Being Your Authentic Self

I’m very honoured to have been selected as one of WXN’s Top 100 Winners for 2018 — and with such illustrious company! To my fellow winners, a heartfelt congratulations. To members of WXN and beyond, a sincere thank you for your support and encouragement throughout the years. While I accept this award graciously, I recognize that we all contribute to each other’s success.

There are ample stories I could share of my professional journey, some funny, some not so humorous, and certainly a boatload of advice. But the one piece of guidance I would like to share is the notion of being your authentic self and finding the passion that drives you.

For me, my passion has always been technology. As a young girl, my mother encouraged me to enter what was then a male-dominated field of study, because I had a genuine curiosity and spark about how things connected in our world, how technology worked to make our lives simpler and faster. Now, with over 35 years of technology and management experience behind me, I recognize that that was the pivotal moment in my life – when someone saw my passion and encouraged me to move forward regardless of what obstacles were present.

As a senior executive, I now have a responsibility to provide the same level of encouragement, inspiration and support to young people looking to own their passion — hopefully in the cyber security space! Having said that, I encourage young people who have a flair for technology to get into cyber security, right now. Companies worldwide are facing a serious talent shortage when it comes to cyber professionals, with more than 1.5 million people needed in this industry by 2020, according to the Information and Communication Technology Council. Currently, women represent only 20 percent of that statistic, so I believe that there is tremendous opportunity for young women in this industry.

I do believe that following your passion and living your authentic self leads to success. We have 100 women [in 2018] who are living proof of that.

Thank you again for this incredible recognition.

Laurie Pezzente, Senior Vice President & Chief Security Officer, Global Cyber Security for Royal Bank of Canada, is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in the HSBC Corporate Executives Category for 2018. She has been recognized for her senior position in a Canadian public company.

Do you know a woman in a senior position in Canada in a publicly-traded or privately owned company who deserves to be recognized for her achievements? Are you a female corporate executive? Click here to nominate today! It’s free! Deadline to nominate is June 17.

Looking for more information about Top 100? Visit our website to learn all about the awards!

 


About Laurie:

Laurie Pezzente is Senior Vice President & Chief Security Officer, Global Cyber Security for Royal Bank of Canada.

Pezzente, Laurie portrait

2018 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner
HSBC Corporate Executives

Laurie Pezzente leads the Global Cyber Security team as SVP and CSO. In partnership with the organization’s executive leadership teams, she directs the development of effective cyber strategies to assess and mitigate risk globally, manage crises and incidents, maintain continuity of operations, and safeguard the organization. She is responsible for deploying state-of-the-art technology solutions and innovative security management techniques to protect RBC, employee and client data, while ensuring appropriate protections are in place to maintain compliance with regulatory and policy requirements.

Laurie represents the bank’s position on cyber security and risk management to the Board, senior executives, customers, external partners, and government agencies. She is accountable for information security risk and global security operations, including incident response, and operational risk management across the technology & operations portfolio, and ultimately, for building RBC’s resiliency and protection against cyber-attacks.

Laurie Pezzente is an IT professional with over 25 years of IT experience, managing budgets in excess of $500 MM, with a solid track record of building strong relationships, encouraging creativity and excellence. Laurie has extensive experience in IT application development, Information Security, IT GRC and process improvement.

As a former CISO at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Laurie was responsible for IT risk, policy and standard design, implementation and governance for Enterprise IT security. As a senior executive, Laurie represented the banks security position to the Board, senior executive leaders and external government agencies on issues regarding IT security and overall IT risk management. She was responsible for assessing overall security risk, developing strategies and leading programs to mitigate specific areas of vulnerability, and providing risk assessment of 3rd party activities with significant IT components. Laurie is recognized as a thought leader in IT GRC with execution expertise in Information Security, SOX, Disaster Recovery, IT Governance and Technology standards.

Laurie lives in Oakville with her husband and two sons.

No Greater Force on Earth than Passionate Intent

I loved school. And fell in love with history. As a kid, and later a university undergraduate and graduate student I read chapter after chapter of the lives of great people who shaped us.

But so often voices were missing. For centuries women really didn’t get noticed…didn’t get written about….rarely appeared at all and when they did it was in supporting roles or cameos.

We’re living in a new era where we are noticed, are heard and are celebrated – not despite the fact that we’re women but because of it. It isn’t right, or fair to the amazing women that preceded us that this is a new era, but the point is that we’ve arrived.

I was beyond moved and in awe when I found out the company I get to keep with the other 99 powerhouse women receiving recognition this year, and the hundreds before them in years past. I am so appreciative that women have moved out of the margins of history onto, literally centre stage.

But the true power of the group that’s assembled through this award isn’t who we are as individuals, it’s what we represent as a collective. There is no greater force on earth than passionate intent. If we all collectively support and celebrate the accomplishments of women – in all of our diverse forms – not only will women rise, but we as a society will be better off.

The number of powerful positions out there may be finite. But power is not. I look forward to seeing what this group of women and the many around us do to plug in and use our positions of influence to affect positive change for years to come.

Sevaun Palvetzian, one of Canada’s leading experts in civic action, is a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner in the RBC Champions Category for 2018. She has been honoured because of the describable difference she has made to the advancement of women in the workplace.

On November 21, 2019, we will honour new women in the RBC Champions category. Click here to learn more about Top 100, as we celebrate these exceptional women. And don’t forget in 2020 to nominate a powerful female or even yourself!

 


About Sevaun:

Sevaun Palvetzian is Chief Executive Officer for CivicAction.

Palvetzian, Sevaun portrait

2018 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner
RBC Champions

One of Canada’s leading experts on civic engagement, Sevaun Palvetzian has been CEO of CivicAction since January 2014. Under her leadership, CivicAction has focused on building inclusive cities with the launch of the CivicAction Leadership Foundation to change the face of leadership in our region and initiatives focused on youth unemployment and mental health in the workplace which level the playing field of opportunity and access. Throughout her career, Sevaun has advocated for new voices at the tables of influence including championing the next generation of leaders. During a decade of senior executive leadership within the Ontario Government she launched a strategy to attract and retain future generations of leaders which included the award-winning Learn and Work Program for at-risk youth and lead the team responsible for the new Trillium Park at Ontario Place. She has also held positions at the University of Toronto, the World Bank Group, and Presidential Classroom – a civic education organization in Washington DC.

A voice of influence and advocacy on many urban issues, Sevaun is frequently called on for print, radio and TV commentary.  She’s active in a range of community roles including serving as a member of the Premier’s Community Hubs Advisory Group, the Toronto Police Service Board Transformational Task Force, and as a member of Mayor John Tory’s Advisory Panel for International Hosting Opportunities. She sits on the Board of Directors for the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, NPower Canada, Waterfront Toronto, and is a member of the Ivey Business School Leadership Council. She has an M.A in history from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed executive programs at the Ivey School of Business and Harvard School of Business.