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When Business and Family priorities come together

A few month ago, when my child climbed into the boot of our family car at the airport and pretended to be a suitcase so I could take that “suitcase” on my business trip, it is when I decided I had to radically change how I was doing my job.

As I am turning an important chapter in my working life I thought I would share part of the journey that drove me to first leave a stable and somewhat senior position for a large international company in the UK for a “glamorous” CISO position in a relatively small organisation on the other side of the world, in Mauritius. Then almost a year later, deciding to leave the safety of a full-time job and create my own company.

For 15 years, I worked for BP in the UK in various Cyber Security roles, life was very good, the benefits excellent, the job challenging and I forged numerous good friendships. There were little reasons to leave. Except maybe the prospect of a more outdoor family life in a sunny and beautiful tropical island: Mauritius.

In 2016, when I was offered a CISO role in Mauritius for a local company wanting to expand their business across Africa and focus their core IT activities towards Cyber Security, there was no hesitation and I jumped on the opportunity.

Although it was a very different working environment, the job was very interesting as I could apply my Cyber Security Experience and all the operational best practises I followed for many years in the UK.

Yet, here I was, questioning the very reasons of our move to Mauritius during that 12h flight.

Once I landed, a few things were quite clear:

  • Family and Friends are the real source of happiness;
  • I needed to control where, when and how I was doing business travel;
  • Mauritius is where we want to live, however we also want to be able to spend a few months a year in Europe;
  • It means being able to work in different part of the world: Mauritius and Europe;
  • If I was to “dream” about a “perfect job” then I would also add the ability to work from home a few days a week and have a short commute to my clients.

  • There I had it, 3 key words: “perfect dream job”. My first reaction was to dismiss the above as just that, a “dream”, and that maybe one day, in a few years, a decade or so, do it. Then, I kept asking myself: “But why should I wait? What is stopping me?”.

    Of course, there were quite a few good reasons to listen to those inner doubts: “not part of the plan, risky business, financial impact, responsibilities, the unknown, etc.”

    However, the more I thought about it and the more I could find good reasons to make the move now. For a start, and probably the first time in my life, I have the clarity of what is important to me and my family and how to achieve it. Then, back in 2015, I had nibbled with providing independent Cyber Security advise as BP allowed me to create my own limited company in the UK and work during my free time. We had an agreement as to which companies I could provide my services to and it was the reasons why I focused my extra activities towards Hedge Funds.

    Furthermore, that last year in Mauritius has helped me understand the working culture in the region, its challenges and the growing need for expertise in the field of Cyber Security.

    This is when I realised I was ready. I am ready.

    I am very thankful for the opportunity that was given to me by BIRGER, the Mauritian company where I was the CISO since last year. They have a strong base on which to build on and I wish them all the success in the future, hopefully our path will cross again.

    As for now and for me, an exciting new chapter is beginning in the form of ElysiumSecurity Ltd, operating in the UK and in Mauritius, providing Cyber Security Strategic and Tactical services.

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