women in cyber security
Allie Traxler 04/04/2024
6 Minutes

A profile of Barbara Wickoren: Cyber Security Expert

Career Path Exploration

Barbara Wickoren's journey into the cyber security industry began in 2015 when she was recruited into cyber security sales. Prior to that, she had a long career in software development and software quality consulting. For Barbara, it felt like a natural progression as software quality shares the same goal as cyber security - reducing defects in software. She considers herself fortunate to have landed in the cyber security field.

"I was motivated to choose this career path because I like being in fast-paced environments," Barbara remarks.  "Cyber security is a dynamic, ever-changing landscape that demands quick-thinking and decisive actions. I also enjoy learning from the best! White Oak Security employs security professionals who are seasoned veterans with years of experience in enterprise environments. They provide great value to our clients." 

Role-Specific Insights

In her role as a senior salesperson in cyber security, Barbara Wickoren faces a myriad of unique challenges and opportunities on a daily basis. The dynamic and ever-evolving nature of the cyber security industry means that she must always be on her toes, ready to make quick decisions to ensure the best outcomes for her clients. Despite the fast-paced and sometimes chaotic environment, Barbara thrives on the excitement and energy it brings.

"Because of the volatility within cyber security and the fact that we are in the people industry, it can often be fast-paced and chaotic. You have to make decisions quickly and decisively in order to serve your client's needs in the best way possible. That’s why I appreciate our team approach to client engagements. I can rely on our technical testers and our client project managers to step in and provide guidance when needed."

Barbara Wickoren 

At White Oak Security, Barbara values the collaborative team approach to client engagements. She knows that she can rely on the expertise of technical testers and client project managers to provide guidance and support whenever needed. This collaborative spirit not only enhances the quality of service she delivers to her clients but also fosters a sense of unity and cohesion within the team.

Barbara's ability to navigate the complexities of the cyber security landscape, coupled with her strong communication skills and problem-solving abilities, sets her apart as a valuable asset to her clients. Her dedication to understanding their unique business needs and providing tailored solutions has earned her the trust and respect of many, including a Fortune 500 company who has praised her for her timely actions and impactful contributions to their vulnerability management program.

As Barbara continues to excel in her role, she remains committed to staying at the forefront of the industry, always seeking new ways to innovate and improve the services she offers. With her passion for cyber security and her unwavering dedication to her clients, Barbara Wickoren is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with in the world of cyber security.

Gender Perspective

Barbara Wickoren strongly believes that women are exceptionally well-suited for roles in the cyber security field. Studies have consistently shown that women possess sharp analytical skills, exceptional problem-solving abilities, excellent communication skills, and a natural inclination towards collaborative teamwork. Barbara herself embodies these traits in her approach to sales and client engagement, prioritizing partnerships with clients and delivering top-notch customer service. The fact that her clients frequently refer her to other companies in need serves as a testament to her effectiveness and expertise in the industry. Barbara's success and positive impact not only validate her choice of career but also inspire other women to pursue careers in cyber security with confidence and determination.

Barbara is clearly is an excellent advocate for women in cyber security: "I believe women make great cyber security professionals. Studies have shown that women possess sharp analytical skills and problem-solving, not to mention great communication skills and desire to work as a team. We genuinely want to partner with our clients and provide excellent customer service. The best validation that I am in the right role is when my clients refer me to other companies in need."

Success Stories

"I can't name the client but they are a Fortune 500 company. They shared with me that they are a tenured client because I have taken the time to understand their business needs when applying our solutions as well as acting in a timely manner to expedite their projects. In turn, I am happy that I’m viewed as a partner who has helped them 'move the dial' in their vulnerability management program."

Barbara's quick response time and proactive approach in expediting their projects makes her and in turn White Oak Security and Cyber Advisors invaluable to their clients. They have commended her for being a reliable partner who not only meets their expectations but consistently exceeds them. Barbara takes great pride in being seen as a trusted ally who has played a significant role in propelling their vulnerability management program forward.

This success story serves as a testament to Barbara's dedication to her clients and her unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional results. It showcases her ability to forge strong partnerships based on mutual trust and understanding, ultimately driving positive outcomes for both White Oak Security and its esteemed clients.

Industry Evolution

We asked Barbara "How have you seen the role of women in cyber security evolve during your career, and where do you see it heading in the future?"  I ask.  Barbara explains: "Women are becoming more empowered in IT and specifically in cyber security. When I started in IT there weren't many executive women seated at the 'table'. Now I am meeting with CISOs, VPs, and Directors who are very successful women that have worked hard to get where they are today. There are also many more associations dedicated to women in tech / cyber providing great opportunities to collaborate, learn from each other, and apply our unique skills. But we are still not there yet. Only 35% of STEM jobs are held by women today." 

So, I reply with "Where do I see it heading in the future?"  Barbara replies with "I believe the early application of STEM in the classroom is going to help level the playing field for all individuals to be successful in cyber security. I look forward to the day we don't have to talk about diversity in cyber - there will simply be equal representation."

Advise to Women in Cyber Security

Question: "What advice would you give to young women aspiring to enter the cyber security field, particularly in sales and client-facing roles?"

Barbara's Response: "I would tell young women to be more bold. We all have seen the statistics that show women don't apply for jobs if they don't fit all of the skills / attributes listed. That needs to change. They need to be confident in their ability to stretch into the role and dig in when needed. Remember that employers often hire the person that shows a strong passion and drive to succeed. Lastly, don't be afraid to ask for the job!"


Personal Development

Another open ended question to Barbara: "Can you discuss any personal or professional development practices that have contributed to your success in cybersecurity sales?"

"I have been lucky throughout my career to have employers invest in my sales development." Barbara says.  "They invest in me through vertical industry training as well as solution sales training. I also continue to read industry articles and sit in on technical meetings my consultants lead in order to learn more each day. I have always said that you can't rest on your laurels in IT and that is even more evident today in cyber as the threat landscape is constantly changing."


In cyber security, professionals like Barbara Wickoren stand out for their dedication, expertise, and innovative approach. Barbara's journey from software quality consulting to a leading role in cyber security sales at White Oak Security showcases a seamless transition underpinned by her commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the intricacies of cyber threats and defenses. Her story is not just one of personal achievement but serves as an inspirational blueprint for aspiring cyber security professionals. It highlights the importance of staying adaptable, leveraging one’s strengths in communication and analytical skills, and the continuous pursuit of learning in a field that never stands still.

Barbara's advocacy for the inclusion of women in cyber security and her practical advice to aspiring female professionals are particularly noteworthy. By emphasizing the natural alignment of women's skills with the needs of the industry, she sheds light on the untapped potential that women bring to the table. Barbara’s own success and the respect she commands in the industry underscore her message that diversity and empowerment are not just beneficial but essential for the future of cyber security. Her encouragement for young women to be bold and assertive in pursuing their career goals, coupled with the industry's gradual shift towards greater inclusivity, paints an optimistic picture for the future of cyber security.

The success stories and collaborative achievements Barbara shares reflect a career built on trust, partnership, and relentless innovation. These stories not only highlight her role in advancing the cyber security capabilities of her clients but also illustrate the broader impact of committed professionals in shaping a safer digital landscape. As the cyber security field continues to grow and transform, Barbara Wickoren’s insights, experiences, and foresights offer valuable lessons and inspiration. Her journey is a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and the positive changes that inclusive and diverse professional communities can bring about in technology and beyond.

Interested in learning more?

Barbara is just one of our very talented people.  If you're interested in learning more about cybersecurity and how it can help your company, please contacts us here!