Diane Christie: Security, a career with satisfaction

For the fourth consecutive year, Security Systems News is profiling women who are making their mark in the traditionally male-dominated world of security. Christie, Stanley CSS’ VP of national accounts for the West, is one of six women featured.
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Monday, November 19, 2012

SANTA ANA, Calif.— Diane Christie works for Stanley CSS as VP of national accounts for the West, but early on, she thought she’d become a schoolteacher.

“I’m teaching, just not for the school system,” she said.

Christie started working for a security company right out of high school. “My future father-in-law was the central station manager for Honeywell Home and Building Control [the precursor to HSM, which was eventually purchased by Stanley]. They had a couple of women working in the front office who were going out on maternity leave, so they hired me,” she said.

“I didn’t like my job,” she said. But she got to know the security salespeople who were going in and out of the office all day and decided that was what she wanted to do. “I was hired at 19 and worked in sales for 11 years,” she said.

She worked full time and took college classes in the evening. In 1991, she earned her college degree, but instead of becoming an elementary schoolteacher, she decided to stay in security. She was promoted to sales manager.

When HSM was purchased by Stanley, she went to work for Greater Alarm, and when that company was sold she moved back to Stanley.

Christie said she sees fewer women in the sales ranks than she did years ago, but she always makes a point to say hello and get to know other women she sees at company meetings or trade shows.

In her current role, she has many men working for her, most of whom have never worked for a woman before. If any of them balked at having a female boss, they got over it quickly, she said.

Christie advised young women to find a mentor in their organization and she thinks it’s important for women in leadership roles to take mentoring role.

 Women bring different talents, often including excellent multi-tasking skills, she said. Attracting more women is good for the industry. “The more women we have in the industry, the more women we’ll attract,” she said.

“I like to walk away knowing the customer feels good and protected, and now with the new technology [cloud storage, for example] you can save them time and money and give them more peace of mind,” she said.

With security, you get to work closely with customers and use your imagination to “come up with great solutions. You help people protect people they love, their assets, their businesses. What other business can you get that [satisfaction] from?”