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SIA Launches Women in Security Forum

In honor of International Women’s Day this week, the Security Industry Association (SIA) has created the Women in Security Forum to support the participation of women in the security industry.

The forum will focus on programs, professional development and networking events and will engage both male and femal members who share the goal of expanding female representation in the cybersecurity field.

The inaugural steering committee for the SIA Women in Security Forum includes Elaine Palome, Axis Communications; Chelsea Render, Bosch; Kelly Bond, Brivo; Vicky Lowe, Convergint Technologies; Janet Fenner, Dahua Technology USA; Sherida Sessa, ISC Security Events; Dawne Hanks, Milestone Systems; Christine Hamberis, ScanSource; Alice DiSanto, Sharp Intellos and Maureen Carlo, Videotec Security.

“[The committee] presents a great opportunity to engage, mentor and help further empower a new generation of women executives in the physical security industry,” said Dahua’s Fenner.

Goals for the committee include creating mentorship/sponsorship programs to advocate for advancement and build confidence in the workplace; connecting women in the industry through networking events; developing a recruiting program for next-generation female professionals and leaders; initiating an ongoing dialogue between male and female leaders to enhance mutual understanding and identifying platforms that can provide visibility for women. Also, the group will work to spearhead an issue that will create opportunities for women to work together and be at the forefront of a major initiative.

Emily Corazza, manager of Technology Partnerships and Strategic Alliances at Vectra, a San Jose, California–based provider of automated threat management solutions, told Infosecurity that the focus on dialogue is an important part of the initiative.

“It’s wonderful to see a forum established to focus not only on women in security but [on] the overall dialogue between men and women of diverse backgrounds and cultures,” she said. “This diversity is an essential driving force of innovation, creativity and creation of a workplace to attract the best talent on a global scale, and something that Vectra strives to achieve as a constant in our corporate culture. Companies that are able to recognize and further these ideals in the workplace will benefit from an open and collaborative environment but will also benefit from being able to retain great and diverse talent, long term.”

She added, “This isn’t just about women; it’s about creating accepting environments for diversity across the board.”

Brianne Brewer, vice president of marketing and communications at SecureSet, a Denver-based immersive, accelerated cybersecurity academy, added that clearing away stigma is a necessary focus for the group.

“A forum like this provides a platform to connect women and men who realize the critical role that inclusion and visibility play in talent development and providing a clear pathway for women in the security industry,” she said. “Initiatives like this provide current professionals with a support system to navigate the challenges of career growth and enable younger generations to see themselves in these roles in the future. Eliminating the intimidation and stigma that often exists for women in male-dominated industries is the first step to removing barriers for diversity of all kinds.”

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