Women in Security: Maureen Carlo

Active involvement in SIA, PSA has helped to shape her career
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Monday, December 9, 2019

Everyone has a unique story as to how they decided to choose their career path and the same holds true for professionals in the security industry. Maureen Carlo, business development manager of BCDVideo’s story began as a communications consultant selling wireless voice and data technologies. “An existing customer had a substantial analog video system,” Carlo explained. “When I approached them [this customer] to discuss emerging IP VMS technology, they embraced the opportunity for proactive education and allowed me to bring in the manufacturer for an introduction. That’s when my integrated security fascination began, and my career pivoted. It’s also when I first met BCDVideo!”

On the daily, Carlo works hard to make a difference in her customers lives and focusing on business operations is what has inspired her to stay in the security industry. “I’ve traveled to wonderful places throughout the world for business and have formed meaningful friendships, successful partnerships and rich cultural knowledge along the way,” she said. “Integration is about community and that holds priority in my world.”

Leadership also inspires Carlo. “Working for a CEO who promotes values and diversity, and recognizes the varied contributions of this team inspires where I work — and motivates how I work.”

Throughout her travels, daily business interactions and being an active part of the security industry, Carlo took note of some of the finest who have helped her along the way, in addition to investing in herself with a coach. 
 
“I’ve formed a fabulous tribe of industry leaders — women and men — who make me better, and I work with a business strategist who coaches me when I struggle and can benefit from an objective third party,” Carlo said, describing her professional support system. “Early in my career of technology sales, I befriended Distinguished Service Professor and Department Chair at SUNY Plattsburg, Dr. Nancy Church. A pioneer and role model of ethics and integrity, she became my mentor, championing me in my drive to be successful in a new, male-dominated industry, while also being a contributing member of my community.”

Because Dr. Church took the time to challenge and inspire Carlo, introduce her to opportunities in which she could share her voice and encourage her to coach and mentor international business students, working with young, ambitious minds still inspires Carlo to date to share wisdom and experiences with the next generation of the security industry.

For most of her professional life, Carlo has worked in male-dominated industries — minus her brief stints selling Girl Scout cookies as a child (Thin Mints anyone?) — mostly representing the only woman on sales teams.

“Gender bias forced me to know my product, know my market and to participate,” Carlo said. “Was my voice heard? Sometimes. Did I work harder than my male counterparts for that to happen? Often.”

This only propelled Carlo forward, however, as “driving engagement encouraged better performance,” as she said that women tend to get stuck in entry-level positions.

“I heard an eye-opening presentation by Andrea Schultz of the NFL, discussing why she wrote ‘A. Schultz’ on her resumes, rather than her full name,” said Carlo. “Are blind interviews necessary for the most qualified person to fill a role?”

Carlo also remembered watching an interview with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand about the wage gap while she was between jobs. The senator said that seven percent of women negotiate their first salaries while 57 percent of men do, and that women often earn 78 percent of what men make, all because women don’t ask for more. “That was my a-ha moment,” Carlo said. “I negotiated a double-digit salary increase and car allowance into the offer that I accepted.”

When asked about her greatest challenges working in the security industry, she responded with a quote from the report Women in the Work place, 2019 by Lean In, a non-profit organization that is ambitious about creating a more equal and inclusive workplace: “I am often the only woman in the room with a bunch of guys. It takes a while to make it known that I’m not the note taker; I’m not the party planner; and I’m not their mother. I’m just a worker — just like they are.”

Carlo agreed with the quote … mostly. She said that being designated “cruise director” to schedule dinner plans does have its advantages. “Not all events have to be held in sports bars and Irish pubs!”

She also added that women tend to get interrupted more than men and must work harder — and more creatively — to be heard and earn respect, and an early industry challenge specific to her was finding her community. As an integrator, Carlo looked to where her potential end-users were, but as a manufacturer, her market channel changed and she had to navigate a whole new ecosystem.

“Becoming actively involved in industry associations, specifically PSA and SIA, helped define partners I wanted to target and provided great value when I sought out opportunities to participate and grow my network,” Carlo said. “This involvement increased my visibility and made me more confident in sharing my curiosity and my voice.”

It’s through continuous involvement in the industry that Carlo met Jim Henry, VP corporate development for Securitas Electronic Security, Inc., who always refers to her as tenacious. “I am proud of that because it also earned his respect and helped solve a challenge for one of his long-time customers,” said Carlo. “Growing our community and involvement as industry leaders brings rewarding opportunities, personally and professionally.”

Carlo advised other women to get involved, adding that the key is to be authentic. “Never devalue yourself or your capabilities, and always lead with integrity! I had no idea what a sexy industry this is until I showed up and got involved!”