My friend and colleague Stephanie Daman, who has died of cancer aged 56, was a formidable force in tackling the UK’s critical cybersecurity skills gap. She was also a founder member of the Get Safe Online scheme, a source of factual information on online safety, which kick-started her passion to educate and prepare the country for the risks of the future.
Stephanie cared passionately about the industry she worked in, which protects individuals and companies from unintended or unauthorised access to their computers. From 2012 until her death, she was chief executive of Cyber Security Challenge UK, a not-for-profit, government-funded organisation that finds talented people and encourages them into jobs in cybersecurity.
She became one of the most influential women in the field, her opinions valued by those in government, industry and academia alike. Stephanie worked with colleagues to develop new qualifications, enabling those with few or no academic achievements to get a foot on the ladder, and to overcome barriers of discrimination in industry.
Born in London and raised in Buckinghamshire, the elder daughter of Ann (nee Broadway) and David Daman, Stephanie attended Rosebery grammar school for girls, in Epsom, Surrey. After gaining a degree in history from King’s College London, Stephanie joined the civil service and the MoD, where she became interested in security and risk. Her postings included the British embassy in Washington DC and the Cabinet Office in London.
In 2003 she joined HSBC, where she became head of group information risk and began to show the leadership qualities for which she became well known. Then, at Cyber Security Challenge UK, she oversaw a step change in the variety of activities it undertook. She introduced programmes for universities and schools, encouraging more young people to take Stem subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). She also ensured that the UK had a key role to play in the development of Europe-wide competitions designed to get other countries thinking creatively about security.
Outside work, and living in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, she was an avid tennis player, who enjoyed country walks, and travelled widely with her daughter, Katrina. Stephanie saw the best in everyone and believed that each person could make a difference in the world, given the right opportunities.
She is survived by Katrina, the daughter of her marriage to Charles Bott, which ended in divorce.