On the RISE: Avory Ransome’s Industry-Rookie Perspective

On the RISE is a column by SIA in partnership with SSI that profiles the next generation of security industry leaders. This month spotlights Allegion’s Avory Ransome.

On the RISE is a bi-monthly column by the Security Industry Association (SIA) in partnership with Security Sales & Integration profiling the next generation of security industry leaders. This column is part of SIA’s RISE initiative, a community that fosters the careers of young professionals in the security through networking and career growth events, education and professional development offerings and scholarship opportunities.

For this installment of On the RISE, SIA spoke with Avory Ransome, end user consultant at Allegion.

SIA: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Avory Ransome: My name is Avory, which I’m not sure has a super deep meaning, but it’s spelled with an “O” in the middle because my mother’s name is Avonda and she wanted us to share part of our names with each other. I’m from Pedricktown, N.J., which is arguably one of the smallest towns in New Jersey. I attended George Mason University, where I studied marketing and competed on the track and field team as a thrower. There are a few things in life that bring me endless joy: music, singing, food, friends and family! I now work for Allegion as an end user consultant covering South Jersey and all of Delaware.

What first got you interested in security and safety as a career choice?

In short, I’d say opportunity. To be honest, marketing is a business function that exists in every industry, and I wasn’t sure what industry I wanted to be in. During my junior year of college, I figured it was time to start applying for internships, so I started looking on all the major job opportunity platforms to see what could potentially stick. Since I’m from New Jersey, I needed an opportunity that would be close by so that my commute wasn’t too bad over the summer. Allegion was offering one of the best internship opportunities that was listed, so I applied. The rest is history (I’ve always wanted to say that)!

What has your career path been?

Firstly, I want to acknowledge that I didn’t anticipate being in sales while in college. I was looking for marketing-related opportunities coming out of my junior year, but Allegion was offering a sales internship during the summer of 2020, which ultimately shifted my career path. My time with Allegion as an intern was nothing short of amazing. Naturally, I was seeking full-time opportunities since I’d be graduating that following school year, and Allegion gave me that opportunity.

I was invited to be a part of the 2021 cohort of the sales development program at Allegion. For a year, I was taught the basics of hardware, codes, how Allegion goes to market and so much more about the security industry. In June 2021, I graduated from that program and started my role as an end user consultant.

Who has influenced or mentored you — either within the security field or outside?

What I love about the organization I work for is the support I receive from all the people I work with. The entire mid-Atlantic team at Allegion has made my transition from college into my career so smooth, and I can’t be more grateful for that. Additionally, Jamie Lynn Callahan and Amanda Hoffman, who sponsored the sales development program, have been instrumental in my success at Allegion.

After becoming more involved with SIA, I found out about the Talent Inclusion Mentorship Education [TIME] program, which connected me with my current mentor, who also happens to work at Allegion, Fadil Zain. I wouldn’t be nearly as connected, educated or passionate about this industry if it weren’t for each person who has contributed to my development as a young professional.

What are some challenges and advantages of being a young professional in security?

I think the biggest challenge of being a young professional in security is related to one of the most beautiful things about the security industry. As I continue to grow in my understanding of physical security and access control, I’ve also learned that this industry is full of dedicated professionals who often have over 15 years of experience. That’s a minimum. So, it can be intimidating at times to navigate my place as a young professional coming into an environment where there’s so much passion and knowledge that was mostly gained from experience.

What’s nice, though, and one of the advantages of being a young professional in security is that people want to share all this knowledge. I’ve had to learn how to mitigate my own anxiety regarding my lack of experience and lean into the guidance being provided by my colleagues who are wrapping up their careers in the industry.

What advice do you have for young professionals just starting out in the industry?  

Three points: 

  • Ask questions. I think sometimes as young professionals we feel like we must prove ourselves, which comes with not always speaking up when we’re unsure of topics being discussed or tasks that get assigned. The truth is we can’t do our jobs effectively if we don’t know what we’re doing, so ask questions and don’t be afraid to speak up when you’re unsure of yourself. 
  • Connect with people. There’s so much to learn in trainings, however, I’ve learned the most through conversations I’ve had with my colleagues, with people I’ve met at conferences and even with customers I’ve met out in the field. People are what make us successful — they weren’t lying when they said, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
  • Take care of yourself. Work is important, but our organizations recognize that our mental health is important as well. Make sure you’re taking time for yourself because you’ll only be able to perform as well as you feel. 

What do you enjoy most about being at your company – and in the security industry?

I think my favorite thing about working at Allegion is the commitment to its values. This is the first company I’ve worked for, and I can only hope that if I ever leave Allegion, other organizations take their values as seriously as we do. My favorite value is “Do the right thing.”

How do you define success? 

To me, success is a big portrait of all our accomplishments. I use portrait as the analogy because any accomplishment contributes to our success in some way. Yes, I’m technically successful if I get a big promotion, but I feel that I’m also successful if I complete my daily list of tasks consistently. Celebrate your small and big wins!

How do you think the SIA RISE community can help foster the careers of young people in the industry? 

Personally, I think SIA RISE is already doing so many great things. The TIME program, the AcceleRISE conference, scholarships and certification offerings are just a few ways SIA is already doing amazing things. The best way to continue to help young professionals in my opinion is growth. The more people SIA RISE reaches, the better! 

What are some key components of your position as an end user consultant with Allegion?

I serve as the trusted advisor for end users who are making decisions around physical security and access control for their facilities. Door hardware can be complicated and frustrating if you don’t know much about it, so my goal is to help people learn the basics and use me as a consultant for their projects. I mainly work with end users in the K-12, higher education and healthcare spaces. I can set them up with trainings, help them build key systems, refer their architects to our wonderful spec writing team and more.

You are a recent college graduate, having studied marketing at George Mason and been a student athlete on the men’s track and field team. Could you share any highlights of your experience and how they helped prepare you for your career in the security industry?

Being as busy as I was in college meant that I had to be extremely organized. Through my involvement in athletics and campus life, I learned time management skills that are instrumental in my success today. I also served on elected and appointed boards that showed me how to work with people and how to connect with them. I learned how to effectively communicate my needs whenever I was feeling overwhelmed by the time and dedication needed to make it in Division I athletics.

What are some ways in which you think the security industry could foster more diversity, equity and inclusion? 

I think intention is everything. The security industry will foster more diversity, equity and inclusion as it continues to support initiatives that give all people a safe environment to work, opportunities for professional development and respect of our varying cultures and identities. The acknowledgement of diversity is great, but the action put behind the inclusion of all employees is what will make a difference.

What has been the most rewarding accomplishment or experience in your career in the security industry?

The most rewarding accomplishment in my career so far has been graduating from the sales development program. I often make the joke that I spent the past year getting my graduate certificate in door hardware. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to learn as much as I possibly could, and I felt super prepared for my role upon graduating.

What are your predictions for where the security industry may be headed in the next five-10 years? 

I think the industry is going to look a lot different. As younger professionals continue to fill the space, I think we’ll see continued innovation of processes within the security industry that may be a bit antiquated. I’ve seen a trend of young professionals recruiting from their professional networks into their organizations, so I also think we’re going to see a lot of growth in diversity in organizations over the next five to 10 years as well. 

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