Aristotle Metadata announces outcomes of December 2023 IRAP assessment

An interview with Lauren Eickhorst - Aristotle Metadata's Chief Operating Officer

This month, Artistotle Metadata’s amazing COO, Lauren, was announced as a finalist in IT Security Guru’s Most Inspiring Woman in Cyber 2022.

Shining light on the amazing women in the cyber industry, IT Security’s awards celebrate women’s achievements and contributions to the ever-expanding cyber industry. With this news, we thought what better time to catch up with Lauren to learn about her trajectory within the industry and what advice she has for others when looking to get into the cyber and tech space.

For those who don’t know Lauren, we can say without bias that she is an incredible force who is supportive, caring, and intelligent. Currently studying her second degree, an MBA, outside of work you can find Lauren at a local café with a coffee and a good book in hand.

What is your role at Aristotle Metadata?

My official role is COO, but because we are a small organisation my role includes anything that needs to be done to help the business. I help strategise, develop, and implement business processes within the organisation, but I also assist with the development of the training materials for our products and some office administration.

What is an example of a day in your role?

There is never a day the same as the last at Aristotle Metadata. As a start-up, we move fast, and things change from day to day. An example of my day includes helping the CEO develop strategies and then working on ways to execute them, developing tender responses for Government contracts, communicating with legal and our accountants, and most importantly - helping stock our office snack shelves.

What was your career prior to Aristotle Metadata?

Prior to creating Aristotle Metadata five years ago, I was working with Sam (our CEO) at Data61 in CSIRO. Before that, I was working at a café and then odd jobs when I was at university.

Did you have prior experience in cyber and/or tech? If not, how has the learning process been?

I didn’t have experience in the industry ahead of coming to work on Aristotle. Initially, I came on to assist with marketing and communications with my role evolving as we continued to grow.

The cyber and tech industry is very fluid, and you must be ready and anticipate what’s coming next in the industry and continually upskill to accommodate this. The learning process has been challenging but extremely rewarding.

What made you decide to leave your previous job to build a start-up company? And what were your feelings at the time? Nervous, excited, confident, etc.

Honestly, I kind of fell into this role by accident.

My previous roles were all in the service industry and I had ambitions to become a doctor after university. This opportunity presented itself and I gave it a chance because I was young and wanted to try something new and exciting.

Five years on, not once have I regretted taking the jump.

What challenges have you faced and overcome since starting Aristotle Metadata?

The two main challenges I’ve faced, personally, are being a young woman in a new industry that is primarily male-dominated, along with not being an Australian citizen.

I’ve worked hard to build on my experience and expertise and am now completing my MBA as the next step. Of course, there are still times when imposter syndrome creeps in, but I have always tried to ‘fake it until you make it’ in these situations.

What moments are you most proud of since starting Aristotle?

I’m most proud of our company and our team’s growth, both in size and capability. I’m also proud of my personal growth since starting the company and becoming more confident in myself and my place in the company.

How do you feel about being nominated as one of the most inspiring women in cyber? And who inspires you?

For me it’s not about winning awards, it’s about doing good stuff and making a difference. Don’t get me wrong, it feels nice and I’m grateful to be nominated for an award, but the recognition and awards are not why I do what I do.

I think our software is making a difference and really helping those who use it, and I hope to one day to be an inspiration or a role model for women in the tech industry because of this.

The person who inspires me the most is my mother. She raised me and my sisters as a single parent and has always supported and encouraged me to work hard and pursue my passions, whatever they may be.

Do you have any advice for women wanting to transition into a career in cyber or tech?

My advice for women who are interested in transitioning into a cyber or tech career is to give it a chance and take the jump, we need more women in these industries.

You don’t have to necessarily know how to program to get a job in a cyber or tech-led organisation, a lot of skills are transferrable and needed. You can also teach yourself how to code with countless free online courses and many support groups and meet-ups for women in the tech space. If you have a cyber or tech idea, go to networking events and talk to others about it.