Elaine Ma

NIISA Tech Council Member

What does a typical day of work look like for you?

My days are full of energy – I’ll be like a perpetual motion machine on work days.

What aspects of your career journey have taken you by surprise?

That I’ve had wonderful relationships with all business partners as someone who gets social anxiety.

Tell us about the cyber project you're most proud of working on in your career.

I am most proud of my time as a security operations center team member supporting the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

How has public perception of cybersecurity changed over the course of your career, and how do you predict in the future?

80%, hand to hand with trends, then, always read trend analysis report and analysis, more reading and more understanding and learning.
Proposed rewrite: Public perception of cybersecurity has changed a lot, about 80% if I had to put a number to it. The shift goes hand in hand with how trends have evolved. More people are reading, understanding and learning about the importance of cybersecurity.

Tell us about your first job (can be anything!) and one lesson you might have learned from it.

In my first job as a website developer, I learned about the importance of collaboration and alignment. I used to work without much communication, like the designer that I am, but it’s important to communicate and stay in alignment with your manager before and throughout the projects.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give your younger self about getting started in cyber?

I’d tell myself to use data smartly to do the report I mean BI for early analysis and got more intelligence of all relevant information and can do forecast to business and management. Proposed rewrite: I’d tell myself to create business intelligence reports earlier to help our business and management teams forecast opportunities or risks.

Tell us about a role model or mentor who has helped shape your career.


A meeting gets canceled and you have a surprise 30 minute window of free time — how do you spend it?

I’d use that time to catch up with business teams.

What are the ways you stay grounded and take care of yourself?

I’m always learning and thinking.

When you think about your personal legacy as a leader, what do you hope people will remember?

That kindness is the strongest power in life.