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Women in Security Feature: Katie Greatti, Security Industry Association (SIA)

Women in Security Feature: Katie Greatti, Security Industry Association (SIA)

Women in Security Feature: Katie Greatti, Security Industry Association (SIA)

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 Katie Greatti, SIA's associate director of certification.

For SIA, Greatti manages the Certified Security Project Manager (CSPM) credential as well as sales for the Education and Training Department. SIA not only offers the CSPM credential but a variety of training options for security professionals. She is also the staff liaison to the RISE Young Professionals program, which includes overseeing the AcceleRISE conference and managing education content creation specifically for young professionals.

“One of our upcoming initiatives for 2021 is the launch of a new mentorship program,” Greatti told SSN. “I am lucky because I get to work with rapidly growing programs that cater to unique areas and populations within the security industry.”

The following is an exclusive Q&A with Greatti:

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

GREATTI: Like so many others, I ended up in the security industry by happenstance. Early in my career I began working in the professional development department of an association while pursuing my master’s degree. That position ultimately gave me experience in sales and certification program management, which equipped me with the skills necessary for my current role the Security Industry Association (SIA)! I could not have made a better decision.

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

GREATTI: Being a female young professional in this industry can seem intimidating. I know I initially felt that way. There is nothing quite like the feeling of walking into a room of 500 people and being able to count the number of other women on one hand. For me, that picture illustrates that there is so much room for growth. As a female young professional, that sometimes means you have to be that much more dedicated, work that much harder and show positive results more consistently, but it is worth it because there are much greater possibilities in diversity. The more diversity of thought, gender, culture, race, ethnicity, orientation and experience an industry possesses is indicative of potential growth within. It is important for me to be a part of an organization that pushes the envelope in the direction of inclusivity. I hope to further the progress being made today by continuing to push those boundaries throughout the span of my career.

SSN: What has been done to get more women/diversity into leadership/management roles in the industry, and what else can be done?

GREATTI: The increase in programming dedicated to women/diversity in the industry is being noticed! SIA’s Women in Security Forum, ASIS’ Women in Security Council, and the International Organization for Black Security Executives are strong examples of what our industry is actively doing to promote diversity and inclusivity (D&I) in an industry that has historically been homogenous.

SIA and the young professional’s program, RISE, will be launching a mentorship program in early 2021 that aims to promote diversity within the ranks of the security industry. I really want to attend conferences, roadshows, and industry events and see a mix of leaders who represent all ages, ethnicities, preferences and genders. While we are making progress, there are big steps that still need to be made. If we only seek to hire people that we are already comfortable with, exposed to, or know, the industry will remain siloed and become antiquated in its practices by failing to represent the populations we serve.

The events of this year have created such momentum for this type of change to occur, and I sincerely hope the security industry takes full advantage of the opportunity to transform by embracing and fostering change. I would love to see more companies adopt D&I policies, adhere to them, and encourage participation in groups that promote these concepts!

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

GREATTI: For me, the most challenging aspect of the industry is building relationships that will help me to continue to learn and develop professionally. I work alongside so many young professionals who are seeking mentors and meaningful connections. Coming into an industry and not knowing anyone can deter someone from making this a long-term career. If the industry continues to throw support behind these incredibly motivated young professionals, that challenge begins to fade. I am grateful for the chance to work with young professionals daily and fully commend the organizations whose management becomes involved with YP’s.

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

GREATTI: First and foremost, I just want to thank all the women who have been in this industry for 10-plus years. You have done the work and I am able to stand tall because of you. I specifically want to mention Maureen Carlo, Rebecca Bayne, Eddie Reynolds, Bobby Louissaint, Tracy Larson, the RISE community, and my SIA coworkers and management team. My family, both biological and chosen, has always supported my independence and dreams, as wild as they may be. Without their support and guidance, I would not be able to think outside of the box so freely. Each of the individuals and entities above gives me confidence and have blazed trails in their own ways. In the words of my mentor, find your tribe. I am so grateful for mine!

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

GREATTI: I would tell them to go for it without second guessing yourself. Your goals and ideas are valid and deserve to be heard. I would tell them to jump in and make some waves!

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?

GREATTI: I see nothing but potential within the security industry. Potential to diversify is right in front of us and, if left to the young professionals, likely to happen! I hope to see comradery grow between generations in the workforce. I hope for an acknowledgement of the accomplishments of those who have come before us and recognition of the potential and talent to come. I have never questioned this industry’s ability to continue to prosper. Ever changing and advancing technology, such as AI and facial recognition, will not allow for the industry to become stagnant. It has been a rough year, but if I know anything, it is that this industry is relevant and necessary.

SSN: Anything else that you would like to add?

GREATTI: Change and the unknown are never easy, but respect is given to those who try. Be courageous!


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