ESA’s 1st Rising Leaders Forum Worked on Developing Tomorrow’s Top Execs

A Special Forces-inspired leadership development and team-building program put young professionals through their paces to exercise mental skills in communication and adaptation.

IRVING, Texas – The Electronic Security Association’s (ESA) Young Security Professionals (YSP) presented its inaugural Rising Leaders Forum at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Wash., with the majestic Columbia Gorge Mountains serving as the backdrop.

Held Oct. 11-13, nearly 50 young professionals from installing security dealers and integrators gathered with other industry veterans to participate in the leadership and team-building program developed by Terry Peters, CEO and founder of Leader Solutions and Decision Support.

Spearheaded by the efforts of Robert Few, who serves as ESA Mentorship Program facilitator and YSP chairman, the YSP Rising Leaders Forum offered a variety of activities to teach the value of communication, leadership and team building, all geared at turning strategy into action.

The morning of the first day, participants attended a Green Beret-style fitness boot camp where they teamed up to work on fitness and problem-solving skills. Groups worked together to accomplish physical tasks such as carrying a make-shift gurney and a 150-pound “dummy” while exercising mental skills in communication and adaptation. Following a breakfast, Peters led a keynote presentation discussing leader development, team building and change management from a Special Forces perspective.

“Leadership is the art of influencing people in such a way as to gain their willing desire to accomplish the mission. Leaders are followed because their actions impact the environment in which they operate and people see them as a catalyst to achieve the desired outcome,” says Peters.

The Leadership Development Discussion Panel featured industry veterans Kirk MacDowell, vice president of platform sales at; Bruce Mungiguerra, senior vice president of operations at MONI; and Greg Simmons, co-owner and vice president at Eagle Sentry. Few, who is director at Charter Communications-IntelligentHome, moderated the panel session, covering topics such as implemented best practices and industry-specific leadership strategies.

CHECK OUT this slideshow of images from the Rising Leaders Forum.

The event served as the culmination of ESA’s Class of 2016 Mentorship Program. Group presentations highlighted workforce development, customer lifecycle and experience, and corporate social responsibility. The class’s concluding coursework was followed by a ceremony, dinner and s’mores made over crackling wood fire.

“The YSP event in Stevenson, Wash., was the culmination of a wonderful nine-month experience. Working with my mentee was an absolute joy,” says group mentor Don Childers. “And now, I not only have business contact, but I have a friend for life that I would not have had if it were not for this program. A truly wonderful experience and I thank everyone involved.”

The Rising Leaders Forum concluded by putting the previous days’ education to the test in an elaborate project that had teams covering the gamut of leadership and team-building strategies, as well as the entire Skamania Lodge property. Participants were blindfolded and led through a series of tasks and obstacles via the guidance of their team captain who acted as mission leader.

“I got more out of the YSP Leadership Forum than I thought I would,” says Nicole Swartwout. “Most importantly, the unique team building exercises. What an amazing opportunity to grow as an individual and as a dynamic part of our industry with leaders of every generation. Together, our futures are in good hands.”

The event was sponsored by Interlogix, Honeywell, Axis Communications, NAPCO, Telguard, Tri-Ed, Altronix, Security America RRG, APD, MONI, Tyco Security Products and Qolsys.

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