Visualising success and security: a talk on cybertech and youth empowerment with Anna Collard, SVP Content Strategy and Evangelist at KnowBe4 Africa

Written by Topco Staff Writer



Anna Collard, SVP Content Strategy and Evangelist at KnowBe4 Africa, stepped into the Cyber Security and Tech space merely by ‘coincidence’, as she puts it. If anything, she is the perfect example of the saying ‘If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead your right into your purpose’. Anna, who is of German roots, has spent 20 years in the field, and is extremely passionate about raising awareness around safe online practices, phishing tactics and empowering young women in tech. A mom, avid runner, and techpreneur, she was the recipient of the Women in Tech Award, during Africa Tech Week 2020, for her commitment to technological innovation and actionable transformation in the field of Risk and Security.

In this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media engages in conversation with Anna Collard to unpack critical themes relating to being a techpreneur in SA, navigating through acquisitions, cyber crime and gender empowerment. Anna also goes in depth on security subjects, such as 4IR, targeted customized phishing tactics, nifty Google Tools, and online psychological behaviour that is detrimental to cyber security –  with specific reference to Amygdala hijacking. 

Key takeaways to listen out for in this podcast:

  • Internationally, people are seeing the huge potential in Cape Town, specifically, in terms of starting new business ventures. Since 2020 was all about digitisation, now is an optimal time for entrepreneurs in tech to flourish. 
  • It is important to remain open to new avenues of exploration, as an entrepreneur. When you see an opportunity that may require changes to your vision or business model, you need to be able to pivot accordingly – do not let hesitation overpower your capabilities. 
  • Passion and skill go hand in hand. It’s not just about merely making money, helping to uplift society, and the economy at large, is important. We need to be more purpose-driven in our approach to business. 
  • Global statistics indicate that only 20% of women are pursuing careers in the cyber security and tech space. Of that, only 9% are women from Africa. In Africa at large, only 1% of women occupy Senior Management positions –  this needs improvement as women have much to contribute to the tech and security community. 
  • In terms of future generations of cyber security employees, leaders in the field need to come up with innovative ways to attract new talent, especially women. Historically, gender role conventions have skewed career interests. 
  • Recognition of role models in this space is imperative for inspiring young people. As a startup, networking, entering awards programmes and getting certified, goes a long way in getting the youth to be more proactive and involved. 
  • In terms of Training Awareness, teachers need to be better equipped, with tools and materials, to empower students and raise more awareness around cyber security and tech career possibilities – video content and access to the internet and online learning platforms is essential here. 
  • The Gov X Innovation Challenge is currently taking place across Africa, tackling cyber security, skills development and online gender-based violence. More programmes like this will accelerate innovation and solutions in the field – collaboration is key!
  • As an entrepreneur, you may not have everything figured out from the get go; visualise as you go, planning each step thoroughly. Put it down on paper! Tracking your priorities is key to your growth. 
  • If you are going to make use of social media platforms (SMPs) to grow your business, use it in a professional capacity, only. Too often people put personal information out into the online space, putting their livelihood at risk. Making use of a password manager, and Multi Factor Authentication practices is advised. 

Anna Collard is the female dynamo behind the innovative tech company, KnowBe4 Africa, offering top-notch Cyber Security Awareness Training in South Africa. The company is the provider of the world’s largest security awareness training and simulated phishing platform, and was recently presented with the ISACA South Africa prestigious President Award for 2020. Last year, Anna was the proud recipient of the Women in Tech Award, during Africa Tech Week 2020, for her commitment to technological innovation and actionable transformation in the field of Risk and Security. The award comes as no surprise, as Anna has 15 years’ experience in helping corporates across South Africa, Europe and the US with maintaining the safety of their assets. She is, furthermore, a Certified Information Systems professional, a top-tier business analyst, and an ISO 27001 Implementation & Lead Auditor consultant.

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