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For this month’s employee spotlight, we spoke with Cindy vanBree who has been with Pondurance for over five years. She was recently featured in PCI Security Standards Council in their Inspiring Women in Payments series. She shares about thriving in an environment of excellence and teamwork as well as challenges she has overcome in the technology industry. You don’t want to miss her advice and insights including why you should avoid the bus! 

What is a typical day like for you as a Senior Security Consultant?

I spend my days interviewing clients and testing security controls for a variety of security frameworks. And writing reports, of course!

What led you to your career choice?

I came into the payments industry as a second career. I started in information security and technology in the Defense Aerospace sector over 30 years ago, focused on U.S. national information security regulations compliance. I had retired after a long corporate career, but I was not finished working! The idea of consulting — and working outside of the defense sector — was very intriguing.  

What is your proudest accomplishment in your career to date?

I have had a lot of highlights in my career, including becoming a James S. Cogswell Outstanding Industrial Security Achievement Award winner for establishing and maintaining a security program that goes well beyond the minimum NISP requirements and providing leadership to other cleared facilities to set high standards for security. As well as being recognized by U.S. agency heads for contributions to national security. But my proudest accomplishment has to be my transition from an industrial security executive to a security consultant outside of the defense sector. I believed the key to success would be obtaining industry certifications, so after retiring I immediately set about studying for both the CISSP and CISA.  I sat for the CISSP exam in one month and the CISA the next — and passed!  

What advice have you been given that stuck with you?

As a young professional, I remember my dear father telling me “don’t get on the bus.” As a sales engineer, sales conferences would routinely arrange for participants’ wives to be bussed to shopping venues or go sightseeing while the men congregated to network (play golf) or discuss business interests. In telling me to not “get on the bus,” my father was advising me to stay in the company of those whose interests were in line with my own, rather than choosing a social norm. In today’s context, that might mean hanging out in the computer lab or SOC, or spending extra time talking to someone about a particular technology you are interested in.    

What advice would you give to other women who are looking to enter the technology field?

I would tell other women that you can achieve success in whatever you put your mind to, whether it’s entering a technology field early or making a late career transition. Show up, do your best, and be kind to yourself if you occasionally fall short. If you keep at it, you will fall short less often.

Position yourself for learning opportunities by stepping out of your comfort zone and be willing to take some risk. Form a network of people with whom you can share ideas and check understanding.  

Interested in joining the Pondurance team? View our current openings!

Cindy vanBree

Senior Security Consultant | Pondurance

Cindy is a Senior Information Security Consultant with Pondurance LLC. Cindy has more than 25 years’ experience across information, physical, and personnel security domains. Prior to joining Pondurance, Cindy had a long career with Rolls-Royce North America where she developed and managed a nationally recognized industrial security program protecting highly sensitive national security information. She led the corporate security program for Rolls-Royce Indianapolis facilities, made up of approximately 4,000 employees in manufacturing, assembly, test, and engineering. Cindy was accountable for security audit and compliance for Rolls-Royce North America subsidiaries, all of which earned “commendable” or “superior” ratings from federal officials. 

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