Tech Leaders Talk Podcast

Dhipa Lee on the Tech Leaders Talk show

Women in Technology and Cybersecurity

”I would say never give up. Never look back. Take a step back and make sure that you feel confident in yourself, I would say. I'd say the biggest thing is not to doubt yourself. If you do have doubts, let them pass you by as a moment of doubt, rather than this is it, this is completely final, because your emotions often tangle you up in a lot of mess about yourself.”
Dhipa Lee on the Tech Leaders Talk show

Episode Description

We chat with Dhipa Lee and talk about her role in technology and cybersecurity.

Dhipa Lee has over 20 years experience in the IT and cybersecurity space working for like Dimension Data and Deutsche Bank. She’s also an author of a book called “Written” and the founder of the “Woman in IT” circle.

In this episode, you will learn

  • Dhipa talks about when she was young and how she ended up in the UK.
  • Dhipa talks about how she ended up in technology
  • We learn where Dhipa's passion for supporting woman in technology comes from
  • Woman in IT and Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook)
  • We talk about Dhipa's book.
  • Hear how Dhipa takes a tough time in her life and changes it to something really positive.

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Dhipa Lee Transcript

Ernst Pelser:
Dhipa, I have already started recording. How's your day been?

Dhipa Lee:
Very good, very good. Busy, so just chugging away as usual trying to get through everything.

Ernst Pelser:
Good. Whereabout are you based?

Dhipa Lee:
I'm in London. I live just on the outskirts, so not central London, but I'm more on the west side of London.

Ernst Pelser:
Okay. What's the weather like at the moment?

Dhipa Lee:
It's been raining. It's been raining for probably, it feels like more than a month. More than a month of rain. I'm sure this is to do with climate change. I do feel that there is a lot more rain in London in the last month than I've ever seen before.

Ernst Pelser:
Should you be starting to hit snow and stuff now?

Dhipa Lee:
It's getting there. It's getting really cold. In the last week, I just feel like we need the big coats. The big coat weather started. Yeah, we're all rugged up to the nines now. Scarves and hats. It's all coming out.

Ernst Pelser:
I've got to admit, I don't miss those days.

Dhipa Lee:
No. I don't imagine you would, if you're from Australia, and you're enjoying soaring heat right now.

Ernst Pelser:
It's funny, I was looking at the weather yesterday, last night. I'm not one of those people who follow the weather, but it was a super hot day yesterday. I looked at the report and it said 17 degrees change, downwards change today. I'm like, "Hm, you don't often see that big a change."

Dhipa Lee:
No. People always talk about British people and they always say, "You always talk about the weather." But the weather changes so much here, it is a topic of conversation. It has to be a conversation we have every day, if not every hour of the day. So, it's good if Australian do the same, to be honest.

Ernst Pelser:
Australia does exactly the same, don't worry.

Dhipa Lee:
Oh, good, because if you speak to my husband, he's Australian, he would say, "It's always the same in Australia. It's always sunny. It's always sunny there. So we don't really talk about it like you guys do in the UK." I guess that was one way he won me over, actually, because he said, "You don't want to move to Australia. Here you've got four seasons. So, enjoy what you have. Every quarter you can change what you're wearing and enjoy different types of clothing, and not just stick to one." So, yeah.

Ernst Pelser:
Excellent, excellent. Right. Dhipa, so you were going to tell us a little bit more about your background. Where you were born. How you ended up in the UK.

Dhipa Lee:
Sure. My parents immigrated to the UK. My dad immigrated around about the 60s as a student, back when the British were needing more people to come and work here and generate a young sort of work force. He set up a business. He had a restaurant and became a restaurateur, so he owned an Indian restaurant and settled here. He then married my mom. I was born in Bangladesh. I came to the UK with my mom when I was two years old. Then settled in the UK ever since, and only been back to visit Bangladesh once in my lifetime. It was very interesting indeed.

Ernst Pelser:
Do you think you'll go back?

Dhipa Lee:
To live there, probably not. But to definitely go back there. It's a really interesting place. It's a beautiful place as well. I remember, when I was about 12 years old, going back there and just thinking it's stunning. It's nothing like what the reports that you see on the news, which is just floods and poverty and everything. It is a beautiful place. It is full of natural beauty, and very green, and very lush. Definitely my writing and everything has been inspired a lot by the country and the way its landscape is. So, I definitely would go back to visit, just because of its natural beauty.

Ernst Pelser:
At which stage, how did you decide that you want to go into technology?

Dhipa Lee:
That's a good question. When I first started, when I was going through my A Levels, I actually wanted to become a lawyer. So, I was gunning for going into law and all the grades were looking like it's going in the right direction. I had a provisional acceptance from Nottingham Law School, so I was all set to go. But just in the middle of my exams, I fell really ill, and I couldn't attend to learn my exams. Unfortunately, I failed two of my exams, which meant that I didn't get accepted into law school.

Dhipa Lee:
I remember feeling really devastated about this because that was what I had gunned for, I had been really working hard for. I just thought, "What am I going to do?" Education wasn't ever my family's priority for me in the first place, so it was a big sort of... I had to do a lot of persuasion just to go to school, and go get educated, et cetera. And now having failed two of my exams, which I needed to get in, I was in this situation where I had to really think hard about what my future was going to be.

Dhipa Lee:
It was a friend of mine who suggested that I look into computing. He was doing computing at Manchester University. He said to me, "Why don't you go into computing?" I said, "Computing?" We're talking 1995 at the moment, so way before... Email was just sort of becoming something that people talked a little bit about, and there was no such thing as search engines, really, not as popular anyway, yet. So, I was saying, "I don't know anything about computers. I don't even know how to type on a computer, nevermind whatever you do." He said, "Look, you'll be fine, you'll be fine. I'll help you through it. You're going to be fine. Look, look at the papers."

Dhipa Lee:
He slapped in front of me this Times broadsheet and another newspaper. He flicked through it and he said, "Look at all of the jobs in computing. Look how many. Do you see many in law? No. There's pages and pages and pages in computing." I said, "Yeah, but I really don't know anything about computing. It's not really... It's not going to work. I don't think so. I just can't see it." He said, "Look, how about you at least look through the courses and see what's available. Then think about it, because I really think that is the future. That is where it's going to be. The future is going to be about computing. It's going to be about internet. It has so much promises. You can see from the papers that they're looking for people." I said, "Okay."

Dhipa Lee:
So, I thought about it and I spoke to one of my university lecturers, who was looking for people to join his degree in computer science. He said, "Well, you may not got the grades for law school, but you definitely got enough points to go into a computer science related degree." I said, "Well, do you think this is suitable for me? Do you think this would work?" He goes, "Well, I think this is definitely... You're more than capable. You've got good grades in GCSE, you've got good grades at your A Levels, the ones that you were able to do." I said, "Let's give it a go then. Let's try it. Let's try it."

Dhipa Lee:
I started on computer science degree at Sheffield Hallam University. It was amazing because actually I realized yes, it was different, it was a completely new, alien concept to me. I remember going into my lecture. The first one was programming. The first sort of task we had to do was write a program that said, "Hello, world." I remember thinking, "I don't understand why I'm doing this. I really don't understand it. Why am I writing this? How does this become a computer program?"

Dhipa Lee:
Before long, I was really into it. I was achieving the grades. I was passing the exams. I was doing exceptionally well. From there, it was just became such an interesting and exciting place to be. I guess the only thing that was a downside was that I was, out of 300 students in my school, I was one of only three girls. So, we were a minority. But I don't think people had any misconception that I was incapable or anything. It was just seen as well, you're a girl, I'm a guy, yeah, so what, you can do this. We helped. We exchanged notes. We did our work together. It was great. I think it was a really good move. In my opinion, it was one of the best moves I did in terms of career and stability.

Dhipa Lee:
Now, I lead a really successful career, where I can balance my family. I can work remotely. I've traveled. I'm learning lots of new, interesting technologies, which change all the time. It's been a really, really great sort of career path for me. An exciting one and definitely never once at all bored me, in terms of what I've been learning.

Ernst Pelser:
You touched on an interesting point about how technology changes all the time. Is that what's one of sort of the driving forces for you behind technology? What keeps you interested in technology?

Dhipa Lee:
Absolutely, yes. Technology is always changing. Every program that I've run has always had a completely new... It's always pushing the limits, always pushing the limits to what I can do, and what I can achieve, and what I'm learning from it. It's never static. There's always something new that's coming up. There's always a new innovation, or a new platform, or a new technology, or a new concept. You're getting to experience that and learn about that. Definitely that is one of the things that really interests me, and keeps me on my toes, and keeps me moving into pursuing new adventures and new areas.

Ernst Pelser:
Okay. So, you went to university and did computer science. I know you've got a strong networking background, but now you're in cybersecurity. Talk to us about that transition and some of the roles that helped you transition through that.

Dhipa Lee:
Sure. My career, when I graduated, started at a company called Cisco Systems, who were very big back then. They were one of the largest technology companies in the world, as well as Microsoft, they were probably the second largest. That career was all technology based. It was networks, and learning testing, and learning new technologies there, and trying it on their own systems, and on their own environments. That kind of paved the path towards looking at network security.

Dhipa Lee:
I went from networks, doing a lot of consultancy around networks, then moving into network security. Then, times were changing. By about 2006, 2007, the banks were needing to roll-out more improved security. Firewall products were coming out. Were becoming even more increasingly technology driven in terms of solutions. There was an abundance of new systems and mechanisms for securing your networks and securing your infrastructure. From there, like I said, there were a lot more projects being rolled out, where I dealt with a lot of cloud transformation programs that I was involved in rolling out. It was just this gradual development into cybersecurity.

Dhipa Lee:
I went from network security solutions and deploying those kind of solutions. Then, moving more into cloud security. Then, cybersecurity came around. I think probably my first sort of roll-outs of sort of IPS and looking at brokering solutions, and looking at identity and access management, for example, started coming around in the last four years, I would say. It's sort of like opportunity .I tend to go with the flow and the trends of the market, and the demands of the market. So, my roles tend to be more about looking at how we can bring technology to a business, rather than technology driving the business.

Dhipa Lee:
A lot of the time, I find in corporates, you get amazing architects that I'm working with, and they're keen to try lots of new technologies, and try and put them into the business, or fit them into the business, rather than actually looking at how the business will benefit from these type of solutions. So, my sort of main objective, when I engage with new customers and clients, is really looking at, "Well, why do you need this," and what will they benefit from implementing these types of solutions.

Dhipa Lee:
A lot of the sort of transition I've made has been because the world is looking at cybersecurity in a different light. It's becoming more of a essential part of our delivery now that we secure our networks, we secure our infrastructure and IP, and really make sure that we're safeguarding all companies assets really. And making sure that we're delivering a solution that's not just creating technology for technology's sake, but actually implementing a solution that's actually going to allow the business to continue, and build their objectives in a strategic and an efficient way.

Ernst Pelser:
It's interesting. I find a lot of people who've moved from... I'm sure I'm going to upset somebody here, but the people who've moved from a networking environment straight through to a cybersecurity environment, sometimes have a really good fundamental understanding of how the routing works, where like the underlying protocols work. Where sometimes the other way around, they struggle with the networking side of things, which is quite an interesting concept. You were a CISO for Deutsche Bank, if I understood that correctly?

Dhipa Lee:
I worked for a CISO within Deutsche Bank. I was delivering one of their top 50 security roll-outs, which was looking at building a cyber brokering system for privileged access. So, they were rolling out privileged access there. My role there was to deliver that for their CISO, so reporting to their CISO.

Ernst Pelser:
Okay. Tell us a little bit more about the role? That's quite a big role at that. So, what is sort of the key lessons that you took away from that?

Dhipa Lee:
Running change programs like this is not a small feat. We were talking 20,000 Windows servers, 40,000 UNIX servers, 20,000 applications that they wanted to secure. The most important thing is not the technology. In my opinion, the technology is... it's important to get it right, to make sure that you're delivering a solution, which is fit for purpose, and that it's been tested, and it's robust enough to handle the demands that its usage is going to need. What the main thing, I think, with any new delivery and new deployment, is how you manage that change.

Dhipa Lee:
It's the people and process aspect of it, which is the most complex. Trying to ensure that your businesses are responding to this, that they are ready to look at this technology, that they've got the capacity as an organization to change in the way that the technology is often demanding them. A lot of communication was required. In fact, we started 18 months ahead of roll-out to make sure that the company was able to understand what we were asking them to now look at, to now address, in terms of securing their infrastructure, and their assets, and their applications.

Dhipa Lee:
For me, the most important thing, when I come in with new customers, is to ask them this question. Are they ready? Have they engaged with the business? Have they checked through their requirements first? Have they looked at what the analysis of their current infrastructure is like? Have they done all these measures first, before you start to roll-out to new technology? Because the deployment phase, in my opinion, it's a very small part of the big picture. The organization has to be fit and ready, and be in a position to be able to address how they're going to implement it, rather than putting in a solution, which is... you can roll-out. I see that across a lot of companies, is that they bring on a team of people that are skilled in terms of delivering a technology, but the questions that they haven't yet addressed is we haven't really spoken to all these parts of the business yet, that don't know about technology, or don't know how to respond to this, or even know what our requirements after delivering is.

Dhipa Lee:
I would always take away these points that start early in the actual business side first, and make sure you've lined up your stakeholders, your supports, your sort of key participants who are going to help you understand the business first, and understand the requirements first. Then, look at the technology that will fit the business. Not the other way around. If you work like that, your investment will be much more... be able to deal with the investment and look at how you can actually leverage your investment. Some of these roll-outs are in the 10, 20 million a year, so you want to make sure that you're doing all of that preparation work ahead of time and making sure that your organization is ready.

Ernst Pelser:
Something that you touched on earlier, is about women in technology. Now, this is going to sound like a very obvious question on the surface of it, but I'd like to understand what people's thinking is. What does it mean to you, and why exactly is it important to you?

Dhipa Lee:
For me, it's not about being a woman, it's more about the fact that being in technology, or being in any type of role, shouldn't be about people's perception, or your perception. So, even for myself, let's say. I told you my story that I started in technology, and it just happened to be quite accidental. There was a perception there that I wasn't capable, or I don't know anything about computers. That perhaps, well even the perception that it was a very much a male role, or an area that men tend to be interested in.

Dhipa Lee:
Now that I've been involved in technology and IT, I've always seen it as, "Wow, this is an area that women could definitely do... They're definitely capable of doing." It's so interesting. It has so much to offer in terms of career path, increasing your sort of your roles and responsibilities, your work-life balance, and all these things I think women could benefit from, and leverage, and enjoy, and find very rewarding. I'm keen to have that as part of my journey to seeing that success, that women should really try this out and give it a go because they're missing out. I feel like there's a whole world out there, which is not been touched on. I think women are very capable.

Dhipa Lee:
There's a lot about, that women can bring to the table as well in terms of our own characteristics. Women are good communicators. They tend to be very organized. I think those things are valuable in any organization. If you have people of different sort of characteristics and nurtured in different ways, I feel that is a credit to any organization. If you encourage women to look at these areas, and develop these types of skills, I think we all benefit.

Dhipa Lee:
I run a team and it's very male dominated. I know that, for them, they're excited that there is more of a gender balance and that women are being encouraged to look at this. To them, they can't see why there isn't more women. They think it's actually a benefit to everybody if projects are managed with a balance of men and women. So, that's one of the reasons why I think it's important to promote technology, to make people aware of it. Make people understand that there's a career and a future here that everyone, whether you're male or female, can enjoy, benefit from, and feel valued in. That's one of the areas.

Dhipa Lee:
The other reason why I drive it so much is I don't like being a minority. I don't like going into an office full of men and just finding myself being the only woman talking in the room. I think I need a bit of girl power in there sometimes just to help me fight through some of those arguments, especially when it comes to technology. My husband and I argue a great deal about things. We're both techies. We both came from the same background. I know that he can see various differences in how I perceive things to how he would perceive things.

Dhipa Lee:
For example, if I speak to men, they tend to look at technology in very much the technical aspects of it. Like, it can do this. Whereas when I go into a room, I'm always looking at it how is it going to benefit the overall business, or the objective of the business. I think having that balance actually allows people to actually see different ideas and viewpoints, rather than just looking at it from one person's perspective. I think there is that need to have that balance, to be able to think from different people's viewpoints, because we all have some very valuable information and facets to us, which actually, as a whole, become a really good idea or solution. When we work collaboratively, it actually benefits everybody.

Ernst Pelser:
It drives a better outcome, doesn't it?

Dhipa Lee:
Absolutely.

Ernst Pelser:
Do you see that changing in the UK at the moment?

Dhipa Lee:
In my 20 years of working in IT, working in networks and engineering, I've felt that it's increased a little bit. I see perhaps more women in cybersecurity, for example, than I did in networks. I think it is gradually changing. I'd say before when there was perhaps three women out of ten people in the room, I think that ratio is becoming more like a four or five, which is, in my opinion, a significant change.

Dhipa Lee:
I still think there's a lot more work to be done. I used to go to schools and do talks at girls schools and encourage girls, and even ask the question, "Well, what is it that makes you not want to go into technology? What is it about technology? What is it about IT that doesn't sort of entice you?" They normally look quite blankly at that question, like, "I don't know. I just don't really find it very interesting."

Dhipa Lee:
I think there's got to be a lot more marketing to younger age to give women that sort of understanding that it's not all technical. It is technical in terms of technology, yes, but the roles that you go into are not always that technical. They can be management. They can be project management. They can be looking at a full delivery chain. There's lots of aspects of it, which I think is what the misconception is.

Dhipa Lee:
I think when we look at how we teach at school, I think we need to change our approach a little bit as well, so it's not just sort of like... Perhaps maybe designed by women, thought by women, and looked at how girls receive information about technology better. Perhaps that's one way we can encourage a rise in women joining the technology areas and those kind of roles.

Ernst Pelser:
Okay. You're the founder of Women in IT Circle. Tell us a little bit more about that.

Dhipa Lee:
Yeah, so being the lonely woman in IT, I founded a circle. It's part of... I think a lot of people may have heard of Sheryl Sandberg, who is the COO of Facebook. She started this organization called Lean In, which is a global organization, and it encourages women to join circles. Not just IT, but any circle. And really work together, talk to each other, and lift each other up. The idea is that you start a circle for women that may be of the same interest. It could be gender equality. It could be any topic that interests you. Mine was women in IT because I felt like I needed some support in my area. Often because to work in technology as a woman, and being the only woman, there was a lot of challenges.

Dhipa Lee:
First of all, when I go to client sites, the first thing they used to assume is that I was the secretary or an admin person, rather than a highly qualified technical consultant, and delivering large scale programs, large scale deployments. So, it would often make it very difficult for me to actually carry out my job, or my role, because there was that initial trust or relationship of sort of confidence there in what I can deliver and do. But when I delivered it, and they realized how well and how often quickly I could deliver things, they realized that I'd broken a huge misconception for them.

Dhipa Lee:
On the surface, whilst I was pushing myself to deliver these type of roll-outs, I found myself increasingly questioning myself, or doubting myself. I needed some support. It wasn't an area I could really discuss all the time with my male counterparts. But having a female like-minded group of women that I can turn to and say, "Guys, I had a really bad day. There's a guy at work who said something and he did this, and he... I just felt horrible. I came home feeling terrible." Finding women that understand that, despite all the work that you carry out and all the great things you do, you need some downtime and you need to be able to talk about it and go, "Look, yeah, I'm not having a great day today." Or, "This is just not working." Or, "What can I do to change things? Change my game? Do I need to do something to improve myself? What is it that I'm missing?"

Dhipa Lee:
Creating that group, I found that there were many women that were challenged in the same way. Some of them were programmers, developers. There's a lot of women in there that are in leadership roles, that often find themselves facing the same challenges at work. Over the course of four or five years now, perhaps even six years, I found that we've got about 200 women now who come regularly to the circles. We discuss many different types of topics. So, career, negotiation, looking at communication, looking at professional skills, building on how we can improve different skill sets.

Dhipa Lee:
It's really helpful. It's made me realize that, "Look, I'm not the only woman here that feels like this. I'm not the only person that's going through the motions in this career." I think, overall, it is the more you talk about things, the more you find that you can overcome the hurdles that you are presented in life. It's been beneficial for me, and it's been beneficial for the women in that group, in that circle.

Ernst Pelser:
How do people get involved with that?

Dhipa Lee:
Lean In is... they have their own website. You can search for a circle. Our circle is Women in IT. If you search for women in IT, in the Lean In groups, you will find the Lean In London circle. We are also on Facebook, so if you look up women in IT, you can also come across us as well through the Facebook page as well and join there.

Ernst Pelser:
Okay. The link will also be available in the show notes for this podcast. Obviously you've gone through quite a few challenges. What would your advice be to your 20 year younger self?

Dhipa Lee:
Good question. I would say never give up. Never look back. Take a step back and make sure that you feel confident in yourself, I would say. I'd say the biggest thing is not to doubt yourself. If you do have doubts, let them pass you by as a moment of doubt, rather than this is it, this is completely final, because your emotions often tangle you up in a lot of mess about yourself. I think if you just stick to your game, and stick to what you really want to do, and be truthful about that, then you'll always succeed. It's about just taking a step back and if you do get knocked back, don't let them override your overall goals and ambitions. Keep chipping away at it. Keep going for it because eventually it does... The outcome will be there and you will be so much better for it.

Ernst Pelser:
Okay. Then, so, you say you do your talks at a girls school. What would your advice for any young ladies wanting to get into technology... What would your advice be to them?

Dhipa Lee:
I would say if you love learning, and if you want something that pushes you all the time and keeps you on your toes, then this area of the industry is going to be immensely enjoyable and valuable to you. I think they should go for it. I think it's an exciting world. It's not just technology. It's travel and lots of perks, and great salaries, and the future is going to always push us in that direction. Just as my friend predicted, back in 1995, there were plenty of jobs when I left university. In fact, I had three or four offers on the table. So, you'll always have opportunities here. They'll always be new technology, and new innovations that will need your skills. It's going to be a fruitful career if you're a young woman seeking roles and figuring out what career path. There's definitely lots of opportunities in technology and, I think, will continue to be lots of opportunities in technology.

Ernst Pelser:
I think there's also opportunity with technology that you can work almost anywhere. Not just whether you work remotely, but you can also work globally. I think that's an amazing opportunity in the technology space.

Dhipa Lee:
Yes, absolutely.

Ernst Pelser:
I'm going to change topic a little bit. I've seen some of your sketches. I see you're very artistic. To me, they're amazing. But I know you are writing a book now. Tell us a little bit more about that.

Dhipa Lee:
Yes. I think I mentioned before, Keep Chipping Away At It. This is a book, which is going to really... It's going to be a bit of a tear-jerker, I'm afraid. But it's actually a very poignant sort of topic. It's a topic that needs a lot of awareness. My book is a novel. It's written in a memoir style. It's about a little girl who has been told... Her whole life has been written by her family and that she has no choice but to follow her parents plans for her. It takes you on a journey through culture, and a lot of the challenges that women face from a very early age with moving or shaping the future into their desired dreams and objectives. And having to turn all of that in for the face of honor, and face of the family and community.

Dhipa Lee:
I wrote it because a lot of... This is a topic, which is very close to me. My culture and my family were very much sort of dominated my views as a young child growing up. It sort of talks a little bit about that. It talks a little bit about my future, and how I managed to overcome a lot of the fears of trying to live up to their expectations and not trying to let them down. But trying to find my own way as well, and pursue my own dreams, really. So, the book really goes into how I overcame a lot of the challenges. It's told through, in a fictional way, it's told through one of the characters who is going through that.

Ernst Pelser:
Okay. When is the release date?

Dhipa Lee:
The release date is in December, so I'm looking probably to announce the date fairly soon. It's not quite there yet, but it will be just before Christmas, so hopefully, watch this space, I'll be announcing the date of the actual launch.

Ernst Pelser:
So, when Dhipa Lee is very famous, okay, you heard it here first.

Dhipa Lee:
You'll be the first. You'll be the first one, absolutely.

Ernst Pelser:
What brought you... Was it a case of okay one day you decided I'm going to write a book. Or, is it something that's always... What was the driver behind that?

Dhipa Lee:
Yeah, so, I went through an arranged marriage. It was pretty difficult. It was pretty challenging at the time. That experience of domestic violence, and quite sort of oppressive ideas of how I should live my life, put me through a lot of trauma, and I had to find a way of dealing with that. I started dealing with it by journaling. After I left my then husband, I started to write every day. Before I knew it, looking back at it now, I had about perhaps forty thousand, fifty thousand words in this journal.

Dhipa Lee:
I looked at this and I said, "Wow. I can't believe I wrote all this information." I just said, "You know what, I've overcome this challenge. Being a woman that was educated, and pushed my way through education. Pushed my way out of the hands of an abuser. And here I am standing here very happily married now with two lovely boys." I know that this type of people around the world are experiencing the same thing. In fact, in most countries, 20 to 50% of women have reported physical violence and abuse in their marriages, or in their relationships with their family. I just think, "Gosh, if this is the statistics, and I'm one of them, I don't want this anymore. I don't want people to think that this is okay and this should continue on."

Dhipa Lee:
I wanted to write because I wanted to give women reading the book a way out. Because when you're in that situation, you feel there isn't a way out, there is no way you can leave, and you can't get out of this easily. So, the book really is a platform for being able to, one, tell people that, "Look, you do have a choice. There is choice. There's never no choice. There are always choices," and help them, guide them through my experience, to be able to help them with this and help them deal with this. So, hopefully when the book comes out, it will really drive that message to women all over the world. And hope that they will never live in fear, and never feel that they don't have a choice, that there is ways in which they can improve their life and their safety.

Ernst Pelser:
Amazing, amazing. Well, I wish you all the best of luck with that. I'm looking forward to seeing how that goes. You obviously like writing. What do you like reading?

Dhipa Lee:
I read all the time. In fact, I probably read at least one book a week. I read a whole spectrum of things. I read career related books. I also read sort of help books. I like Gary Zukav, for example. I like a lot of Seth Godin books. I like a lot of sort of the leadership related books as well. I also like literature. I'm a great fan of George Orwell. There's a whole plethora of books. In fact, I can't even name... Some of the greatest ones could be the likes of Khaled Hosseini. The Kite Runner, for example, that's one of my all time favorites, and I've probably read that three or four times. There's a whole lot of books.

Dhipa Lee:
The reason why I like reading all types of genre is because I always find there's lots of different ways in which you can tell a story, and lots of different voices can be heard in the way the author writes. So, for me, it's always interesting and inspiring when I read books and I go, "This is how they described it. This is the words they used." So, when you read a spectrum, you can really get a good feel for... I'm learning from it. As well as enjoying it, I'm learning from these great writers. It's always interesting.

Ernst Pelser:
Okay. Obviously the book is next for you. What else is next for you? Where do you think you're going next? Is there anything intriguing at the moment?

Dhipa Lee:
Yes, so many things. The book definitely is something that has taken me 14 years to write. So, it's been like a friend that just keeps whispering in my ear and telling me, "Come on, come on. You've got to do it, you've got to do it, you've got to do it. You've got to finish this, you've got to finish this." So, I'm glad that I can put the book in a place where it belongs, uploaded somewhere on the internet for everybody to read and really understand... take away something from it, I should say. I think the new year would be focus a little bit about the book, also perhaps even start writing another book.

Dhipa Lee:
But also, in terms of projects and technology wise in my career, in my bread and butter career, looking more at cybersecurity. Still pursuing that. I still think there's a lot of really interesting solutions out there that will help and address businesses. I'll be interested to get involved in those, and interesting to learn more about what new technologies are available for small customers, as well as large ones. And, yeah, see what kind of roles come up in the new year. So, it will be sort of twofold really.

Dhipa Lee:
One thing I would live by is... It's like my mantra, if you like, which is to be loving, creative, and inspirational. I use that in everything that I do. That's from drawing, which you may have seen a few of my drawings, and my writing, and in my career, in IT and technology. I feel when I live by those words, and I'm addressing each one... Am I being loving in what I do? Am I doing it passionately? Am I being creative in what I'm doing? Am I providing new solutions and looking more laterally and creatively at things? And if I'm, in a way, providing an outcome which is inspirational, then I feel fulfilled. So, I'm sure that whatever the new year brings, and whatever next is on the horizons for me, will always be filled with those three words. Loving, creative, and inspirational. So, hopefully we'll see. Yeah, watch this space.

Ernst Pelser:
Dhipa, it's been great. This is actually officially our first video podcast. Thank you for your time. I know it's very late on your side, so I hope you've enjoyed the process.

Dhipa Lee:
Appreciate it, Ernst, thank you. It's been wonderful to chat to you too. Yeah, I look forward to speaking to you more.

Ernst Pelser:
Awesome, awesome. Have a great evening.

Dhipa Lee:
Thank you.

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