On the RISE: Tiffany Renz, North America Director of Sales, HID, in Conversation

Tiffany Renz got into the security industry by accident, but last year was part of SIA’s initial group of 25 On the RISE.

On the RISE is a column by the Security Industry Association (SIA) in partnership with Security Sales & Integration profiling the next generation of security industry leaders. This column is part of SIA RISE, a community that fosters the careers of young professionals in the security through networking and career growth events, education and professional development offerings and scholarship and mentorship opportunities.

For this installment of On the RISE, SIA spoke with Tiffany Renz, director of sales – North America at HID and an honoree in the inaugural 25 on the RISE Awards.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career path.

Tiffany Renz: My professional journey has been a dynamic evolution within the sales world. I started in inside sales at a company called IDenticard based in my hometown of Lancaster, Pa., actually by accident. At the time, I did not have a clue about access control, HID or visitor management.

It was there I got my first introduction to what the security industry had to offer. Eager for growth, I had the opportunity to transition into outside sales roles within the company. The exposure to various parts of our industry from Mercury panels to ID badging taught me an enormous amount in my first several years.

After eight years there, I decided to try my hand at something new and joined the security services side of the house with a fantastic team of folks at Whelan Security (now GardaWorld). While that was new and exciting, when a position opened at HID, I knew it was time for me to get back to my wheelhouse in technology and flourish where I do best.

I’ve been at HID for five years, and today I proudly serve as the leader of a tremendous team that is the driving force behind the Secure Issuance FARGO portfolio throughout North America.

What first got you interested in security and safety as a career choice?

TR: I am going to date myself here, but I guess that would be Monster.com. I had recently graduated from college and was looking for a job, any sales job, and the position at IDenticard looked like something I might like. Once I started to understand and get ingrained in the industry, I never looked back.

Who has influenced or mentored you – either within the security field or outside?

TR: I have had MANY! There have been several managers, including my current one, as well as co-workers and other leaders who have helped shape me into who I am today. My first general manager at IDenticard had confidence that I could succeed and gave me a shot at moving into my first outside sales role. I’m also greatly influenced by my team and their commitment to our mission.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

TR: I teach indoor spin classes on the weekend! Fitness has always been important to me, and there’s just something rewarding about motivating people with music and a microphone that is very satisfying!

What are some challenges and advantages of being a young professional in security?

TR: Sometimes people can prejudge or make assumptions about your experience or what you bring to the table solely based on your age. In addition to being young, try adding that you’re a woman. A friend coined the “Blue Blazer” term at a recent event – it was hilarious yet true. Easily 90% of the crowd were men in blue blazers!

There is a shift that has been happening, though, and we’re finally seeing diversity and inclusion within the industry and it’s fantastic!

What advice do you have for young professionals just starting out in the security industry?

TR: Network, network, network! I have met many friends and colleagues participating in industry events and cannot stress enough the importance this has to people starting out.

What do you enjoy most about being at your company – and in the security industry?

TR: HID is BIG! When you break it down, we are more like a bunch of mini families within one big one. In my business area, Secure Issuance, I can honestly say I most enjoy our culture and the people we work alongside day in and day out. My senior vice president, Craig Sandness, is one of the most down-to-earth and inspiring leaders I’ve ever worked for.

How do you define success?

TR: Interesting question! I believe the definition of success is personal and evolves over time as priorities and values change. For me it’s simple: I think loving what you do and who you do it with is success.

How do you think the SIA RISE community can help foster the careers of young people in the security industry? What does the program offer that is most important to you/your company?

TR: SIA RISE is such a fantastic and unique organization for young people in this industry. With a super engaged membership population, it is the perfect place for people to make genuine connections in the industry, gain knowledge and have fun!

What are some key components of your role with HID?

TR: As a leader for one of our largest regions in the world, there is definitely some pressure to perform and hit targets. On a daily basis, I’d say it’s most critical for me to be engaging with customers, and on the other hand also taking time to focus on strategy and how to make us the best we can be.

You’ve held a variety of sales roles within the security industry – what are some of the most valuable things you’ve learned and taken into your current role?

TR: I would say being open to change is essential. That goes for any industry or role. At IDenticard my territory changed a few times based on reorganization, so just when I started to know my customers, I would get new ones. It always ended up working out, but you must be willing to push through those initial hurdles and make the most of your situation.

You’ve spent considerable time volunteering both within industry organizations and in the community at large – could you speak about those experiences and how they’ve impacted your career in the security industry?

TR: One of the best ways I have found to get involved is volunteering. I started out dabbling in a few different ASIS chapters within my territory and expanded to various other organizations in the industry. This was such an effortless way to meet people in the areas I was covering, both customers and other vendors.

Joining boards of these organizations is a great idea, giving yourself leadership experience outside of your normal job. It’s not always easy to show up to group meetings when you don’t know anyone, but I can say this industry is very welcoming, so step out of your comfort zone and take a chance!

What are some ways in which you think the security industry could foster more diversity, equity and inclusion?

TR: The industry is certainly changing to be more inclusive, and it’s with the help of organizations like SIA, ASIS and IAHSS.  As an example, there are now several women in security groups, SIA’s Security LeadHER conference, Women in Security liaisons for ASIS chapters and many more.

The industry is also doing important things for young professionals through various groups, providing outlets for networking and idea sharing for that group.

What key challenges, opportunities and/or trends do you see as most important to the industry, or more specifically to companies in the secure access space like HID?

TR: Technology is changing, quickly! It seems like there are new companies, products, and technologies popping up every day. As a large player in the industry, it’s up to us to stay on top of and help lead the change.

What has been the most rewarding accomplishment or experience in your career in the security industry?

TR: Having been in the security industry for just over 15 years, it’s kind of crazy that I would say the most rewarding accomplishment just occurred a few months ago. I received a SIA 25 on the RISE award this past fall and was so thrilled because it was a validation of my contributions, hard work and dedication to the industry over the years.

What are your predictions for where the security industry may be headed in the next 5-10 years?

TR: I believe the security industry is undergoing significant transformations driven by technological advancements, evolving threats and changing societal norms. Hot buttons such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, cloud and mobile are on everyone’s mind.

In addition to changing technologies, the channel landscape is also evolving as we continue to see increased M&A activity. I think people will continue to see products and services that make access more secure, efficient and convenient.

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