Eddie Reynolds Shares Her Defining Career Moments, Tech Trends
illuminar CEO Edwina (Eddie) Reynolds looks back at her career, as well as important technology trends in this month’s SECURE Perspectives column.
SECURE Perspectives is a monthly column by the Security Industry Association (SIA) profiling women in the security industry. This column is part of SIA’s Women in Security Forum, an initiative to support the participation of women in the security field through programs, professional development and networking events.
For this edition of SECURE Perspectives, SIA spoke with Edwina (Eddie) Reynolds, president and CEO of iluminar Inc. A security industry veteran of more than 25 years, Reynolds has been the founder and CEO of multiple established CCTV lighting companies.
She founded iluminar in 2009 along with her partner, Joni Hamasaki, and has led the company in developing award-winning solutions and serving as the lighting solution partner for several market leaders.
In 2018, she was appointed to the SIA Executive Council, where she works with other security leaders to launch initiatives that support the growth and advancement of the security industry at large.
She was also selected as the first-ever recipient of SIA’s Progress Award, an honor presented by SIA’s Women in Security Forum celebrating individuals who pave the way to success for women in the security industry; contributed to the most recent SIA Technology Insights; and will speak on a women’s panel at ISC West 2019 – coming up April 10-12 in Las Vegas.
How did you get into the security industry?
In the early 1990s, I ran into a high school friend who talked to me about a career in the security industry. At first, I thought he was referring to security guards, as I was unfamiliar with the electric security industry. When he started talking about the technology aspect, such as video cameras and other security equipment, I became very interested. I later interviewed with Chubb Security Systems, the integration company he worked for, and was hired as an account executive. Since then, I have worked for Pinkerton Security, Rainbow CCTV, Sony Electronics and the Americas division for a UK CCTV lighting manufacturer.
How does your organization serve the industry?
Without light, there is no clear, effective video surveillance: this was one of the key reasons why my partner and I started iluminar. iluminar is a specialized manufacturer and supplier of infrared and white light illuminators and license plate recognition products for surveillance applications. iluminar’s solutions ensure that video cameras capture clear images that are unblemished by hotspots or inspects and unimpaired by low-light conditions.
As a result, these images are optimized for video analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and other advanced functions, resulting in a higher-performing security system and increased customer satisfaction. Today, iluminar is the proud partner of several security manufacturers, including Axis Communications, Milestone Systems, Sony Electronics, Arecont Vision, Digital Watchdog, Ameristar Fence and Johnson Controls.
What is your current role?
I serve as CEO and president at iluminar.
What types of job functions do women fill in your company? Is there diversity of roles in your company, or do women gravitate towards certain job functions?
I am very happy to say that women hold strong leadership roles both in our corporate organization, and within our extended network of sales and marketing executives. While I am CEO and president, our vice president and co-founder – Joni Hamasaki – is also a woman.
With more and more data that shows diversity makes a better workforce, what opportunities do you see for women in the security industry? What impediments do you see for achieving this? What could remedy some of these impediments?
I see more opportunities and support for women, specifically in security. In the past, women have had to really prove their value and expertise before respect and trust could be gained among colleagues. Today, this respect is more readily given. Thankfully, there are not as many barriers as there was 25 years ago, but there is always more work that can be done to encourage diversity in our industry. I believe that outreach and education are key solutions to creating a more diverse industry. Educating students, particularly women and minorities, about the many job opportunities in the security industry and recruiting them to work for security companies are crucial.
What do you see as important technology trends in the security industry?
There is no doubt that high-definition and ultra-high-definition cameras with faster edge processing and AI have become almost standard for advanced security cameras. Because of this, we are seeing a new era in the video surveillance market, one characterized by greater analysis capabilities and business intelligence.
What do you hope the Women in Security Forum can achieve for the security industry?
I am glad to be a part of the Women in Security Forum. My hope is that this group can influence the marketplace by showing that women have an important voice in this industry and that our ideas, initiatives and expertise can help the industry move forward. I hope it can also show women that creating your own opportunities, like starting your company, is possible.
What advice would you give women who are in the industry?
Be confident in your knowledge, and don’t shy away from leadership. If we truly want more diversity in this industry, we need women to stand up and embrace roles of influence.
Who or what was the strongest influence in your career (e.g. a mentor, an event that inspired your career decision)? How do you define success?
The first defining moment in my career was in the 1990s when I took a chance on the security industry – something entirely new to me at the time – by applying for a job at Chubb Security. Working in the security industry has allowed me to travel the world and work with incredible people I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. The second defining moment was starting iluminar in 2009; founding iluminar is my greatest achievement in the security industry.
How do you achieve work/life balance?
As a business owner, it is not always easy, as I dedicate much of my time to iluminar, and I truly love what I do. What helps me is making sure I plan time to pursue my favorite hobbies, such as cooking and mentoring others.
What would you say to new women coming into the industry?
Be brave, stand your ground and don’t be afraid to take on challenges.
Learn more about iIluminar.
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