From Anthropology to Security Management: Karin Castro’s Journey

Women4Cyber Denmark had the privilege of speaking with Karin Castro, a Functional Manager at the Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology (DBI). Karin’s career story is a fascinating blend of anthropology and security risk management. Our conversation with Karin offers insights into her professional journey and her thoughts on promoting diversity in the industry.

Karin Castro’s Career Path

Karin began her career with a Bachelor’s in Anthropology, followed by a Postgraduate Diploma in Hospitality Management. She then transitioned into leadership roles in the hospitality sector, gaining valuable skills. Her shift to security consulting came later, where she refined her management and problem-solving abilities. Pursuing a Master’s in Security and Risk Management was a turning point, leading her into the security realm.

After completing her Master’s, Karin worked as a research assistant at The Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), and then as a security risk management advisor at Zero-Alpha Executive Services. She later founded her security company, Centre for Security Analysis, before taking on her current role at DBI.

Navigating Innovation and Well-being

Karin’s decision to join DBI was driven by the organization’s commitment to integrating research, development, and advisory services. She appreciates DBI’s focus on innovation and employee well-being. Her role involves providing advisory and consultancy services, including security risk analyses, information and cyber security, and protective security.

– I found DBI’s dedication to fostering innovation and prioritizing employee well-being really impressive. It’s a fantastic environment where I can seamlessly blend my leadership and problem-solving skills with my passion for  R&D, security risk management and customer service.

Karin values DBI’s proactive approach to meeting evolving security needs through market research and client collaboration. She believes this approach enables DBI to offer customized solutions across industries.

Diverse and Inclusion in Security

Karin acknowledges the historical gender norms shaping the security field, but sees progress, especially in cyber security, with more women entering the area. Despite progress, she emphasizes ongoing challenges and highlights the need to foster inclusivity to attract diverse talent. Karin actively participates in gender equality initiatives within and outside DBI, advocating for efforts to encourage women to pursue security careers.

– Historically, security has been viewed as a man’s job due to entrenched gender roles. It’s taken a considerable amount of time for this perception to shift, and even now, certain topics like physical security remain notably behind in terms of gender diversity.

Karin highlights DBI’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, noting the near gender parity in her department. The organization actively promotes diversity across age groups and backgrounds, recognizing its value in driving innovation.

Beyond Karin’s professional pursuits, she volunteers with organizations like Global Mentoring Walk Denmark, mentoring young female professionals from diverse backgrounds. Additionally, she serves on the board of the ASIS International Danish Chapter as the Women In Security (WIS) community representative. This way, Karin extends her influence and dedication to diversity and inclusion beyond her professional pursuits.

Karin Castro’s Advice for the Next Generation

Karin advises women in male-dominated fields to be patient and kind to themselves.

– I believe it’s crucial not to be too hard on yourself and to cultivate patience, especially in male-dominated fields where women often face heightened scrutiny and pressure to prove themselves. Growing up with a strong emphasis on achievement, I understand the drive to perform and excel constantly. However, women need to acknowledge their worth and extend the same level of support and encouragement to themselves as they do to others. Personally, I’ve grappled with imposter syndrome and the need to constantly prove myself, but I’ve come to realize the importance of being kinder to myself. It’s vital to strike a balance between hard work and self-care to avoid burnout and sustain success in the long run.

Karin also emphasized the importance of self-care, seeking mentorship, and aligning career paths with personal values. As per her prior advice, Karin Castro underscores the importance of integrating self-care into professional pursuits while advocating for seeking mentorship and guidance.  For aspiring leaders, her advice is to understand personal motivations and assess the compatibility of leadership roles with these motivations. Karin further encourages embracing diverse perspectives and prioritising work-life balance for sustained success.