Christine Pelione

Cybersecurity Strategic Planning Manager, General Motors

Cyberattacks are the number one business risk in most of the world, according to a 2022 study from the World Economic Forum. Not all cyber threats are alike, and diverse problems require diverse solutions. Yet, the cyber industry is predominantly led by men. How can we solve this significant threat to the business world with only half of the population? Fortunately, the women who make up that percentage are some of the fiercest in the greater technology industry. In this series, The Female Quotient and Deloitte are putting a spotlight on 25 women at the forefront of the cyber revolution, amplifying their career advice and sharing their insights on how the industry will evolve in the future. Their stories are proof that behind every functioning society is a woman in cyber.

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

A typical day might include finding opportunities to increase cyber awareness through collaboration, strategizing, putting thoughts to paper, teaching, sharing, and, most importantly, finding ways to connect with others.

What's a common misconception about women in cyber you'd like to debunk?

We’ve come a long way in elevating diversity of thought and highlighting the richness of inclusive viewpoints. Skills can be taught and matured. What’s important is what’s inside: passion, aptitude, and potential.

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

My journey is not a typical one as I don’t have a security background or IT experience. On paper, I’m not sure I would even qualify for my current role, but my desire to ask why and my inability to say no provided me with opportunities to elevate the importance of cybersecurity and help find its place among innovation, development, and business strategies.

What's your superpower as a woman in cyber?

Making cybersecurity relevant and attainable.

What's the most challenging component of your job today?

Finding the middle and working through competing priorities between security and innovation, risk and appetite, and protocols and usability. These challenges, however, are opportunities for open dialogue and the chance to achieve a deeper understanding.

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

Making cyber simple and actionable. I’m grateful to have the ability to partner with leaders across the industry to increase the reach and depth of cybersecurity awareness by making it personal.

What's one must read, watch or listen for women wanting to work in cyber?

The Rise of the Cyber Women by Lisa Ventura

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

There continues to be a lack of prioritizing cybersecurity practices typically because it takes time to implement. Oftentimes, I overhear people talk of reusing the same, easy password, deferring security updates, or not worrying about how and where data is being shared. In the future, I don’t see a slowdown in society’s dependence upon connected technology.

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

Rise above your fears and welcome change. Keep the end goal in mind and bring others up with you.

Who are some women working in cyber today that you admire?

Kiersten Todt, the Chief of Staff at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Her kindness, authenticity, passion, knowledge, business acumen and quest to bring thought leaders across differing industries together while carving out time to mentor and connect with others is a gold standard in my book.

Christine is the Strategic Planning Manager for GM Cybersecurity, which encompasses enterprise IT, manufacturing OT and product cybersecurity functions across GM, GM Financial, BrightDrop and Cruise. She is responsible for leading cybersecurity and corporate functions to elevate a holistic, enterprise-wide view of cyber risk and maturation; to integrate corporate cybersecurity strategies and processes; to identify and nurture collaborative engagements strengthening cybersecurity capabilities; to drive individual, corporate and industry cybersecurity culture; and to govern corporate business response and recovery efforts. Christine also serves as the Vice Chair of the Auto-ISAC’s Education and Training Standing Committee and as a contributing member for the Cyber Readiness Institute.