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As Godfried Hendriks, CPP, finishes his tenure as ASIS President, he sat down to answer some questions submitted by the leader of the ASIS Young Professionals Community, Matthew Porcelli, CPP, MSAJS. Thank you for your leadership Godfried, and for continuing to be a strong mentor to young security professionals everywhere.

  1. Many young security professionals find complacency and thanklessness when they first start out in an entry level security position (i.e. – security officer), what advice would you give to keep moving forward and reduce discouragement?

Unfortunately, there are people that do not realize the weight of the responsibility that our front-line security professionals have; they are often the first to protect us, our colleagues, and other human beings. However, there are many who sincerely do appreciate the work being done. There are even efforts by industry players, such as Allied Universal, to celebrate the efforts of security officers through National Security Officers Week.

A recent article on about career advice and three points stuck out to me. Stay focused by:

  • Focusing on the work, not the rewards. Start looking at the work as its own reward. Let the satisfaction of a job well done be your motivation.
  • Talking with others. Look for people who have overcome discouragement and find out what helped them get beyond a disappointment to achieve their goals. This is where using the ASIS network comes into play, reach out through Connects, find a mentor through your local chapter, or even start a conversation on social media.
  • Helping someone else. Focusing your attention on other people can be an excellent way to help you get a perspective on your situation. Do you have a colleague who is going through a difficult time or needs help finding a job? Try and help them if you can, this can help reignite your enthusiasm for your job.
  1. I currently am in a position where my management will not allow me to expense any continuing education training or certification in the security field, how would I go about seeking resources to help aid me in my continuing education in certifications within ASIS International?

I believe that good employers invest in their employees, so I would hope that employers would pay for membership and certification, but if they cannot you should invest in yourself. Making that investment in yourself is something you will never regret and it is something no one can take away from you. If you cannot afford to continue your membership try finding a sponsor, maybe a mentor you could lean on? Plus, the ASIS Foundation has initiated a hardship program to support members who are unable to extend their membership or certification.

  1. There are a lot of career paths in the security field; however, I am not sure what path might be right for me, is there someone who can help mentor me in finding the most suitable career avenue in security?

Young security professionals face similar challenges to young professionals in other sectors as well. The great thing about the ASIS network is that there are many ways to access it; particularly on Connects and there are several mentoring programs offered by the various ASIS Communities. Currently there are 35 Communities and growing to choose from so you can explore conversations, other specialties within the security profession, and connect with industry professionals who want to help.

Once you know the path you are interested in, there are many ways to catch the attention of industry mentors. In the case of security and ASIS, in addition to joining the conversation on Connects, young professionals can volunteer, author white papers or blog posts, and participate in industry events. Once you have a specific area of interest within the security profession, find out who those thought leaders are and engage with them.

  1. There is a lot of competition in the career world; what can I use as a force multiplier to put myself ahead in the industry?

First, you will need to master security as a profession. Secondly, you will need to understand the industry sector that your company is active in. Thirdly, maybe even more than what you know, it is important who you know. And as I discussed above, ASIS International can always assist you with the first, often also with the second, and definitively with the third. ASIS is a community that is always ready to help the next generation of security professionals and I’m so proud of the way our network has stepped up to do that this year.

  1. Volunteering, especially with ASIS International, has opened many doors for my colleagues within the organization; are there any places within the organization that you suggest I focus my volunteer efforts in?

Well, where you focus your volunteerism depends on your knowledge, experience, and your preference. As an ASIS member, you can match up your passion/work to one of our Communities because they feature a network of like-minded professionals with varied levels of experience. You can get involved at the Chapter level – I myself was actively involved with the Benelux Chapter of ASIS before being asked to serve on the Board. Plus, between all of the live and virtual events ASIS offers– From GSX/GSX+ to our acclaimed webinar series, and other learning tools, there is no shortage on ways to stay involved and increase your knowledge of the industry.