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George Mason UniversitySchool of Business

The Value of Preparation

Written by Greg Johnson on .

ola sage

If there’s one thing that stuck with Ola Sage, MS Technology Management ’99, from her time studying at the School of Business, it is the importance of preparation. Preparation is what her intensive workload came down to—preparation for her career, preparation for each class, preparation for any possible scenario. More than two decades later, she continues to prepare herself, her clients, and the next generation. As a business leader strongly invested in the community, Sage hopes that underrepresented demographics, especially African Americans and women, feel encouraged by seeing her as a role model and that they too prepare to prosper.

Sage wants her clients to be as prepared as she is. Her career has been dedicated to assisting organizations in identifying and avoiding cyber threats and disaster. As CEO of CyberRx, she works with private sector companies in assessing and mitigating their cybersecurity risks. CyberRx is the second company she has founded since graduating from Mason. Almost immediately after receiving her master of science, Sage started and grew a government focused information technology professional services company, for 18 years until she sold it in 2018.

The rewarding experience she had as a student has brought Sage even closer to Mason as an alumna. For more than 15 years, she has served on the panel of judges at Capstones for students pursuing the master in technology management. “I find it incredibly fulfilling to give students constructive feedback to help them reach their potential,” she says. Additionally, she leads by her representation on the Dean’s Council and the Government Contracting Advisory Board. Clearly influenced by her growth as a School of Business student, Sage is inspired to give back to her alma mater in many ways.

Sage is here to help all Patriots, but the impact of being involved as a successful Black businesswoman is not lost on her. “When I was younger, I was inspired whenever I saw women of color really make it in the corporate world,” she says. “Now is my chance to pass encouragement along to others.” Sage, who received the Prominent Patriots award in 2013, knows that the school’s talent is the cream of the crop. In 2016, she hired Ingrid Shipton, MS Management of Secure Information Systems ’13, as the director of cybersecurity for CyberRx. “Ola is an inspiration. She takes her role as a leader and mentor to heart,” says Shipton. “More than anyone else I’ve ever worked with, she is very deliberate and thoughtful about how she mentors and coaches me.”

Staying close to the school has been a way for Ola Sage to give back. But she has also gotten back a lot in return. Besides the feeling of fulfillment, she has built up a remarkable professional network of fellow alumni and industry friends of the school. Surrounding herself with industry leaders gives Sage that extra edge to push even further. “I know I represent many people who don’t feel they have a seat at the table, and I don’t take that responsibility lightly,” she says. “But, most of all, I hope that young Black people can see that business is a world they can thrive in as well.”