Women In Tech: Opheliar Chan

Opheliar Chan

This blog series allows us to get to know multiple women in the Security and Technology Industry. It is interesting to see the varying paths they took to get to Security Compass. Their passion for technology is what led them to where they are today, and will fuel them to continue to make a contribution into the ever-accelerating field of security.

Meet Opheliar (Ophie) Chan:

Here is Opheliar Chan, a Principal Security Consultant at Security Compass who began her journey with us no longer than one year ago. She is part of the team that carries the responsibility of representing our brand, as they are on the client forefront. Opheliar’s experience and expertise with technology is what gives her the ability and confidence to execute effectively in her work on a daily basis.

As a growing company, it is not always easy to get to know every person, so I took the time to chat with Opheliar to discuss her path to Security Compass; but more specifically, how she was introduced to technology.

Raised in London, Ontario, Ophie knew early on that she was going to enter the worlds of either technology or finance. With her large family all specializing in those two areas, she knew where the value was in the evolution of technology. As she got older, her passion for learning about new technologies also grew, which swayed her to study Computer Science at the University of Toronto.

She always knew she had an aptitude for computers, but she didn’t know that security would be where she would end up. “Out of University, I wanted any job that would allow me to enter the field”. As many young Canadians who complete their undergraduate studies, the main thing Opheliar was looking for was a job over a career; little did she know it would lead her into security.

Ophie took a job as a contracted technical writer for Assurent Secure Technologies, which was later purchased by TELUS and re-branded to TELUS Security Solutions. This is where she learned a lot about new technologies and gained valuable working experience, as her duties included writing up vulnerability reports for a major client. From this she moved on to tech-write and program for a company where she spent half of her time doing front-end application coding and deployment, and the rest of the time writing about how to use the application. In the meantime, TELUS had acquired Assurent Secure Technologies. This is when Ophie rejoined TELUS Security Solutions as a consultant.

During her time working for TELUS Security Solutions, she met the founder of Security Compass (Nish Bhalla) at an industry tradeshow. “He was literally wearing sandals and a t-shirt. He told me he didn’t know he was going to be there that day”. Down the line, she reconnected with Nish and that’s when her journey at Security Compass began.

“Working at other small companies, I knew what environment to expect at Security Compass”. It is a point of emphasis for Ophie to work in an environment where she is always learning, and where people are not afraid to make mistakes. “I love working with people who are passionate about what they do, and that’s how it is here”.

I had the opportunity to sit down and ask Ophie some questions to get to know her better. Below is a brief summary of our conversation:

Why did you choose Security Compass?

After several years of working at TELUS as a security consultant, I was looking for a change of pace. I wanted to return to a smaller organization and see how other consulting companies are run, so I reconnected with Nish and was given an opportunity to join Security Compass.

What do you enjoy most about being a Security Consultant?

From the career perspective, I like security consulting because it is a constantly evolving challenge. It is a career where I can combine my interest in technology, my desire to help people, my writing talents, and my interest in both teaching and learning. I enjoy being able to apply these things in different ways every day.

On a day-to-day basis, the people are the best part. I work with, and for, a lot of very intelligent, humble, and hard-working people who aren’t afraid to make mistakes — and learn from them.

How did you get into the security/tech industry?

Coming out of school with a computer science degree, any job would have been the right one. When offered a position to do some technical writing for a security research team, I pounced on the opportunity, and that led to working with technologies and meeting new people.

What’s your nickname?

Most people call me “Ophie”, but with a name not everyone knows how to spell or pronounce (Opheliar), any name that is not disrespectful is okay!

How do you take your coffee in the morning?

I don’t drink coffee. I usually drink tea; my favorite is Earl Gray or Pu-erh, and I drink it black.

What’s your favorite Disney movie?

Not sure, but my favorite movie is Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

What’s your karaoke song?

A Cantonese song that I would not even know how to say in English.

If anybody in the entire world could be your best friend, who would it be?

I’m actually very happy with my current, amazing best friend, but if I had to choose someone a little farther out…

Stephen Hawking? It would be an unbalanced intellectual friendship where he would be doing all the teaching.

What’s the first thing you do when you get home from work?

Eat dinner; my family eats before I get home.

What has been your favorite career moment?

I don’t necessarily have a favorite career moment, but it’s always great when clients thank you for your efforts.

What has been your greatest accomplishment?

Learning how to present, and improving upon soft skills that associate with a client-facing job. I’m not the most extroverted person, so this was a great accomplishment for me.

Where would you be now if you could choose to switch fields?

Genetics was something I was interested in. That’s a field I would look into if I wasn’t in security. I have this dream of opening a bakery when my career in technology is over, but with the physical work involved, I know that’s difficult.

There you have it. Another ‘Women in Tech‘ profile, and opportunity to learn about the ladies at Security Compass. Stay tuned for more blogs on the women here making significant contributions to the Information Security industry!