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Women in Security Feature: Gretchen Gordon, CEO, Boost Profits

Women in Security Feature: Gretchen Gordon, CEO, Boost Profits

Women in Security Feature: Gretchen Gordon, CEO, Boost Profits

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 Gretchen Gordon, CEO of Boost Profits, where she leads a team of consultants and coaches who help sales organizations sell more, at higher prices to improve profits.

The company was recently formed when Boost Pricing, a pricing consulting firm that helped clients get paid for the excellence they deliver, merged with Braveheart Sales Performance, the sales transformation firm Gordon founded in 2009. In addition to her prior work as a lender and investor to the industry, she previously owned a PERS business, which she successfully exited upon the sale to a larger competitor. 

The following is an exclusive Q&A with Gordon:

SSN: What is your current position and what is your role and responsibilities? 

GORDON: I am the CEO of Boost Profits, which is a company that helps organizations sell more at higher prices to increase profit. We have a special focus on the security industry.  Boost was created when Braveheart Sales Performance and Boost Pricing merged in 2021.  I lead the strategic vision of the company as it’s “Visionary” while focusing on strategic relationships and improved services for clients.

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

GORDON: I found the security industry accidentally.  I was working in finance providing debt and equity to companies and I dabbled in the industry. When my former employer purchased a company solely focused on providing financing to security companies I was asked to dive deep into the industry and lead the efforts. That was in 2003. I stayed because I love the ever-changing marketplace. I love the entrepreneurial spirit that so many security business owners possess, and I believe in the value that the convergence of technology and people bring to clients. So much so, that I owned a small PERS business for a few years in the early 2000’s. 

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

GORDON: I am sure that there are likely some business leaders that have dismissed me and my companies because of being female since I don’t look or sound like most of what is in the industry. But I have never felt discriminated against.  I have been told repeatedly by leaders that they wish they had more women in their ranks – not just in administrative positions. And, I have seen data suggesting that adding women to sales teams and to leadership teams impacts company growth in a positive fashion. 

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

GORDON: Sometimes I have found that leaders and therefore their teams become complacent and want everything to stay the same. In a technology influenced industry this is obviously not an option. But it is more than the technology. Boost Profits is in the business of helping companies maximize profit through price and sales, so we are talking about changing behaviors of people.

Sometimes leaders feel beholden to long-time salespeople who were great at generating business at one time, but now “own” the largest relationships and aren’t committed to continuous improvement and growth. This hamstrings companies’ growth and profit. In order to overcome this challenge, I go back to one of my company’s core values of being human and honest. This means that we feel obligated to give honest feedback but in a human way, understanding that each situation is unique. Sometimes providing the truth can be difficult but by keeping our clients’ success at the center of what we do we can deliver the truth with a bit of compassion to impact growth and success.  

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

GORDON: Yes, I would like to highlight a few. Steven Van Till and John Szczgiel of Brivo are great role models. They have very different skillsets so they can apply their unique talents to the needs of the company.  And they run a great company filled with great people where they uphold a standard of excellence, while continuing to rapidly expand. Hugh Van der Veer who recently passed away, showed me incredible kindness and support in the early days of Braveheart, and continued until he stepped away from Buchanan Ingersoll due to illness. And finally, Mark Sandler agreed to meet with me at my first ISC West conference in 2004 when I was a lender and knew practically nothing about the industry.  He has provided guidance and support since then to help me navigate the industry and I consider him the most knowledgeable dealmaker I have ever known.  

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

GORDON: Be yourself. Don’t try to be something you are not just to fit in to a male-dominated industry.  Become technologically proficient, but don’t get caught up in the “better mousetrap” syndrome that is so prevalent with manufacturers in the industry. Remember, the industry is, at its core, a trust-based industry, therefore you must earn the trust of those around you, including co-workers, supervisors, employees and clients. It is an expanding industry where the sky is the limit for someone willing to adapt and grow.   

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? 

GORDON: As I mentioned, the industry is a unique convergence of technology and people. The pandemic has taught us how resilient we are as people. And clearly technology continues to develop in response to market needs. We need to embrace the fact that the journey is forward, not looking back and hoping for the good ‘ole days. Likewise, as the business climate has changed, and technology continues to change, company leaders must also change and adapt to what is going on in the world in terms of the evolving workforce and potential customer base.

Those companies that hire and develop a wide array of talent to sell and service excellently will thrive. It isn’t about the better mousetrap. It isn’t about the buddy-buddy long-standing relationship. It is about connecting with those that make buying decisions to really understand their situation and needs, and then delivering the solutions that will solve their problems. It’s about building trust and earning respect to become a peer of the customer as opposed to a peddler of wares. Company owners would therefore be wise to think about how their hiring practices are keeping pace with the changed market.

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

GORDON: Based on a CBS story reported recently, where the Chief Economist of LinkedIn was interviewed, a startling fact was revealed. Before the pandemic 1 in 67 jobs was advertised as remote.  Now 1 in 7 jobs are remote. Will it continue in this fashion? I do not know, but security companies can certainly figure out a way to address those commercial entities that are dealing with this as well as the consumers who are sitting in their houses working. If there was ever a mantra for convergence between physical and cybersecurity it is now. Companies must find a way to solve the problems that their customers and prospective customers are facing now. Not what they faced two years ago but now.

For more information on SIA's WISF please click here


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