Kate Pearce

Head of Security, Trade Me

Kate Pearce was the senior security consultant with Cisco, working with corporate clients around the Asia-Pacific region to test, improve, and understand their cyber security, as well as developing business relationships in the region. Prior to this role she analysed source code security for a major US health insurer. She is a mentor for Cultivate, an early career women’s mentoring programme, as well as working regularly as a mentor for Start-Up weekends in the Wellington region and with the Summer of Tech internship programme. She is currently helping organise New Zealand’s first BSides security conference, scheduled to be held later this year in Wellington. She is a regular speaker and keynote presenter at conferences in the Australia-New Zealand region and has presented twice at BlackHat, the leading worldwide technical cyber security conference.

Born in Christchurch, Kate spent her teenage years in Blenheim, and despite obtaining a scholarship to assist in making university studies financially accessible during high school, worked full time in a supermarket for two years before moving back to Christchurch to begin university. She earned a BSc, PgDipSci, and MSc in Computer Science from the University of Canterbury, publishing multiple academic papers as part of her postgraduate research. In 2010 she moved along with her wife to the northeastern USA, where she began her career in security and also transitioned gender. She returned to New Zealand in late 2015.

Kate strongly feels that, as a minority (LGBT and female) representative within tech and security: “People like me need to see people like me owning the room, and being excellent. People not like me need to see people like me too, so they will never question that a woman can be excellent, empowered, and awesome.”