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Women in Security Feature: Erin Mann, Allegion Canada

Women in Security Feature: Erin Mann, Allegion Canada

Women in Security Feature: Erin Mann, Allegion Canada

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 Erin Mann, who is a marketing and strategy manager for Allegion Canada’s multifamily and single-family business.

“I support our sales strategies from a business development standpoint and work closely with my team to identify opportunities in the marketplace,” she explained. “I collaborate closely with my team to establish, deepen, and strengthen our relationships with developers, designers, architects, property management companies and channel partners. One of my favorite aspects of my role is working with property technology companies and staying up to date on the most recent trends in technological adoption on the commercial, residential and multifamily spaces.”

The following is an exclusive Q&A with Mann:

SSN: How did you get into/what inspired you to get into the security industry?

MANN: I wish I could say I intentionally joined the security industry, but I stumbled into it in July of 2016 after graduating from DePauw University. I have a B.A. in Communications and was actively looking for a position in marketing when a recruiter from Allegion reached out to me to interview for my first role at the organization. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 5 years and 4 roles later!

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

MANN: In my opinion, my journey and experience in the industry has been optimistic. While I have faced bias and uncomfortable comments and situations, overall, my experience has been positive. Like many others, I’m no stranger to being the only female on a team, working on a project, or in a meeting. Through conversations with mentors in the industry, I’ve learned that my experience of being the only female in the room happens significantly less frequently than it did for some more tenured women in the industry, and that means progress is being made.

 I joined Allegion as the industry was turning over a new leaf – really focusing on efforts to empower, diversify, attract and retain talent– and it’s been wonderful to see the change in action. 2020 was a year of tremendous authenticity, vulnerability and growth for the industry. The industry has acknowledged that by bringing more empowered and diverse perspectives to the table, we can better build, design and develop better security solutions that can better protect the populations we serve.

SSN: What has been done to get more women/diversity into leadership/management roles in the industry, and what else can be done? (How far have we come and how far do we still have to go?)

MANN: This year, I believe the industry has begun to prioritize change – which in my opinion is the most crucial aspect of these efforts. Within a traditionally homogenous industry, are so many industry-wide and organizational initiatives that have taken off like the International Organization of Black Security Executives, the Women in Security Forum, SIA RISE’s TIME mentorship program (Talent, Inclusion, Mentorship and Education), ASIS Women in Security Council, and the Foundation for Advancing Security Talent (FAST) to name a few. These groups are building strong networks and meaningful connections while create spaces of belonging for individuals in the industry. I believe strongly in the power of mentorship and sponsorship, and the industry is abundant with tenured colleagues who are willing to help share their experiences and help guide individuals like myself through our careers, and that can be transformative. 

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

MANN: I originally found the size of the industry challenging, because it was daunting to me. The industry is so vast and multifaceted, it was overwhelming at first. But I think the vastness of the industry is also its greatest strength – it’s possible to find your niche and dig into your passions in the security industry in all different ways. Whether you’re like me and you are people-obsessed, technically oriented, into coding security protocols and everything in between, there are so many opportunities for greater involvement outside our traditional roles and responsibilities within our organizations.

Personally, I’m drawn to passionate people, so finding and getting involved with groups like SIA’s RISE community of young professionals helped me embrace the excitement of building my career in the security industry alongside my energized peers.

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

MANN: I would first like to thank the women in the industry who have been trailblazing for years! They have made the path clearer for those of us who are following in their footsteps. Specifically, I’d like to thank Maureen Carlo, Eddie Reynolds, Paige Clark, Antoinette King, Heidi Tripp, Katie Greatti, Min Kyriannis, Janet Fenner, Kim Landgraf, Lee Odess, the RISE community and steering committee, the Women in Security Forum, and my friends and colleagues at Allegion.

I feel so fortunate to have quite a tribe around me, made of ridiculously passionate and accomplished individuals from whom I’ve learned so much. I also would like to thank my family and friends for always being in my corner, supporting me unconditionally, and being there to celebrate accomplishments and bounce back from challenges. 

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

MANN: You have the right, the experience, and the knowledge to be at this table. Welcome!

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

MANN: I think the industry is being impacted significantly by outside forces – both from a diversity perspective and a technology and business perspective. The workforce generations that are early in their careers are energized and passionate about social issues and expect that the organizations they represent are equally committed to these issues daily.

Young and emerging talent feels completely empowered to walk away from a good job offer if the organization cannot articulate and display their commitment to DE&I initiatives. The agency that young talent is exhibiting is helping organizations prioritize the cultural changes that are needed for every colleague to know and feel that they belong within the organization and industry.

Similarly, the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on the world has created a rapid acceleration in the adoption of technology – the transition to a completely digital experience has shed light on how technology can be used to facilitate better experiences in both physical and virtual spaces. Because of this, we’re seeing an increase in user-centric design and development, tailoring technical capabilities of our security solutions to an ideal customer experience delivering the ease of use and sense of security for the end user.

From a business perspective, organizations have invested in tools and resources to support remote working for employees, and empathetic policies for flexible work have helped so many workers continue to do their best work while also managing through extra responsibilities due to the unpredictable times.

For more information on SIA's WISF please click here


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