A moment of professional pride for Courtney Klein, PSP, came in 2018, when her organization received an alarming threat via Twitter. After conducting online research, she uncovered an individual with a proclivity towards violence, a sense of extreme self-importance, and a budding martyr complex—a combination that added up to a potentially severe threat. Overall, Klein and a colleague analyzed nearly 14,000 posts and provided authorities with a comprehensive report.
When the suspect was apprehended by a Joint Terrorism Task Force, he insisted his threats were just a joke. He was released, but within hours, he began dismantling the violent culture he’d been building online.
“That felt great,” Klein reflects, “because it started with me, my friend, and our insatiable thirst for answers.”
To Klein, a security career requires a commitment to explore the aims of criminals, root them out, and proactively prevent their actions. “Not everyone is inclined to be naturally curious or has the ability to keep up on global trends, current events, and technological innovation,” she adds. “Those with the skill set, interest, and a desire to learn, however? I welcome them to our field.”
She was a graduate student at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice when she first considered a career in security. She was invited to join the school’s Terrorism Victimization Assessment (TVA) program—an entry-level security assessment training with a focus on terrorism.
“I didn’t have much exposure to security infrastructure growing up,” she notes, “so the whole thing seemed rather bizarre at first. But I ended up loving everything about it—particularly the theory of security practice and the chance to get a glimpse into the micro-cultures of our clients.”
She was first introduced to ASIS International by an instructor and mentor at John Jay who sought to connect her with industry groups. Realizing the benefits of networking with security professionals, she joined the ASIS Young Professionals and Women in Security Councils.
“It’s rewarding to promote the benefits of membership to young professionals and women, and it’s rewarding to promote to security managers the benefits of hiring young professionals and women,” she says.
Immediately following the completion of her master’s program, she took on an internship helping stand up a security division for a multinational corporation. Her organization’s chief technology officer required all interns to earn a professional certification—so Klein selected the Physical Security Professional (PSP®), which most aligned with her professional goals.
Now a security consultant with T&M Protection Resources, she enjoys a dynamic work environment that can change at a moment’s notice. “Sometimes I’m in the field walking a client’s facility,” she explains, “or sometimes I’m researching or working on reports. Sometimes I’m co-running a client’s crisis response team. There really is no ‘typical’ day in this field.”
“It’s questionable whether I’d be where I am today without my PSP,” she says. “The ASIS organization and its certifications are highly respected marks of security knowledge. Through studying best practices and industry standards, the certification process helped catapult my professional capabilities.”