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SSN and SIA partner for diversity, inclusion

SSN and SIA partner for diversity, inclusion Women in Security series will feature special profiles in 2021

YARMOUTH, Maine—Security Systems News is excited to be partnering again this year with the Security Industry Association's (SIA’s) Women in Security Forum (WISF), who helped select 12 women (see list below) to be highlighted in special features throughout 2021.

Expanding the partnership and coverage beyond one issue is a natural next step, and one that we here at SSN and SIA are both excited about.

BCD International’s Director of Strategic Alliances, Maureen Carlo, who has been instrumental in building the WISF community, told SSN that the SIA WISF is empowering women and influencing change, and — as many of us in the industry can attest — making the industry better.

“When I think of my legacy, one of my proudest accomplishments will include helping to develop this inspiring community that is creating opportunities for a more inclusive and diverse industry,” she said, noting that WISF has surpassed 550 members in less than three years.

Some 2020 highlights she mentioned include: Addition of thee subcommittees (community; scholarship; charitable giving); launched quarterly professional development webinar series; began weekly LinkedIn SPOTLIGHT series; kicked off inaugural WISF Scholarship Program (awarding $79,000 to 12 recipients); presented at AcceleRISE; developed the CAN DO Challenge to combat food insecurity; networked with members through October Meet & Greet series; collaborated with partners including WIIS/NYC for ongoing webinar series; launched WISF Speakers Bureau, adding fresh perspectives to industry thought leadership; presented Shannon Huffman Polson, of The Grit Institute, as an ISC West keynote; honored Andrew Lanning with the SIA Progress Award; increased diversity among SIA committees and working groups. Next year; worked with PSA to create a WISF track at PSC TEC in 2021.

“All this during a global pandemic when we are all volunteers and cannot meet in person,” she pointed out. “So much gratitude — our members have supported one another through social movements, cyber-bullying, and loss of jobs during the economic downturn. They promote inclusion, nurture alliances and champion each other’s career achievements – and form business partnerships too (I especially love watching those relationships develop). My goal for the WISF is to become a standing SIA committee by our 3rd year anniversary.”

Diversity and Inclusion

Integrated Security Technologies Co-Founder, Andrew Lanning, who was recently honored with the SIA Progress Award (presented by WISF), shared his profound thoughts on the topic of diversity and inclusion, noting that age, gender, race and ethnic-related biases keep members of a working group from sharing their ideas equally during conversation, in meetings, during classes, etc.

“These are the biases that stymie inclusivity at the lunch table, in the gym, on the golf course, and in the board room,” Lanning said. “This bias-induced loss of participation is a loss of thought. It's a potential loss of solution; it's a potential loss of earnings. These losses are hurtful to any business; but in the security business they could also leave someone or something unprotected. If the biases aren't avoidable, then perhaps the losses are.”

He continued, “We need to create a conversational space that acknowledges, accepts, and accommodates all of the biases that everyone brings with them to the discussion.”

Lanning astutely pointed out, “The toughest first step is the accepting (vs. blaming ourselves and others) of biases without assigning judgment for them. Once accepted and acknowledged, recognizing where bias occurs during discussion between others and ourselves comes next. Finally, we must make room, i.e., conversational space for the courteous pointing out of speech limiting, thought limiting, or contribution limiting biases whenever they occur in our conversations.

“As we traverse this conversational space, battling the ‘resentment-harboring-bias’ may be the toughest task for many. Our behavioral biases show up in the execution of ourselves, in the being of ourselves, in the experiencing of ourselves in our lives. We must work to promote the voice of others despite our biases, despite the fear of having our biases called out when they show up. Given enough time, practice, and conversational space, perhaps we can create new biases for the discourse of business. Biases that promote inclusion of the thoughts and voices of everyone.”

Wise words Mr. Lanning!

And without further ado, the following list of 12 women selected by SIA’s Women in Security Forum, in partnership with SSN, will be profiled in each issue of SSN in 2021:


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