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Worth. Wellness. Influence. These words appeared in the session titles and speakers’ themes of the 2024 Security LeadHER conference. What I synthesized beyond these titles, through my mind, body and spirit, were mantras of “You Are Wholly Valuable,” “You Prioritized Delivers Optimally” and “You Have Full-Spectrum Impact.” Our individual audience-member experience is unique to each of us, yet my hunch is the takeaways are something we share. We left Security LeadHER bettered with personal and professional next steps to be realized and unleashed. 

How to put this into action? Having had the privilege of delivering closing LeadHER remarks, I was compelled to make myself vulnerable to the audience of 400+ and, symbolically, take that leap on behalf of everyone in the room. As the LeadHER of the Security Industry Association (SIA) Women in Security Forum (WISF) community, I believe I owe that to you. Realizing and unleashing what I characterized as a possible “flopportunity” (a fabulously fun way of reframing a failure as an opportunity in disguise), I said that the next few minutes, I would use the physical event stage to demonstrate how we, as LeadHERs, step out daily onto life’s stage to hit the mark.

What happened next? I took a trip back in time – in hopes that the audience then did and you reading now can do – to a moment when you too turned the corner full of Worth, Wellness and Influence. I returned to the day I was 12 years old and sang my first solo. It was the middle school talent show. The song was “You Light Up My Life” popularized by Debby Boone. With a mouth full of braces and no track record of prior soloist success, I stepped up to what could have been a pivotal “flop” only to experience making the cover of our hometown paper, singing my heart out (braces and all).

Here’s the kicker – I retook the risk on stage at LeadHER. With knees shaky and vocal cords far from warm, I called upon my younger self and mustered up an acapella chorus of that song again for the LeadHER audience. Whew. (“I did it!” said my internal voice.) Flop or Opp? You, be the judge 😊.

In reflection, without that 12-year-old’s flopportunity, I may have missed out on the years of joyous performances that followed, from solos to musical productions. Also of great importance were my closest advisors at the time, my parents, did everything to give me an “out” and talk me down from potential failure. The evening of the show, I could see them slumped in their seats. As I sang, with each note in tune and every lyric correct, they sat a little taller becoming cheerleaders and fans of this newfound talent.

Here’s the point – you, too, can and will “light” the rooms you enter. You too can and will overcome close advisor naysaying. Don’t believe it? We all have a past flopportunity. Maybe yours was decades ago as a child or last week at an office meeting. Harness what happened when you took the leap and came out the other side. You stood bright and those around you illuminated. With our collective LeadHER insights, we are fortified to do more and do it more often.

Demonstrate your Worth, Wellness and Influence. Take the proverbial stage of life with the know-how from LeadHER. Share it with others who could not attend. Invite all to Security LeadHER 2025, taking place June 9-10 in Detroit, Michigan. Let’s keep the flopportunities flowing as they lead to bolder days for women in security.

Alice DiSanto serves as vice president of global marketing at Rajant Corporation and is chair of the SIA WISF community.