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Wants more skilled women for the technology industry

Kaja Knoph Team Lead Resilience at Orange Cyberdefense Norway is one of the spokespersons for Orange Cyberdefense’s global initiative Women@OrangeCyberdefense. This initiative’s goal is to promote diversity and attract more women to Orange Cyberdefense – and the industry in general. Kaja herself is a good example of why this is a good idea, and how talented young women, in a male dominated industry, is being promoted and get a chance to build an exciting promising career.

Kaja started her career at orange Cyberdefense in 2020. Before she became a senior security advisor, specialized in crisis management and preparedness she worked as a team leader for Preparedness and Crisis Management, at Corange Cyberdefense Norway’s consultancy department, with responsibility for personnel follow-up, recruitment and service development.

Kaja is a highly skilled certified crisis manager (ISO 22361) and has worked on several different projects in Orange Cyberdefense in recent years within the area of Governance Risk and Compliance (GRC). This includes, among other things, BIA and risk management, establishment of a management system for information security and implementation of emergency drills. She is an excellent representative for the many young talented women at Orange Cyberdefense, and as a spokesperson for WOM’OrangeCyberdefense she is a very visible role model in the organization.

WOMEN@OrangeCyberdefense promote female role models

With the Women@OrangeCyberdefense initiative, the company seeks to highlight and strengthen the many female role models in the organization, through global collaboration, mentoring programs, and clarification of possible career paths, and it is Kaja’s hope that the initiative will lower the thresholds and contribute to more women finding their way to Orange Cyberdefense.

“The technology industry is still very male-dominated. Diversity is important – both in terms of gender, race, age, and experience. It is also important to provide equal opportunities and benefits based on actual skills and initiative”, she says.

Has had a lightning career in Orange Cyberdefense

The management of Orange Cyberdefense Norway believes that the balance between experienced heads and skilled graduates is the best recipe for creating an excellent and diverse team. In 2020, Kaja was one of those who came straight from school to Orange Cyberdefense.

Kaja studied at the IE School of Human Sciences & Technology in Madrid, where she completed a master's degree in cybersecurity. She excelled during her studies, among other things by ending up on the Dean's List for her high academic results and graduating as one of the two best students on the course.

She joined Orange Cyberdefense as a graduate in 2020 where she worked as a consultant in the Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC) department in Norway. Since then, she has also worked with network security, specialized in emergency preparedness, and was given the role of team leader - only two years after her appointment. And her career is far from having peeked yet.

“I like challenges and am very happy to have been able to make such a fast career in Orange Cyberdefense. I really enjoy the industry and think it's wonderful to be able to work with so many skilled women from all over the world with different capabilities, everything from ethical hackers and network specialists to administrative positions in HR and marketing”, she says.

Diversity is necessary for success

Kaja's role entails leading one of the company's teams in the Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC) department. In addition, she works closely with the market and the field, as she is also out on assignments with customers for part of the time. Among other things, this may involve carrying out emergency drills together with the rest of the team.

When you ask Kaja who her role model is, she points at the CEO of the entire Orange Group, Christel Heidelman, who has the overall responsibility for more than 136,000 employees worldwide. Orange Group is one of the biggest telecommunications operators in the world, present in 26 countries. The company has more than 287 million customers worldwide which generate 43.5 billion euros in sales.

“I strongly believe in diversity, and the fact that women get into leadership positions and onto boards provides a good balance. Diversity is a necessity for success, and statistically leads to increased productivity, better results, and lower turnover. I would like to see that I had even more female colleagues. Therefore, I hope that initiatives such as Women@OrangeCyberdefense contribute to increased interest and recruitment of talented women to our organization”, says Kaja.

Just the beginning

Orange Cyberdefense has a strong focus on diversity and works purposefully to attract the best female minds in the industry. In autumn 2022, Kaja and other women from all over Orange Cyberdefense went to Paris, where they received rhetoric training. This trip was a pilot project, initiated by the WOMEN@OrangeCyberdefense network, and it arose in the wake of an internal survey that mapped what the company's women wanted to improve on.

“We are still only at the beginning of this venture and much of the initial work has been about identifying areas where we can support and strengthen women in the organization. It turned out that many people in the survey expressed that they feel inhibited when speaking in front of people and see it as an obstacle to their career ladder”, says Kaja.

She emphasizes that this is just the beginning, and that more similar measures will be initiated in the future.

“To me it feels right to be part of this initiative and hopefully make a difference. I can't wait to be part of the change. And remember; it is when you dare to step outside your comfort zone you grow, concludes Kaja.

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