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Chani Simms' Answers to Thriving Interview

Updated: Oct 18, 2019

Answers to Thriving with Chani Simms
Answers to Thriving with Chani Simms

Managing Director for Meta Defence Labs in both UK and Sri Lanka, information security consultant and Founder, CEO SHe CISO Exec.


The ‘Answers to Thriving' is an interview series that takes a look at the women who have created a life of self-success. We uncover key moments, lessons and habits that have influenced the life they lead today.


You can’t start the day without:

Coffee! Which I’m so grateful for. When I’m in Sri Lanka I love my mom’s special tea.

A favourite quote is:

“I'd rather be partly great than entirely useless.” - Neal Shusterman

One wellness ritual you do regularly:

I try to go to the gym ;)

A recommended read for personal growth:

I don't read too many of these kinds of books but I did read Lean In and it helped me to understand that I'm not alone in the Tech industry and I'm not the only passionate workaholic.

How do you go about self development?

Self-development is a journey for me. I’m a completely different person from when I was in my 20’s. I like to keep challenging myself to being better than I was yesterday. I’m my own biggest critic, so I try to continuously assess what I did wrong and try to improve. I like to think I’m driven by goals, short term and long term. I know what I want in 3 months’ time and in 10 years’ time (if I get to live that long). I try to set plans and break them into smaller tasks. Then I look at what resources I need to execute them successfully, i.e. do I need technical skills? Do I need soft skills? Do I need mentors? Do I need partners? etc.

I don’t believe in luck. It’s all hard work, persistence, optimism and positive thinking that lets you reach your goals and self-development comes with it. I hate excuses and I’d rather be told the bitter truth than a sugar coated lie.

I don’t believe in luck. It’s all hard work, persistence, optimism and positive thinking that lets you reach your goals.

What has been the most defining moment in your career to date?

2nd of November 2018, it was the last day of SHe CISO Exec. boot camp. I had tears of joy to see the transformation and the feedback from the boot camp participants, it was the best thing I have ever created in my career!

A fear you've had to overcome to pursue your ambitions:

Public speaking. I did fear it.

An achievement you're most proud of:

SHe CISO Exec. initiative, it's my give-back project to the community and Meta Defence Labs my Cybersecurity business that enables me to do the things I love.

Life/career advice you wish you'd been given in your early 20s:

I would tell my younger self to have more self-worth, know who you are and where you are trying to get to, have more confidence and believe in yourself.

For women who want to make a positive change in their life but don't know where to start, what advice would you give them?

Understand the problem, look at possible solutions, set some goals to reach the solution, create a plan, get help and go for it! If you fail; pick up the pieces, do a 'lessons learned', adjust the plan and go for it again.

What does thriving mean to you?

Being happy and making a living from doing what you love.

Anything else you would like to share with the Thrivhers community?

I would like to first thank Thrivhers. Thank you for this interview and asking these questions. I take every opportunity to promote my give-back initiative SHe CISO Exec.

SHe CISO Exec. has been designed with a vision to be a sustainable global training and mentoring platform in information security and leadership.

We deliver training to empower a new generation in the information security talent pool. I believe security is not just the IT guys’ responsibility anymore, it is everyone’s responsibility!

We are in an era where technology is advancing so fast, that we battle to keep up with the constantly changing threats in the technology landscape. To add to this situation, we don’t have enough people with the right skills in the industry and we don’t have time for people to spend 3 years at universities to be graduated into degrees that are already outdated by the time they complete them.

According to an ISC2 study in 2018, the skill gap in the cybersecurity industry is almost 3 million globally and around 2.5 million for Asia Pacific. So, we clearly need more cybersecurity savvy leaders and we need them now! This is just one part of the problem and there are massive diversity gaps, confidence and attitude gaps that can make this industry less attractive to newcomers. As professionals in this industry, it is our responsibility to help bridge these gaps by creating a community that shares knowledge, supports and empowers each other to help create a talent pool of information security leaders that we need. You always hear that humans are the weakest link in the security chain, but with the right training and support, we can empower the people to be the strongest link. Thereby making it much more difficult for cyber criminals to succeed. I believe it should always be, People over Process over Technology! SHe CISO Exec. is the ultimate bridging program where we aim to give up to 100% scholarships to anyone wanting to participate. We need help from the community to make this work.


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