Meet the Top 20 Indian Women Influencers in Security 2020

The suspense over who are the Top 20 Indian Women Influencers in Security ended last evening when the Hon. Lt. Governor of Puducherry, Dr Kiran Bedi, announced the names of the security professionals who were selected to be among the top 20 from the 273 names that were nominated.

The virtual event hosted by SECURITY TODAY has had the security industry waiting with bated breath since it was announced on Women’s Day in March this year. It attracted a huge number of attendees from ten countries. Mr GB Singh, Founder and Group Editor SECURITY TODAY & SECURITY UPDATE, emphasised on the need to have an award that gave recognition to women in the security industry.

The selection process, which was exhaustive and detailed, was overseen by a panel of members who are themselves leaders in their own fields, and who poured over the nominations for two months until the Top 20 ladies were selected. The Top 20 were selected on the basis of their achievements in their field of work. As SECURITY TODAY has throughout insisted, this does not take away the achievements of others who were nominated but could not make it to the Top 20.

The jury comprised Mr Rajan Luthra, Chairman’s Office – Head-Special Projects, Reliance Industries Ltd.; Dr. Shailja Vaidya Gupta, Senior Adviser – Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to Government of India; Ms Bonnie Butlin, Co-founder & Executive Director, Security Partners Forum; Ms Aman Singh, Publisher SECURITY TODAY & SECURITY UPDATE, and Ms Vandana Verma, President, Infosec Girls.

The jury members admitted that selecting the best was a tough task going by the caliber of the women security professionals nominated. The jury were unanimous in confirming that their selection was based on the belief that the winners had the potential of being role models for women security professionals. The selection covered both physical and cyber security professionals.

Dr Kiran Bedi was in her element as the Chief Guest as she sportingly not only made all attendees feel at home with her informal style of address but declared that the time had come when the private security industry should provide parallel policing.

“The private security industry and government law and order machinery should have joint training and the security industry should be entrusted with similar tasks to ensure that all areas are covered” said Dr Bedi.

Dr Bedi revealed how, in Puducherry, when the lockdown was announced she had ensured that all private security agencies were asked to work in tandem with the police to ensure compliance.

There are specific areas where women security professionals are a must and the industry should identify and ensure that more and more women security professionals are encouraged to reach the top” said Dr Bedi. She also said that while she understood that for various security agencies business was important, they must come together to convince the government to give them their due.

Dr Bedi then ended the suspense by announcing the names that have held the private security industry in suspense for months.

The Top 20 Indian Women Influencers in Security for 2020 are:

  • Adv. Puneet Bhasin – Founder, Cyberjure Legal Consulting
  • Mehnaz Perveen – India Head- Trust & Safety & LERT, UrbanClap,
  • Karishma Mookhey – Director, Network Intelligence India Pvt. Ltd
  • Sahima Datta – Country Security Manager, Shell India Private Markets Ltd.
  • Maj. Aditi Mohan – Vice President & Head- Corporate Services, Fidelity National Financial
  • Meetali Sharma – Head – Risk, Compliance and Information Security, SDG Corporation
  • Himani Thapliyal – Chief Security Officer , Vedanta Aluminum limited
  • Satyavathi Divadari – Chief Cyber Security Architect, Micro Focus
  • Sailaja Vadlamudi – Director Security & Data Privacy, SAP Labs India Pvt Ltd
  • Lekshmi Nair – Senior Managing Consultant, IBM India
  • Priyanka Sunder – Senior Manager, Security Assurance & Compliance, Information Security, Jio Platforms Ltd
  • Dr. Lopa Mudraa Basuu – Executive Director Cyber Risk & Information Security, Sysinnova
  • Pooja Agrawalla – VP- IAM leader, Wells Fargo
  • Maj. Vashita Mehra – Vice President Security, Marsh & McLennan
  • Chandni Singh – Senior Executive, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP
  • Celine George – Cyber Security Manager, Cognizant
  • Sagarika Chakraborty – CEO, Indus IntelliRisk IntelliSense Services Pvt. Ltd
  • N.S. Nappinai – Advocate, Supreme Court of India, Advocate
  • Varsha Avadhany – Sr. Consultant, Target India
  • Nirali Bhatia –  Founder & Cyber Psychologist , CyberBAAP

The announcement was followed by a panel discussion on “The Role of Women in Enterprise Security” moderated by Ms Aman Singh, Publisher SECURITY TODAY . The panelists included Ms. Sutapa Sanyal, (IPS) Retd. Former Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh Mr. Paul Devassy, CPP, Regional Vice President, ASIS International, South Asia & AVP Safety & Security OYO India,  Ms. Sahima Datta, Country Security Manager- Shell India Private Markets Ltd – India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka , Ms. Vandana Verma, President InfoSec Girls & Global Board of Directors at OWASP and Mr. Suraj Shankhpal, Director – Forensic at PwC India

The discussion delved into how women are generally at a higher risk both in and around the home, and at work, and the need to create inclusive societies that deliver the right to live without fear of harm, for each human being, irrespective of their caste, creed or gender.

In this regard, more women themselves have started playing increasingly important roles in both the public as well as the private sectors, including in the police. In fact, many women, after their military or law enforcement employment, are choosing to pursue their career goals in the private security sector. With more women taking on roles of responsibility in enterprise security, they are also acting as role models for girls to consider a rewarding career as security professionals.

The discussion dwelt on how the industry needs to create places for women. The unanimous opinion was that though the change was happening, it needed more concrete steps and encouragement for women to take up security as a career option. The panelists opined that while in the government sector the change was happening, the private sector needed to recognise the fact that women are now equally capable of reaching heights in the security industry.

The virtual event that went beyond the stipulated time had a large audience across the globe that continued to stay connected and send in multiple questions, as they joined hands with the SECURITY TODAY group, in celebrating the rise of women in the private security domain. SECURITY TODAY hails not just the 20 Top Indian Women Influencers in Security, but every woman who has challenged the conventions and entered a domain that was masculine and male dominated for years but is now becoming more vibrant and effective with the entry of women.