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Q&A with new Boon Edam President Valerie Anderson

Q&A with new Boon Edam President Valerie Anderson

Valerie Anderson Boon Edam Inc.EDAM, Netherlands—On September 5, 2019, Boon Edam Inc. announced Valerie Anderson, a 14-year veteran with the company, as new president and managing director, having worked her way up the executive ladder to become one of the few women running a major security manufacturing organization.

Security Systems News (SSN) recently sat down with Anderson to discuss her role with the company, industry trends and the expanding diversity of the security industry workforce. Here's a glimpse into our conversation:

SSN: You've been with Boon for 14 years, now. Has becoming company president always been in your career goals/career roadmap?

Anderson: When I started with Boon Edam 14 years ago, I wouldn't say that I had a vision of becoming president of the company. However, as my role evolved so did my career objectives and top leadership became a direct goal of mine about five years ago. In that, I was encouraged by my predecessor and former boss, who helped coach me for the role and encouraged me to aim high.

While this opportunity came along more quickly than expected, it was part of my aspirations. When I moved into executive management nine years ago, I was inspired not just by leading people, but leading teams and strategies to help improve our organization and our customer's experience. I both enjoyed that and felt I had a good aptitude for it, which kept me growing with the company.

SSN: What do you enjoy most about working for Boon Edam? 

Anderson: Even though Boon Edam is a large, global company, with many subsidiaries and three manufacturing facilities in three continents, we are privately owned. So even though we appear big from the outside - and we are - we are also small on the inside. There's a sense of family feeling in everything we do, because we all share the drive and wish to succeed together. It's one of the things that helps retain our talent - there are several employees that have been with us for over 10, 15 and 20 years.

We all feel that connection and collaborative spirit; once you build a connection like that, it becomes a personal and professional motivation to keep moving it forward.

SSN: What do you enjoy most about the security industry? 

Anderson: Security is very important to people and companies, more so than ever before. On my first day at Boon Edam, as I walked into the company, I was thinking: “Wow, I work for a manufacturer.” That didn't sound very exciting back then. But over time, I began to understand the difference between a product that shows up in a box and a true solution. I changed my mindset and recognized the value proposition behind it, and the positive impact we can have on people's safety, security and peace of mind. Providing that value to our customers is what I enjoy most about being in the security industry.

SSN: As President, what are your short-term goals for Boon Edam? 

Anderson: In my earlier roles at Boon Edam, working with the business development team, I worked closely with customers, which helped me see how they perceived value. Now that I manage the entire commercial organization, it is important to share this insight with our operations teams. I am passionate about strengthening the integration of our commercial organization with all business units within Boon Edam. This will help provide a seamless experience that goes beyond product sales to a full solution that includes design, fabrication, installation, implementation and support - a complete, turnkey solution for life of the product.

SSN: As President, what are your long-term goals for the company? 

Anderson: In the past seven years, we've become the market leader in the Americas and my goal is to protect that hard-won position. We've established ourselves as security entrance experts, even with multiple competitors in this space. My mission is to work with our business development managers to make sure when we meet with each customer, we have the skills and expertise to bring a consultative approach to the sale. To do that, we must always understand the customer's entire scope so we can find the best solution to resolve their pain points.

For our integrators, I want to instill the confidence that Boon Edam is here to support them with expertise in recommending the best entry solution and providing the installation and support for their client. We are here to take the burden off our integrators so that they can focus on running their businesses and supporting multiple technologies. Ultimately, the goal is to provide our end-users and our integrators with the best experience in the security industry.

SSN: What is your vision for the company heading into 2020?

Anderson: The word “solution” is overused in this industry, and yet it still has real meaning. A solution is not a product in a box; it represents the resolution of a problem that is being experienced by a customer. My vision is to continue leading Boon Edam to deliver true solutions to our customers. To do that, we will continue to leverage technology, which is growing and changing at a rapid pace both within the security industry and beyond - we are always researching new integrations with new credential verification systems, biometrics and access control, which provide rich data that can be measured to deliver meaningful insights.

Security is seen as a cost center, so we want to offer our customers a solution that goes beyond security to help manage and optimize their business operations. The future is bright for Boon Edam. With our strong position in the security entrance market and our goals to continue to achieve product leadership, customer confidence, and operational excellence, you will continue to see Boon Edam grow and evolve to meet the changing security needs of our customers and the industry.

SSN: In the press release announcing your promotion, you stated: “At Boon Edam, the sale of the product is never the end of the process, it's just the beginning” and that you “work diligently every day …” What are some specific things that you do daily to ensure the customer is well taken care of? 

Anderson: Boon Edam is truly a customer service-centric company. While we do build all types of security entrances - we define ourselves by the full customer experience we provide to our customers. To that end, our mission is to move in step with our customers and partners, acting in a consultative role to ensure we are providing the right solutions to fit our customers' needs.

After our product is installed, we have several departments that follow through to help ensure success. We always stay in touch with our customers to see if we've met their expectations, and to help them prepare for their future goals as their needs change.

Customers often progress over the years from one type of security entrance to another, moving from detection of tailgating to eventually, prevention. Some customers aren't ready for security revolving doors, which prevent tailgating and are a long-term solution. It could be the price or their culture - they aren't ready. Rather than trying to sell, we listen to them and provide them with consultative guidance that is relevant to their current pain points.

SSN: What advice would you give to others who would like to follow in your footsteps and become an executive leader/president of a security company? 

Anderson: Stay curious and never stop learning. By doing these two things, you will be able to deliver value both within the organization and to your customers.

You may be skilled in one area of expertise, such as sales or engineering, but the value of a company is how all levels of expertise work together to exceed its clients' expectations. Along my career journey, I made sure to establish relationships with people, managing all the different facets of the business. By doing this I have a great appreciation and understanding for what it takes to provide a deliverable to a client. Using my relationships within the organization allowed me to bridge all stakeholders of our business units to the customer and improve our processes to deliver a better outcome for our clients.  This process is where I began to learn and increase my knowledge of the business.

When you step out and begin to stretch yourself, that's when you can truly begin to realize your capabilities.

SSN: Is there anything else you'd like my readers to know about you or Boon Edam?  

Anderson: Boon Edam will continue to focus on excelling at product leadership, delivering an exceptional customer experience, and mastering operation excellence.

I am humbled to be a senior manager and business leader in this industry - considering I started in the industry 14 years ago in a sales support role. It's an honor to be a mentor for our other employees who are rising through the organization.

Through my career progression, I have become more passionate about security and what Boon Edam does to serve our customers. My work is not a job but a passion. When you have a strong work ethic and passion for what you do, it changes how you approach your work.


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