Nancy Johnsen


Name: Nancy Johnsen

Occupation: Provincial Manager of Security and Audit

Employer: NLCHI

Education: Bachelor of Arts (MUN), IT Diploma, CISSP, CRISC, GSEC, Comptia Security +, eJPT (eLearn Security Junior Pentester)

What does your typical workday involve?

I manage and support a team of 14 whose primary responsibility is to protect the health systems and health information of the people of our province. Currently we are all working remotely and most of my team typically work an 830 to 430 workday.

What do you most love about your profession? Why did you choose this career?

I was working in a computer support role several years ago at a time when we were starting to see an increase in security incidents and the need for training professionals in this area was become increasingly important for many companies. My Manager at the time gave me the opportunity to do my first cyber security course and I was so intrigued by what I had learned my passion for all things security grew from there.

I love my profession because every day is different; there are always new security incidents that need to be investigated or problems that need to be solved.  Given that technology evolves so quickly there is always something new to learn.

When did you realize you wanted to work in STEM?

When I finished university the technology sector was starting to boom and there were a lot of schools offering IT programs. I was intrigued by the various courses that were being offered and the various paths that I could take in IT so I decided to pursue a career in IT and 22 years later I can say I have no regrets.

What were your favorite subjects in school?

High School - Language Arts, Chemistry

Post-Secondary – Psychology, Networking and Server Administration

What advice would you give girls, who are still in school, who might be considering a career like yours?

Do not let the fact that there are few women in Tech deter you from joining the industry. I seized that opportunity and have made a very successful career for myself. There are many well-paying jobs in cyber security and many organizations and companies are more focused on gender diversity and actively seek out women to fill security roles. There are also many scholarships, programs, and training opportunities available for women, so the opportunities are endless.

Why do we need more women in skilled trades and STEM?

We need diversity in the workforce because we need different perspectives brought to the table. Having women in STEM and skilled trades increases the number of talented people that we can draw from to fill the skills gap that we are seeing in these areas.

Who was your role model? What about this person inspires you?

During the initial stages of my career in Security I was introduced to a security consultant who performed a lot of security work here in the province. He appreciated my passion for security and my motivation to further develop my skills and encouraged me to pursue my security certifications, got me involved in various security communities throughout the city, and encouraged me and helped build up my confidence to apply on my first Senior Security Role. I got the position and have since moved up to Managing that team. He inspired me to pay it forward and mentor several people over the last few years who wanted to develop a career in security.

What do you do for fun? What are some of your hobbies/activities?

I enjoy Taekwondo training with my two daughters and working towards our next belt levels together.

What superhero do you relate to most? Why?

I relate to Batman because we have very similar characteristics. He is passionate and determined, strong principles and morals, and very humble.  He was compassionate and wanted to help other people. Our missions are similar; his was to fight injustice and evil villains and mine is to fight cybercrime cybercriminals.

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