Holly Tsourides: Focus on results, find a mentor and develop relationships
“Security was a deliberate choice for me,” she said. After graduating from college, she sought a sales job in an industry that had “a strong growth outlook and [promise] to maintain a domestic presence.”
When she found security “it was an easy choice for me,” she said. That was in the late ’90s. She landed her first job with Identix, a fingerprint biometric company. Her first “real break” was in 2002 when Tsourides landed a job working for Kalatel, a full systems video company that became part of GE Security. She eventually became director of vertical markets.
In 2006, she took a four-year hiatus from security to work as president of the Supply and Service business for The Stanley Works. While she “always knew” she’d come back to the security industry, the break was fruitful.
“Any time you’re forced to enter a new market, you know you can’t rely too heavily on instinct and experience—you have to start all over again to understand the market,” she said. “It’s a great exercise for anyone to go through [at some point in a career. You learn new things and you take those with you.”
Tsourides returned to security in 2010 when she joined VideoIQ.
Tsourides says the security industry is “still very much about people doing business with people—it’s a self-regulated community, where for better or worse, reputations follow.”
Asked if she’s noticing more women working in security, she said yes: There are more women and more in leadership positions.
Diversity in the workplace is important, she said, not because women are any more valuable in a particular role than men. The value is in the different backgrounds and perspectives that diverse people bring to a business.
She said security associations do a good job promoting female executives in the industry, but “where the rubber meets the road is with individual hiring managers in security companies.”
“The onus is on them to [put processes in place so they attract diverse candidates]. … The idea that there are not any qualified women candidates in the marketplace is a laughable excuse,” she said.
What about advice for women seeking a career in security?
Tsourides says don’t focus on any real or potential obstacles, rather “focus on the results and the rest will take care of itself. Number two, find a good mentor, and three, develop relationships. If you do those three things, regardless of gender or color, you’ll succeed.”