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Women’s History Month: Advice from the Women of SCV

While every month of the year should be dedicated to women of all races and backgrounds, March is specifically dedicated to highlighting women who have made a difference in history, opening up possibilities to young girls.

This Women's History Month, we spoke to the women in the Strategic Cyber Ventures network to get their words of advice about navigating the workforce.

From left to right: Tracey Pretorius, Vivian Schneck-Last, Ann Kirschner, Simone Petrella

Advice to your 20-year-old self:

Ann Kirschner, SCV Board Member, University Professor:

"Surprise yourself! Welcome those plot twists in your life! Test your strength....you'll discover that you're a lot more resilient and resourceful than you thought. Embrace family, friends, and the unexpected experiences that are the rocket fuel to your future."

Vivian Schneck Last, SCVX Board Member, former Managing Director of Goldman Sachs:

"My advice to my 20 year old self would be to be less concerned about making mistakes, brush them off, learn and move on, knowing that I would be smarter for making those mistakes. I was pretty fearless in trying new things, usually the first to volunteer for the stretch assignment, but I was also too concerned when mistakes would undoubtedly happen and spent too much time apologizing. I was more forgiving to others and their mistakes than to my own."

Women in the Workplace:

Simone Petrella, SCV Advisory Board Member, CEO & Founder of CyberVista:

...on rising up in the workplace:

"Don't be afraid to take risks or be wrong. Embrace it...the men do! Be confident in your abilities and the decisions you make, even if that means sometimes having to change course when something doesn't work out the way you expected it to.

"Be open and share your ambitions with others, especially those who can be mentors and champions throughout your career. Actively seek out their help and advice as it relates to what you're looking to achieve." - Simone Petrella

Spend the time to foster and build relationships with people across your professional interests. It is never time wasted and while it's nice to think that success is only a result of expertise and hard work, the reality is that the network you build will be instrumental when you're thinking about a future career move, can assist with a job search, etc."

…on what she likes best about leading a company:

"I love being decisive and knowing that the things I'm doing are directly moving the direction of the company. There's something invigorating (although often terrifying) about knowing that I can have a vision and then set things into motion that help make that vision a reality

To that end, I love building teams; finding and fostering the people and skills that will work together best to help execute on that vision. And I find such joy in watching them be successful, succeed and excel in their own careers and lives."

Tracey Pretorius, SCV Advisory Board Member, Senior Director of Global Partner Business Strategy at Microsoft:

...on why she loves working in cyber:

"Cybersecurity is an exciting and fun space to be in. It is also incredibly rewarding due to the importance of the work, the fast pace of change and the challenge of solving problems. With the current skills shortage now is your chance to think seriously about a career in cybersecurity as you too can have an impact and make a difference in helping create a more secure digital world!"


Cybersecurity is national security, and we're a D.C.-based venture capital firm on a mission to find cutting-edge startups that help us make an impact. We go beyond the check to help our founders win by leveraging our industry connections and experience as cybersecurity veterans to fuel their companies from inception to exit.

To learn more about our investment strategy and portfolio, explore www.scvgroup.com or connect with us on X @SCV_Cyber to be part of our mission in shaping the future of cybersecurity.