If you have worked with Popcorn Training, then you probably would have dealt with  Anna Collard at some point.

This month our founder, CEO, and brains behind the Popcorn Training brand represented Popcorn Training a KnowBe4 company at IT Web (Cape Town and Johannesburg), Women in Tech (Cape Town) and Infosecurity Europe (London).

We want to take some time to introduce you to Anna so that you can get to know her a bit better, and understand how a global cybersecurity awareness training business was born.

How did you find yourself in a Cyber Security field?

I got the opportunity to work as a “Werk-student” at Siemens in Munich while I studied international economics. They paid better than waitressing and the other added benefit was that I was able to get exposed to complex enterprise IT projects at a very young age. Also, they offered me to write my diploma-thesis in Information Security and this lead to my first job after varsity at Internet Solution as a security product manager and ultimately to a long career at Dimension Data Security.

Is it true that you conceptualised your first characters while on your honeymoon?

Yes, in Zanzibar. while my husband was sailing I drew the first draft storyboard of what would later become the “Something Phishy” series.

Do you find that as a woman in a predominantly male industry you are treated differently?

Yes and no. When it comes down to it doesn’t really matter though, in IT Security we are so busy that it just needs the right person to get the job done, regardless of gender. Obviously, over the course of my career, I came across two or three sexist comments, but in large I only had very positive experiences with my male managers, mentors, and colleagues.

What advice would you give young girls who want to get into the tech space?

Just do it. It’s such a diverse and exciting space with many opportunities for girls and boys alike. Never feel intimidated, you can learn anything!

What was your key takeaway from the Women in Tech event?

Women have a tendency to put themselves last and need to take more care of themselves while juggling business and family demands.

What is next for Anna Collard?

Taking Popcorn Training - a KnowBe4 company to the next level and expanding into Africa. Having to grow a team is a huge learning curve and challenge for me personally and Africa is an interesting territory to explore.

When you are not working, what do you love to do?

ha .. ha.. :-P  When I’m not working I’m with my family. Any time off I get I use to rebalance my energy with yoga, being out in nature or just with some quiet time with myself and a notebook.