May 31, 2022

Cybersecurity career Q&A: 5 questions with Yael Koch Warschawski, VP HR and Operations at Armis

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Introducing the Armis cybersecurity career Q&A series where we explore how people landed in the industry by spotlighting some of the talented people that make Armis the leader in unified asset intelligence and security. 

Cybersecurity has long been a male-dominated field, but women and non-binary people are making strong progress.. At Armis, embracing diversity and inclusion is one of our six core values. And we not only strive to listen to every opinion and voice, we also encourage everyone who wants to be involved in cybersecurity to take the leap and join us! 

In this Q&A blog post, we highlight the unexpected way our VP of HR and Operations, Yael Koch Warschawski, got into the field along with her thoughts on Armis and women in the cybersecurity industry. Yael started as Head of HR and Operations for the Israel team at Armis in 2017. Today, she is VP of HR. She lives in Tel Aviv with her husband Ori and three children and enjoys baking and distance running in her free time.

Question # 1: How would you describe your role at Armis?

I lead the global people team, which oversees hiring, the wellbeing of our employees, the way we manage, and the way we actually play. 

Last year we just launched our values and I feel that it’s one of our biggest ways to show exactly what Armis is about. There are six, and One Armis is the first and really encapsulates many of our ideals, including working together as a single team with mutual goals and a strong sense of responsibility. 

The other value that I think that really represents our team in an amazing way is “act with integrity & transparency.” This is the way we act with our clients. This is the way we aim to act towards each other and the way we want to be for our people.

Question #2: Tell us a bit about your career path and how you landed at Armis?

Almost five years ago I met Yevgeny [Dibrov, CEO and co-founder of Armis], and I think that after talking with him for 20 minutes, I understood that I wanted to be part of this company. It was before our series A funding round and I really felt like he has a great plan and is going to do something big and I knew that I just wanted to be part of the success. 

At that time, there were something like 20 employees at Armis and I wanted to be part of this group of people that embodied a “the sky’s the limit” ideal. I actually was a lawyer at the time and my Jewish mom thought I was crazy to leave my career behind to work with a bunch of young people. It was a big decision, but I think it was one of the best decisions that I’ve made. It really changed my life.

In my first roles as head of the Israeli HR and Operations teams, I split my time between a lot of responsibilities.  As the head of HR, I had to manage the execution of the HR strategy and core areas of the HR department, including recruitment, employee relations, workforce administration, employee engagement, payroll, and reward and recognition, as well as maintaining and improving HR systems and management of the HR budget.

As the head of the Operations I was responsible for designing policies that align with the overall strategy, implementing efficient processes and standards, and ensuring compliance with local laws. I also oversaw the implementation of technology solutions throughout the organization, and managed contracts and relations with vendors and other stakeholders.

Question #3: What advice would you give to women looking to get into cybersecurity?

If cybersecurity is something that you really care about or that interests  you, look for a company that aligns with your values and do your best to get your foot in the door. I think that the company is more important than the role or title. What matters most is being in a place where you are comfortable and having the ability to focus on things that you actually want to do. I know that people often get hung up on titles, but there is always room for advancement, once you’re in.  What’s most important is to do something that you care about and something that you feel that you can find value in.

Question #4: What does Armis mean to you?

Armis is a family for me. It’s a place where you can fly if you are motivated, and the company will appreciate your efforts. I think that I’m a good example of that, given my career growth with the company over a few short years.

Question #5: Based on your experience, how can we get more women into the cybersecurity industry?

That’s kind of a chicken and egg question. Most of the cybersecurity industry in Israel is based on people who served in Unit 8200, which is the intelligence corps of the Israel Defense Forces. And most of the people from Unit 8200 learned math and physics in high school. Unfortunately, however, most of the females in Israel are not typically encouraged to focus on math and physics, so they gravitate toward other subjects. So I think that we need to give more confidence to young girls to go and learn math and physics so they would be able to serve in this unit and go from there. It’s really a circle that we have to address and break.

Learn more about Armis, our mission, and our core values.

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