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Godfried Hendriks, CPP: Forging Community During Crisis

In late 2019, Security Management connected with then-incoming ASIS President Godfried Hendriks, CPP, about his goals for the association in the coming year, his plans as president, and his admiration for the security community. Then, the events of 2020 threw those plans for a loop.

As the COVID-19 pandemic upended business travel, supply chains, workplace culture, and large-scale events, however, the personal and professional resiliency within the ASIS community—including its president—continues to inspire.

Here, we check in with Hendriks again to learn about how he has spent his year so far, the lessons he has learned, and what he is looking forward to at GSX+.

How has COVID-19 affected your day-to-day job and life?

GH. I’ve seen (and experienced) the impact of COVID-19 on numerous dimensions. I am based in The Netherlands, the company I work for is based in the United States, and the role I hold within ASIS International puts me in regular contact with global audiences.

Prior to COVID-19, I had travel plans to be visit membership on five continents. As we all know, that changed in the winter of 2020. There is something about meeting with someone in-person (sharing new ideas and even a meal with colleagues and friends alike) that we all have learned is extremely important in our daily lives. That type of interaction is what I miss most.

That said, I have worked tirelessly to stay connected with our membership and volunteer leaders from around the world. That has meant early morning virtual meetings with Asia and Oceania, midday virtual meetings with Europe and Africa, and evening virtual meetings with North and South America. But it has been well worth it. I have been able to cross the globe several times over in virtual chapter and regional leadership meetings. It has helped me understand the needs of our members during this historic moment in time and has also allowed me to see how “community” is valued by our members.

How are you approaching the GSX+ virtual experience, as opposed to an in-person experience?

GH. I have never been more excited for an annual gathering. In a year, where we need it most, ASIS staff and volunteer leaders have curated, developed, and designed an unprecedented event like no other the profession has seen. I believe the educational lineup built by (and for) the security industry is stellar. This year we have created a Spanish-language offering of one session per day (thanks to Latin American regional members for their support of these efforts).

We have created a unique online marketplace experience for attendees and exhibitors alike. Also, we have extended the shelf-life of our learning offerings at GSX+ for All-Access Pass holders so that they can access all of the GSX+ educational sessions through the end of the year. I have already planned out my schedule at GSX+ to sample all that this experience has to offer and would recommend others try a similar approach.

How are you staying connected to your security peers and ASIS members?

GH. As the president of ASIS International in 2020, I have had a unique vantage point. I have had a chance to cover the globe, meeting with members, chapters, and regions to update them on such issues as GSX+ and have been able to see firsthand the power of the ASIS network.

I have never been more proud to be an ASIS member. Watching how our members came together to share information and insights with one another on a regular basis throughout 2020 is a testament to the power of our network. From the beginning of this pandemic, our network immediately embraced technology that would better connect our members locally, nationally, regionally, and globally. It has been quite inspiring to see firsthand how our network has come together more than ever before.

You’ve spoken in the past about the value of community within the security industry. How have you seen that community adapt and respond to this year’s challenges?

GH. A few of the inspiring examples I saw was how our chapters in Latin America, Asia, and West Africa leveraged technology in bringing together our members regionally and globally. That’s important because, as we know, the more connected our network of members is, the more likely they are to share invaluable information, trends, experiences, and insights—and ultimately the world is a safer place.

I cannot stress enough how important the act of coming together is to our profession. Inclusivity leads to stronger ties between members, nations, and regions—which has a lasting impact on our profession.

I also was able to witness how ASIS headquarters staff didn’t miss a beat—providing invaluable content and learning programs specifically geared to our members during a pandemic. The Disease Outbreak: Security Resources page has been a go-to daily resource for our community. Learning sessions built around subjects like business continuity in times of crisis have been rolled out in a regular fashion and the attendance of those webinars has been quite extraordinary. The March cover story of the award-winning Security Management magazine, titled “In a Pandemic, Preparation Hinges on Prevention” is yet another example of how we strive to get the information our members need most in a timely fashion—allowing us to stay one step ahead in our respective jobs.

ASIS Connects, a leading resource for real-time information sharing with thousands of our ASIS member peers around the globe, has provided critical guidance on pressing security issues—providing another crucial way for our members to connect 24/7. With the launch of the new ASIS Mobile Engagement app, access to this community is always at your fingertips.

What are the security issues you’re most interested in learning more about this week?

GH. First and foremost, I can’t wait to see old friends and colleagues throughout the week at the various sessions and events planned at GSX+.

I believe leadership (and the ability to lead during a time of crisis) is of paramount importance to our field. A number of the sessions at GSX+ are specifically geared towards addressing how we can all be better leaders in our organizations—thus providing even greater value. Being a better leader is also about being prepared for the future, embracing new technologies, making the most of your access to the C-suite, etc.

Having reviewed the schedule of activities and educational offerings at GSX+, there is something here for everyone across the various roles in our profession.