, we deliver something, and then we just go to the next thing. We never stop. We never reflect, recognize and celebrate what we're doing. We just deliver one. We respond, we move on. And so I think those sorts of behaviors and driving that culture in an organization and encouraging people to stop for just a moment, to be able to reflect on what has happened or what we've delivered is actually really important as part of building that whole behavior around resilience.

Emily Wearmouth [00:08:27] So it's interesting because you've talked about the fact that people within your teams might not be naturally comfortable communicating about and proactively managing their personal resilience, but I wonder whether I'm talking to both of you who are clearly very aware and able here, but whether above you, within organizations that you've worked at. You know, Shannon, you've worked with over 150 organizations. You're almost like a field work poll all in yourself.