BDO's commitment to diversity comes through in many ways, including some you might not normally consider. BDO Lixar (our technology consulting business) has made great strides in this area. And as Sacha Blasiak-Priestley, our new Director of Cloud Security, says, those less talked-about elements can make a big difference.
“I've often been the only woman in the room, and I used to be almost taken aback when there was more than one of us,” said Sacha. “But that's not at all the case at BDO Lixar. I believe our diversity is part of what makes our team and the entire firm successful.” And she's referring to more than traditional diversity.
“Yes, diversity of gender, race, sexual orientation all bring unique perspectives and experience to every discussion—but so too does diversity of education, which is so important on my team.”
Sacha points to the differences between someone with a background in tech versus someone with a background in the humanities.
“A team member with a computer science background will consider a security problem very differently than a team member with a social science/human behaviour background. I want both, and I think having both leads to better results. In fact, I know this to be true because I've already seen it happen in my short time at BDO Lixar.”
What had you heard about BDO Lixar?
I'd heard about the importance they place on work-life balance, and it is one hundred percent true. They actively create it with practices like not having internal meetings on Fridays so we have time to finish up before the weekend. Little things like that make a big difference.
What attracted you to BDO Lixar?
I was drawn to senior leadership's client focus. They spoke of wanting to help clients by listening to their challenges and coming up with solutions that could help versus telling them what to do based on what's worked for other clients. I was really drawn to that philosophy because, in my experience, it's exceedingly (and surprisingly) rare.
What do you remember from your first few weeks with BDO Lixar?
Two things. One was how many people welcomed me and offered to help get me settled in and answer any questions I had about the organization or systems. And the other was the diversity of thought across the entire organization.
Sacha took an early interest in computers. It became a passion, then an area of study at Ryerson University, and then a career path.
After earning a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the Information Technology Management program, Sacha's first job out of school was at a help desk, which she points to as an instrumental part of her career path.
“The role required a lot of patience, listening and real-time troubleshooting,” said Sacha. “I was iterating on the fly to get answers from panicked people. I knew it would be great training for wherever my career took me.”
The first “wherever” wound up being in the telecommunications industry, where she was a leader on the first internal security operations team, then later into the public sector as a Director of Threat Management.
After building out an amazing team, it was Sacha's time to move back into the private sector, and her landing spot was an easy choice.
What impresses you most about BDO Lixar's Cloud Security Team?
The level of talent and experience in a wide range of areas. And the collaboration we have; it is amazing to be a part of.
What do you like most about your job?
The problem-solving aspect of security is what keeps me interested. I really enjoy working with teams to solve complex problems for clients and leveraging technology to help us. I also like the variety.
How is BDO Lixar helping to shape the future of Cloud Security?
Multiple service offerings, from application code testing, penetration testing, to managed detection and response capabilities.
What's a soft skill you seek out in team members?
The ability to translate technology into risk language. Historically, security was (and probably still is) seen as a roadblock to innovation. A skill security professionals need to have is a way to communicate our findings as risks so others can understand the impact it can have to the business.
Sacha, along with so many other leaders and soon-to-be leaders, are finding success at BDO Lixar and experiencing the career-bolstering benefits of our comprehensive commitment to diversity.
Thinking of a new career in Cloud Security or a move within the industry? Sacha is actively looking to build her team.
Find your next opportunity here