Sera-Brynn is pleased to announce that its Executive Vice President Heather Engel was one of 15 women recognized this month for achievements in business and philanthropy. Inside Business has been honoring women in business in Hampton Roads for 13 years with its annual Woman Achievement Awards, acknowledging women who have made a significant impact on the community, within their industry and by helping lift up other women on the road to success.
Heather Engel joined the Sera-Brynn team in 2013, bringing with her more than 15 years of experience in risk and compliance, system integration, disaster recovery, security policy, and security testing and evaluation. She holds numerous industry certifications including a CISSP; as well as a Bachelor of Arts from the Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from Florida Institute of Technology.
“I try to simplify a complicated problem as much as possible — keeping information secure with the understanding that you have to be prepared for the inevitable,” Engel told Inside Business. “The key is understanding how much risk is acceptable, and that’s different in every situation.”
In five years, Engel said, “I’d love to see cybersecurity be less reactive and more of a proactive effort, and I’d like to change the way students think about education and job training. Cybersecurity professionals aren’t just programmers — there are software engineers, PR professionals, insurance specialists. This is a dynamic industry.”
Engel loves to teach but, she said, loves to learn even more.
“One of my favorite parts of the job is getting to see the inner workings of different industries,” Engel said. “Whether it’s construction or health care, government or manufacturing — working behind the scenes to understand our clients’ business means I’m constantly learning new things. I’ve also met so many smart people at every career stage – some have become mentors, some friends, and I love having the opportunity to work with and support other women who are at the top of their fields, and mentor those on their way up.”
Her advice to fellow men and women in business: “Trust your instinct. If you can listen to your intuition, it will rarely steer you wrong.”
Engel was joined by the following women in receiving the 2015 award:
- Cindy Black, Old Point National Bank
- Rhonda Bridgeman, Comfort Systems of Virginia Inc.
- Susan Drew, Clark Nexsen
- Elaine Hansen, Academics in a Box Inc.
- Maya Holihan, House of Maya Bridal
- Cindy Mackey, Mackey Ink and Otto Design + Marketing
- Cathy McQuade, York River Electric Inc.
- Gina Pitrone, Obici Healthcare Foundation
- Jan Proctor, City of Chesapeake
- Elena Scarbrough, Virginia National Guard
- Jean Siebert, Siebert Realty
- Addie Wright Thomason, Virginia Beach Community Development Corp. and Second Act Communities
- Diane Wallach, Selden Optometry
- Stella Waltz, JES Foundation Repair and KBH Management Systems