Maria Shaw, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), joined Varian in 2017. “I’ve always wanted to be in healthcare,” Maria explains as she gives us insight into her career journey.
As Maria was looking to grow in her career, she saw opportunities to take on more responsibility and make a great impact at Varian. “I really liked what Varian was doing directionally, and I felt closer to truly supporting healthcare at Varian than I did at previous companies. So, it felt even more connected. And it didn’t hurt that the company was two miles away from my house. My partner and I have two young kids, so it was definitely a good fit personally and professionally.”
Maria breaks down her monumental role at Varian for us. “As CISO, I have two main responsibilities. One is enterprise cybersecurity, protecting Varian and our employees. And the other is helping the business to enhance cybersecurity for our products and services that we sell to customers.”
Since coming on board as the CISO, Maria has grown her team to support Varian. “The central cybersecurity team is now about 30 people, and our key focus is building processes, tools, and training to strengthen cybersecurity capabilities across the organization.”
Overseeing security across the enterprise and products and services area gives Maria the chance to continue learning. “It's really fun. It requires me to know what all the business units are doing. So, we work with all of them and get an up-close look at every part of the business.”
When discussing women in leadership roles and the future of women in technology, Maria shared, “My partner and I are both in tech roles, so we talk about this a lot at home. Women tend to really want to do things right, so I think we’re less likely to feel confident like we have to know everything before we even try to do something.
“Whenever you can, encourage women to step up and take the lead,” Maria suggests. “I think it's fine to tell people, ‘Don't worry. You're good enough. You’ve got this. I believe in you. You don't need to know everything. What you've got is really good, so go with it. It's okay to be nervous, but still do it.’”
As a woman in a high-level leadership role at Varian, Maria has seen growth for women and a supportive workplace culture. “The company is really working to innovate and shift its culture. I’ve seen huge support and growth in diversity as part of that effort.” Maria maintains that advocacy and diversity must be intersectional. As a leader, she focuses on creating space for women and lifting LGTBQ+ voices, and she sees Varian taking those same strides across the company. “We grow when we have people to encourage us,” Maria explained. “At Varian, we strive to lead the world in cancer care while creating room for everyone.”
Read more incredible stories about Women at Varian.
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