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Sky Pattavina: Carving out a career in Cyber security for financial services

When Sky Pattavina joined Macquarie’s Houston office seven years ago, he changed industries, roles and cities. Since then, he’s been integral in building out Macquarie’s global Cyber function and is currently in his fourth Cyber security role at the firm.


In 2016, Sky Pattavina joined Macquarie as Vice President, Cyber Threat and Incident Response (CTIR). By then, he’d already accumulated 17 years’ experience working in various technology and operations roles with an American multinational telecommunications company.

Sky says he deliberated for a long time about leaving a company where he had invested several years of his career and was a third-generation employee. The move to Macquarie would also involve relocating his family from Dallas to Houston and taking on a whole new role and industry.

Sky finally decided it was the right time for a challenge and made the decision after months of discussions with Macquarie Group’s Global Head of Cyber Threat and Incident Response.

“My background was in organisational development and people development in the technology space, building out teams, growth and change, within telecoms,” Sky explains.

“I’ve always delivered improvement projects around tech and people, designing strategic long-term solutions to build and grow programs in a wide spectrum of technical fields.”

Sky says that Macquarie offered him the opportunity to do just that in another field, as well as the chance to apply his skills to a new industry and role, where he would be part of something transformative.

“It was also a way to experience a part of the industry I had not yet touched: Cyber security,” Sky says. “I came for the opportunity to do something different and take a new path.”

I was intrigued by the technology, the attitude, the values, the people and the entrepreneurial spirit. Macquarie was already ahead of the curve when it came to Cyber and being involved in how to build it out was appealing.”

Four roles in seven years

Sky is now in his fourth role since starting at Macquarie, working across several teams.

“It’s been incredibly interesting, seeing our work grow and evolve with a deepening understanding of each function’s goals and needs.” Sky’s roles have also evolved, from developing team and then group processes and structures to developing our hiring approach, regional strategy and roadmap.

Two years ago, he took on global responsibility for building out Operations and Defence, the largest team he’d managed to date.

“That was really cool because it truly has a global presence, so we are in lockstep with London and Sydney, working on the same projects, and the same security incidents,” he explains.

He coached a colleague to take over the role last year which enabled him to move onto his current challenge: building out a global risk governance function for the Cyber Threat Incident Response program.


Leveraging his expertise to tackle Cyber security

Sky says he knew nothing about banking or investments when he joined Macquarie. He had the opportunity to learn about the industry through his work and colleagues and apply his technology leadership experience in telecommunications.

“I have always worked with technology and tech people,” Sky explains. “To me, finance just happens to be the industry I support and solve problems for.”

“You don’t have to understand the finance industry to work in Cyber security,” Sky explains. “Macquarie helps you leverage your expertise to be successful.”

For Sky, one of the most appealing aspects of the work is being able to ensure a safe and secure experience for our people and customers.

“In Cyber, we come to work with the awareness that someone may try and break what we’ve built. We have to be prepared and practiced to mitigate against this.”

“Each advance in technology unlocks new areas of learning in Cyber security, and that makes it exciting,” he says. “As an industry, it’s vastly different now to a decade ago because it’s started to mature and rapidly expand.”


Representing the threat side of risk

In his current role as Director of Cyber Threat Risk Governance at Macquarie Group, Sky explains that he focuses on addressing the threat side of risk, for the regulators, audit and compliance.

“Our investment in technology and building capability is one of the foundations of the business. I enjoy contributing to this dynamic area and making an impact. It’s enriched by the amazing engagement between all the teams here,” he says.

“Addressing threats is one component of our security matrix, and managing risk is a huge part of the Cyber threat space. People are encouraged to surface ideas and opportunities, and this enables us to deliver a good outcome.”

It’s about staying one step ahead of the possibility of threat actors by finding where our gaps are, building our response, collaborating and managing our security correctly.”

For Sky, one of the further benefits of his work is that he is exposed to all business and support groups within the broader organisation.

“In Cyber, we have the unique opportunity to talk and engage with the people who work with technology – which is everyone at Macquarie,” he explains. “We’re at the very tip of a massive chain of technology and processes and work closely with colleagues across Macquarie to align processes and efforts.”


Meaningful, impactful careers that add value

Sky says he benefits from the fact that Macquarie combines ingenuity with integrity.

“Our leadership is supportive and has built an environment that gives us the space to innovate,” he explains.

“It's a big global organisation, with strong values around collaboration and integrity.”

As Sky builds out more teams and processes, he has a keen eye on making sure every hire is a good fit for the person but also Macquarie.

“Macquarie isn’t just looking to place people in roles,” he says. “We’re also looking beyond that, at how our people can progress their career and achieve their goals and more in the future.”

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