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Women in Security Feature: Alice DiSanto, Rajant Corp.

Women in Security Feature: Alice DiSanto, Rajant Corp.

Women in Security Feature: Alice DiSanto, Rajant Corp.

YARMOUTH, Maine—As part of Security Systems News’ and the Security Industry Association (SIA) Women in Security Forum’s (WISF’s) continuing series highlighting the contributions of women in security, this month’s feature is on Alice DiSanto, Vice President of Global Marketing for the Rajant Corporation, where she is responsible for “building Rajant’s strategic marketing and communications plan defined by ROI metrics where possible” she explained. “Unleashing the full potential of our talented marketing staff to focus on the core goals of lead generation, brand awareness, channel engagement, and data-driven decisions rounds out what I am honored to do for Rajant.”

The following is an exclusive Q&A with DiSanto:

SSN: How did you get into and what inspired you to stay in the security industry?

DISANTO: A former division President for Sharp Electronics, Joe Rickard, became my mentor. When Joe got wind Sharp was launching a US robotics division aimed at the security industry, he recommended that I drive the marketing effort.

I had worked in many industries but hadn’t been in the tech space since my Toyota Motor Sales days, where I spent a decade. Getting back into technology, no less the cutting-edge space of drones and robots, sold me. It was simply “too cool” to pass up.

In my career, I had not sold into the security industry. Sharp had never sold into the security industry. Marketing a brand-new robot into the unknown of the security marketplace took the Bob Burg adage of “Know-Like-And-Trust” to an entirely new level. Building connections, adding value, and participating in the conversation had to come before promoting the product. Bringing together an ecosystem of like-minded professionals, we established Robolliance, which brought awareness and understanding to the notion of robotic platforms for security. Trust in our team and the technology we represented came from and was earned through education, so that is where we began.

The act of building Robolliance accelerated networking among a diversified sphere of security professionals and organizations. From the industry’s leading publications to its educational groups, Robolliance attracted a tight sphere from law enforcement, military, engineering, academia, manufacturing, and other disciplines to take the first step for integrators and other industry professionals who wanted to be on the forefront of this emerging market opportunity. Together, we formed uniform efforts and messaging around “Why Robotics? Why Security? Why Now?”.  Working with and among these folks, my respect and admiration for the security industry grew quickly. I was hooked, and I was staying.

SSN: What has your journey been like in a primarily male-dominated and historically non-diverse security industry? 

DISANTO: I mentioned my time with Toyota, which began in 1988. What hit me immediately about the security industry was how it reflected the male-female ratio imbalance of the automotive business decades ago. Car companies established recruitment efforts hardwired to annual budgets and objectives to change the course towards diversification during the early 1990’s. Yet culturally, our country was in a different place at that moment and transitioning slow going. The steps being taken within security today have me optimistic about the speed of improvements for the industry. Leading the charge is the Security Industry Association (SIA). Unlike other industry trade groups I’ve been a part of, SIA is authentically all-in on bridging inequality gaps through workforce development initiatives, scholarships, committees, and forums.

SSN: What have you found most challenging working in the security industry and how did you overcome it?

DISANTO: Continuous technological innovation within security is delivered at an exponentially rapid pace. When many industries are leveling off or in a downturn, our industry is tasked to stay ahead of the bell curve to safeguard assets, infrastructure, and people. For one, I welcome this challenge of ever-evolving dynamics. I am grateful to be participating on behalf of my company, Rajant, and the industry.

SSN: Have you had any role models who have helped you out along the way that you would like to mention? 

DISANTO: “The Mayor”, Mike (Kobe) Kobelin, is my #1. Walk with Kobe around any security-based event, and you will understand what I mean. He is well-known and recognized. Moreover, he is met with smiles and handshakes of respect. Without a doubt, Kobe was the change agent for me and the one who made my entry into security seamless. I mentioned the Bob Burg quote about “Know-Like-And- Trust”. That is who Kobe is for the security industry. Mike Kobelin served as the director of sales for Sharp when we met. Among the many hats he had worn prior was as former PSA board president. He is a servant-minded leader who is detail-oriented in getting to know your business, product, and, most importantly, your curiosity. His endorsement does not come lightly, and when you have it, in my opinion, it's worth gold.

SSN: What advice would you give other women thinking about getting into the industry or just starting out in the industry? 

DISANTO: Begin following the Security Industry Association’s (SIA’s) Women in Security Forum (WISF) on LinkedIn. This small first step gets you that much closer to the professional opportunities and networking events to propel your journey within the security industry. What began in March of 2018 has swelled to thousands of women and men who are poised to assist on a one-to-one level and make you feel welcome.

SIA WISF was in the SIA booth at ISC West and hosted a keynote breakfast. Both were feel-great ways to get to know WISF. A bonus around ISC West can come by supporting WISF’s “Essentials 4 Job Security Giveback”, where you can personally make a difference in helping the women of southern Nevada build careers and become self-sufficient. Drop off much-needed confidence-building items at the booth and breakfast that will be donated to Dress for Success Southern Nevada (DFSSN). Find the WISF booth in close proximity to Mission 500, a nonprofit that works closely with the security industry to uplift children and communities in crisis within the US. These giveback efforts are at the heart of who security professionals are. Safeguarding is in the industry’s DNA. At ISC West, we can do small acts to safeguard the well-being of our nation’s youth and the women who care for them.

SSN: What are your views on the industry moving forward, both from a diversity perspective and a technology and business perspective during these unpredictable times? 

DISANTO: During these last few years, Rajant hired the talent others put on the street and grew the solutions we offer to proactively address “what’s next”. With open eyes and attitudes, Rajant hired the best and brightest without discrimination. Other industry-leading organizations did the same. More know-how around artificial intelligence, cryptography, autonomous systems, and other disciplines are what the security industry is talking about to combat issues, such as malicious cyberattacks. Labor shortages, however, exist. To succeed right now, diversity can remove limiting factors to make the security industry highly attractive to job seekers.

SSN: What do feel are the top trends, issues or challenges facing the security industry today?

DISANTO: Entering the industry in the way I did I know we have a way yet to go when it comes to our understanding and adoption of robots and drones. Autonomous systems and how to network them are top-of-mind for security based on my professional perspective. Humans working side-by-side in collaboration with these platforms to modernize security needs more conversation. Moreover, corporate assets are increasingly information-based. These connected devices and people are data sources operating increasingly on the move and autonomously. The data-sharing and device cross-communication require robust connectivity and over-the-air encryption, making networking critical for continuous, unobstructed interoperability. Disruptions cannot be tolerated because our 24/7 intelligence from voice, video, and data is ever-growing and mission critical.

SSN: Anything else that you would like to add?

DISANTO: Kindness is a differentiator. What each of us does to pave the road for the next person to join our industry does not need to be grand or hardwired to corporate initiatives. The most significant strides I’ve experienced have come from single, relational gestures. Invite someone to walk a security trade show by your side, shadow you on a conference call, or join a work-related luncheon. Those moments and the personalities who enabled those moments are kindnesses emblazoned on my professional journey. Returning the energy given to me and passing it on to someone else is a self-satisfying gift and difference-maker not yet measured. 

To that end, indulge me in a few “shoutouts” to women within my Rajant sphere. These mentions are by no means comprehensive because Rajant has too many fabulous females within its ranks. From women rejoining after time away with children to young college grads, here’s to Liz Gyuris, Tao Zhao, Emma Murray, Amber Myer, Giana Schena, Maria Lemaster, Kaitlyn Muncy, Valeria Estrada, Diana Logue, Sydney Floyd, Suzanne Alexander, and the many others I have the privilege of working with daily. Let’s continue to extend a hand and open the door to the bright future for women in security.

For more information on SIA's WISF please click here


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