Building Security for Business Success

Mary Parker, president and CEO of All(n)1 Security, grew her company from one woman at her kitchen table to a full-service firm employing 185 security officers, technicians, and managers. Here, the savvy security CEO offers a few lessons in learning, growing, managing, and marketing your business:

Volunteer to gain exposure. Today, personal security is a big part of Parker’s work, but her first exposure to the field came through volunteering. “A colleague from a professional group helped me get into my first Super Bowl,” says Parker, who shadowed friends who handled security for NBA and NFL players to learn the ropes. “I was able to see how the players were handled.” This experience was critical to the development of her knowledge and training. “On TV, all you see is a football guy,” explains Parker. “But behind the scenes, that person is a commodity and they have to be protected. If something happens to them, it costs the individual, the franchise, and the fans.”

Character counts. Parker says that hiring criteria should go far beyond technical ability. “I look for strong belief and value systems,” she says.  “Honesty, integrity, and the way they treat people–all those things come first before their skill sets and backgrounds.”

Lead with your expertise. Being certified as a minority- or woman-owned business can be a plus, but it’s your mastery of the work that will win you business. “I always tell businesspeople that I’m an expert in the security industry,” Parker says. “I sell security services, I do not sell ‘female’ and I do not sell ‘minority.’ However, if there is an opportunity to add value to whomever I’m serving by being either of those things, I’ll use it.”

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