SAY first introduced you to Bonnie Butlin in our Winter 2018 issue when it was announced that Butlin (member of the Métis Nation of Ontario, Canada) was a finalist for the Women in IT Awards 2018 – “Global Leader of the Year” and a recipient of the “Women of the Decade Award” which was presented at the 2018 Women Economic Forum (WEF) in Birmingham, UK, in June of this year.
Deemed “Canada’s First Lady of Security” by SecurityInfoWatch back in 2015 and most recently in SOVEREIGN Magazine, Butlin continues to make her mark on the world of security (a largely male-dominated field) through her exemplary leadership and determination. Butlin’s reputation in the security sector continues to catch the attention of prominent media outlets. She was just named a Top Influencer in SC Magazine’s Women in IT Security 2018, and Butlin’s showing no signs of slowing down.
In March 2018 and in honour of International Women’s Day, Butlin announced the official launch of the African Women in Security Network (AFSWN). The purpose of the AFWSN is to encourage the advancement and capacity of women involved in all aspects of the African security sector through the exchange of information and the cultivation of productive relationships. Butlin, along with numerous female security professionals from across Africa, continue to work diligently to establish this network, including the development of a governing Council. Other participating groups and associations that served as inspiration for the AFSWN include the Australian Women in Security Network, the Women’s Security Society, Women in Security and Privacy, and the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu, to name only a few.
After The Women Economic Forum in Birmingham, Butlin was invited to speak at the Economic Club of Canada on June 25th, the leading speaking platform in Canada – a platform typically reserved for senior politicians and notable dignitaries. She also recently wrote the feature editorial for the upcoming special “Women in Cybersecurity” edition of the Cybersecurity Journal and is currently drafting a book review for The Security Journal, the leading peer-reviewed publication in the security field.
Cybersecurity services are growing in Canada and one of the biggest challenges the industry and the Canadian Government faces is finding effective staffing. For soonto-be university or college graduates who are interested in the security disciplines (including cyber security), Butlin recommends being prepared to keep learning after graduation and to learn from experienced security professionals; to stay imaginative and persistent since security will change quickly and will take unexpected directions; and to support each other and promote excellence in order to enhance everyone’s capacity as security professionals in a balanced and interconnected way.
Butlin truly walks the talk as she continues to educate herself by working towards the completion of a Micro-Master’s programme in International Law from the Université Catholique de Louvain.