Employee Spotlight: Maryam Hamidirad


In the November edition of FISPAN’s Employee Spotlight series, we’d like you to meet Maryam Hamidirad, the Head of Cybersecurity in Product. Maryam carries extensive experience in the information security and technology sectors, including her roles as a Software Engineer at SAP, a Senior Consultant at Deloitte, and a Professor at the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT). As the Head of Cybersecurity, Maryam ensures that FISPAN’s platform follows the highest standard of data privacy and information security practices. On the client side, she also supports our commercial customers in developing cybersecurity and crisis management strategies to better anticipate, respond, and recover from disruptive events.

Maryam holds a Bachelor of Computer Engineering degree from Sharif University of Technology, a Masters in Computer Science from Simon Fraser University, and a Masters of Business Administration from the Ivey Business School at Western University.

Get to know Maryam, her greatest sources of inspiration at work and beyond, and how FISPAN has helped facilitate her growth in becoming the leader she is today.


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A Wonder of the World: Maryam makes the trek to the historic Great Wall of China on a school trip.

 

What made you decide to come to FISPAN in 2020?

Before FISPAN, I was working at Deloitte as a Senior Consultant in Cyber Risk and Strategy. In that role, I was able to work with different clients across several different industries and help them with their security challenges. While this position allowed me to extend my breadth of experience, I was still looking for an opportunity to improve my leadership skills and gain more overall depth to my industry experience.

Before I started at FISPAN, I was already very interested in FinTech and well-aware of the company — I would keep tabs on their business to see how they were doing from time to time. I would read their blog posts and LinkedIn updates, and found the job posting in Cybersecurity from there. Through my interview with CTO Val Novikov and Head of Client Experience Andrea Zand, I realized how much security had been top of mind for FISPAN and it made the job even more appealing to me after our discussions. While there are many, this is just one of the reasons why I decided to join FISPAN.

What is your favourite part about working at FISPAN? 

Throughout my time at FISPAN, there’s always been an opportunity for me to continuously learn and grow my skill set. Specifically, what I like most about my job is the amount of autonomy that I have. As my direct manager, Val has instilled a significant level of trust in me, and that’s given me the ability to define my own goals, set my own deadlines, and address and fix the problems where I see fit. Not only is this a great motivator, but it also just makes FISPAN a very lively environment for me to work in.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

In the startup environment, the most rewarding aspect of my job is being able to see the decisions I make actually get implemented, and in turn, make a tangible impact on our business. For example, it has been extremely empowering to see how building the right security protocols has helped FISPAN close deals and gain more clients.


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Maryam snaps a quick photo with the beautiful architecture in her home country of Iran.

 

Have there been any challenges with remote work?

Starting a new job during the pandemic was a challenge. The majority of the relationships I have with my colleagues today I built through a computer screen and not in-person. Although I’ve been able to meet many people in the office since then, our team has grown quickly so there are still a handful of people I haven’t met! Overall, however, my onboarding experience with FISPAN has helped me feel right at home.

When it comes to remote work, I’ve also found it to be difficult to separate my work and personal life. There are more distractions that come up when you’re at home and it’s easy to keep working well into after hours — I’d say it’s no longer as easy to unplug from work now.

Have you encountered any challenges with being a female leader in the Cybersecurity space?

Fortunately, I can say that I’ve been treated pretty fairly and equitably throughout my career so far. While there is still a perception that tech and cybersecurity, in particular, is a “man’s industry,” I notice that this is slowly changing. Through my work relationships at FISPAN and the client meetings I attend, I can see that there are more and more female leaders in top positions in the field. I think FISPAN itself is leading by example in this area of diversity and inclusion by acknowledging the underrepresentation of women in tech and providing this group (of existing employees or potential candidates) with many opportunities to grow into leadership roles.

What are your passions and interests outside of work?

Outside of work, I love to try different cuisines — paired with a good wine! This is one of the things I love about Vancouver because there are so many great options and foods to choose from. I also enjoy travelling and learning more about other countries, cultures, and their history. In my free time, I really love to paint (I use acrylic paint). I find that painting is just one of those activities that are naturally calming, similar to meditation.


Maryam Hawaii Cropped

Fulfilling her passion for travel, Maryam sails abroad on a catamaran through the Hawaiian Islands.

 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Nurture your relationships and build your network. This is advice that I’ve gotten from many mentors in the past, so it’s always stuck with me. Essentially, you never know when you may cross paths with someone that you once met at a networking event, conference, or even in a meeting. I’ve heard that the relationships that are created organically go a long way and can help with so many different opportunities. I think this is a very important thing to keep in mind.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspiration is my brother. I’ve been able to see him build his career at many different companies and learned from him that mistakes are just learning opportunities. Even in the most difficult situations, he’s never been one to give up; he always pushes on to make sure that one day, he becomes the success story that he’s always strived to be. If one thing fails, you learn from it, and plan your next success — that’s always inspired me to do the same.

What is your favourite quote?

“If you can dream it, you can build it.” - Walt Disney

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We invite you to get to know Maryam further by connecting with her on LinkedIn, and taking a look at her article in Security Boulevard on the state of commercial banking and security.

Ready to start your career at FISPAN? Explore the many opportunities we have for engineers in security and beyond.

 

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