Celebrating Women’s History Month: 5 Minutes with a Tech Exec | Courtney Totten, Chief Information Security Officer & VP

Celebrating Women’s History Month: 5 Minutes with a Tech Exec | Courtney Totten, Chief Information Security Officer & VP

Written by Manda Frederick

DEI Observancestech leadership

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re proud to present our blog series, “5 Minutes with a Tech Exec.” We’ve engaged in insightful conversations with tech executives and chief technology officers to give you the unique opportunity to gain wisdom and career advice from experienced technologists. 

Uncover personal and professional journeys, from career inspiration to overcoming challenges on the path to executive leadership. These articles, adapted from personal interviews, offer insights into mentorship, leadership styles, and the future of women in tech. Join us as we amplify the voices of women in tech, celebrating their achievements and inspiring inclusion. 

Courtney Totten, the Chief Information Security Officer and VP for Security and Infrastructure at Shutterstock, embodies a passion for technology and continuous learning, demonstrated from her early fascination with technology to her leadership journey where she shapes the infrastructure and security landscape at Shutterstock. 

Courtney’s journey into technology was ignited by the dynamic nature of the industry. “What made me interested in technology is the fact that it’s always changing,” she reflected. As an avid learner, Courtney thrives in the diverse and ever-evolving landscape of technology, where each day presents new challenges and opportunities for growth.

Throughout her career, Courtney has been guided by the power of mentorship and sponsorship. Recognizing the importance of building an advisory board of mentors who offer guidance and support, Courtney emphasizes the value of seeking advice from diverse perspectives. “Figuring out who you need at the right time… I’ve been able to build an advisory board that I can go to,” she shared.

As a leader, Courtney’s leadership style is characterized by empathy, delegation, and a strong focus on cultivating a positive workplace culture. She emphasized the significance of taking care of one’s team and fostering open communication and vulnerability. “Culture is really, really important to me,” Courtney said, highlighting the importance of creating a workplace where individuals feel valued and supported.

In navigating the challenges of remote work and maintaining a vibrant company culture, Courtney advocates for purposeful engagement and connection. From incorporating icebreaker questions in meetings to fostering meaningful relationships among team members, Courtney emphasizes the importance of building a cohesive and supportive community in the remote work environment.

Reflecting on her journey, Courtney shared valuable insights for aspiring leaders in the Women Who Code community. She emphasized the importance of embracing continuous learning, building strong networks, and advocating for inclusivity in the workplace. “You will never know everything,” she advised, emphasizing the value of humility and a willingness to learn from others.

As Courtney continues to lead with passion and purpose at Shutterstock, her story serves as an inspiration for women in technology. Through mentorship, advocacy, and a commitment to lifelong learning, Courtney exemplifies the transformative power of leadership in shaping a more inclusive and innovative tech industry.

Pro-Tips for Diverse Technologists Inspired by Courtney

  • Embrace Continuous Learning: Technology is a rapidly evolving field, and there’s always something new to learn. Prioritize continuous learning and seek opportunities to expand your skills and knowledge. Whether it’s diving into a new technology or mastering a different aspect of your field, approach every challenge as a chance to grow and develop.
  • Build a Strong Support Network: Surround yourself with mentors, sponsors, and peers who can offer guidance, support, and diverse perspectives. An advisory board of mentors can provide valuable insights and help you navigate challenges at different stages of your career. 
  • Advocate for Mentorship: Pay it forward by both seeking mentorship from experienced professionals and offering mentorship to others, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds. By championing diversity and mentorship initiatives, you contribute to building a more inclusive and supportive tech community for everyone.

​​💝 Invest in Women in Tech and Support Women Who Code: You can empower the vital work we do to help diverse women excel and thrive in their tech careers. Give to help us raise $30,000 during Women’s History Month and inspire inclusion in tech. Donate now.