Award categories

Neurodiversity in Cybersecurity Excellence

This award aims to recognise outstanding efforts by both individuals and organisations that have surpassed their formal roles to support, champion, and empower neurodivergent individuals within the field of cybersecurity.

Individuals or organisations nominated for this category will be acknowledged for their remarkable contributions and achievements in fostering the progress and success of neurodivergent individuals in the realm of cybersecurity. This recognition celebrates their commitment to extending diversity, equity, and inclusion, positioning them as true ‘Cybersecurity Champions.’

Nomination Questions

  • In what ways does your nominee serve as a role model for fostering neurodivergent inclusion and a sense of belonging, either within the security industry or your organisation?
  • Please elaborate on the changes initiated by your nominee that you believe showcase their impactful contributions to enhancing the sense of belonging for neurodivergent individuals, whether in the industry, the field of security, or within your specific organisation.
  • Could you share the most significant positive learnings, outcomes, and success stories resulting from these changes spearheaded by your nominee?
  • How is your nominee exemplifying leadership, excellence, and/or innovation in driving changes related to inclusion and equity, particularly concerning neurodivergent individuals?
  • What aspects of your nominee’s efforts make them deserving of this award? Consider factors such as the quality, scale, and the level of difficulty in achieving the changes they have implemented.

Award categories

Converged Security Resilience Champion

Security convergence is the strategic integration of physical security and information security within an organisation, breaking down silos to create unified teams and strategies. This award, recognises an individual who excels in balancing the convergence of digital and physical security. The awardee will possess the knowledge to identify challenges that arise when dealing with both cyber and physical security, demonstrating an exceptional ability to integrate the management of these domains within their organisation and the respective teams responsible for each.

Nomination Questions: maybe?

  • Describe how the nominee has demonstrated expertise in integrating digital and physical security within their organisation. Highlight specific instances or projects that showcase their ability to converge security strategies.
  • Explain how the nominee recognises and addresses the distinct challenges that arise when dealing with both cyber and physical security. Provide examples of their proactive approach to managing these challenges.
  • Discuss how the nominee brings together the teams responsible for physical and cyber security. Outline their methods for fostering collaboration, communication, and cohesion between these traditionally separate disciplines.
  • Share notable achievements resulting from the nominee’s efforts in converging digital and physical security. Highlight outcomes that demonstrate enhanced security resilience and effectiveness.
  • Explore the nominee’s contributions to advancing the concept of security convergence. Discuss any innovative approaches, technologies, or strategies they have implemented to push the boundaries of converged security.
  • If known, provide the nominee’s pronouns to ensure their inclusion in the category recognising women and non-binary individuals. Discuss how the nominee promotes inclusivity and diversity within the context of converged security resilience.

Award categories

Protective Security Champion

Advancement Champion in Protective Security Award

This award recognises the impactful efforts of the ‘advancement champion’ actively contributing to the progress of women and non-binary individuals within the protective security industry. This accolade is dedicated to individuals who, through mentorship, collaborative work efforts, and influential leadership, have significantly elevated the status and lives of women and non-binary individuals in the protective security sector.

Nomination Questions:

  • How is the nominee actively supporting and empowering women and non-binary individuals in the protective security industry? Describe their contributions, whether through mentorship, collaborative work efforts, or leadership.
  • Explore the motivations that led the nominee to become a ‘change champion.’ What inspired them to get involved and make a difference in supporting and empowering others within the protective security industry?
  • Detail the nominee’s efforts to improve the status and lives of women in the protective security industry. Provide examples and discuss whether these efforts have yielded tangible and positive results.
  • Share the challenges the nominee has faced in their career that contributed to their role as a ‘change champion’ for others in the protective security industry. How did these challenges shape their advocacy efforts?
  • Reflect on the biggest lesson the nominee has learned about helping others in their journey to support and empower women and non-binary individuals. Discuss the insights gained from their experiences as a ‘change champion.’

Team Category

Harakeke Achievement Award

The Harakeke Achievement Award in Cybersecurity recognizes the critical role of technology and digital security in preserving and protecting indigenous knowledge, cultural heritage, and resources. It honors those who have worked tirelessly to ensure that indigenous communities have the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats and challenges.

The word “Harakeke” is derived from the Māori language and refers to the New Zealand flax plant, which is a symbol of resilience, strength, and versatility in Māori culture. Like the Harakeke plant, recipients of this award embody these qualities by exhibiting a deep commitment to upholding and preserving indigenous knowledge, traditions, and practices.


Nominees for the Harakeke Achievement Award in Cybersecurity may include individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions towards advancing cybersecurity in indigenous communities. These nominees may have:

  •   Developed innovative approaches to protecting indigenous knowledge, data, and digital assets
  •   Worked to increase awareness of cybersecurity risks and best practices within indigenous communities
  •   Collaborated with indigenous communities to create culturally sensitive and appropriate cybersecurity policies and practices
  •   Advocated for the inclusion of indigenous perspectives in cybersecurity research and policy-making

Q1  How is your nominee acted as the voice of cybersecurity risks and best practices within indigenous communities?

Q2 Please detail their accomplishments to date that you believe demonstrate potentially unrealised and unique potential and/or that have made a difference to the indigenous community. 

Q3  What have been the most important outcomes of their actions?

Q4  What were the greatest challenges they had to overcome to achieve these outcomes?

Q5. How have they advocated for the inclusion of indigenous perspectives in cybersecurity policies and research – demonstrating excellence and innovation in the industry?

Q6-Have they created or developed any approaches to protecting indigenous knowledge, data, and digital assets? If so can you elaborate on what those are in more detail.

Team Category

Best Place to Work in Security

Inclusive Workplace Excellence in Security Award

This recognition celebrates workplaces that have exhibited exceptional dedication to fostering an environment that empowers and supports women and non-binary individuals, facilitating the realisation of their full potential. The victorious organisation will be distinguished by its unwavering commitment to eliminating gender bias in all its manifestations, striving to create an inclusive workplace where every employee is treated with equality, regardless of gender.

Nomination Questions:

  • Describe the involvement of women in security roles within this workplace. Include specific details, such as the number of women in key security positions.
  • Outline the specific programs and policies the organization has implemented to encourage women to achieve their full potential in the security sector.
  • Detail the measures the organization is taking to ensure recruitment and promotion practices and policies are free from gender bias.
  • Describe the organisation’s efforts to educate its workforce about gender bias and discrimination, as well as the strategies employed to eliminate these issues.
  • Highlight the policies and procedures the organization has in place to address gender-related issues, including discrimination, bias, and harassment.
  • Summarise why you believe this organisation stands out and deserves the Excellence in Security Workplace Award. Consider aspects such as inclusivity, equality, and the overall positive impact on the security industry.


Best Security Mentor

Mentorship Excellence in Security Award

This award acknowledges and celebrates the transformative influence of mentors on the professional journeys of women and non-binary individuals within the security field, as showcased in the narratives of Women in Security magazine. Recognising the pivotal role of mentoring, this accolade pays tribute to mentors whose guidance has proven invaluable in shaping the success stories of numerous professionals.

Nomination Questions:

  • Describe the formal role of the nominee within the security industry. Provide insights into their position and responsibilities.
  • Offer information about the scale, scope, and nature of the nominee’s mentoring activities. Outline the depth of their involvement and commitment to mentoring in the security sector.
  • Share details of women or non-binary individuals who have significantly benefited from being mentored by the nominee. Highlight specific success stories or positive outcomes resulting from their mentorship.
  • Discuss what aspects of the nominee’s mentoring style and approach set them apart and make them deserving of this award. Consider qualities that distinguish them as an exceptional security mentor.
  • For self-nominations or if known, explore the motivations that drive the nominee to be a mentor. What inspires them to contribute to the professional growth and development of others in the security industry?

Male Category

Champion of Change

Champions of Change in Cybersecurity Award

Formerly recognised as the ‘Male Champion of Change,’ this distinguished award now celebrates both male and non-binary champions of change actively committed to dismantling entrenched gender-based discrimination and bias within their workplace. These champions also play a pivotal role in promoting equality throughout the Cybersecurity industry. Awardees will be those who have demonstrated a genuine commitment to and achieved significant milestones in fostering inclusivity and gender equality.

Nomination Questions:

  • Describe the nominee’s formal role in the industry and outline specific initiatives they have undertaken to address gender-related issues, both within and outside your organisation.
  • Provide indicators of the success of the nominee’s achievements. Include details on sustainable changes within their organisation and whether their initiatives have been adopted by others in the industry.
  • Outline the challenges the nominee has faced in executing their championing initiatives. Describe how they navigated and surmounted these challenges.
  • Share specific examples of how women have benefited from the nominee’s initiatives. Highlight positive outcomes and improvements directly resulting from their efforts.
  • Explore the motivations that led the nominee to become a champion of change. For self-nominations, elucidate the personal commitment and driving factors behind their advocacy for gender equality.

Award categories

Best Program for Empowering Young Individuals in Cybersecurity

This recognition celebrates programs dedicated to supporting young women and non-binary individuals during the initial phases of their cybersecurity careers. These programs, whether through educational initiatives or experiential activities, strive to inform, inspire, and encourage participation in the security industry. Evaluation criteria include the program’s effectiveness in fostering passion for cybersecurity, assisting in overcoming challenges, and educating participants about the experiences of women in the security field.

Nominate a program by answering the questions below. Keep in mind that responses to these questions are the sole basis for judging entries. Self-nominations are permitted. If known, please provide the nominee’s pronouns.

Q1: Program Details

  • Describe the program you are nominating.
  • What are its primary goals and objectives?
  • How long has the program been operational?
  • How many women and non-binary individuals have participated in the program?

Q2: Addressing Challenges

  • In what ways does the program assist women in overcoming challenges?
  • Can you outline the specific mechanisms or strategies employed to achieve this?

Q3: Impact and Benefits

  • Provide examples of how women and non-binary individuals have benefited from the program.
  • Share specific instances or success stories that highlight the positive impact on participants’ lives.
  • Describe any notable outcomes or achievements resulting from the program’s initiatives.



Best Innovative Business “reshaping the future” of the Security Industry

This award recognises the New Zealand business that has demonstrated a significant and impactful commitment to advancing the field of cybersecurity. Whether an industry giant or a pioneering startup, the recipient is distinguished for their noteworthy contributions in addressing the evolving challenges posed by a diverse range of attackers. The award seeks to honor innovators who are actively shaping the future landscape of cybersecurity in Australia.

Nomination Questions:

  • Provide a brief overview of the nominee’s key cybersecurity initiatives. Highlight specific projects, technologies, or strategies implemented to enhance cybersecurity.
  • How has the nominee’s contributions positively impacted the cybersecurity industry in New Zealand? Discuss any measurable outcomes, industry recognition, or significant advancements resulting from their efforts.
  • Share examples of how the nominee has demonstrated innovation and adaptability in responding to emerging cybersecurity threats. Discuss any groundbreaking approaches, technologies, or methodologies employed.
  • Describe the nominee’s collaborative efforts within the cybersecurity community. Highlight partnerships, information sharing, or engagement with industry stakeholders that have strengthened the collective response to cyber threats.
  • Provide quantifiable metrics or qualitative evidence showcasing the effectiveness of the nominee’s cybersecurity initiatives. This could include reduced cyber incidents, enhanced resilience, or improved threat detection capabilities.
  • Outline the nominee’s vision and roadmap for the future of cybersecurity. Discuss planned initiatives, research, or strategies that demonstrate a commitment to ongoing excellence in addressing cybersecurity challenges.

Organisational Culture:

  • How does the nominee foster a cybersecurity-aware culture within the organisation? Describe any training programs, awareness campaigns, or policies aimed at promoting a proactive cybersecurity mindset among employees.
  • Detail how the nominee aligns with industry best practices and standards in cybersecurity. Highlight any certifications, compliance efforts, or adherence to recognised frameworks that showcase a commitment to excellence.
  • How does the nominee stay ahead of the constantly evolving cybersecurity threat landscape? Discuss proactive measures, threat intelligence utilisation, or incident response capabilities that demonstrate agility in addressing emerging challenges.


Best Industry Initiative that Supports Diversity, Inclusion and Equality

Explore and nominate exceptional initiatives that champion diversity, inclusion, and equality, whether within organisational confines or through external community-focused campaigns. Whether it’s an internal program or an external effort, the awards celebrate initiatives based on their scale, quality, success, acceptance, and innovativeness.

To nominate, provide comprehensive responses to the following questions. Entries will be evaluated solely based on the information given. Encourage self-nominations and limit each answer to 300 words.

Initiative Overview (300 words max):

  • Concisely outline the initiative, emphasising its purpose, goals, and the impact it has made in advancing diversity, inclusion, and equality.
  • Detail the reach and scope of the initiative, specifying the number of individuals, teams, or communities positively affected by the program.
  • Discuss the initiative’s quality, focusing on meticulous planning, execution, and sustainability. Highlight any distinctive features or strategies that distinguish it.
  • Share measurable outcomes and success metrics associated with the initiative. This may include improvements in diversity metrics, employee satisfaction, community engagement, or other relevant success indicators.
  • Describe the level of acceptance and engagement the initiative has garnered from participants, stakeholders, and the broader community. Include any feedback or testimonials that underscore its positive reception.
  • Showcase the innovative aspects of the initiative. Explain how it pioneers new approaches, introduces creative solutions, or breaks new ground in addressing diversity, inclusion, and equality challenges.