Release Date: 
Wednesday, August 12, 2020

HawkStrong: Cybersecurity entrepreneur seeks to develop next generation in STEM

HFC alumna Sakinah Tanzil founded her own cybersecurity firm in Southfield in 2018.
HFC alumna Sakinah Tanzil founded her own cybersecurity firm in Southfield in 2018.

A proven leader in the cybersecurity industry, HFC alumna Sakinah Tanzil’s work in higher education, personal development, and in the insurance arena have led her to specialize in healthcare and have sparked her desire to help young professionals establish careers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.

“I have been a cybersecurity professional for most of my career and found that STEM is my true passion,” said Tanzil, of Southfield. “I am fortunate to have found my life’s calling. I enjoy passing my knowledge and career advice on to others.”

In 2018, she launched Sakinah Tanzil Executive Management Coaching, which offers executive coaching and assists businesses with cybersecurity issues to develop the next generation of STEM leaders. She also offers cybersecurity consulting and security awareness training to an array of private clients.

Other services include:

  • Cybersecurity Assessments
  • Third Party Assessments
  • Vulnerability Assessments and Reporting
  • Website Development and Maintenance
  • Security Awareness Education and Advisory
  • Career and Executive Coaching

“I have a lot of knowledge and experience in the field of cybersecurity, so I wanted to help smaller businesses who wanted to safeguard their systems and protect their customers’ information,” said Tanzil. “I also wanted to help future cybersecurity professionals have the resources they need so that we can help fill the 3.5 million cybersecurity openings that will be available by 2022.”

Hard-earned expertise

A graduate of Henry Ford High School in Detroit, Tanzil attended HFC from 1996-99. She earned her associate degree in Computer Information Systems in 1999.

“I decided to attend HFC because it had great degree programs, it was reasonably priced, had many supportive services, and it was close to home and shopping centers,” she said.

Upon graduating from HFC, Tanzil transferred to Baker College in Allen Park, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in information technology and security. She later earned her master’s degree in information assurance and her master’s degree in software management – both from the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM).

Tanzil also has earned numerous professional certifications, including:

  • Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
  • Internet and Computing Core Certification (IC3)
  • Network +
  • ITIL Foundation
  • Certified Personal Executive Coach
  • STEM Course Accreditation

A more responsible adult

Tanzil was grateful that HFC prepared her for her career.

“I was extremely confident after attending HFC, because I had wonderful teachers in my English, political science, and CIS courses,” she said. “I became a more responsible adult when I attended HFC because I paid my own way and enrolled in school all by myself. I completed my financial aid forms by myself and utilized every resource on hand to help me to complete my degree program.”

Y2K, health care, ACA involvement

It was the Y2K bug at the turn of the century that inspired Tanzil to make her career in cybersecurity.

“I kept hearing on the news how Y2K would disrupt our private and public institutions, so I immediately wanted to help. I researched the subject area and found the CIS program at HFC and registered,” she said.

Tanzil began her career working as an IT Technician for Baker while still a student. She later moved to webmaster and IT network administrator roles for Toastmasters International and UDM while earning her degrees.

Later in her career, Tanzil specialized in health care, working with leaders in insurance including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM), the Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) and Health Alliance Plan (HAP). Tanzil found that developing and implementing cybersecurity programs for healthcare networks to be critical to customer care, which has become her lifelong passion. She was also an integral part of President Barack Obama’s group to develop the Affordable Care Act.

Author of Breaking the Cyber Code

In the fall, Tanzil will publish her first book called Breaking the Cyber Code. The book will help entrepreneurs and business leaders:

  • Build their cybersecurity teams
  • Find funding resources
  • Offer powerful coaching tips
  • Tips and tricks of the trade

Cybersecurity Ventures experts are saying there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity professionals needed to fight cybercrime by 2021. Tanzil plans to help fill the gap with the information in this book, which shares information on 52 professions in the cybersecurity industry. From careers in Network Operations Specialist to Executive Cyber Leadership, readers will get access to job descriptions, skillsets, and industry scholarships to help secure employment. Also, businesses will gain knowledge and insight to help them build their security teams. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in the cybersecurity industry.

Mentoring Mastermind Membership Group for Tech Professionals

On Aug. 1, Tanzil launched her tele-class called Mentoring Mastermind Membership Group for Tech Professionals, which will be held from noon to 1:00 p.m. Its monthly membership fee is $100.

The course outline is as follows:

  • Mindfulness/breathing and grounding
  • Jobs update
  • Weekly agenda
  • 52 tech roles curriculum
  • Leadership exercises
  • Group coaching/questions
  • VIA character strengths exercises
  • Powers skills content
  • Homework action plan exercises
  • Wrap-up with mentee Q&A
  • Private Facebook group

“Cybersecurity is more important today than ever,” said Tanzil. “As a Certified Cybersecurity Career Coach, my goal is to help students and young professionals who are entering the STEM fields find a career that they love and can develop over time. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are critical to the development of our country and our world. I hope to promote the importance of these fields and the satisfaction that a career in STEM can bring to their lives.”


Learn more about HFC's Cybersecurity program and enrollment options here.