This Sisters with Superpowers story is sponsored by Chevy.
Tiffany Ricks is the founder and chief executive officer at HacWare, Inc. HacWare is an award-winning startup that provides AI-powered advanced cybersecurity education to teach security teams to combat phishing attacks.
Ricks has been recognized as one of the most powerful and inspirational leaders in Dallas by D CEO magazine for the year of 2023 and was also on the Dallas 500 honoree list for 2022. Aside from being a wife and mother, she also established the Female Founders of Dallas organization which is a community of women entrepreneurs, creators and dreamers to connect through meaningful encounters. The caring executive wishes to provide a safe space for the women of Dallas to support one another.
Why did you select your career?
I love using technology to solve problems. I am a serial entrepreneur and I saw firsthand that the biggest problem in cybersecurity is [how] vulnerable employees are to social engineering attacks. [This] leads to companies getting hacked every 39 seconds. I created an AI-driven cybersecurity education platform to empower employees and companies to combat phishing attacks.
As a Black woman, what do you consider your superpower to be?
[I would call it], “hiding in plain sight.” I use my ability to be overlooked and underestimated as my superpower. My competitors ignore me and do not see my company as a threat. I get to build something rapidly under the radar. Then by the time they see us, it will be too late to stop us.
What key skills or qualities make you unique as an African American female leader?
Black women founders know how to excel because we are conditioned to be resourceful when there is a lack of resources. We are super strong-willed and will execute at a high level consistently.
What thoughtful or encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
[I would say], “don’t let this world rob you of trying something and failing.” The world tells Black women that we can’t afford to fail. This statement also means that we can’t afford to learn or go to the next level because we can’t take risks. Once I [stopped] subscribing to that thought process, I gave myself permission to learn in a bold way.
If you could thank any Black woman for her contribution to history and society, who would it be and why?
[It would be], Katherine Johnson. Mrs. Johnson was a NASA mathematician that calculated spacecraft launches and landings. She was a part of the computer team at NASA.
Why is it important for more experienced Black women to reach back and help younger women of color?
It is our duty as Black women to sponsor each other with opportunities and share knowledge to help us win together.