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Carmen Marsh Selected as SynED’s Cyber Hero for Empowering Women in Cybersecurity and Career Technical Education

SynED, a national non-profit organization that identifies emerging best practices for effective articulation between employers, job seekers, and education providers, announced that Carmen Marsh was selected as its national Cyber Hero for January.

Marsh is the CEO and co-founder of Intelligenca, a consulting company that does everything from leadership coaching to cyber risk managed plans and audits to enterprise agile transformation. The organization helps business and technology leaders tackle complex problems and achieve both short and long-term goals.

Along the way, she developed an interest in cybersecurity and took it upon herself to seek out training opportunities — laying the foundation for the career and technical education (CTE) she has continued to promote throughout her career.

“Before I began my career in technology, I was curious about how every single part of hardware and software fit together in a computer system, so I signed up for classes in San Jose,” Marsh said. “There was always a part of me that loved learning about how things worked, and that included computers.”

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In 2019, Marsh launched the 100 Women in 100 Days Cybersecurity Career Accelerator, a program that develops security experts for the companies across the world that need to fill their open positions with skilled professionals. This program provides women with free education, hand-on experience, and accreditation needed to obtain the top industry certifications.

The decision to start the program came about after Marsh spent years speaking at conferences about the lack of gender diversity and skilled talent in cybersecurity. She decided to turn her words into action and create opportunities for women around the world. The program is funded by the Craig Newmark Philanthropies and the City of Sacramento through its Sacramento Urban Technology Lab (SUTL) and Greater Sacramento Urban League (GSUL) initiatives.

“It was truly a pivotal moment for me when I took the first step in creating a program focused on accelerating education for women interested in cybersecurity,” Marsh said. “It was about seven months from the time I announced my idea to when the program began, during which I had to develop the curriculum, recruit students and find funding to sponsor the program.”

Marsh describes 100 Women in 100 Days as a way to turn her energy toward creating opportunities for a new generation of digital warriors. Participants receive free education, hands-on experience and the accreditation needed to obtain top industry certifications. Participating companies receive first preference in hiring the program’s graduates — a win-win for everyone involved.

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“I am proud of being able to create a conducive environment for women to learn in. Many of our students love to learn, collaborate, practice, and share learning tips … all that in the company of other women,” Marsh said. “The power of sisterhood is incredible.”

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Adam Benson, senior vice president and cybersecurity lead at Vrge Strategies, met Marsh in 2018 and was immediately taken by her drive and dedication to advancing women in cybersecurity and CTE.

“Carmen’s vision goes far beyond bringing more women into cybersecurity, or creating more cybersecurity workers in a field desperately needing talent, or making re-training available to people who might not be able to afford such a transition,” Benson said. “One could say she’s working to build an army of security workers, but she is simultaneously working to create an environment in which they can be celebrated and appreciated. Carmen’s interested in more than just the army; she wants to build a community.”

Matthew Rosenquist, chief information security officer at Eclipz called Marsh a “beacon of light” who attracts the best people to the cybersecurity industry.

“She brings together and amplifies the efforts to build cybersecurity communities and her initiatives, energy, and positivity glow so brightly they cannot be ignored,” “Because of Carmen, the Sacramento area is blossoming with cybersecurity collaboration, communication and a growing pool of skilled talent.”

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Michael W. Reese, president and CEO of Found IT Data Cybersecurity, has worked with Marsh for the past five years on 100 Women in 100 Days and other projects and continues to be impressed by her abilities as a leader.

Her willingness to support our communities, her commitment and leadership to the cybersecurity industry makes her invaluable to the cybersecurity field,” Reese said. “She is selfless, faithful and always reliable.”

Despite everything on her plate, Marsh said the students she has the privilege to work with always serve as an inspiration when things become difficult.

“They inspire me every day with their drive to succeed and going miles to follow the paths we developed for them,” Marsh said. “They remind me of why I do what I do.”

Moving forward, Marsh looks forward to working with organizations like Ignite Worldwide, CyberHER and SynED to continue inspiring women and girls to pursue careers in cybersecurity. She stresses that it’s important to spark their interest as early as possible so it can grow organically into a lifelong passion as it has for her.

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