Oracle Vision Account Manager Annette Daniel recently attended the Women In Security Awards in London, organised by Professional Security Magazine. It was a great night out, with many women from across the profession being celebrated for their work. But it did make us wonder – what does it mean to be a Woman in Security in 2021? To find out, we asked Annette to share her perspective.
Tell us about the recent Women in Security Awards
I went to the Women in Security Awards after a friend invited me, and I thought it would be a good networking event. As it turned out, it was a good party! There were a few interesting people to meet in person, but actually the real benefit was all the activity on social media around it. The organisers and their sponsors (like Axis, and HikVision) were sharing posts on LinkedIn, tagging people like me in it, and it picked up quite a bit of attention. In that respect, I think the awards really help to amplify your network.
How did you get into security?
I fell into it! I used to manage a call centre for an energy company. One of my friends put me onto a sales training programme, where the salary was better and there were far more opportunities to grow. I got a job at Servest as a trainee, and progressed on with them. After a while, moved to ADT, and they put me on one of their fantastic training courses. That’s when I fell in love with security. I’ve stayed in it now for 15 years – I wouldn’t want go anywhere else!
What were your impressions of the industry at the time?
Don’t get me wrong, from day one it has been mostly men. However, I have never had the impression that women in security weren’t welcome. It might just be my temperament, but I’ve never felt out of place, and have never really thought much of it. To me, these companies just seemed like great places to work.
Have you ever encountered any challenges working in security, as a woman?
They’re few and far between, to be honest, and I think most of the issues were with people who would find fault with anyone. I’d say the worst examples are with customers who haven’t wanted to listen to me. It doesn’t take long to change their mind! If you’re confident, and you know your stuff, you can turn them around quite quickly. Working in sales, you need to have a thick skin if people don’t want to listen to you, whatever the reason.
How do we encourage more women into security?
Honestly, I think the issue is not that girls or women are put off by the industry being full of men, but that it’s not on their radar. There can’t be many 16 year olds who are thinking “I’m going to go into security” – it’s just not an industry that’s very well known. The difference is that the lads will likely know a big brother, an uncle or a mate who’s working at a security company and might suggest it to them, or better still, recommend them for a role. It’s a knowledge thing – we should be raising awareness of security jobs, telling stories like mine, so that all young people – male and female – see the great opportunities it has to offer.
How have Oracle Vision helped?
We’re such a tight team, we all listen when there are issues and help each other out. In sales, that’s a key thing, you can get it off your chest and talk through the solutions. So the few times there has been a problem or someone frustrating, I can talk to the team. That’s what makes Oracle, it’s like a little family business and it makes you feel good.
Oracle are also really good at offering trainee positions and apprenticeships for sales and other roles. That’s a fantastic way to get young people into the industry. There’s a lot of scope for growth here, and the management team have always been great at encouraging me to develop with them – there are exciting times ahead.