Skip to Content

Women in Security Feature: Holly Sanson, ADT Commercial

Women in Security Feature: Holly Sanson, ADT Commercial

Women in Security: Holly Sanson, ADT Commercial

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 Holly Sanson, Marketing Manager at ADT Commercial.

“My current title is Marketing Manager and my responsibilities mostly surround cultivating and building up our internal culture efforts to ensure all employees feel seen and valued across the organization,” she explained. “I oversee the ADT Commercial employee recognition programs, create our monthly newsletters, and help drive our inclusive diversity goals by implementing communications surrounding heritage and awareness months alongside spotlighting a diverse range of employees.”

The following is an exclusive Q&A with Sanson:

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

SANSON: I didn’t initially enter the security industry thinking that it was what I wanted to do long-term. One day, I saw a local position available for a Marketing and Communications Manager — someone who could handle all marketing and PR ventures – for a local integrator. Although I knew nothing about the industry, the challenge of starting a marketing program from scratch excited me. After I was hired, the CEO asked me three times if I was sure that I could handle what they required. I assured him — and myself — that I was capable.

Once I became immersed in the industry, I instantly fell in love with it, especially the company and people that I worked with. In 2019, the company I worked for was acquired by ADT Commercial and I went from a one-woman department to a whole team of amazing coworkers. Being at a larger, national company has been an eye-opening experience and has come with so many more great connections and opportunities. The security industry offers an extremely motivating and rewarding environment where individuals are poised to thrive. I also love that we are critical to providing services and solutions that offer peace of mind to our customers, so going to work every day is truly something I find fulfilling at the most fundamental level.

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

SANSON: There have been times in the past where others’ words and actions have made me or my female coworkers feel like an assistant or secretary instead of a colleague. This is why I’m passionate about ensuring all voices are heard and included in all decision-making, so that we can begin to break down barriers within the industry. For the most part, I have been very fortunate to have supportive supervisors who continuously encourage and challenge me to become the best version of myself and in 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? (How far have we come and how far do we still have to go?)

SANSON: I think SIA has done an incredible job of forming committees dedicated to diversity and inclusion. I’m a part of the Outreach and Education subcommittee of Women in Security Forum and our goal is to not only bring more women into our industry, but also to promote all types of diversity: gender, age, ethnicity, those who identify with a disability, and countless others.

At ADT Commercial, we believe that it’s essential that we represent the customers and communities we serve – and many of our initiatives are centered on that principle. In terms of how far we’ve come for the industry, I think that we are making great strides, but still have plenty of ways to go. The work certainly isn’t done. Diversity is the first step, but inclusion is also necessary in ensuring that everyone feels valued and appreciated.

I believe we still have further steps to take in order for companies to start breaking those glass ceilings more consistently, but organizations can start by identifying and training the right people for leadership roles to begin implementing the changes needed to foster more inclusive environments industry-wide.

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

SANSON: Joining an industry that I had no prior knowledge of was a challenge in and of itself. However, by working and communicating with all the various departments and talented professionals available to us at ADT Commercial, I have been able to gain a better understanding of how my experience and skills can benefit and support different teams and the company’s vision, including cultivating a culture of excellence within the workplace.

Also, shifting from a small company in this industry to a much larger, national one was an eye-opening transition, but being able to collaborate with a team that I enjoy working with every day has made it worth it. Because of these challenges, I’ve been able to grow into a stronger, more adaptable professional.

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

SANSON: A role model who I aspire to be like every day is Maureen Carlo, Business Development Manager at BCDVideo. This woman is enthusiastic, encouraging, magnetic, and so much more. Because of her, I dived more deeply into our industry and started becoming more active in SIA. Through this, I’ve had the opportunity to share my passions with others and help break down barriers in our industry. I’m also blessed to work with such a supportive team at ADT Commercial: Beth Tarnoff, Mallory Pernai, Nicole Bullock, Amy Zitkovic, Alissa Futhey, Melanie Courey and Jimmy Calantoni. They work hard and encourage each other even more fiercely, motivating me to continuously go above and beyond. These individuals stay true to being the difference that will ultimately bring about change in our industry. I couldn’t ask for a stronger group to be a part of.

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

SANSON: My advice would be not to be intimidated by this industry. You don’t have to know every technical detail to join. While we are continuously securing people’s livelihoods and businesses, we are also securing the future of this industry by promoting change and inclusion within a once male-dominated field. There are amazing people here willing to lift each other up, but if you can’t find them, reach out to me. I’ll be that support you need. I would choose this industry over and over again.

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?

SANSON: From a diversity perspective, helping ensure people feel seen and valued internally hopefully exudes externally to propel our industry forward in a new, fresh direction. Representation is a key part of helping everyone to feel seen and respected within the workplace.

No matter what department you work in, being involved in this industry is so fulfilling. Looking back at 2020, I’m thankful I could help support our teams who provided essential services and systems that provided people peace of mind with all the uncertainty in the world unfolding around us. We all had the opportunity to play a key role in helping to keep others as calm as possible during a challenging time, and being a part of that process, in whatever small way I could be, was rewarding.

So, from a technology and business practices perspective, I hope that the industry will continue to emphasize the value of providing holistic, truly ground-breaking solutions to combat the challenges thrown our way during these unpredictable times. I’m looking forward to witnessing the security and life safety industry continue to innovate and evolve into something even greater.

SSN: Anything else that you would like to add?

SANSON: I encourage everyone to take any opportunity available to help others. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Make lifelong connections because a simple “Hello” can go a long way. Always remain true to yourself while expressing support for those around you. We all win together. We all have the ability to be the difference for others and leave a lasting impact on this industry.

For more information on SIA's WISF please click here


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