January 13, 2022 | 4 minute read
When Sibel Narin-Farooq decided to look for a more challenging position two and a half years ago, she quickly received two offers from a well-known firm in finance. Instead, she pursued an opportunity that struck her as a riskier option—an Executive Assistant role at Cybereason, a company she’d never heard of in a field where she had no experience.
Today, Cybereason has emerged as a leader in the cybersecurity industry, and Sibel, who has taken on the role of Project Manager, says she made exactly the right choice. Below, she talks about what attracted her to the company, the challenges she faces in her new role, and her excitement about the future.
I came to Cybereason because I wanted to grow. I’d been looking around at my previous company and there wasn’t much opportunity, so when a Cybereason recruiter approached me on LinkedIn, I was curious. I already had two offers from a finance company, so I wasn’t sure at first—I was not in the security space, so I’d never heard of Cybereason, but the website looked interesting.
I checked them out on social media and they looked different and exciting, especially the product and the direction the company was moving in. And the management seemed very personable right from the start; I felt like they really cared about who they were bringing into the company. It felt like a place where you could come in and add your own stamp on to the role that you’re given.
I joined as an Executive Assistant and Office Manager in 2019, and in February 2021, I took the opportunity to move into a Project Manager role. I help keep everything running smoothly, sort of like the glue that keeps different functions together. I’m part of a new team of project managers, actually. We’re spread across the globe—mostly in Tel Aviv, but also New York, and I’m in London—and we’re all part of Business Operations within the wider Operations team.
There’s a real community here. We’re all working toward a common goal and with a shared mission: to help businesses stop being targets, to help people do business without getting hacked or falling victim to ransomware. We want to be helpful to as many customers as possible, but we also help each other, and that makes a big difference.
When you feel comfortable with your colleagues, you’re more confident in throwing yourself into different things you might not necessarily be an expert in. It’s a supportive environment. If you want to grow and learn, there are a million different things you can get involved in, and that keeps things interesting.
Plus, being at a smaller company makes it easier to get things done. If you need help with something, someone’s always there. In some companies, you might be afraid to approach the CEO or feel like, “I’m not sure if I can reach out to this person over here.” But our CEO is down to earth, and the senior leadership are approachable. Of course, as we grow we are tightening up on our processes, but you don’t have to go through 10 layers of management to get a decision.
Since the pandemic, everyone’s noticed the benefits of remote working. Some parts of our business were remote already, specifically in the Europe and Africa regions. But we have offices in Boston, Tel Aviv and Japan, so that was a transition for some people.
Of course when COVID-19 first hit, the anxiety was really high, as it was everywhere. We were afraid to even go outside. But everyone was supporting each other and still working hard and getting things done, and at the same time being really understanding if you’ve got kids crawling all over you, or you’re maybe having a bit of a lousy day. I remember at the time the CEO being, like, “Guys, take time. Look after yourselves and your families.”
People definitely aren’t afraid to give you new responsibilities, but that’s a great thing. You can only learn by taking on more risk and responsibility. It benefits the business as well as the employees who are going to progress.
One of the first projects that I was on was our partnership with IBM, which is a massive organization. We set up an initiative to develop our go-to-market strategy with them and how we’re going to train our salespeople and their salespeople to bring Cybereason to IBM’s market. I worked closely with Product Marketing to ensure that we had a bit like a cookbook, with recipes for our partners to be onboarded through Cybereason and trained accordingly. It was a big responsibility, but it was really rewarding.
And if a project might not be going exactly as planned, the relevant people will get together and ask, “How can we resolve this? What’s the blocker? What can we do to make this happen?” I think when you have those meetings and you push forward and discuss what went wrong or what we can do differently, you can really learn and move toward resolution. It might not be overnight, but we always get there.
All our company values relate to being “defenders”—that approach of helpfulness I mentioned earlier. We defend our customers from online security threats, and we defend each other and our company culture; we help each other any chance we get. One of our values is “daring,” and I think that really motivates us to try new things and take on new challenges. Our CEO says, “Better to have tried and failed than to have not tried at all.” But probably my favorite value is “UbU” (“you be you”).
We have a diverse team, and everyone is welcomed. We are across the U.S., EMEA, Japan, everywhere, and I feel like everyone can work and be promoted on their merits. If you work hard, you’ll be rewarded for it. I definitely see that. And there are just some really amazing people here.
I’ve got a colleague who’s become a friend, and he does research on some of the malware and all the horrible gangs out there that are targeting big companies. He speaks, like, 10 different languages—I just find his brain amazing. How often do you get to meet people like this?
Personally, I’m excited to keep growing. My manager is really passionate about helping people develop and being there as a guide. Any time I’m stuck with anything, she’ll find a solution. Her mind works like a spreadsheet. When I expressed interest in getting my Prince2, a project management certification in the U.K. that’s widely recognized, my manager was very supportive.
More broadly, executing as a public company is definitely a source of excitement. Once that happens, the sky’s the limit. The market is expanding so much, and looking at all the activities going on within the organization—all the investors pouring millions into us—it’s exciting to see where Cybereason can grow. Even now, I can’t believe how much we’ve changed in two years. It’s amazing to be part of this journey.
Cybereason is one of the fastest-growing cybersecurity companies in the world, and was recently named to three Built in Boston’s Best Places to Work lists for 2022: Boston Best Places to Work, Boston Best Paying Companies, and Boston Best Large Companies to Work For. Explore our careers site to learn more about Cybereason’s company culture and open positions.
The Cybereason People Team supports our employees by championing our core values—Daring, UbU, Never Give Up, Ever Evolving, and Win As One—through strategic programs, talent acquisition and onboarding, and the overall employee experience. Our mission is to ensure the growth and development of our people, and our vision is to maintain and expand our position as the best place to work in the high tech market.All Posts by Cybereason People Team