Bloomberg’s Info Security Director Jennifer Swann on how she became a Cybersecurity leader

June 21, 2024 | Emilia Chiscop-Head, PhD

Meet women Cybersecurity experts who teach in the Duke CISO Executive Certificate

Jennifer Swann is Director of Info Security at Bloomberg

Jennifer Swann is the Director of Information Security at Bloomberg Industry Group, where she leads technical security teams. This year, she was a guest speaker in the Duke CISO Executive Certificate Program, delivering a session on Enterprise Vulnerability Management. An alumna of Morgan State University, Jennifer Swann began her journey in network security and evolved into a pivotal role in Incident Response.

How did you decide to become a Cyber professional, and why?

I was recruited by Northrop Grumman, a government contractor. When I started in Cyber, there was a significant need for talent. The field intrigued me, and I quickly developed a passion for Incident Response.

What are some of the factors that helped you become who you are today?

Being exposed to technology at an early age by my parents was crucial. This early exposure fostered my curiosity and love for STEM. Additionally, learning from mentors has been instrumental in my development.

Could you share one thing you wished you knew when beginning your cyber career?

I wish I had understood the importance of networking earlier. Networking with peers is one of the fastest ways to learn more and create new opportunities.

What is your most important accomplishment so far?

My most significant accomplishments have been being promoted to director and having the opportunity to manage a cybersecurity team. I love leading and growing teams. As a leader, I strive to impact my team and my organization.

How difficult was it for you to succeed in a field highly dominated by men?

It was challenging, especially as a double minority. Not only do you face judgment from others, but you also struggle with self-doubt, often experiencing imposter syndrome. However, I was fortunate to have support from both men and women, which was invaluable. It’s essential to rise above these challenges by focusing on those who support you and continually working on yourself.

How does the Duke CISO Executive Program fit into the cyber landscape? What is the potential impact on the future of the cybersecurity profession?

I believe the Duke CISO Executive Program is an excellent fit for any leader or prospective leader of an Information Security program. It serves as a robust preparation program, equipping individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to advance to the next level of executive leadership.

What are some lessons you would like the CISO learners to have taken with them after your talk?

I hope the CISO learners have gained the confidence to run an effective vulnerability management program. Additionally, I would like them to feel empowered to communicate effectively with stakeholders about risk.

What are some of the significant challenges in cybersecurity today and how an executive program like this can help overcome them?

One significant challenge is not knowing what to focus on as a leader in the Information Security space. Many of us spend time figuring it out, but having a clear guideline or plan is highly beneficial. The executive program can provide direction and guidance for leaders on what they should prioritize.

What advice do you have for the Duke Executive Certificate Learners to become successful?

Make sure you identify someone to mentor you. Stay educated because the threat landscape is continuously changing. Identify opportunities to get certified. Take a step further and get some specialized certifications that could make you stand out.