In May, we honor the service and sacrifices of current and former members of the Armed Forces and applaud the courage of military personnel and their loved ones. In recognition of National Military Appreciation Month, we are spotlighting Angela Bergsma, a United States Navy Veteran and ISC2 volunteer.

Angela is the Founder and President of Latinas in Cyber (LAIC), an ISC2 diversity, equity and inclusion partner organization with a mission to improve the representation of Latinas in the cybersecurity field. With more than 20 years of experience supporting the intelligence community, cybersecurity and public sectors, Angela specializes in geographical information systems, human intelligence, and program management. She is also a vocal advocate for veterans in the workforce and is a member of several cybersecurity and defense women groups.

An entrepreneur and industry thought leader, Angela founded LAIC in 2022 to narrow the gender gap in cybersecurity and build pathways to create the next generation of Latina leaders in the industry. As a partner with ISC2, LAIC shares a common goal of empowering and encouraging professionals from underrepresented communities to work in cyber. “Both of our organizations strive to strengthen the cybersecurity workforce through fostering diversity,” Angela said.

Angela Bergsma, ISC2 VolunteerLAIC’s approach to inclusion is centered on the three C’s: community, careers, and curriculum, and its team of industry experts focus on these areas by creating programming, leading certification cohorts, and mentoring younger professionals. Through partnering with ISC2, Angela is confident that LAIC can amplify the visibility of underrepresented groups such as the Latine and women communities. “We plan on working with ISC2 to bring wider access to educational resources, training programs and networking opportunities.” Given the 3.99 million cybersecurity workforce gap, it’s paramount that we recruit and hire talented Latine and women professionals who can help fill these roles.

LAIC and ISC2’s collaboration will have meaningful impact in creating a more diverse and inclusive cybersecurity workforce, which will undoubtedly make the world safer. “By welcoming more diverse professionals into the field we have the potential to provide opportunities for innovation," Angela said. The cybersecurity industry is fast-paced and benefits from having professionals who can think of unique and inventive solutions to address rapidly evolving cyber threats.

During National Military Appreciation Month, Angela reflects on her own service as a member of the U.S. Navy. “Being a veteran is one of my greatest honors and I am proud of my service and country,” she said. She also emphasizes the importance of recognizing the efforts of servicemen and women during this month and beyond, especially those who provided the ultimate sacrifice to protect their country.

Angela shares that going from military to civilian life was full of challenges, “transitioning as a veteran was not easy.” Despite encountering obstacles, Angela was able to successfully translate her intelligence skills to social engineering, threat intelligence and technical exploitation. By leveraging the soft skills she gained while working in real-time operations with cross-functional global teams, Angela demonstrated her ability to perform effectively in any environment and collaborate with colleagues from varying backgrounds.

As a veteran, Angela knows firsthand how daunting it can be to pivot from military to civilian life and encourages all military personnel hoping to make a career change to remember the valuable tools, insights and techniques they gained while serving. “Don’t underestimate your experience or leadership and the veteran communities advocating for you,” she said. Highlighting the strengths you bring to the table as a veteran is key to making a seamless transition into the cybersecurity field, so be sure to “tell your story in a way that translates to civilians.”