Career Breakers: Stacey Dixon, From Sales to Cybersecurity Expertise

The next in our Career Breakers series is an exclusive interview with Cybersecurity expert, Stacey Dixon. From a start in sales to evolving into a seasoned “Cybersecurity Blackbelt” for a global tech company, Stacey shares the challenges she has overcome, the successes she has enjoyed, and her valuable perspectives on fostering diversity and inclusion in the tech world.

Name: Stacey Dixon

Job Title: Global Black Belt


Q1. What inspired you to pursue a career in Cybersecurity and how did you get started?

I have accumulated nearly two decades of work experience, with the last seven years dedicated to Information Technology, four of which were focused on Cybersecurity.

Throughout my career, I’ve primarily been in sales roles, but they never aligned with my interests and values, leaving me discontent. I experienced those all-too-familiar days where the thought of going to work was a struggle, occurring practically every day.

My transition into IT started with a position at a leading UK IT managed service provider. Although initially in a sales-based role, my exposure to customer queries and collaboration with the engineering team quickly sparked a keen interest in cybersecurity. This realization prompted a shift in focus—from sales to a genuine passion for solving business challenges with technology.

While officially part of the sales team, I often found myself immersed in the engineering team, seeking to understand the intricate workings of IT. My logical mindset thrived in problem-solving and comprehending the details behind issues and their technological solutions. The shift from sales-centric motivations to a customer-centric approach marked a significant turning point.

Yearning for a more specialized role, I actively pursued Account Manager positions in the realm of cybersecurity. Joining a smaller organization exclusively focused on a world leading Cybersecurity vendors solutions allowed me to work closely with seasoned professionals, fostering both personal and technical growth.

My continuous collaboration with the team, customers, and the world leading Cybersecurity vendor expanded my network and reputation, eventually leading to a referral for a position at the world leading Cybersecurity vendor themselves. Three years later, I wake up each day with a sense of fulfillment. Cybersecurity, with its dynamic nature and daily learning opportunities, not only challenges me but also allows me to empower individuals and organizations with the technology they need and securely.


Q2. What are some challenges you’ve faced in your role, and how did you overcome them? Can you share a particularly rewarding success or achievement in your cybersecurity career?

I’ve always been the type of person who rejects the notion of being told I can’t do something. The word “can’t” simply doesn’t exist in my vocabulary; it’s just another puzzle waiting to be solved.

During the early stages of my IT career, many tech professionals shared the extensive time and effort they invested in training and acquiring qualifications. Despite my passion for a more technical role, I encountered discouragement from numerous individuals who suggested I should “stick to sales.”

Fuelled by the desire to prove them wrong and pursue my passion, I made a deliberate choice to join a smaller, more specialized company. The supportive culture within the team not only facilitated my technological learning but also motivated me to obtain qualifications in security. This shift allowed me to connect with incredible individuals who believed in my abilities and provided the opportunity to demonstrate my potential.

Consequently, overcoming the challenge of being told I couldn’t pursue a more sales and technical role has been my greatest achievement. My determination, coupled with the support of key figures along the way, has brought me to where I am today.


Q3. In a field that may have certain gender stereotypes, have you encountered any misconceptions or biases, and how did you navigate them?

Challenges posed by gender stereotypes persist in the cybersecurity realm. The historical male dominance in the field has fuelled stereotypes linking technical prowess predominantly with men, creating a perception that women are less suitable for cybersecurity roles.

During my early career, this dynamic was evident when I sat with the engineering team—no female colleagues surrounded me. The environment occasionally felt unwelcoming, which initially served as a deterrent.

Fortunately, concerted efforts have been made over the years to dismantle such stereotypes in the cybersecurity landscape. Initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion, including mentorship programs (of which I actively participate and seek additional opportunities), and educational outreach programs, work to dispel biases and foster a more balanced representation within the cybersecurity industry today. I am very fortunate that I do not have to face as much of this today due to the efforts made by my employer as well as many other organisations and individuals.


Q4. How do you think your experiences can inspire others looking to pursue a similar role? What advice would you give to other women looking to pursue a similar career?

The advice I would give to others looking to pursue a similar career would be:

FOLLOW YOUR PASSION! Do what fulfils you and you will never work a day in your life.

ADAPTABILITY IS KEY! Change is good, embrace it. You may not like It at first, not many of us do, but throwing yourself out of the comfort zone and being able to adapt is key to your growth.

CONTINUOUS LEARNING! Always be curious. Ask the ‘silly’ questions. If you don’t ask you don’t get – especially when it comes to the knowledge you desire.

NETWORKING MATTERS! It doesn’t matter who but talk to people. Your colleagues, your customers, business partners and industry leaders. A single conversation may lead you to the door you always wanted to open!

CUSTOMER CENTRIC APPROACH! Never be motivated by sales. When you put a customer first, build a trusted relationship and help them solve their challenges, you will find this ten times more rewarding. Remember, people buy from people, be the person your customer trusts have their best interests at heart.

SEEK SPECIALISATION! You cannot have your head up and your head down at the same time. Specialize on what fulfils you, makes you unique and makes you valuable.

EMBRACE THE CHALLENGE! No better feeling of accomplishment that overcoming a challenge. Challenges are learning and growth opportunities. If you don’t feel challenged, you aren’t growing.

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! I have always had to believe in myself and believe anything is possible if I want it badly enough. You will be discouraged; you will be told you can’t (the non-existent word!) and you will face uncomfortable challenges – but never lose faith – you got this far just place your next foot in front of the other!

My journey in the IT realm has been swift, driven by the factors mentioned above. Over the past 3 years, I’ve been part of a world leading Cybersecurity vendor in a sales capacity, leveraging my logical aptitude and cybersecurity passion to rapidly acquire the necessary tech skills for my current role as a Global Black Belt. Now, positioned at the forefront of cutting-edge services and technologies, I have the privilege to educate both within and outside the company. I devote time to tackle challenges for colleagues and customers while carving out moments for personal learning as I strategize my next cybersecurity.


Q5. How could your industry as a whole encourage more diversity and inclusion?

Set a vision where all genders thrive equally.

Drive a mission and culture to increase inclusion, equity and representation of women (cisgender, transgender, non-binary, and all who identify as women) across racial and ethnic identities, abilities and backgrounds. Connect, uplift, amplify and lead so that one day all genders can thrive equally across the cybersecurity industry.

Do this by creating and sharing resources, programs, opportunities, experiences for our community and allies to leverage.



Follow the Career Breakers series on our website throughout January to stay connected with these empowering stories of individuals who have reshaped their careers and challenged gender stereotypes. For real-time updates, connect with us on social media using the hashtag #CareerBreakers.

The National Careers Service provides free, up to date, impartial information, advice and guidance on careers, skills and the labour market in England to anyone aged 13 and upwards. To speak to a National Careers Service adviser, call 0800 100 900 or use our webchat. Lines are available from: 8am – 8pm Monday – Friday, and 10am – 5pm Saturday

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