Deborah Golden

Principal, Deloitte US

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?

I’ve come to realize that there really aren’t “typical days.” Every day is an adventure, and it’s being in the middle of this creative (and sometimes chaotic) energy that drives and excites me!

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

There is a misnomer that many roles in cyber are “too technical” for women or that there is limited opportunity for growth. We’re working to change the narrative by increasing the recruitment and advancement of women and individuals with diverse skill sets, and adapting to the evolving needs of the marketplace. The more diverse the population, the better the ability to solve the issue at hand.

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

My personal journey of self-discovery throughout my career. The more that you learn about yourself, you begin to realize there is still so much to learn!

What's your superpower as a woman in cyber?

We all possess what I like to call “grit-factor” — which is about owning your story, reflecting on the past, and then using it to understand your purpose today (and tomorrow) through empowerment and empathy.

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

Each day has boulders to tackle that seem immovable at first — creatively challenging us to color outside the lines. It’s that desire to keep innovating and thinking big that inspires me and keeps me curious. Challenges offer us learning opportunities to make a difference, overcome obstacles, and shift our thinking.

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

I’m extremely proud of my many accomplishments throughout my career; however, it’s my current role as the Deloitte US Cyber & Strategic Risk leader that’s been the most defining moment of my career. Throughout the last three years, we set bold goals and have been executing during the most unprecedented time in history – together we are achieving what we never would have thought possible.

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

As I reflect about the titles that I gravitate toward most, it says a lot about my need for challenging content that pushes me outside of my comfort zone and highlights stories of resilience and overcoming which encourage me to think about situations differently and approach scenarios with various perspectives – learning from others’ journeys.

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

Cybersecurity has evolved massively over the past 20 years. One of the biggest changes is its ubiquity. It once was a fairly passive industry housed inside a silo, information technology department. Today, it’s an industry strewn with cyber-savvy businesses and consumers operating in a digital world outside of any physical boundaries, with unprecedented amounts of global data footprints, and cyberattacks are one of the most commercially common occurring events, making the playing field more complicated for both the attackers and the defenders.

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

One moment, one introduction, one lesson and/or one decision can completely change the course of your life — and that uncertainty (or curiosity) might just make you stronger if you lean into the moment.

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

There are so many amazing women in cyber today, but if I had to choose, it would be the young girls and women, our next generation of leaders, who are courageously charging toward changing the status quo.

Deborah (she/her) joined Deloitte over 25 years ago and currently serves as the US Cyber & Strategic Risk leader for the Risk & Financial Advisory practice at Deloitte & Touche LLP, as well as a member of the US Extended Leadership Team and previously of the US Board Council. In her role, Deb leads one of Deloitte’s largest growth and business transformation Offering Portfolios in the company’s 175-year history with over 8,000 professionals (across the U.S., India, and Israel) in an interdisciplinary Cyber, Extended Enterprise, Crisis & Resilience, and Strategy & Brand business.