‘SECURE Perspectives’ Column Gives Voice to Women in Security

SSI is proud to introduce a new monthly column, SECURE Perspectives, in collaboration with the Security Industry Association (SIA) and its efforts to support the participation of women in the electronic security profession.

‘SECURE Perspectives’ Column Gives Voice to Women in Security

Secure Perspectives is a monthly column by the Security Industry Association (SIA) in association with Security Sales & Integration  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 first installment of Secure Perspectives, SIA spoke with Christie Hamberis, senior vice president at ScanSource Networking and Security. Hamberis is responsible for the management and direction of the business unit’s vendor and customer relationships, helping to guide strategy and develop growth opportunities. She was named Women’s Security Council Woman of the Year in 2015 and one of CRN’s Women of the Channel in 2016.

How did you get into the security industry?

I’ve been employed by ScanSource for 22 years.  I have had the privilege to serve in each of the four technology business units during this time — ScanSource POS and Barcode, ScanSource Catalyst, ScanSource Communications and, since 2012, ScanSource Networking and Security.

Although I know technology distribution well, entering the security market in 2012 was certainly an eye-opening experience for me. The fragmentation of the market and the diversity in channel models has definitely made the security business unit a challenging and exciting opportunity.

How does your organization serve the industry?

Christie Hamberis

ScanSource  is a leading global provider of technology products and solutions, focusing on point-of-sale [POS], payments, barcode, physical security, unified communications and collaboration, cloud and telecom services. ScanSource’s teams provide value-added solutions to its partners. ScanSource is committed to helping its customers choose, configure and deliver the industry’s best solutions across almost every vertical market.

What is your current role?

I’m the senior vice president of ScanSource Networking and Security for the United States and Canada. I lead the teams that have responsibility for sales, business development, product management and technical support in the wired and wireless networking and physical security arenas.

What types of job functions do women fill in your company? 

ScanSource is a $3.6 billion public company [Nasdaq: SCSC] and operates in North America, Latin America and Europe. Our employee base is comprised of roughly 51% women. These women hold positions that range from financial analysts to sales representatives to executive management. 

With more and more data that shows diversity makes a better workforce, what opportunities do you see for women in the security industry? 

There are many opportunities for women in the security industry on both the technical and business fronts. I think it is important to focus on the advancements and opportunities that women now have in small, mid-sized and large companies across America. Sure, there may be challenges, but women are leading at every level. All employees, regardless of gender, need to ensure they are presenting themselves in a professional manner at every step along the way.

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

Cybersecurity — the continued hacking of personal information has increased interest in cybersecurity, and the physical security industry is beginning to respond more quickly than it had. Many physical security manufacturers are talking more about cybersecurity, providing hardening guides for increasing the overall security of their product and even partnering with well-known cybersecurity companies to increase protection of their products.

Second, analytics. This is not a new topic, but there seems to be a trend toward more deep learning analytics, which includes anything from advanced facial recognition to detecting riots and other specific behaviors. Some new solutions encompass tracking metadata, such as gender, hair length, clothing and size. The applications are widespread and not just limited to security anymore.

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

I hope the forum can highlight the opportunity for women in security and provide a growth path with networking and mentorship along the way. We need to use this stage to show that there are already many strong, successful women in the security industry and educate others that their opportunity ranges from product management to sales to technical design to CEO — really, the opportunities are unlimited.

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

I believe women in the security industry need to focus on knowing their business, being an active participant in security industry events and continuing to contribute to the growth and improvement of this market. This should get them the visibility they need to advance.  However, I’m a big advocate that the best person should get the job — so be the best person.

Who or what was the strongest influence in your career? 

I have many female role models that have impacted my ScanSource career over the past 22 years.  Each of these ladies has influenced me along the way — Yvette McKenzie, VP, ScanSource Communications; Brenda McCurry, VP, ScanSource POS and Barcode; Ansley Hoke, VP, ScanSource Catalyst; Tracey Boucher, VP, ScanSource Networking and Security; Christy Thompson, VP, ScanSource Worldwide Marketing; and Mary Gentry, ScanSource VP and treasurer.

It is terrific to work with strong, intelligent, passionate businesswomen that offer an incredible support system and teach me something new on a daily basis.

How do you define success?

Success is not a title or money — one can have the highest title available and every material item under the sun and still be miserable. Success is using your platform (whatever it may be) to positively impact the lives of others each day. Success is finding happiness in the growth and advancement of those that work and live with and around you.

How do you achieve work/life balance?

This is close to impossible.  Women play so many roles in life.  My advice is to be 100% present in the role you are in at that time. When you are at work, be fully in that manager, leader, contributor role and give it your all.

When you leave to go home, set down the mobile device — or at least try — and focus on being a wife, mother, daughter, whichever it may be. One key thing to remember, taking care of yourself is imperative to being good at all of these roles.

What would you say to new upcoming women in the industry?

Stay true to yourself — you do not have to be “one of the guys.”  Be willing to learn, grow and try new things, and do not change who you are. Rely on your personality, intelligence and hard work to get you to the next level. Be respectful and assertive while embracing challenges and being determined to succeed.

Learn more about Hamberis here.

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