Women in Security: Susan Hunter of Security 101

Hunter says industry has come a long way, but there’s still work to be done
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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

NORFOLK, Va.—Susan Hunter opened the Security 101 Hampton Roads office in 2013, drawing on her experience as a data analyst in the Air Force. Her military background and the skills and IT knowledge she gained while serving has helped in her role leading a highly successful Security 101 franchise location here, focused on commercial system integration from Virginia Beach to Williamsburg.

“As a data analyst … I worked on precision-guided weapons, tactics, some of the auto-routing software that was used to help the pilots get to and from their targets safely and successfully,” she explained. “I was part of the team that looked at the first GPS constellation and where those satellites were going to go. So I actually remember life before GPS.”

Hunter said she liked the Security 101 franchise model, along with the team and support that comes with it, which has helped make the business a success from day one. In fact, the Hampton Roads franchise is doing very well, growing from a team of five back in 2016 to 15 today, and doubling revenues each of the last two years.

“I looked at a number of businesses to own and the Security 101 franchise model fit me very well, including how to do all of the back-office stuff and how to get the doors open,” she explained. “I looked at many franchises outside of security but once I discovered Security 101, they had a mix of hardware, software and people that more closely resembled my time when I was in the military. I really like how invested they are in seeing the office succeed, and it was clear this was the right fit.”

During her five years in the industry, Hunter has been fortunate to be surrounded by “some great women in security,” she said. “I got involved with the ASIS Women in Security council a few years ago, and they have been a fantastic organization for inspiring and supporting not only women in the industry but also men who want to participate and to see how they can be more inclusive.”

She continued, “And that is not just women, that is men from a non-traditional background coming into the security field. Everyone brings something to the table, talents and expertise, so it’s about being open to bringing in someone with a non-traditional background. So, the Women in Security Council has a done a great job at giving everyone a voice, bringing them together so that we can learn from one another.”

Hunter noted that the key to raising awareness to the opportunities available to women in security requires “finding a way to bring an audience to your soapbox. As a security industry, we’ve got a lot we could do to work with colleges, tech schools—letting them know the skills that we want, whether that is on the guard side, on the project management side, on the install side, or as a security administrator in corporate America, for example. We need to start reaching out to and working with students early on and make security an attractive career opportunity for them.”