The Security Industry Association has launched the SIA Women in Security Forum, a group designed to attract more women, provide more opportunities, and encourage innovation in the fields of physical and digital security. Launched on International Women’s Day—March 8—the forum will craft programs, professional development events and networking opportunities.
The industry stands to lose if we don’t take more immediate action to amplify this simple message: diversity creates great teams and produces explosive business growth
“The industry stands to lose today and in the long-term if we don’t take more immediate action to amplify this simple message: diversity creates great teams and produces explosive business growth,” says Don Erickson, the trade group’s CEO, explaining why now was the right time to launch the forum. “Through high-impact professional development tools, this SIA community will help to ensure that the voices, talents, expertise, and perspectives of participating members are actively leveraged as an essential part of business strategy discussions.”
The Security Industry Association deals with a wide range of issues that involve physical security and secure authentication, including airport, border and cyber security, infrastructure protection and school safety. The Women in Security Forum’s inaugural steering committee reflects the variety of companies involved in those spaces: Elaine Palome, Axis Communications; Chelsea Render, Bosch; Kelly Bond, Brivo; Vicky Lowe, Convergint Technologies; Janet Fenner, Dahua Technology USA; Sherida Sessa, ISC Security Events; Dawne Hanks, Milestone Systems; Christine Hamberis, ScanSource; Alice DiSanto, Sharp Intellos; and Maureen Carlo, Videotec Security.
More women in security will strengthen the industry
Members of the forum will strive to inspire more women to enter the field. “The women in our industry need to lead by example,” Fenner said. “One of the main ways to bring attention to our industry is to seek speaking engagements with their local universities or colleges and discuss the great opportunities that exist within our ecosystem. Graduating classes with I.T. focused young women are a perfect segment to engage as well as women groups that reside within these institutions.”
The long-term goal is to strengthen the overall industry by attracting more women. “Our success depends on the quality, skill, and values of our employees,” says Palome. “At Axis, we believe that a diverse and talented workforce is a key competitive advantage and that different backgrounds, perspectives, and life experiences are important drivers of innovation.”
- Advance and build confidence in the workplace
- Connect women via networking events
- Develop a women-focused recruiting program
- Spark an ongoing dialogue between men and women industry leaders
- Identify platforms that can provide visibility for women
- Spearhead an issue that will create opportunities for women to work together and be at the forefront of a major initiative.