Megan Brister

Partner, Deloitte Canada

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?

It’s focused on clients — understanding the challenges they face and the value they’re trying to bring to citizens.

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

That women in cyber are less technical and need to have cybersecurity concepts “dumbed down” for us.

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

I’ve had a chance to work in a variety of cybersecurity domains (from strategy to operations) and in different roles (from industry to government to consulting). I am continuously surprised by the innovation I see in cyber thinking.

What's your superpower as a woman in cyber?

Bringing amazing women in cyber together to do great things.

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

The pandemic caused many women to rethink their careers as they struggled with work-life balance. The most challenging part of my job is creating an environment where female leaders and practitioners can thrive.

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

We led the cybersecurity stream of the vaccine supply chain platform for the Canadian Government. This was the platform to acquire vaccines from around the world and get them to Canadians. We completed the cybersecurity work in a matter of weeks to ensure there was nothing preventing the platform from going live — the fastest security review and implementation in the Government of Canada to date. We were proud to work on a project that helped put an end to the pandemic.

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

We were fortunate to have author Jonathan Fields speak to our partners recently. Fields wrote “Sparked,” which explains how to figure out what about your work makes you come alive and fills you with joy.

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

When I started in cyber, the CISO was the person who told you “no.” Cyber has come a long way throughout my 20-year career to become an enabler of creativity that adds to the value of the organization.

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

Find your crew: This is the cohort of amazing women in leadership who you can go to for advice, count on for support, with whom you commiserate, strategize and have a lot of fun.

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

I work with two amazing cyber leaders in the Government of Canada: Po Tea-Duncan and Caroline Cameron. Both are advocates for cybersecurity, defining the next generation of cyber capabilities, and they are fierce advocates for women working in cyber.

Megan Brister is a partner serving the Federal Government and responsible for Deloitte’s work with Government’s central agencies and departments. With a background in cyber security and technology, Megan is passionate about enabling digital government and securing citizen services.