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AMAG’s Jody Ross Talks Opportunities for Women in Security Industry

In this month’s SECURE Perspectives column, Jody Ross shares important technology trends and gives advice to women in the security industry.

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 Jody Ross, vice president of sales at AMAG Technology. Ross leads revenue growth of global customers and major accounts, working closely with them to ensure not only successful deployment but long-term success.

How did you get into the security industry?

I got into the security industry, like so many others, by accident. I began working at Andover Controls and was the manager of inside sales when the opportunity for me to move to the security division arose. From there, I held a variety of sales positions at Andover, including regional sales manager and national accounts manager. In 2006, I moved to AMAG Technology, where I still am today.

How does your organization serve the industry?

AMAG Technology’s unique offering provides an end-to-end solution of access control, video surveillance, intrusion management, identity management, visitor management, case management and command and control software powered by an open policy-based platform to operationalize security, reduce risk, reduce cost and maintain compliance. The Symmetry security management system is a unified solution that provides intelligent networked solutions scaled to manage security challenges from small facilities to multinational organizations around the world. AMAG’s Symmetry solutions are deployed across a variety of markets, from commercial to government, education, health care, banking, transportation, utilities and many more.

What is your current role?

I am currently the vice president of sales at AMAG Technology.

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?

AMAG Technology and G4S (our parent company) have a remarkable number of women in leadership roles. Women fill a wide variety of these leadership positions at AMAG/G4S, including sales, marketing, HR, corporate officers and operations. We also have women working in product training and customer service. I am also pleased with how many younger women we are hiring and mentoring; this is a great way to secure our future successes.

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?

The sky’s the limit with opportunities for women in the security industry. As long as the person does their due diligence in learning the industry and is responsible and responsive, there should be nothing that stops them. If a woman can’t progress in a particular company, she may want to explore others that are a better fit and more receptive to women in leadership roles.

Women mentoring younger women who are entering the industry is also key. It is our responsibility as leadership to take young or new-to-the-industry women under our wings and help guide them down the path to success. If you are lucky enough to do this in your own company, the benefits are huge. You will have spent time mentoring someone who will make a tremendous impact to your business. If you mentor someone outside your company, you are still helping the industry be stronger and better. It’s a win/win situation.

What do you see as important technology trends in the security industry?

Customers’ needs are changing, so we must change to better support them. As a manufacturer, we need to better assist and educate the customer on the leading technologies and trends. By leading with risk, we help the customer understand what is important to their organization. What needs protection, and why? This allows them to determine their priorities and gain more out of the solution in which they have invested. It also helps them to determine their road map and identify steps they may need to take to achieve their goals.

With technology evolving so rapidly and customers facing new challenges, whether budgetary, communication or compliance, manufacturers must adapt their approach to be more consultative. We must take a risk-based approach and listen to customers, identify their needs (immediate and long-term), identify any potential threats and offer them open solutions that will grow with them over the next several years.

What do you hope the Women in Security Forum can achieve for the security industry?

I really hope the Women in Security Forum helps recruit more women into the security industry and helps us grow our sisterhood and knowledge base. Women are excellent leaders, and we need to encourage more to join our industry and share their ideas and strengths with us.

What advice would you give women who are in the industry?

Know your stuff, always be responsive and don’t take no for an answer!

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?

I would say my parents have been some of the strongest and earliest influences in my career and life. I am the youngest of four girls, and my father always taught us that we could do anything we set our minds to.

I have also had some great management over the years who have shared their knowledge and given me opportunities to expand and grow.

I believe success is based on one’s own individual expectations. Some people consider it a success to earn a large amount of money, others want titles and others want both. Achieving success is really dependent on what makes you happy.

How do you achieve work/life balance?

It’s not easy, that’s for sure. You have to make a conscious effort to step away from work on the weekends and spend time with your family. You also need to make sure you take vacations. There is always something going on at work, and it’s never the right time to take a vacation, but you have to just do it. Your mind and body will thank you later. Your family will thank you now.

What would you say to new women coming into the industry?

Learn the industry, your products and solutions and your craft. You need to be knowledgeable and able to speak to the different aspects of the security industry. Take time to network, especially at ASIS events, and make acquaintances. Join SIA, and read publications and white papers. As in any industry, relationships are key and why people buy your solutions, so be sure to build lots of them.

Learn more about AMAG Technology.

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