3 Questions To ... Annabel Jamieson Edwards

In our 3 Questions To series we introduce women working in defence and security. First up is Annabel Jamieson Edwards, Cyber Reconnaissance Team Lead at Accenture and expert speaker at our recent WIIS UK October social on cyber security and policy.

Annabel speaking at Code Blue in Tokyo.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently transitioning to a totally new role within the cyber security field, moving away from Cyber Threat Intelligence towards more traditional Cyber Security Consulting. I’ve been offered the opportunity to build out a new offering for Accenture Security in the UK & Ireland, which relates to providing clients with cyber advisory services relating to their maturity and resiliency with regards to cyber defense. It’s exciting to have this new challenge to develop and deliver a brand new service, but I’ll miss the intelligence collection and analysis side of the my previous role. I’m hoping to get involved with some local think tanks or academic institutions that would allow me to continue to contribute in the cyber intelligence field outside of work hours.

What are the opportunities and challenges of working in your field?

Working at a huge company like Accenture Security comes with so many opportunities that they can almost become challenges! You’re afforded the ability to travel, grow and develop your professional skills, and encouraged to be involved with extra-curricular activities on top. As someone that loves learning and trying new things, I sometimes feel a bit like a kid in a sweet shop. Over the past six months I’ve had to take a step back from some of the initiatives I was involved with because I was at risk or 1) burning out and 2) not delivering to a standard that I would demand of myself. This has actually given me the opportunity to pass on some of my responsibilities to more junior team members or some of my mentees. It’s also made me realise that, whilst it’s important to be generous with your time, you also have to be selective with your commitments.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Like many others, I suffer from imposter syndrome, regularly feeling out of place or under-qualified when it comes to work. According to my parents, this is something I suffered from even as a young child, not believing I was good enough to participate in things like ballet or achieve at school exams. I think this fear of being perceived as an outsider has held me back unnecessarily at certain points in my life. I’d tell my younger self “you got this!” and that if you put in the time and effort and set your mind to achieve something, fear of failure shouldn’t hold you back! (P.S, this totally sounds like something from an Oprah Winfrey Self Help book!)

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