ADT Commercial’s Vicky Lowe on Keeping Up With Technology Changes & More
Lowe discusses the challenge of drawing younger professionals to security and why keeping up with the changing environment is essential to customers.
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, networking and professional growth events and thought leadership opportunities.
For this edition of SECURE Perspectives, SIA spoke with Vicky Lowe, regional director of enterprise sales for ADT Commercial.
SIA: How did you get into the security industry?
Vicky Lowe: I always had a passion for law enforcement and immense respect for those who serve and protect. Although I did not go into law enforcement, I believed that making a career in the security industry would still allow me to protect the lives of people. I had an opportunity to join ADT in 1993 and have enjoyed it ever since.
How does your organization serve the industry?
ADT Commercial is a premier provider of commercial security, fire, life safety and risk consulting services in the United States, supported by more than 4,500 experienced commercial security professionals across 150 locations. With service excellence as our top priority, we strive to be more than a commercial integrator to our customers. It’s our goal to be our clients’ one ideal partner and long-term, trusted advisor, offering a purposeful, consultative approach to security, fire, life safety and risk management. Our team is comprised of some of the most experienced and technically trained professionals in the industry, who can help our various clients to develop robust security and risk management plans coupled with highly integrated, customized solutions tailored to the meet the specific needs of virtually any commercial environment.
What types of job functions do women fill in your company? Is there diversity of roles in your company, or do women gravitate toward certain job functions?
Women are represented at every level at ADT Commercial. From our executive leadership team to our general managers overseeing our service districts throughout the country, and to our sales leaders, field operations and technicians, we’re supported by many women with incredible drive, talent and a critical understanding of the security industry.
With more and more data that shows diversity makes a better workforce, what opportunities do you see for women in the security industry?
The roles are expanding for women in the industry on multiple levels. Security has moved into the IT domain, and I am finding that women can more readily move into chief information officer roles, technology development and project management and take up positions as sales and operational leaders and in network infrastructure. There is still a lot of room for improvement, but I do see the industry moving in the right direction.
What impediments do you see for achieving this?
Many companies can often be slow to realize the true benefits of diversity and the wealth of dimension it can bring to the organization and therefore may be less inclined to prioritize it in their hiring practices. But there’s such a varied base of knowledge and experience to be gained through a more diverse workforce. More and more studies suggest that establishing diversity in hiring leads to a more competitive environment and a more balanced exchange of ideas. Candidates coming from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives collaborate more effectively and often hit upon more creative solutions with more successful results.
What could remedy some of these impediments?
Education on this topic is key, as is sharing recent findings on workplace diversity in presentations to senior level management teams. Becoming a part of the conversation and acting as an advocate at trade shows, in publications, in forums and panels and in general conversations are effective avenues as well. It’s important to engage with the industry at various levels on this subject to ensure a long-lasting shift in priorities.
What do you see as important trends in the industry?
I believe the Internet of Things (IoT) is the leading trend, followed closely by artificial intelligence and the utilization of data. I think the progress made in each of these areas will continue to change the way we go to market as well as how we live our everyday lives.
More specifically, what trends are you seeing in your role as a sales leader at a systems integrator?
Technology is moving fast, faster than I have seen in the past. Keeping up with the changing environment is what is essential to our customers, who rely on us to educate them and bring new initiatives to help improve their companies’ overall performance. I see the chief information security officer being the driving force in an organization as it pertains to the direction and implementation of technology. Advancement in seamless entry is also a direction in which senior leadership at many organizations are increasingly interested.
What are the top challenges your company has faced in the last year?
In recent years, I think we’ve started to see a significant shortage in talent looking to pursue careers in the security industry. While we have assembled an incredibly talented team with an impressive tenure of industry experience, we see a need to continue to fill that funnel.
Right now, our greatest challenge as an industry is to draw a younger, more diverse and more technically-minded generation of quality candidates to the industry and show a sustainable path forward to the top-level talent we’ve accrued.
What are the biggest opportunities your company – and the industry – are seeing?
I see the industry trending towards a more pervasive use of video analytics, IoT and Cloud-based solutions and leveraging security data in increasingly unique ways to help improve overall operations across different vertical markets.
Especially in the wake of recent events, the work from home culture has become much more relevant across industries, which has continued to result in a growing number of cyberthreats and means companies will have to swiftly pivot and reexamine their cybersecurity strategies to accommodate for what is certain to be a widespread, sustained change in organizations’ cultures moving forward.
What do you hope the SIA Women in Security Forum can achieve for the security industry?
I would like to see the Women in Security Forum bring awareness to the industry, educate women on opportunities that are in the security field and help them to grow—providing them with a sense of community and a space within the field in which they can collaborate with other women.
What is your best advice for women in the industry?
Find someone that you can learn from who is willing to invest the time to share their knowledge of the security market.
Who or what was the strongest influence in your career?
My desire to help people was a big driver for me, along with my passion for law enforcement, so security seemed like a good fit. Throughout my career, I have had several people help me along the way. I had a very influential female supervisor and mentor when I was a general manager, and to this day I still rely on her for advice and guidance.
How do you define success?
For me, success is defined by those moments when our customers feel that we are supporting their needs and, more personally, when my colleagues view me as instrumental to finding a solution and valuable to the organization as a whole.
What would you say to new upcoming women in the industry?
This is an exciting time to be in the industry and to be a woman. The opportunities in this industry are endless. There is a wide range of wonderful women who have accomplished a lot – and there are plenty of opportunities for growth and development. The security world is changing, and I am proud to be a part of it.
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