Skip to Content

Women in Security Feature: Sandra Polvi – ‘I’ve made some valuable connections with my peers’

Women in Security Feature: Sandra Polvi – ‘I’ve made some valuable connections with my peers’ Polvi, director of marketing for Kaadas North America, talks about her career path, role models, industry views, and more

Women in Security Feature: Sandra Polvi – ‘I’ve made some valuable connections with my peers’

YARMOUTH, Maine—Sandra Polvi has many people to thank for her professional growth in the security industry.

Polvi currently serves as director of marketing for Kaadas North America, a developer of high-tech electronic and smart lock solutions serving millions of homes and businesses worldwide, based out of Orange, Calif., with its worldwide headquarters located in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.

Sandra PolviShe told Security Systems News that the connections she has made throughout her 12-year career in the security industry have been instrumental in carving her niche in the security space.

“I’ve always been personable, but I really made an effort to grow my network when I started working in the security industry, and that’s what inspired me to stay – the people,” Polvi explained. “I’ve made some valuable connections with my peers that have helped me grow as a professional and expand my career in the security industry.”

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, the following is an exclusive Q&A with Polvi:

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

Polvi: I am the director of marketing for Kaadas North America, so my primary duty is to introduce the established, 40-year-old global brand to the North American market. My responsibilities include raising brand awareness of Kaadas products, developing, and leading commercially aligned marketing and communication strategies, developing and driving digital and social media strategies, identifying and driving opportunities for future company growth, and creating and organizing Kaadas North America’s trade shows.

SSN: How did you get started in the security industry?

Polvi: My first job in the security industry was as the assistant channel marketing manager for Kwikset & Baldwin smart locks at the Hardware and Home Improvement Group. I transitioned to that position after working in the Stanley Black and Decker Power Tool division.

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

Polvi: Coming from the construction industry, which was also primarily male dominated, I knew how to navigate through the waters of being in the minority. I found that being one of the only women pushed me to work harder and learn more about the industry to prove myself qualified to be there. Learning how to explain security solutions at a basic level to suit potential customers’ knowledge, and at a high level to speak eye-to-eye with my peers, was key to succeeding in my role.

When I first started working in the security industry, I wondered what my potential path could be because there were few, if any, female leaders to look up to. But throughout my 12 years in the industry things changed, and I felt supported by male and female leaders in my journey to becoming a director.

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

Polvi: When I started working in the security industry about 12 years ago, I found that the most challenging part was understanding the technology and what capabilities each product had. Back then, consumers didn’t have as much visibility - there weren’t as many resources like charts that compared the differences between brands, or videos that explained which products were compatible with each other. So, I had to learn on my own by testing different security panels myself to see which products worked together.

Also, I immersed myself in the industry by going to trade shows and joining organizations like ESA, ISA, and CEDIA to learn from my knowledgeable peers.

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

Polvi: Janet Collins, currently the marketing campaigns manager, global marketing at Silicon Labs, was the first connection I made in the security industry, and she welcomed me with open arms. She has been a confidant, sounding board, and friend over the past 12 years. She inspires me to grow every day and is the reason that I am where I am in my career today.

Elizabeth Parks, presently the president and CMO at Parks Associates, has been a constant guiding light since I entered the industry. She built up one of the leading technology market research firms and it has been inspirational to see that Parks has been woman-founded and women-led for over three decades. The events and work they do help to highlight women in technology, and that is a crucial need in our industry.

Mary Miller, a senior consultant at bluesalve partners, has always been a great person to strategize and talk shop with. She is extremely personable and always remembers the little things – kids' names, birthdays, etc. She taught me that it’s okay not to know something, but there’s no excuse not to learn it.

I met Elizabeth Taylor while working at Masonite and immediately formed a connection with her. She is the most organized, thorough, inquisitive marketing professional that I have ever met, and she crushes it as the director of product marketing at Masonite. As a manager, she is thoughtful in her tactics, and she is the reason I am so good at what I do. She taught me about the beauty of juggling responsibilities while still being present in life’s small and big moments. While her passion and drive for work are completely unmatched, she also finds time to be an amazing mother and care for herself.

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

Polvi: Networking is key – find people that you connect with in the industry and form strong relationships with them. Those relationships can help you grow as a professional and open up new opportunities that you otherwise might not have found. Try to embrace your role as much as you can. Allow your field to become an active interest, rather than just a job, so you can truly learn, retain the information, and build off that knowledge.

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?

Polvi: With recent developments like the AcceleRISE program and the Women in Security Forum by SIA, there are now outlets tailored to different demographics and their interests. I can see that the industry is trying to expand its diversity and I hope that it continues to evolve as it welcomes new perspectives.

From the technology and business perspective, I think it’s an exciting time for the industry. Current and future disruptions within the locking hardware market will provide immense opportunities. As customers get more and more tech-savvy, they expect new features and expanded capabilities. I think the industry is going to see a burst of new products, new technologies, and new brands to satisfy consumer demands.

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

Polvi: Throughout my time in the security industry, I’ve witnessed that there are two competing forces that companies have to find a balance between to remain successful and relevant.

On the one hand, there’s pricing control which includes navigating any supply chain disruptions or shortages to help ensure that the price of products doesn’t go through the roof.

On the other hand, there’s a desire to expand features, benefits, and technologies. As companies battle to keep the cost of products reasonable, every advanced feature or benefit works to drive the cost of the products up. This means manufacturers within the space will have to work harder than ever to strike a balance between solutions that are feature rich, yet affordable to be competitive within the industry as it stands today.


To comment on this post, please log in to your account or set up an account now.