Sandra Ajimotokin

1. What do you do?

I lead as a Senior Security Program Manager at Hinge Health, a health-tech startup dedicated to revolutionizing the treatment of chronic pain with comprehensive digital solutions. 

Drawing inspiration from my violin lessons, I see my role as that of an orchestra conductor. Rather than music, I orchestrate our company's security strategies, harmonizing cross-functional teams and projects to safeguard our digital domain.

In this role, I navigate the complexities of various projects, coordinating efforts, mitigating risks, and aligning resources to fulfill our vision and objectives. It's about conducting the symphony of cyber defense, ensuring each element, from software to support services, collaborates perfectly to protect our users' health information and privacy amidst an ever-changing threat landscape.

2. What's the coolest part of your job?

The coolest part of my job is really the most rewarding aspect: seeing the tangible impact our work has on enhancing people's lives. 

Beyond just the intricacies of cybersecurity, we're safeguarding the personal health data of individuals who often tell us how our solutions have dramatically improved their quality of life. Hearing feedback almost daily — stories of customers who can now walk without pain, dance with their loved ones, or travel independently — connects the dots between my efforts and the real-world difference we're making. 

My role is multifaceted, demanding technical prowess, creativity, quick adaptability, and a dedication to perpetual learning. This blend of protecting and innovatively enhancing lives presents a uniquely fulfilling challenge, motivating me to exceed boundaries and contribute meaningfully to our users' journeys toward better health.

3. Why are you passionate about it?

Cybersecurity sits at the crucial intersection of technology, ethics, and strategy. It's about protecting fundamental freedoms and ensuring safe digital navigation for all. 

The glaring talent gap in cybersecurity, especially in underserved communities, highlights a clear knowledge gap in secure cyber practices and the urgent need for more diverse voices and perspectives. As a Black woman in this field, my personal mission is to highlight these inequities and advocate for practices and policies that protect everyone, especially those who are most vulnerable. 

My passion lies in fostering an inclusive cybersecurity landscape, ensuring it acts as a safe haven for every community against cyber threats, and making the digital world a safer, more equitable space.

4. Which skills from your IAC degree have helped you be successful in this career?

Transitioning from economics and international affairs to cybersecurity might seem unconventional, but the analytical, strategic, and global insight I gained has been invaluable. 

Economics honed my ability to analyze complex data and trends, which is necessary for assessing cyber threats, understanding organizational impact, and analyzing risks in a structured manner to mitigate the most critical threats. International affairs provided a global perspective critical in understanding international security frameworks and regulations, ensuring our cybersecurity measures are up to par on an international stage, and protecting customers across the globe. This global awareness is crucial since cyber threats don't carry passports, and geopolitical nuances may influence cyber risk. The art of negotiation and diplomacy I learned has also been invaluable in managing relationships with vendors, stakeholders, and regulatory organizations. 

Adaptability is the most significant lesson from my studies, teaching me to remain flexible in a sector that never stands still. Marrying these skills from economics and international affairs has allowed me to approach cybersecurity with an attentive eye, ensuring our strategies not only address technical challenges but also align with our business's broader economic and global landscape.

5. What's your #1 tip for students and alumni interested in your field?

My top advice is to embrace continuous learning and find your belonging in the vast, evolving field of cybersecurity. Overcome doubts about fitting in; your unique background and perspective are exactly what the field needs to thrive. 

Cybersecurity's diversity in roles means there's a niche for everyone. So, delve into the possibilities, stay curious, and remember that your contributions are crucial for a resilient, inclusive future in cybersecurity. I'm a testament that your path doesn't have to be linear to make a significant impact.

Sandra graduated with a B.S. in Economics and International Affairs in 2015. See what more of our Ivan Allen College alumni are up to!

Profile Type
B.S. Economics and International Affairs
Job Title / Employer
Senior Security Program Manager at Hinge Health