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Acquired knowledge and built up a network in Paris

Through the WOMEN@OrangeCyberdefense initiative, Kamilla Sørmo and Katrine Krogedal were able to participate in an educational gathering in Paris, together with some of the organization's most talented female employees. An experience that has been very valuable for the young women at many levels.

Orange Cyberdefense, which is Europe's leading provider of cyber security services, has created a global network called WOMEN@OrangeCyberdefense. This is an open forum for all women in the company. The purpose is to highlight and strengthen the many talented women who work in all parts and at all levels in the organization. Through global cooperation, networking, and mentoring programs, among other things, they will promote concepts such as equality, diversity, and inclusion.

Katrine Krogedal is Team Lead in the GRC department in Orange Cyberdefense Norway. Together with her colleague Kamilla Sørmo, who works with Inside Sales in the company, she recently attended a gathering in France as part of WOMEN@OrangeCyberdefense.

“At the end of September 2023, we traveled to Paris to carry out Impactful communication training together with women from Orange Cyberdefense in other European countries. There we gained valuable knowledge that is of direct use in our working day, as well as making connections with our female colleagues abroad”, says Katrine.

Knowledge and icebreaking

Last year, Orange Cyberdefense carried out an internal survey to map what the women in the organization wanted to improve on. Here it emerged that many feel inhibited when speaking in front of others and see it as an obstacle in their career. This year's gathering in Paris was part of the effort to accommodate this.

“Impactful communication training is about getting some tools to improve communication with an audience. For example, we did some exercises where we had to focus on our body language when we communicated and had to present something in front of other participants. Part of the key was practicing relaxation and finding the balance, or zero point, in the body. It turned out to be very effective”, explains Kamilla Sørmo.

The exercises were led by people from the theater industry, who know how to communicate and perform in front of an audience. Naturally, it also involved certain elements of acting.

“In such practical exercises you must give yourself a lot. And it's a very effective icebreaker, so you quickly get to know each other along the way. Part of the purpose of WOMEN@OrangeCyberdefense is to build networks between women within the company, so it had a function”, she says.

Inspiring rolemodels

The gathering in Paris is just one of several initiatives that Kamilla and Katrine will participate in through WOMEN@orangeCyberdefense.

“There are several events and initiatives throughout the year, both locally here in Norway and abroad. Among other things, we will have conversations with the company's global Talent Manager and HR Manager, among other things, to get follow-up and discuss career development. Kaja Narum, who, was interim Managing Director at Orange Cyberdefense Norway in 2023, has also given several inspirational talks about diversity and talent development at different physical events and via Teams”, says Katrine.

The fact that Kaja Narum took over the leadership role in the company in 2023 was a great inspiration for many young women in the organization.

“It has been very inspiring to see Kaja and so many other women in important leadership positions in the company. There are so many who have done well, and it is very inspiring to hear about their journey and how they got to where they are today. And not least, women in management positions are great role models. They send a strong signal to other women – both for us who work here, and for other women who may be considering a career in the industry”, says Kamilla.

We must highlight the women in the industry

The inspiration from seeing other women succeed as managers is something that Kamilla and Katrine believe is necessary. Many believe that the IT & cyber security industry mainly consists of men, and that companies such as Orange Cyberdefense are therefore not for them. According to Kamilla and Katrine this is not true –actually they believe that it’s a completely wrong perception.

“In the purely technical roles, you can see that there is still a preponderance of men. But in other departments in the company, the gender balance is actually very good. Especially during the last couple of years, more women have opened their eyes to the industry and the opportunities that exist here. Orange Cyberdefense has a strong focus on women in its recruitment work, which has really paid off”, says Katrine.

Kamilla adds that there is still a way to go before the industry in general, will succeed in attracting as many women as men. And she has some thoughts on what it will take to get there.

“The strongest tool we have is probably to highlight all the talented women who work here. We must be present and visible at various professional forums, visit educational institutions and introduce ourselves at career fairs. And not least we must show that Orange Cyberdefense really dares to on women, including through initiatives such as WOMEN@Orangecyberdefense, she concludes.

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