Women in Security: Maria Moretti, joining the industry by accident, staying on purpose
ARLINGTON, Mass.—There were very few women in the security industry in 1985, when Maria Moretti, upon graduating from Northeastern University in Boston, joined American Alarm, based here. While her introduction to the industry was something of a happy accident, her decision to make a career in security was deliberate—a result of the satisfaction she derived from helping people in critical situations.
A criminal justice major, Moretti, command center manager at American Alarm, had planned on going to law school—until her final job through Northeastern’s Cooperative Education program placed her in a security job at American Alarm. Initially, she was just pleased to be employed at a company in her hometown. But soon after starting the job, things changed.
“I was very inspired—there was great satisfaction in everything that I did because I was helping people all day long,” Moretti said. “I just got drawn into that daily act of helping people, whether it was answering panic signals during a robbery at a bank, or if there was a smoke carbon monoxide alarm, and we needed to keep people safe.”
Moretti’s first piece of advice for women—or anyone, for that matter—trying to carve out success in the industry? Get educated, whether through online training courses or attending courses for a license. “Basically, learn all you can about the industry regarding the product, codes and protocol regulations for alarm response,” she said.
While Moretti said the industry has made enormous strides toward better gender diversity since 1985, there are still some sectors of the industry—the technician field, for instance—that are still largely male-dominated. Part of Moretti’s personal educational journey has involved challenging the expectations of what women typically do in the industry. For example, she signed up for a two-year technician course at American Alarm to help her gain a more well-rounded knowledge of the industry.
“For two years I took the course, and the technicians said, ‘Wow, you’re taking the time to do that?’ They were impressed that I’d take the time to do something they were required to do.”
Moretti said that American Alarm, which has a workforce that’s 25 percent female, understands the importance of gender diversity in the industry. Bringing more women into security, Moretti said, can be beneficial to security companies in general, specifically those active in the residential space.
“We’re finding that women are in charge of the household decisions about security in the home,” she said. “I think we need to have a connection to that.”
From a day-to-day operations perspective, Moretti says her nearly 30-year career has allowed her to witness the dramatic ways in which women have shaped the industry’s direction.
“I can definitely see from when I began to where we are now that the industry has changed as far as the perception of what women can contribute to this industry,” she said.