SSN celebrates women in security

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

YARMOUTH, Maine—For the eighth consecutive year, Security Systems News is highlighting women who are making their mark in the traditionally male-dominated world of security. In each section of the publication—Commercial & Systems Integrators; Monitoring; Residential; and Suppliers—we feature one woman who is making a difference in security today, including The Protection Bureau’s SVP Karen Baker, Custom Alarm’s CEO Melissa Brinkman, Washington Alarm’s COO Shannon Woodman, and iluminar’s president, CEO and co-founder Edwina “Eddie” Reynolds.

Each of these successful women share their thoughts on how far the industry has come—and how much further it still needs to go—in regard to having more women in prominent roles within security, including upper management and ownership positions.

Baker, who has been in the industry for more than 30 years, provided a unique perspective, saying that although it is still “a man’s industry … it has changed because you actually do see women at functions and events and trade shows and talk to them in the industry, whereas when I started out there just weren’t many women in the industry at all.”

She is also excited to see women in ownership positions, like Reynolds, who co-founded iluminar in 2009 after 20 years of working at numerous management positions within the industry.

“Over the past 20 or so years I have been happy to see more and more women having executive roles in security, including account and branch managers, general managers—things of that nature,” Reynolds said. “We still have a long way to go—I don’t know the exact percentage of women in the industry compared with men—but I am seeing an influx of younger women getting in the industry with the market going more toward IT versus analog.”

Woodman agrees, noting that since she started attending CSAA meetings in 2002, when there were only a few women, she is seeing more today. “It was probably less than 5 percent when I started and I’d say it’s closer to … maybe 10 or 15 percent [now],” she said.

Brinkman, who has several women on her leadership team, provided a slightly different perspective, noting that beyond her own company, “I don’t really see the numbers changing all that much. I’d love to continue to see more women growing into the business.”

All agreed that there is still more work to be done in this area, but we hope by highlighting the achievements of women in the industry, we inspire others.