ADT Commercial’s Patricia Coureas Talks Diversity in Security, Much More

Coureas, a former FBI agent, now serves as a principal consultant in the Enterprise Security Risk Group at ADT Commercial.

What do you see as important trends in the industry?

Especially now, with the landscape changing constantly, every organization has to keep the concepts of innovation and prioritizing momentum at its heart. Customers’ needs are shifting at a breakneck pace, and emerging technologies need to match to address them. Companies need to be exploring and anticipating critical industry trends to respond to customers’ demands effectively and precisely – and emerging technology is the perfect inroad to pave that way forward.

More specifically, what trends are you seeing in your role with ADT Commercial’s Enterprise Security Risk Group?

 In my role, I’m responsible for supporting our customers in identifying the value of the various emerging technologies that we’re pursuing and determining how they can augment our customers’ risk management measures and overall security programs. It’s an exciting time in the industry, especially identifying not only these revolutionary technologies but also how they can streamline operations and improve customer service across the board.

What are the top challenges your company has faced in the last year? 

COVID-19 obviously brought along many setbacks and obstacles that ADT Commercial, like so many of our fellow industry peers, had to overcome. Only enhanced by the pandemic, we’ve witnessed and experienced a long-term challenge within the industry: A shortage of younger generations of talent who are interested in establishing longstanding careers in security.

Our organization is extremely focused on employee development and incentivizing our people to encourage success, create sustainable career paths and inform promising, talented youth of the personal and professional benefits that come with working in security and life safety. The residual effects in struggling to hire are creating real challenges for industries across the board, but we’re finally seeing positive progress in appealing to that younger quotient of talent who’ll be critical in continuing the dedication to innovation and commitment to change that we’re seeing take place across the industry.

What are the biggest opportunities your company – and the industry – are seeing? 

For us, it’s all about being bold in the technologies we’re researching and the applications we’re exploring. We’re taking bets on the kind of tech that we can see truly changing the course of the industry.

For example, we announced our strategic investment in the artificial intelligence-driven technology developed by startup Percepta Labs. This technology responds to emerging concerns surrounding the use of facial recognition technologies and is designed to anonymize individuals’ demographic features by analyzing existing security camera feeds to detect shoplifting incidents in real time. Using advanced action recognition techniques, Percepta’s AI technology aims to track individuals’ movements, scanning for probable shoplifting or precursory shoplifting behavior and assessing theft probability.

We believe this type of technology is critical to transforming how businesses approach AI, facial recognition and data collection, and we look forward to seeing how Percepta’s solution continues to develop. But that’s just one of the many revolutionary technologies we’re exploring. We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of change in our industry – I think everyone should be prepared to see big things coming out of ADT Commercial.

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

 The SIA Women in Security Forum can lead workshops, conferences and speaking engagements that highlight successful pathways to growth within the security industry, in both the private and public industry. As more and more women assume security roles and showcase their knowledge, skills and abilities, the security industry as a whole will recognize the value of women and their unique manner of contributing to key business objectives, problem solving and team cohesiveness.

As thought leaders, we also must seek and participate in opportunities to demonstrate and share knowledge and experience with others. Doing this will actively build a sense of community and camaraderie among women within the industry and encourage us to continuously strive for excellence in all our pursuits.

What is your best advice for women in the industry?

 Strive to achieve your long-term career objectives by focusing your efforts on growing and developing those skills that will enhance your capabilities with the position that you seek. Participate in leadership development programs, find a trusted mentor and be diligent about aligning your objectives with helping your organization to respond to current and anticipate future challenges. Continue to be innovative and forward-thinking, and always remember that you are making a difference.

Who or what was the strongest influence in your career?

The person who was the strongest influence in my career choices was my father. He retired as a colonel in the U.S. Army and a business owner while supporting a large family. Hard work, perseverance and a philosophy that each of us could achieve any goal we chose were always present in our home and greatly impacted how my career has developed throughout the years.

How do you define success? 

One way I measure success is by looking at a problem with a new approach, even if that approach pushes me outside of my comfort zone. Inherently, I am a multitasker and continuously demonstrate the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously. People who are willing to communicate in transparent, honest manners as well as receive constructive feedback from others are bound for success.

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

Develop competencies that will help define your skills today and will complement your existing knowledge and abilities to succeed in your chosen security field. Remain optimistic and positive about the future and motivate others to excel and be successful.

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