SECURE Perspectives: Rhianna Daniels, Chief Strategy Officer, Compass
Daniels was recognized as a 2023 SIA WISF Power 100 honoree, having been selected as one of 100 exceptional women in security.
Editor’s Note: SECURE Perspectives is a column by the Security Industry Association (SIA) profiling women in the security industry. This column is part of SIA’s Women in Security Forum (WISF), an initiative to support the participation of women in the security field through programs, networking and professional growth events and thought leadership opportunities.
For this edition of SECURE Perspectives, Security Industry Associations spoke with Rhianna Daniels, chief strategy officer at Compass. In spring 2023, Daniels was recognized as a 2023 SIA WISF Power 100 honoree, having been selected as one of 100 exceptional women in security who are raising the bar, changing expectations and breaking barriers.
SIA: How did you get into the security industry?
Rhianna Daniels: My entry into the security industry began rather unexpectedly. I was a journalist working in the finance field, but I was interested in a new challenge. I happened upon a job listing for an industry trade publication with Security Systems News (SSN). Starting as an associate editor, I later moved to Security Director News (SDN), where I became editor.
As was the case with many in the field, my involvement in this industry was somewhat accidental. What began as merely a new job opportunity quickly ignited a passion for technology and business.
Through my roles at SSN and SDN, I had a unique chance to write, analyze and explore the industry, expanding my knowledge base that positioned me to contribute to the industry on a broader level.
SIA: How does your organization serve the industry?
Daniels: At Compass, we recognize the unique challenges and opportunities within the industry. We’re a high-tech B2B digital marketing and media relations agency, and our specialized focus on this industry, and high tech in general, sets us apart.
We’re more than just a marketing agency; we’re a strategic partner that understands the nuances of the market, we understand the unique values our clients bring to the table, and we leverage this understanding to help our clients succeed. Our specialized focus allows us to deliver results that are not only impactful, but also tailored to the unique needs of the industry.
It’s important to be aware that the industry is ever evolving, and we must evolve with it. That’s why it is important for us to continuously monitor trends and technologies and evaluate new strategies to ensure that our strategies are not only effective but relevant.
Whether it’s through social media, content marketing, media relations or other digital channels, our strategies are designed to generate leads and drive growth.
SIA: What is your current position?
Daniels: As the chief strategy officer at Compass, I oversee the overall strategic direction of the company, aligning our services with the specific requirements of our clients and the evolving trajectory of the technology sector.
My aim is to position Compass at the forefront of the industry, continuously providing specialized and new services and solutions that evolve with the market. It’s our commitment to innovation and excellence that drives our mission to lead the way, meeting the present and future needs of our clients.
SIA: What types of job functions do women fill in your company? Is there diversity of roles in your company, or do women gravitate toward certain job functions?
Daniels: At Compass, we take pride in our commitment to diversity and inclusivity. We recognize the immense value that a varied workforce brings to our organization. Women in our company hold various roles and responsibilities across different departments, from entry-level positions through senior leadership.
The diversity of roles filled by women at Compass is a testament to our culture of empowerment and equal opportunity.
SIA: 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?
Daniels: In today’s evolving landscape, women are finding an unprecedented array of opportunities in various industry segments. From leadership positions to specialized fields such as cybersecurity and engineering roles, the avenues for success are broadening.
Support systems like mentorship, networking and collaboration are instrumental in nurturing professional growth, yet challenges persist. Addressing these requires an effort to foster a company culture that works to eliminate stereotypes, encourage mentorship, embrace flexible work and develop training initiatives.
By valuing a diversity of ideas and striving to create an inclusive environment, the industry becomes more innovative, more adaptable and, ultimately, more successful.
SIA: What do you see as important trends in the industry? More specifically, what trends do you see in Compass’ space of communications and marketing for security companies?
Daniels: From a marketing perspective, we’re witnessing an increased emphasis on personalization. We’re tapping into new data and analytics to craft targeted campaigns. Although thought leadership and content marketing remain central, the spotlight is on delivering content that holds tangible value and resonates with an individual’s specific interests or sector.
AI-powered tools are emerging, and we’re exploring ways to use these innovations to augment our team’s efficiency and effectiveness. At Compass, we’re not just observing these trends: We’re actively aligning with them. We’re shaping innovative strategies that are designed to give our clients the competitive edge they need.
SIA: What are the top challenges your company has faced in the last year?
Daniels: We’ve faced the same challenges as many organizations have over the past year: employee retention, hiring and the widespread shift to remote work life have profoundly changed the work environment.
While we’ve always been a 100% remote company, we worked to devise new strategies for virtual recruitment and ways to nurture and support a cohesive team culture. At the same time, economic considerations have added complexity to an already intricate landscape.
These many different challenges have shaped what work will look like for us in the future, leading to new ideas in how we manage people, work together and build a company culture.
SIA: What are the biggest opportunities your company – and the industry – are seeing?
Daniels: Constant technological innovation and the greater adoption of the Internet of Things and AI present myriad opportunities. Digital transformation supports innovation in marketing strategies, while advances in data analytics and AI offer new avenues for personalized customer engagement.
At the same time, we, as an agency, must keep up with emerging industry technologies, like cloud and advanced analytics, to ensure our marketing communications strategies are aligned with broader trends.
The good news is that all these new trends within the field of technology-related marketing and communications offer a promising outlook for both Compass and the broader industry.
SIA: What do you hope the SIA Women in Security Forum can achieve for the security industry?
Daniels: As one of the individuals behind the Women’s Security Council — an earlier group focused on elevating the role of women in the industry — I have seen firsthand the potential for change in our industry.
The SIA Women in Security Forum is an amazing organization focused on increasing diversity and inclusion, offering mentorship, professional development, networking opportunities and advocacy for equality.
My hope is that the collective efforts of the forum will lead to an industry where women’s contributions are fully recognized and leveraged, making the industry not only more inclusive and equitable, but also more innovative, effective and resilient. The potential for positive change is immense, and it’s right in front of us.
SIA: What is your best advice for women in the industry?
Daniels: Embrace both your unique perspective and personality. Don’t change who you are to fit into any role or company. Seek out mentors who can guide your career path, and don’t be afraid to become a mentor to others as you mature in your career.
Continuously invest in your professional development by engaging in training, workshops and networking events, and find community in organizations like the SIA Women in Security Forum. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, and never underestimate the impact you can have in this industry.
Your voice, insight and leadership are not only needed but also essential for the evolution and strength of the security field. Always remember that your contributions are valuable and necessary for the continued innovation and integrity of the industry.
SIA: How do you define success?
Daniels: For me, success goes beyond financial achievements or professional accolades. It’s deeply intertwined with purpose, impact and personal growth. Success means creating positive impacts, whether that is helping a client succeed in the market or helping mentor other women interested in working in this field.
It’s about building meaningful relationships and leading with integrity and empathy. Success also involves continuous learning, adapting to challenges and striving for excellence without losing sight of what matters most to you. It’s a journey rather than a destination.
SIA: What would you say to new upcoming women in the industry?
Daniels: First, welcome to a field that is ripe with opportunity, innovation and growth. Your presence here is not only vital but also transformative. Believe in your abilities, and don’t be afraid to embrace challenges and use them as steppingstones to success.
Know that you are part of a community that celebrates your contributions and supports your aspirations. Embrace new opportunities, be resilient and stay open to change and opportunity. You never know what’s on the horizon.
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