In the second installment of the series, Matthew Porcelli, CPP hears from several ASIS International Kenya Chapter members who share their regional insights and expertise for success for young security professionals, women in security and those transitioning from the military and law enforcement into the Kenyan private sector:
A message from the Chair (Tobias)
ASIS Kenya Chapter has witnessed phenomenal growth between 2018 to date with a membership rising to about 200. Taking advantage of its structure, ASIS Kenya Chapter has provided opportunities to professionals in Kenya and across the African region for growth and professional advancement.
Since 2018 and taking advantage of its sector chairs; chair membership, chair military liaison, chair certification, chair women in security, chair youth and mentorship, chair media and marketing, we have managed to roll out activities that have made it easy for those professionals joining the corporate world from either military or other law enforcement agencies. The fact that corporate security is totally different from border protection or law enforcement cannot be overemphasised.
It is this gap that ASIS International and particularly the Kenya Chapter has come in handy to fill.
Riding on the philosophy of ASIS international, the Kenya Chapter believes in equity and inclusivity. For this reason, the Chapter has placed very strong emphasis on the development of young professionals. The young professional Chapter Chair has therefore received tremendous support from the Chapter Leadership. There is no doubt that the future of the security profession lies in our young professionals, it is therefore extremely important to give them opportunity for growth.
This the Chapter has done successfully through the mentorship programs which are coordinated by our chair mentorship as well as opportunities provided through our certification review classes. A number of our young professionals have acquired some certification and this has enabled them to go through the daily challenging tasks of our security profession. The testimonies of our young professionals can be seen in the articles from our chair young professional and chair certification published below.
Our women in security docket has been very vibrant. We have equally put a lot of emphasis on our women in security and particularly in line with our policy of equity and inclusivity. There cannot be any meaningful development without the input of our women. By creating opportunities for women to advance their career in security, today ASIS Kenya Chapter has some of the finest security professionals. A number of women in Kenya today have achieved professional certifications. We have triple certified women in Kenya today courtesy of the support of the ASIS Kenya Chapter. Several others have also double certifications. Working closely with ASIS International, we are looking forward to more increased activities focusing on our women in security and considering that the COVID-19 restrictions are easing and hoping that no more restrictions would be introduced in the near future.
ASIS Kenya Chapter has provided a perfect opportunity to those officers transitioning from military and law enforcement to corporate security. 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 a completely different ball game that requires that one undertakes fresh training which is geared to the needs of the corporate world. The needs of the corporate world are very dynamic and ever changing. ASIS International and Kenya Chapter have come in handy to fill in this gap. First the certification review classes give security professionals an opportunity to keep abreast of the changing trends in the industry. We have also provided an opportunity through our monthly speakers who are drawn from a pool of professionals. These speakers normally handle security topical issues which provide a learning opportunity to our members.
ASIS International therefore has given tremendous opportunity to professionals to validate their knowledge of security through certification classes. Today the Kenya Chapter has almost 50 certificants holding a total of about 70 certifications, out of this, 1ten are triple certified holding CPP, PCI and PSP. I am proud to be in this class of triple certified members of the Kenya Chapter.
Young security professionals in Kenya (Priscah)
Five years ago, I made a decision for an early retirement from the Kenya Police Service (a law enforcement agency) and embarked on a totally different journey into the corporate world. My journey didn’t begin in the security sector immediately, but a year later, I joined the corporate security world in a humanitarian international organisation.
I must say that police personnel hold a variety of skills that are suitable for the private security sector. However, the transition is not without challenges. 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. Though I got the necessary support; a case of on-the-job training, some areas were not tackled and were left entirely to me. I had to continuously acquire knowledge and skills by doing security certifications such as Certified Security Management Professional (CSMP) from International Security Management Institute (ISMI)-UK for me to transition fully into my new role. Recently, I was Board Certified in Security Management from ASIS International.
Based on my personal experiences, it is important that anyone willing to transition to the corporate security sector needs to understand that change will always be there irrespective of your position. Before you decide on transitioning, consider networking and learning from the people in the corporate security world and possibly get a mentor. It is also important to consider whether the new opportunity/job offer is best suited to you and have the essential skill set required for your transition. Finally, be determined, know what you want and focus towards it.
Law enforcement transitioning into the private sector (Collins)
I started my employment journey 12 years ago as a law enforcement officer. Back in 2019 while still working with Kenya National Police Service I met a friend who challenged me to exit the police and join Corporate, he further advised me to pursue ASIS certifications for smooth transitioning and since then I never looked back. I took up the challenge as a learning opportunity and a platform to interact with like-minded professionals in a bid to enhance my knowledge and build my credentials. By December 2020 I was triple certified (CPP,PCI,PSP), therefore fully realising my objectives.
The professional certifications I earned landed me a corporate job at Kenya’s main airline Kenya Airways (KQ) and a leadership position in ASIS International Kenya Chapter 269 as a certification chairman, the new roles and responsibilities exposed me to various challenges and equipped me with the right experience to guide others through the certification process. The 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.
Women in security (Victoria)
I have a banking background having joined the bank in 1991, upon my graduation. I worked in various Departments in different branches at Management capacity until 2003 and this was to be my only employment. In 2014 I had the privilege of joining a background screening company to assist in its formation, which was in its formative stage and this marked the beginning of my security career. In 2015 I had the opportunity to attend the ASIS Annual Conference in Anaheim, the event exposed me to the bigger picture of the security industry, never to look back. I took the front stage when the ASIS Kenya Chapter was being re-established. In the year 2016, I founded Arope Group Ltd, a background screening company, of which I’m now the CEO.
To better my skills, I dared join the first CPP Class where I was the only lady, from a non-security background, of age amongst other limiting factors. I sat my CPP exams and passed on my first trial, immediately sat my PCI certification and finally my PSP. I am very grateful to God and truly humbled to be an ASIS Triple Crown Board Certified Professional, the first East African Woman to achieve this distinction. These certifications have given me a very high visibility through professional credibility, a very high competitive advantage in the industry and a boost in growing the business through efficiency, surely certifications are an effective business and career growth tactic.
My encouragement – there is only one motivation and that is desire. No reason or principle contain it or stand against it. It is a great honour and at the same time a great responsibility to lead the vision of supporting, promoting and inspiring women across Kenya to be exceptional leaders in the security industry. And one of the ways I have been able to do this, is by leading by example through my character and achievements thus providing a path to direct others so that everyone is working toward a common goal with the same purpose. 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 success.
Military transitioning into the private sector (Mohammed)
The transition from military to civilian life is an important emotional event and members should approach it with a lot of preparation, care and attention. It should be a deliberate process with a lot of meticulous planning.
I took my retirement from the Kenya Defence Forces in December 2017. From the outset I established my strength as a professional military officer with vast knowledge in the field of leadership, physical protection, intelligence and investigations. One of the initial traits I learnt in retirement was the need to reinvent yourself; particularly my thinking. I realised that a strong, positive and focused mind will keep one steady in the retirement life and took advantage of it.
Following my passion and ready to take a risk in life, I established my own private peace and security consultancy company named “International Resource Group”. I was confident that I had the appropriate technical and business capability necessary to the respective area. I also joined ASIS international, the global security network so as to attain my certifications and also build networks across the world. I went on to establish the ASIS Kenya Chapter and became the first Chairman. I undertook all the certifications and am triple certified today. This ensured I remained relevant in a rapidly changing business environment.
One of the best skills I have honed from ASIS Kenya Chapter is to leverage the strengths of others and to fill gaps in my understanding of security management, business and use of technology. As ASIS Chair I was ready to learn the tricks in corporate leadership and private security from my experienced colleagues. That meant I had to listen, observe, ask questions and challenge assumptions.
In March 2018, I was appointed Defence and Security Advisor at the HORN International Institute for Strategic Studies. Here I attended seminars, provided input to the HORN journal and participated in a number of local and international TV presentations and interviews on security matters. This allowed me to be visible and to further build my networks.
I enjoyed my retirement, focused on my passion, built on the strength of others and endeavoured to enjoy every bit of life. I maintained continuous learning and used mentors at important stages. All these gave me the comfort I enjoy today.
You can connect with Matthew on LinkedIn here