In Celebration of International Women’s Day, Get to Know Some BARR Movers and Shakers

March 8, 2022 |

Today, BARR Advisory recognizes International Women’s Day, celebrating women from around the world and their many achievements. This year, the UN announced the theme for International Women’s Day: “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”—a topic that relates to many sectors of our lives and more specifically, in the field of cybersecurity.

According to a 2021 report from (ISC)², women represent just 25 percent of the global cybersecurity workforce. While this number is relatively low, the statistic has increased from 11 percent since 2017. It’s also predicted by Cybersecurity Ventures, that women will make up 30 percent of the industry by 2025 and 35 percent by 2031. 

Source: (ISC)² and Cybersecurity Ventures


Why the shift? In a word: visibility. “You can’t be what you can’t see,” said Ron Green, executive vice president and chief security officer at Mastercard. Green, who is a part of the Women Know Cyber: The Documentary, drives home the importance of visible role-models for women in cybersecurity.

Source: BARR Advisory


BARR is proud to have women represent more than 50 percent of our team and 78 percent of our leadership positions. This International Women’s Day, we’re spotlighting four of our own, who work in different areas of cybersecurity, and are making valuable contributions to both BARR and the industry as a whole.   

Al Neptune, coordinator, People Operations

The most important personal attribute that I bring to my role would be my ability to connect with others. It is so imperative as a recruiter to be able to connect with candidates in order to provide a great interview experience. My goal as a recruiter is to bring the best out of candidates through building rapport so they feel comfortable and confident in answering the requested questions.

What I do: Al manages the day-to-day hiring process for North American teams, including finding talent, conducting interviews, and recommending candidates for roles. Al also provides support to all People Operations needs. 

Mel Marra, manager, Client Services Operations 

I believe what we do is so important because trust is hugely incremental in a mutual relationship. Entering into an engagement, transaction, or information exchange with any entity, is one’s willingness to trust their information is being handled properly. It’s paramount to feel all data is handled with respect. 

What I do: Mel leads internal initiatives that create, improve, and educate the BARR team on client service processes, tools, and methodologies. Additionally, Mel provides unparalleled support by way of client project management activities, reporting management, new process engagement and education, and training system management. 

Disha Shah, associate consultant, Cyber Risk Advisory

What excites me about cybersecurity is how the industry moves at a fast pace, and it gives me an opportunity to be creative when finding solutions for the clients we serve. 

What I do: Disha supports the planning and execution of cyber risk engagements, including information technology audits and risk assessments for clients in various highly-regulated industries. 

Sarah Varnell, senior consultant, HITRUST

I’m excited more organizations are starting to prioritize security and data protection. With so much of our lives spent on the internet, this is increasingly important. 

What I do: Sarah is responsible for planning and executing information technology audits and risk assessments for clients in the healthcare industry. She is certified in CISA and HITRUST-CCSFP. 

For our own role models in cybersecurity, we look to several trailblazers whose successes serve as an inspiration to BARR and continue to pave the way for young girls around the world, including Dr. Ambareen Siraj, Dr. Latanya Sweeney, Caroline Wong, and Mary Writz. While there’s still a need to address issues of gender equality in the field of cybersecurity, we’re seeing a significant shift as more women like our own have the opportunity to teach, mentor, and share their stories. 

To all the women around the globe, happy International Women’s Day from BARR Advisory! 

Interested in learning more about BARR’s career opportunities? Explore our open positions




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