“I’m always available when anyone needs to talk, run ideas, or discuss an issue. I’m here for the people of GreyCastle Security.”
In honor of Women’s History Month, GreyCastle Security is highlighting some of the women in leadership positions at the organization. We are very proud to have amazing women in leadership positions here, and all the women at GreyCastle Security make valuable contributions every day.
We’re closing out March with our Human Resources Manager, Courtney Warren. Courtney was originally planning on going into healthcare, but she learned that our friends sometimes know us better than we do: she took a friend’s recommendation for an HR role and found she really enjoyed it! Now Courtney is a steady presence at GreyCastle Security, supporting our whole team and managing her own department.
Courtney’s advice for women who want to advance their careers is to find mentors, join professional organizations, and attend training sessions and workshops. You can learn from others’ experiences while developing your network of relationships. Once you’re more established in your career, consider mentoring others. It will not only let you help up-and-coming young women, but it will also help you deepen your technical and leadership skills.
Whether you’ve just hired someone new or you’ve just started a new role, Courtney wants you to keep in mind that things take time. Between company policies, brand standards, and new coworkers, a new hire has a lot to get straight and won’t reach their full potential for years – so keep your expectations in check.
With hiring and HR insights like those, Courtney has helped grow GreyCastle Security tremendously. We’ve seen several women promoted to manager and director positions under her tenure, so it’s appropriate we finish Women’s History Month with Courtney. While we featured five women on this blog, we have so many more female leaders at this company we have yet to profile. We look forward to all of their contributions going forward!
What do you do here at GreyCastle Security?
I am currently the HR Manager, so I run the Human Resources functions. Before that, I was the People and Culture Specialist, which was a hybrid role with culture and HR functions. As of March of last year, I fully moved into HR management. I make sure we’re staying compliant and keeping updated on any new laws, policies, or regulations within the states we operate in, and I’m always available when anyone needs to talk, run ideas, or discuss an issue they’re having. I’m basically here for the people of GreyCastle Security.
How did you get into HR? What was your path to this role?
I actually studied management in college, and I worked at a hospital for a little while. I was planning on getting a degree in nursing after graduating, then slowly working my way up through nursing management. But then I was approached by a friend who worked in HR – her company had an opportunity she thought I would be really interested in. I decided to interview for the HR support role, got the offer, took that on, and now I’ve been in HR for almost eight years, so I obviously enjoy it! It’s definitely challenging at times, and it’s always changing, so I’m always learning something new.
What do you and the HR department do to support the success of women here at GreyCastle Security?
Right now, that’s a tricky question. The week after I took on HR, we went into a global pandemic, so a lot of resources and focus have been directed at those efforts. We’re always here for any employees if they need to bounce an idea off me, or they’re thinking about joining an organization, and they want to make sure it’s okay with GreyCastle. Christina D’Antonio is always willing to talk to school districts and college classes about how young women can get involved in the IT industry and cybersecurity industry, and we fully support that. We always try to bring managers and employees from a variety of backgrounds to career fairs, so we can showcase cybersecurity to all incoming students. We like to have the employees involved in what the company’s involved in.
What advice do you have for young women seeking jobs in the IT industry or in leadership roles?
One thing I would suggest is finding a mentor or advisor within your field – I have my own mentor and advisor – or joining a group or organization, like Women in Cybersecurity or something like that. I also suggest being a mentor: sharing your knowledge and experiences with the next up-and-coming cybersecurity professional, particularly young women in college or just entering the field. It’s nice to share not only your successes but also your failures, so they can learn from them, too.
What advice do you wish you had gotten when you first started your career?
When I started my second job in HR, the director of HR told me it was going to take me three years to learn my job. I wish every manager and that mentality. I wish every manager understood that even if you have ten years of experience, starting a new job at a new organization will take a while. It will take time to get up to speed on how the company does things and to get to know your team members. I thought that was really useful advice – it’s definitely true. I’m eight years in to human resources and three years in at GreyCastle Security, and I’m still learning new things every day – new situations still come up. It’s important to realize you’ll be a rock star eventually, but not in the first three months; it takes time to get there.
You mentioned finding a mentor as a key to success. What’s a good way to start those relationships?
Joining groups is a great way to find a mentor, or going to any workshop that you can. I’m attending a workshop tomorrow, as it gives you time to socialize and get to meet new people within your field, including women in leadership positions. It’s a great way to connect and find somebody who might share common goals or career aspirations.
Have you faced any particular challenges as a woman in leadership at an IT company?
Obviously, there haven’t been any particular problems at GreyCastle Security, and this is my first role at an IT company. In general, I think being heard can be very challenging. I’m a quiet person, so sometimes I can get talked over. I’m always making an effort to ensure that my voice is being heard, and I’m trying to do it in a way that doesn’t seem “feisty” or “snippy.”
Finally, what are you most proud of from your time here at GreyCastle Security? What did you do that made you really happy here?
Honestly, I am most proud of how much I have grown professionally and how I’ve been a part of the company’s growth. GreyCastle Security took a chance on hiring me, and here I am three years later, working alongside such awesome people. I’m also proud of how much my colleagues have grown over the past three years. We’ve worked really collaboratively during my tenure here, and I’m excited to continue to do so.