Jay Hira

A Leading Voice in Cyber Security and a Transformational Leader for the Up-and-Coming Generation

Jay Hira is globally recognised as a leading voice of cyber security. Jay considers himself a lifelong learner and advocates for diversity and collaboration to fuel innovation, which supports solving the complex cyber security puzzle.

Jay is currently operating as a Cyber Security Strategy and Transformation Director. He supports financial services organizations to become more cyber resilient by adopting the Zero Trust principles to build trust and attract more customers, enabling growth.

Cyber security was a natural fit, due to the constant flux of change, the need to adapt quickly, the continuous learning, and ultimately the need for change in the industry to support innovation. Jay describes cybersecurity as a game of chess, only more complex and with more players. The key to success in chess is to protect the central piece. Similarly, cyber security involves protecting data and intellectual property with layers of protection with complementary functions.

Jay firmly believes that industry and cross-industry collaboration needs to be incentivised by policymakers and regulators to enforce a safer ecosystem. In the absence of that, we’re fighting an unfair fight protecting our own silos while the threat actors continue to collaborate and innovate at a much faster pace.

Jay cares deeply about effecting change in the workplace. He has been very strategic and proactive with his career moves, seeking opportunities to broaden his skill set. The more he learns, the more he shares; this has made him a leading voice in cyber security.

Jay advocates for DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) and employee wellbeing. Jay’s reputation for creating high-performance teams, and an inclusive environment that celebrates each team member for their contributions, is unmatched. One of the most essential ingredients for any successful business is the culture of inclusiveness, where every employee feels that they belong and are comfortable expressing themselves. Jay believes that building this inclusive culture and equality regardless of gender, orientation, appearance, socioeconomic status, color, and our respective cultures is up to each of us.

Jay’s DEI work is very focused on

  1. Leveraging simple analogies and stories to make cyber security simple and
  2. Working with educators to support a smoother transition of students from Universities into the cyber security workforce.

Jay is inspiring and empowering the next generation of professionals through his leadership. He finds his inspiration from his parents and his mentors. His dad taught him courage, endurance, and to always have a big picture perspective on life. He learned the importance of kindness, nurturing relationships, and not only dreaming big but also putting in the work to make them a reality, from his mum.

Jay is constantly pushing to encourage STEM education in schools and bring more diversity into the cyber security workforce. He explains that there is a need to educate the next generation of cyber heroes, as young as five, on the good and bad actors of the cyber world. He feels strongly that we must teach them simple tips on protecting their identity from cyber villains such as bullies, scammers and fakers. When we teach our youngsters to protect themselves and advocate for others, we teach them to become leaders.

Jay is focused on creating a generation of leaders in cyber security. He explains that leadership to him is practice. Leaders are developed through diverse experience, the ability to make mistakes, and the grace of a supportive environment to learn from them. Jay works diligently to bring teams together and help them overcome obstacles. He says that this is the core responsibility of a leader. Jay believes that a leader’s success is measured through their ability to empower, mentor, and coach the next generation of leaders.

Jay co-created the Sandbox for Education program, where Uni students get an opportunity to co-design solutions alongside cyber security practitioners for relevant industry problems. The course provides students with practical tips on thinking quickly on their feet and supports their smoother transition from University into the cyber security workforce.

Jay has taken this a step further with his non-profit, MakeCyberSimple, which aims to do the following:

  • Provide education and opportunities for young people interested in pursuing a career in cyber security.
  • Support Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) in their efforts to get the basics right in terms of cyber hygiene.
  • Be a conduit between students who want to solve cyber security challenges and SMBs, those that can’t afford the full-time staff or consultants but still need support with getting the basics of security right.
  • Work with schools and teach kids how to stay cyber safe.

The first step in achieving your goals is believing that you can. With this non-profit and its programs, Jay is putting his words into action. Through training, opportunities, and a strong focus on wellness, he is empowering professionals to build careers they’re proud of and do so sustainably.

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