ISJ Exclusive: Everyone has to start somewhere


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Matthew Porcelli, CPP discusses the ongoing ‘Security from Around the World’ series and highlights key insights from ASIS International chapter members.

With a constantly evolving world and security field, it is imperative that each global region not only has a diverse understanding of global security best practices but also that diverse, new and transitioning security professionals know what to expect when looking for a primary or secondary career in the private sector. 

Siloed approaches are a thing of the past. We are in a world where organisational footprints and regional job markets are not what they were 20-30 years ago. Expansion is inevitable and new and current careerists must stay up to date on regional job markets and what that career will look like. Even though regional security threats evolve, four groups remain constant when exploring the next generation of security professionals in the private sector: Transitioning law enforcement; Transitioning military; Women in security and young professionals.

It is the regional perspectives and personal insights of those who fall under the aforementioned categories which act as a voice of guidance and mentorship to assist those finding foundation or transitioning into the private security sector. Furthermore, this is not a one size fits all concept. Each of these groups have varying levels of acceptance or influence in different parts of the globe.

In late 2021, I was inspired to research more into this concept as a way to not only assist those in the above groups to find their niche in this extraordinarily exciting field, but to also ensure that each region has a voice and is ushered to the forefront of the industry. With the continually strong partnership between ISJ’s editorial team, ASIS International’s Director of Communications, Andy Cutler, and myself, a different ASIS Chapter was to be featured per month to allow frontline insight – based on the following points – along with an introduction from the ASIS Chapter Chair of the current, regional security framework:

  1. Issues personally tackled when starting their respective role in the security field from the perspective of women in security, young security professionals or those transitioning from law enforcement/military
  • Suggestions for how to go through this process in the assigned chapter region from the perspective of women in security, young security professionals or those transitioning from law enforcement/military

ASIS Chapters highlighted for the first quarter of the year were:

  • January 2022 – Lagos, Nigeria Chapter – Peter Okoloh, CPP (Chapter Chair) and Jegede Famous, APP (Young Professional Liaison).
  • February 2022 – Kenya Chapter – Tobias See, CPP, PCI, PSP (Chapter Chair), Priscah M. Mulinge, CPP (Young Professional Liaison), Collins Ochieng’ Ayodo CPP, PCI, PSP (Chapter Head of Certification), Victoria Mulwa CPP, PCI, PSP (Women in Security Liaison) and Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Ahamed Mohammed CPP, PSP, PCI (Assistant Regional Vice President)
  • March 2022 – South Africa Chapter – Kelly McLintock (Chapter Chair), Eva Nolle, CPP (Assistant Regional Vice President) and Romeo Malgas (Young Professional Liaison)
  • April 2022 – New Zealand Chapter – Johan Janse van Rensburg, CPP (Chapter Chair), Ngaire Kelaher CPP, PSP (Regional Vice President), Andrew Thorburn (Chapter Member) and Jennifer Vickers (Chapter Member)

What added to this project’s uniqueness was that each of the ASIS chapter members featured in the articles had multi-perspective inputs such as a young professional who was female, a young professional transitioning out of law enforcement or military into the private sector. Some examples of great insight shared by the project’s contributors were:

  • “Surround yourself with people who will add value to you. I really believe this helped me a great deal. At periods when I second-guessed myself, I had champions on my side of the field.” – Peter Okoloh – Nigeria.
  • “Young security professionals should also join security communities like ASIS and other communities. These communities help nurture and give ideas on trends within the space.” – Jegede Famous – Nigeria.
  • “Many times, officers think that once you have been trained either as a military officer or police officer, then automatically you would fit in the corporate world. Far from it, corporate security is completely a different ball game that require that one to undertake fresh training that is geared to the needs of the corporate world.” – Tobias See – Kenya.
  • “Every new role comes with its own challenges. Having worked as a police officer in the public sector, there are some roles that were replicated in the corporate sector and therefore made the transition easy including but not limited to investigation, incident reporting etc. However, there were new roles and responsibilities that required assistance from my fellow staff such as security risk assessment/management processes among others.” – Priscah Mulinge – Kenya.
  • “Certifications make me feel noticed and valued by both the employer and colleagues and this sense of value goes a long way in prompting me to deliver my best in various assignments.” – Collins Ochieng’ Ayodo – Kenya.
  • “I’m inspired by the rise of Women in Security in Kenya who are ASIS Certified, with eight CPP, of whom, one is Triple Certified, two CPP, PCI, one PCI and two PSP, which has raised their credibility, influence and opportunities. I challenge us to approach every challenge with a level-head, unwavering focus and a determination to light the way to succeed. NO HUMAN IS LIMITED.” – Victoria Mulwa – Kenya.
  • “Female security professionals are often still facing skepticism from male colleagues or have the feeling that they need to prove so much more than their male counterparts. I do think though that this is luckily changing and the barriers are getting smaller.” – Eva Nolle – South Africa.
  • “I would encourage our youth that when doing research and looking for a possible career path, you would immediately see that fighting crime is an area that needs and lacks competent individuals who can make a difference in the fight against crime.” – Romeo Malgas – South Africa.
  • “Whether you are a young professional, a military/law enforcement professional transitioning or thinking of transitioning into security, a woman in security or just in the manned services field, we all fight the perception that security is just a job when, in fact, you can make security a meaningful career.” – Johan Janse van Rensburg – New Zealand.
  • “There are several key elements to consider when reviewing what it means to be a Young Professional, such as at what stage they are at, what skill gaps exist, how does industry best support young professionals and professional development.” – Andrew Thorburn – New Zealand.
  • “On transition, it is really important to take the time to figure out where your life purpose will find a home and where you can be satisfied, valued and challenged. It may come as a surprise that many people in the workplace outside service have not found their own purpose or right tribe and consequently operate in a low trust and self-centered way which can impact on others around.” – Jennifer Vickers – New Zealand.

The commonality among the security professionals highlighted can be summed up in that confident proactivity is imperative when trying to climb the ladder or transition across to the private sector.  Nowadays, especially in the inevitably hybrid world that COVID-19 has accelerated humanity into, one will see more private security career paths rather than proprietary ones. 

Granted, different parts of the world will have some differences in this approach, however, it is important to grasp that as time goes on, the more different nations and career paths will be intertwined. Moreover, one cannot afford to rush into a position without researching the pros and cons. 

In essence, whether looking for a career or transitioning from the public to the private sector, ASIS International global chapters assist mentoring those regardless of what stage of their career. Each of the contributors shared hardships they endured while on this career journey. Everyone has to start somewhere. Just remember that the security field is global and you do not need to receive career advice within your own geographic borders. Learn from and respect your global counterparts – it makes the journey rich and fulfilling!

You can connect with Matthew on LinkedIn here

This article was originally published in the June edition of ISJ. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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