Women in Tech: “Security is about identifying and nurturing curiosity”

A research study by The National Center for Women & Information Technology showed that “gender diversity has specific benefits in technology settings,” which could explain why tech companies have started to invest in initiatives that aim to boost the number of female applicants, recruit them in a more effective way, retain them for longer, and give them the opportunity to advance. But is it enough?

Three years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Lena Smart, Chief Security Officer, MongoDB.

Today’s Woman in Tech: Lena Smart, Chief Security Officer, MongoDB

Lena joined MongoDB with more than 20 years of cyber security experience. Before joining MongoDB, she was the Global Chief Information Security Officer for the international fintech company, Tradeweb, where she was responsible for all aspects of cybersecurity. She also served as CIO and Chief Security Officer for the New York Power Authority, the largest state power organization in the country, where she was responsible for physical and cyber security. She also has previously served as a Sector Chief with FBI InfraGard. Lena is a founding partner of Cybersecurity at MIT Sloan, formerly the Interdisciplinary Consortium for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, which allows security leaders in academia and the private sector to collaborate on tackling the most challenging security issues.

When did you become interested in technology?

Well, where do I start?

I guess you could argue that my career started when I was 16 right after I left high school. I was working as an Office Junior at a Law Firm. From then on I had various different jobs including in Her Majesty’s Civil Service in the UK.

It wasn’t until I was about 21 that I really fell in love with technology. It was at this time that I bought my very own Amstrad 1640. It was a huge expense and it took me two whole years to save for it! I went on to teach myself how to use computers and had various bosses who saw my aptitude for self-learning and encouraged me to learn about technology, the internet, networks, etc.