Po Tea-Duncan

Executive Director of Cyber Security, Government of 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?

Work hard, play hard. I spend a lot of time in meetings, collaborating and supporting government stakeholders. But it’s also great to end the week decompressing and spending time with my amazing team.

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

Women are inferior to men in cybersecurity abilities. This is #fakenews!

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

The opportunity to gain hands-on experience in IT/IT Security as well as travel the world to support our Canadian embassies abroad. This experience has enabled me to succeed in my current role within a central agency, setting direction that helps to improve the government’s cybersecurity posture at large.

What's your superpower as a woman in cyber?

Pragmatic Problem Solver.

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

Addressing the cyber talent shortage is a challenge not only within the government, but also in Canada.

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

Delivering COVID Alert App quickly whilst demonstrating security, privacy and innovation to support Canada.

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

There are a lot of free cybersecurity resources available on the internet. I recommend reading the great material from organizations such as the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

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

The importance of diversity in cybersecurity! Establishing a multi-disciplinary organization that embraces change and diversity is needed now and in the future. Diverse cybersecurity teams are able to tackle issues with consideration of different aspects of a problem and are better able to apply a risk-based approach that balances business needs and are able to pivot quickly as the threat and technology landscape evolves.

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

Cybersecurity is a dynamic environment and requires a lifetime of continuous learning.

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

Jen Easterly, Katie Moussouris, and of course Tanya Janca – a fellow Canadian who has made a huge impact on application security.