Certification Profile: Leon Beresford, CPP
Leon Beresford, CPP, took classes by day, and worked as a security guard by night. As he picked up his weekly paycheck, he would imagine himself one day sitting in the manager's office.
He dedicated himself to this goal. He earned a certificate in security management, and soon after, landed an entry-level security management job. The rest is history.
During 30 years in the security industry, Beresford has held increasingly responsible positions with Simon Property Group and AlliedBarton Security Services. For the past 11 years, he has worked for Admiral Security Services, a leading security services provider, where he is senior vice president. In this capacity, he has responsibility for all company divisions across six states, and he also has a role in acquisitions.
Each morning, he drops his daughter off at school and spends the rest of his commute on calls with his seven direct reports. From there, his days run the gamut of client relations, business development, planning sessions, risk management, cultivating partnerships with law enforcement, networking, meetings with ownership and internal stakeholders, and ASIS volunteer leadership.
Beresford earned his Certified Protection Professional® (CPP) certification in support of his security management goals. "I wanted to differentiate myself by achieving the highest accreditation in our industry," he says. "Certification is like the icing on a delicious carrot cake, it increases my credibility as a security management practitioner."
Beresford is deeply committed to the professionalism that certification brings. He recently "strongly recommended" that certain positions at Admiral attain board certification within the next 12 months.
Admiral paid for the review classes, study materials, and exam fees when Beresford achieved his certification in 2010. In his current role, he pays it forward in support of his team members by hosting study groups and purchasing review resources that candidates can use as they study for the exam.
To anyone considering whether to pursue certification, Beresford offers three words: "Just do it. I started to prep to take the CPP exam several times in my career. Inevitably, I was promoted, moved, or simply had my workload increased, which caused me to delay taking the exam. There will never be an optimal time. I finally just scheduled and paid for the exam. This challenged me to be purposeful in my preparation, and I took the exam and passed. I was so proud to attend my next annual conference with the CPP designation on my badge."
One of the most rewarding aspects of Beresford's ASIS membership has been volunteer service. A former chair of the National Capital chapter, he currently serves on the Security Services Council and is assistant regional vice president for ASIS Region 5A.
"My ASIS membership has given me the opportunity to meet so many great security professionals," Beresford says. "This community of peers has been invaluable to my career. I have developed lifelong friendships and gained access to information and resources I might not have known about if I was not a member."