Advancing Life & Work

The Women of HPE Global Security – Catherine McKenna


There is still a lot of bias in the world that technology and security are male-oriented industries or that you need a list of advanced degrees as long as your arm to become successful. At HPE we work to cultivate a culture of belonging, with diversity and inclusion for all at the heart of our values. We believe that success lies in having a diverse team that can bring their true, full selves to work.

With the ‘Women of Global Security’ series, we’re sharing the stories of a number of our talented and successful professionals which we hope will inspire more women to take the plunge into the world of technology and security.

CMcKenna.jpgCatherine McKenna is a Security Operations Analyst at the HPE Global Security Centre, Galway, Ireland. Originally from Dublin, Ireland she now lives in Galway with her two teenage sons.

Catherine, please tell us about your career so far:

For most of my life, I worked primarily in hospitality across different areas from bartending to front office manager in a hotel then eventually into catering. I ended up working for the company supplying catering to the HPE Galway site, I worked there as a catering assistant and later progressed to catering supervisor. Like many people working in hospitality, when the pandemic hit, I was made redundant.

I was approached by a member of the HPE Global Security team and asked if I would be interested in applying for a position with them as a Global Security Analyst. Although I was nervous, I interviewed and was later offered the position.

When I started with HPE in August 2021 my computer skills were basic, I’d only used Microsoft Office and a few other programs used for ordering, stocktaking, and accounting when I worked in hospitality. When I first started it was a little overwhelming, there were so many aspects you need to always have your eye on, but the training was fantastic, and I was able to get up to speed on all of the applications quickly.

Tell us about someone who inspires you:

My manager Louise Gallagher is inspirational to me. I knew her through my work in the catering department at HPE. She has built her career through many different roles at HPE, developing skills and experience with each one. Louise became the Global Security Centre Manager just after I started, and I love being a part of her team.

What would you say to young women interested in a career in security?

I think many women may feel that Security is a male environment, but our office is a 50/50 mix. The department I work in is Physical Security. We look after HPE assets which include global HPE site monitoring through alarms and CCTV, but we also monitor world events that may impact these sites and our HPE employees. The ability to multi-task and strong organizational ability are essential for success in a role like this and are something that most women excel at naturally.

What have been barriers in your career that you have had to face and how did you overcome them?

In the beginning, I was quite apprehensive about moving into a career in security with HPE, I thought I would be lost or in over my head. I thought that everyone would have a degree in some sort of computer science and my education was a certificate in Business Studies (Secretarial Studies) from Athlone RTC quite some time ago. Despite that, I took to all the training and very quickly developed a real understanding of the role and what it entailed. From the beginning, I asked my managers for regular feedback to ensure I was on track. I also gave feedback on the training I underwent so improvements could be made for the next analysts in training. Feedback works both ways and I think it’s very important for development.

If you could speak with your younger self today, what advice would you give?

No matter what job you’re doing now, however insignificant you may think it is, really it is all part of learning and building towards something better. Working in hospitality has taught me all about people, their behaviors, and situational awareness which is incredibly important in the role I have now. I feel like I have been in training for this job for a long time and didn’t even realize it. Try everything, failure is not a bad thing it is just another part of learning.

We’d also love to hear about your life outside of work:

What inspires you? My boys, they’re 17 and 20. 

How do you relax? I’m a creative person. I love to bake and have done so from a very young age; I make and decorate cakes for friends and family. I also love to do oil paintings and kettlebell training.

What is your advice for getting the most out of life? Don’t worry about the small things, do things that you enjoy and love doing!

If you're interested in a career with HPE, check out our latest vacancies here.

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About the Author


Recruitment marketing and content specialist. Seeking stories from the people within HPE to amplify and share with the world. Huge believer that authenticity of brand and voice will attract the worlds top talent.