On Wednesday (16th November 2016) I had the privilege of attending Scotland’s first ‘Cyber Awards’ which were hosted at The Caledonian Hotel in Edinburgh. Having been nominated by my employer (ECS) for the category of ‘Best New Cyber Talent’ I was somewhat nervous being at such a well-attended event, which included many influential and great people throughout the computer security industry. Many familiar faces like Stu Hirst of Skyscanner and Bill Buchanan of Edinburgh University (both of whom were up for the same award!) were in attendance and it was interesting and somewhat inspiring to see how the computer security industry has been growing in Scotland.
The ‘Best New Cyber Talent’ category was the second to be announced, as it meant that once it was over I could enjoy the evening without feeling anxious about getting on stage and winning or not in front of 200 peers (which included ECS’s Operations Manager and my partner). There was a short speech from the award sponsor, Sophos (thanks guys!) and then, finally, the moment came and they said that the award had my name on it. I was a bit shell shocked, not only were my fellow nominee’s fantastic candidates for the award, but I guess part of me just assumed I wouldn’t win. The feeling slowly spread over me throughout the night until after an hour or so, I just started grinning.
I had won a national award and no matter how many times a day I sometimes feel out of my depth, no matter how many areas I still should learn and no matter my own self-doubt, I deserved to be nominated and to win. The only reason I could convince myself of this simple fact, of being deserving, is that the judges panel, organisers and managing director at my company could not all be wrong. I couldn’t have ‘deceived’ them all into believing I was good enough for this award. They saw something which I often find hard seeing in myself and that is the best part of this experience for me, the simple truth that no matter what areas of my brain tell me the opposite, I am a deserving in my field and I’m so very proud it has been recognised in the form of this nomination and award.
Thanks to Darren Brogan for taking so many pictures of the event (including the featured image of this post)!
Edit: Stu Hirst posted a great write up on his feelings of being nominated for ‘Cyber Evangelist of the Year’ and how much of an ‘imposter’ he sometimes feels. This really summed up my own feelings and I so happy he shared these feeling so publicly.