Maria Velasquez, Director of Demand Generation, Feroot Security and Co-founder of the Cybersecurity Marketing Society
What do you enjoy most about your job?
What made me fall in love with Feroot and convinced me to make the leap is the people. The founders truly believe in marketing and the impact it can have on the company’s growth. What’s more, Chris Kolling the VP of Marketing is the exact type of leader and mentor I need at this stage in my career.
What do you enjoy most about the company?
We’re small but mighty, we have some brilliant minds in cybersecurity helping shape the product roadmap and ensuring we continue innovating and staying ahead. It is also exciting to be part of a journey to educate the community and market on client-side security and why it’s important. But from a marketing perspective, I love that we are a “marketing first” startup that is leading its growth strategy with full belief in marketing’s potential, giving it its deserved resources, budgets, and the patience it needs.
How did you get into cybersecurity?
I got into cybersecurity by chance, joining a local company here in Connecticut that sold hardware-based cybersecurity products to the government and critical infrastructure. It’s where I learned about the industry, its intricacies, and its tough-but-crazy-smart audience.
What are your hopes for women in cybersecurity in the future?
I have two daughters. My 8-year old always asks to hear about projects at work, she thinks it’s fascinating that I work in cybersecurity, and is always so proud to talk about mommy and her work on the society and the podcast we just launched. My hope is for this generation exactly—for today’s 8-year olds—is to see that it’s very much possible and attainable to be a leader, be part of a community, to make a difference, and to have a seat and a voice at the big boys table.
This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #Breakthebias. What does that mean to you?
As an immigrant, woman, arab, and married to an Hispanic immigrant, we set out to break biases everyday of our lives, even outside the 9-5 hustle. This International Women’s Day theme just means that there are so many already breaking biases every day, and that feels nice in a way, to know you’re not alone and that you’re heard.
What is the Cybersecurity Marketing Society?
The society is a private community created for marketers who work in cybersecurity. It was born from a need—a need to have a place where cyber marketers can come together, help each other, complain about failures, and celebrate wins. Two years after inception and 900 members strong, this community does exactly just that. It’s free to join and it’s already helped so many with new ideas, strategies, and even new career adventures. We have big plans for this community. We love our members and the support they’ve shown us since day one.
Why did you start the community?
We started the community in March 2020, right at the start of the pandemic. With my cofounders—Gianna Whitver and Aileen Casmano—we put all our hearts into it, while juggling full-time work and family. We knew we needed a group for cyber marketers because it’s so niche, special in many ways and only marketers who work in cyber understand what it takes. It has taken off and has become so vibrant because it’s a testament to the need for it.
How many members are there?
We are almost at 1,000 members! It’s been wonderful to see the growth of this community, how excited people are to join and the caliber of talent, companies and expertise we have in our membership.
How can people join?
If you are a marketer who works full time at a cybersecurity company, you can visit our website and find the application to apply to join. You can visit: www.cybersecuritymarketingsociety.com
Anything else you’d like people to know?
We just launched a brand new podcast called Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing, with exciting conversations with the brightest in the industry, telling their stories and sharing their knowledge. Find the latest episode wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts, please remember to subscribe and review to help support us.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I actually wanted to be an archeologist. I loved everything about ancient Egypt and was fascinated about traveling back in time through discoveries.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t be intimidated by people in higher positions than you. They hired you because they need you, not the other way around.