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women in security

Trying harder and the right employees

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The stories in our newswire this week are part of our annual Women in Security special report. When I interviewed Bodil Sonesson, VP global sales for Axis Communications, we were talking about her work outside of Axis, as a member of the board of directors of a public company based in Norway. I was interested to learn that public companies in Norway are required to have a certain percentage of women on their corporate boards. 

Sonesson said that she was recruited for the board. It wasn't easy, the headhunter told Sonesson, to find a woman with extensive experience with global sales and marketing and an advanced business degree. To find a woman who met that profile the headhunter told Sonesson, he just needed to "try harder." 

"I wouldn't be on the board if it wasn't for that quota," she said. "Once they found me, I had a chance. It was up to me to do a good job," she said.

The story reminded me of a joke we have at my house. When they were younger, my kids would open the refrigerator and without looking inside they'd say, "Mum, where's the butter?" I would remind them, that just because the butter, or whatever they're looking for, did not fall into their outstretched hand, it does not mean there's no butter in the fridge. Sometimes you need to take a few extra minutes and look around.

Sonesson, who oversees a global sales team that's grown eightfold under her leadership, said she believes diversity in the workplace is important, and advises recruiters she works with to "try harder" to find the right candidates for jobs.  

Today there are more women than men on the corporate board where Sonesson is a director. And, yes, it's a profitable company that's doing well.

Trying harder to increase diversity of all kinds—gender, race, age, ethnicity, experience—makes good business sense. Think about it. Your shareholders may thank you.

This year we've profiled four leaders in our industry, Bodil Sonesson, Axis Communications VP global sales; Jill Lloyd, owner of Lloyd Security; Bethany Taylor, Dakota Security director of operations; Judy Randle, president of Central Montoring. Our Five Questions this month features Cassie Weaver, operations coordinator for Dakota Security. We also have a general news story about how security companies use social media which features three women: Rebecca Matson Purtz of director of business development for Matson Alarm; Alison Shiver, residential sales and marketing manager; and Kristin Milner, ADS director of marketing.    

Three perspectives on how to use social media

It’s not about sales, it’s about brand awareness, customer trust, recruiting employees

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—When using social media, be consistent, use images or graphics, and find the right outlet for your company, according to representatives from three security companies.

Axis VP’s global role evolves with firm’s big growth

‘Multicultural aspect” of job right fit, she says

SAN ANTONIO—After doing some consulting work for Axis Communications in the mid-90s, Bodil Sonesson was recruited by Axis in 1996, the year it introduced the first network camera.

Making Dakota Security a finely tuned machine

Bethany Taylor says process improvement and efficiency at the systems integrator means ensuring all the ‘parts and gears’ work smoothly

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.—Her title is director of operations for systems integration firm Dakota Security, but Bethany Taylor likens her job to being a mechanic who does “regular maintenance and inspection of the business.”

Industry favors women in the workplace

Diversity is good for business, say 81 percent

YARMOUTH, Maine—Readers responded positively when Security Systems News asked in its latest News Poll about women in the security industry. Many respondents have women in their company in executive roles, including some who are mentoring other females, and a vast majority said gender diversity is helpful for business.

Women in Security: Christine Lanning took to technology early

Suggestions for success: 'Join technical organizations, go to the conferences, join PSA Security, read the trade publications'

HONOLULU—Christine Lanning, president of Integrated Security Technologies, a systems integration firm based here, always expected to have a technology-centric career. As a child, she soldered LED lights onto circuit boards for fun, she was the first kid on the block to have a home computer, and the only third-grader who turned in school reports printed out on a dot matrix printer.

Women in Security: Janet Fenner, 'know the product'

Gender diversity may be enhanced by SIA’s efforts

RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J.—Janet Fenner, senior marketing group manager for Samsung Techwin America, drifted into security early in her career. Fenner was doing marketing for a company that went through several acquisitions. “Along the way I ended up working in a [physical security division] that specialized in identity,” she said.

Women in Security: Maria Moretti, joining the industry by accident, staying on purpose

American Alarm’s Maria Moretti says a broad-based industry education is key to success

ARLINGTON, Mass.—There were very few women in the security industry in 1985, when Maria Moretti, upon graduating from Northeastern University in Boston, joined American Alarm, based here. While her introduction to the industry was something of a happy accident, her decision to make a career in security was deliberate—a result of the satisfaction she derived from helping people in critical situations.

Women in Security: ‘Women can bring different perspective to female customers,' Beth Reid-Giles says


DALLAS—More single women are buying their own homes these days, and they want to feel safe there. Sometimes it takes a woman’s understanding of security issues to make sure customers do feel safe, according to Beth Reid-Giles, owner of Ranger Technology Solutions.

Submit nominations for 'Women in Security' issue

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Readers: We're looking for your help.

As we've done for the past five year, SSN is preparing to do a special report about women in security.

We'll be choosing six women who work in different sectors of the physical security industry to profile. The profiles will appear online and in the November printed issue of Security Systems News.

The sectors correspond to the "beats" in our publication, which are: Suppliers [manufacturers]; Commercial and systems integrators; Fire installation; Monitoring; Residential Security; and General News. So, we're looking for women who are leaders in these different sectors of the industry. For the "general news" category, we're looking for women who work in the physical security sector, but do not fall into the other categories. For example, they could work for a lender to the security industry, an industry association, or they may be a consultant.

We're working on the November issue right now, so need your suggestions ASAP. Please email your nominations to me at

Here are the profiles from 2013. Click on the name to read the profile:

Terry Basford, 4b Technology,
Elizabeth Hunger, SIA,
Karen Head, Kratos PSS
Jennifer Jezek, York Electronic Systems,
Betsy Francis, AT&T,
Elle Daley, COPS Monitoring,
Deb Spitler, HID