The Aboitiz Equity Ventures’ (AEV) Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Charmaine Rose A. Valmonte was recognized as the Top Women in Security ASEAN Region – Security Trainer and Educator. The prestigious award is part of the Top Women in Security initiative of the global Women in Security and Resilience Alliance (WISECRA) which promotes women in the security technology industry.
As the Aboitiz Group gears towards building the Philippines’ first ‘Techglomerate’, its ‘Great Transformation’ is driven by technological innovation and, just as importantly, the ingenuity and integrity of its people. An invaluable part of the Group, Valmonte educates and inspires team members so that being secure, vigilant, and risk averse is part of their daily mindset.
“We want to build cyber warriors,” says Valmonte. “We do this by giving back where we can; learning and sharing knowledge with our team members allows us to build the human firewall in each and everyone. A vigilant team member can ideate, build, develop, and innovate securely from the start.”
“It is similar to building a good foundation for a home, wherein if we ensure that we have a good base, enough of a foundation, we can build several floors above it. The deeper the foundation, the higher and stronger your building will be,” she explains. “It is the same concept for building the cybersecurity capabilities of our team members. Once trained, we need to continue the journey to ensure that our internal mechanisms and activities keep security in mind.”
Valmonte managed and implemented security and cybersecurity operations as an officer in the United States Army, where she says security is top priority. Returning to the Philippines, she helped develop the IT Risk Management and Resiliency Division of UnionBank, part of the financial services and banking arm of AEV, empowering its digital transformation.
“This special award confirms what I set out to do back in 2011 when I retired from the military,” says Valmonte, “to build and develop our future leaders here in the Philippines. We don’t need to rely on foreign talent, we have it here, we just need to build the capabilities.
“Supporting and developing talent regardless of gender is equally important,” she adds. “There is a need to build a network who can continually build, develop and grow talent and skills as the demand continues to grow.”
Based on the 2018 Cybersecurity Workforce Report of the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, or (ISC)², about 24 percent of cybersecurity professionals are women. They noted a growing number of women cybersecurity professionals, particularly in management and leadership positions, over the years.
“As women succeed in the profession, they serve as role models for other women wanting to join the cybersecurity workforce,” concludes (ISC)² in the same report. “This will make the workforce more diverse, and as a result more innovative and better able to solve problems, and help address the cybersecurity skills gap.”
Team members, leaders, and role models such as Valmonte are the key behind the ‘Great Transformation’. Valmonte, as a trainer and educator, empowers and challenges members of the Aboitiz Group to embrace technology and teamwork. With the Aboitiz Group committing itself to incorporating the most innovative technologies, including Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (DSAI), security is paramount. Thankfully, Valmonte and her fellow cyber warriors of the Aboitiz Group are ready.