Woman in Innovation: Linda Cavanagh
"Cyber security is a business enabler; creating a competitive advantage, and stronger collaboration makes more room for innovation and growth!"

We interview women in our community about innovation and what drives them to make a difference in their industries everyday!

What are you working on?
The Canberra Cyber Security Innovation Node was established in partnership with AustCyber and ACT Government to grow the cyber security ecosystem in Canberra. Warmly known as the ‘Canberra Node’, I am part of an AustCyber National Network of Nodes but with a specific focus on supporting Canberra cyber companies improve comercialisation and grow a more coordinated community. Bringing together startups, industry, universities, researchers and government agencies is a critical step in growing Canberra’s cyber capabilities, boosting economic growth for the ACT and strengthening our status as the innovation capital!

Why is innovation important to you?
Simple. Without innovation, there is no growth and history is confirmation of that. From the first concepts on the use of flint stone to more recently the digital revolution, we could not have grown as a species without innovation, be it small or significant.
Which, more specifically to my work, all things digital has seen the best and worst in the world of innovation, dependent on who you speak to you! Cyber security is a business enabler; creating a competitive advantage, and stronger collaboration makes more room for innovation and growth!

What drives you to make a difference?
I am passionate and an advocate for many things; human rights, social justice, diversity, women but if I was to be completely honest, my advocacy for all things Canberra is the drive in what I do as part of the Canberra Node. When people think of Canberra it is about politicians, policy and bureaucracy (oh, and roundabouts) and changing that narrative is a key component of why I do what I do – we’re progressive, innovative and in the business of cyber security, our uniqueness is the end to end capability we have for such a small jurisdiction that needs to be showcased.

Do you have any advice for getting more women into the innovation ecosystem?
It’s easy to get carried with providing advice, but there are two that immediately come to mind.
Firstly, finding a mentor, a trusted person or person/s is probably the most important. And don’t get scared off by the concept of a mentor. It means different things to any one you ask, but for me it’s the informal ability to have a sounding board, to be able to seek advice or support, test my thoughts and assumptions and give me frank, constructive criticism when needed.
Secondly, just do it. Do what makes you happy. Believe in yourself as we all believe in you.

Give us your shameless plug!
The National Missing Persons Hackathon – this small idea in February 2019 to hold an event in Canberra has grown into an Australian event. I wanted to find a different way to showcase cyber skills, demystify the ‘hacker’ and create community participation with a strong human impact.
It will be a world first – up to 500 people in Canberra, Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane will participate simultaneously to crowdsource open source intelligence on 12 national missing persons cases around the country to generate leads for Australian police.
The event will be held in October 2019 with registration commencing in August.
Follow @CBRNode and/or @cavanagh_linda on Twitter to keep up to date on the event!

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