The BARR Advisory team continues to grow with the addition of Swathi West as manager, HITRUST. In this role, she will lead BARR’s HITRUST practice by strengthening client relationships and developing new business opportunities. Swathi will also be charged with planning and executing information technology audits, client risk assessments, and GRC Advisory engagements for our rapidly expanding client portfolio.
Take a minute to get to know her through a quick Q&A:
Q: What is the most important personal attribute you bring to your job?
A: I know what I want, and am willing to work hard to get there and succeed. I am also willing to take risks and bring different perspectives to the table. In short, I am an ambitious person.
Q: What are you most excited about in terms of your new position at BARR?
A: I am excited to grow the HITRUST service line and be part of a dynamic and growing company.
Q: What excites you about the future of the cybersecurity industry?
A: I love to learn new things, and I am glad this is precisely what I will be able to do in my future, as cybersecurity is ever-changing, and you need to learn to be on top of the field. I have been a great advocate of “Women in Information Security,” and have even conducted a few events and workshops in the past. I would like to do more in the future to help women take careers in the technology and security fields.
Q: What advice do you have for someone starting a career in the cybersecurity industry?
A: A few years ago, there was no degree dedicated to cybersecurity, which means the great cybersecurity leaders of today did not have this education. In other words, do not get intimidated or feel you should have degrees or specific required qualifications. I want to emphasize the fact that the demand in this field is high. I did my master’s in aviation\aerospace, landed a job with IT security, and loved it. Knowing current technology will be helpful, and self-studying for certifications like security will be useful. There are many introductory courses online that you can also take advantage of to begin the security adventure.
Q: What technology innovation has made the most impact on your life?
A: My Kindle. I always wanted to read many books growing up, but somehow never was able to get in a good cadence. I love physical books, love turning pages, and even the smell of the paper, but my fiancé gifted me a Kindle for my last birthday, and I started reading more. I love it.
Q: Any favorite book recommendations?
A: Yes! Here are three:
- Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women
I recommend this book for both men and women; it is necessary and a very relevant topic for the current and future. It gives us tips which are supported by examples and excellent research. If you like a straightforward talk about how and why men should mentor and sponsor women, this is a great book.
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
It is a fantastic book with brilliant insights on what motivates us to do the things we do. It gives a great perspective on intrinsic motivation.
- Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win
It is a great leadership book. Engaging but straightforward and has a powerful message for everyone.
Q: What gets you up in the morning or keeps you up at night?
A: Thinking about what I want to do with the time I have. I always want to challenge myself and like to exceed the expectations I set for myself.
Q: We’re big into pets here at BARR. Do you have one?
A: Yes! A purebred Bengal rescue cat named Elsa. Funny story: On my first date with my fiancé, he mentioned his plans to get a cat the next day. I told him I was not too fond of cats but helped him bring her home anyway. She was NOT happy and scratched me the whole drive home. When we arrived, I was tired and sat in a chair, then she came and sat on my lap purring and awwww. I now cannot imagine a life without our cat.
Q: Let’s talk favorites. What is your favorite outdoor activity?
A: I love running, and I love hot yoga.
Q: Favorite food?
A: Anything my mom cooks, especially her egg curry—I mean, who doesn’t love a good curry?
Q: Favorite quote?
A: “DREAM is not what you see in sleep; DREAM is something which doesn’t let you sleep,” by Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam. This quote helped me in life and my work. I will always think about this when I think about something I want, so I know that just wanting is not enough; I must work hard for it.
Interested in joining the BARR team? Visit our Careers page to view current openings.