Black Girls in Cyber EXCL ...
    25 March 22

    Black Girls in Cyber EXCLUSIVE

    Posted byINE

    Women’s History Month continues and so does our recognition of the great accomplishments of women in the technical space. As you may have heard, INE partnered with Black Girls in Cyber (BGiC) to support women of color and their efforts to be better represented and appreciated in cyber security. In this blog, we’re recapping our exclusive meeting with two key members of BGiC and exploring their ideas for progress in the workplace.

    On March 8, we hosted an INE Live session with INE’s own Kathryn Brown and Chrystal Sills, as well as BGiC guest speakers Talya Parker, Founder and Executive Director, and Akilah Tunsil, Co-Director. During this session, we dove into the challenges women, particularly women of color, face in cyber security as well as the opportunities that exist.

    Solving Problems with BGiC
    BGiC was founded in 2020 after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. When asked what led her to start the organization, Talya said, “Being in such an isolated state…forced a lot of us to look at what was happening out in the world.” In particular, the women of BGiC looked at what was happening in the corporate world.

    “I think we have a tendency to really tell our girls to lean towards service type roles like nursing or teachers and such, which is great because we need great people in all industries, but the truth is, women are really great at math and technology as well,” Akilah said. “When you grow up in a society where people have tunnel vision, you’ll have tunnel vision too and not know about other things that exist in the world…I think that’s the beginning of how you change it. You have to start from the grassroots and change the culture. Right now, it’s a cultural issue and you have to change the culture first.”

    But how does BGiC help with creating a solution to this long standing problem? When Talya spoke on how her experience with BGiC evolved after she became a mother, she said “The biggest challenge for me in my career was how to speak up, and even risking retaliation. What changed things for me was when I became a mother.”She followed this by saying “Now I have a daughter watching me, and I quickly learned how to advocate for myself and speak up for myself. I wanted to create a better working world for my daughter and be an example of how people should treat her as she navigates the landscape.” 

    The switch to a primarily virtual work environment cast a much-needed light on the faces and voices that make up organizations. “We were logging into video chats, and while we always knew there was a diversity gap, you get a different visual perspective when you’re online,” Talya said. “Immediately I wanted to do something about that. Let's start by sharing what these opportunities are.” And so BGiC was born.

    Why it Matters
    One of the challenges of being a woman of color in the tech space is the lack of representation and respect. Akilah elaborated on this, stating “It helps to spread awareness of a very lucrative industry where black people or black women are not traditionally exposed to…BGIC is on a mission to change that reality…and it helps to change the narrative, change the way we see ourselves and hopefully make some deeper changes when it comes to socioeconomic conditions when it comes to disenfranchised people.”

    Diversity in experience is important in solving corporate, and societal, challenges. Akilah said, “You need people from all walks of life to solve different problems, so it’s a win-win for everybody.” Inclusivity is a matter of societal improvement that is about much more than just meeting a quota. It’s about bringing challenges that can make a difference in peoples’ lives to the table, talking about them, and taking action to improve the situation. 

    Women in tech face several adversities beyond gender discrimination and it’s important to address those challenges from all sides as explained by INE's Chrystal Sills.

    Another key topic highlighted during the stream was why race is part of the discussion instead of simply discussing gender. “It’s not because we woke up one day and decided we wanted to play the race card. The numbers don’t lie and the fact is we are the minority,” Talya said. 

    “I have been in this space for 10 years and I’m always the only black woman in the room. It’s my experience lived…I know many black women who are very credentialed who have all the skills and letters of the alphabet behind their name but they still struggle with getting the job and promotion and advancement. What they lack are the opportunities for sponsorship and mentorship and growth,” Talya added.

    “It’s not to say someone is a bad guy or someone is doing something wrong,” she continued. “It’s a matter of looking at what the current landscape is and what are the opportunities to take a different approach and make positive changes for inclusivity.”

    In honor of the new partnership and recognition of Women’s History Month, INE committed to donating a portion of the total sales to BGiC in the month of March. If you want to be more involved in the BGiC mission, you can visit their website and volunteer or become an ally to women of all backgrounds in your own community and organization.

    About Black Girls in Cyber
    Black Girls in Cyber (BGiC) works to create industry awareness and diversity in cyber security, promoting women of color and helping them to develop the skills and confidence needed to succeed in tech. BGiC offers a unique community experience and hosts several events to provide insight to the issue of limited diversity and inclusion in several corporate areas, as well as the potential for growth and career advancement.

    About INE
    INE is the premier provider of technical training for the IT industry. INE is revolutionizing the digital learning industry through the implementation of adaptive technologies and a proven method of hands-on training experiences. Our portfolio of training is built for all levels of technical learning, specializing in advanced networking technologies, next generation security and infrastructure programming and development. Want to talk to a training advisor about our course offerings and training plans? Give us a call at 877-224-8987 or email us at

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