The security industry has started to appreciate the significance of women and how their distinctive inventiveness enhances team cohesion and increases profits. Leadership is making a concerted effort to match the profession’s goal with the global goal of encouraging equality and diversity. Gaining prominence and recognition in the security industry, Rachel Wyatt-Swanson, Director of Federal Business Development for South-Central USA of Convergint Technologies and Convergint Federal, was named to the Security Industry Association’s TOP Power 100—of the 100 best women in security.
Journey to the Right!
Rachel Wyatt-Swanson attended the University of Texas at Austin after completing her high school education at North High School North. She majored in business and government. She spent a year working in Oklahoma after receiving her B.A. with honors from the University of Texas before moving to Washington, DC. She began her security career at Northrop Grumman, where she worked on the Navy’s Anti-Terrorism Force Protection Contract. She spent years in Washington, DC building her government client list and currently resides in Oklahoma with her husband, Col. Richard “Swani” Swanson, US AF (Retired), and son, Jackson Swanson.
Rachel is a skilled business development director with a particular interest in capture management and a track record of achievement in the security sector. She directs teamwork and marketing initiatives. Rachel has been working in the field of electronic security for more than 16 years. Throughout her career, she has contributed to a variety of unique initiatives, such as DHS St. Elizabeth’s, HHS’ Enterprise Security Systems, and NAVFAC’s ATFP Contract.
Bestowed for the Best
After 9/11, Rachel made a lifelong commitment to work in government and security. Rachel was chosen as the 2011 Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women. Additionally, she received a scholarship from the Women in Security Forum of the Security Industry Association in 2020 as one of their inaugural scholarship honorees. As one of the top 100 security-related women, Rachel was named to the Security Industry Association’s TOP Power 100 in 2022.
Stepping into the Security Industry
“I love my job in security.” –says Rachel.
Rachel originally began working on Capitol Hill, where she detested it. She was never able to view the results of her work in progress. When she entered the security sector, that changed. Northrop Grumman hired her to oversee their Anti-Terrorism Force Protection Contract with Naval Facilities Command. She had the opportunity to compete against the biggest integrators in the world and observe the actual development of projects that were acquired and completed. She was able to visit the construction site and view the location of the security system. She adds to her statement, ” Not to mention that these systems save lives, so you can sleep well at night knowing that you are guarding members of the military who serve our wonderful nation.”
Views on Women in the Security Sector
According to Rachel, putting emphasis on the advancement of women in leadership positions guarantees a cohesive workplace. She raises her voice by citing Kacy Zurkus, who stated in a CSO article on women in business, “In order to redesign corporate culture and offer more diversified incentive programs, enterprises need to first understand the obstacles women in security encounter in the workplace.”
To provide women with an egalitarian atmosphere, gaps must be bridged. In a 2017 white paper, Frost & Sullivan expressed agreement, writing, “As the workforce gap in cybersecurity continues to rise, the number of women professionals in the industry remains stable at 11%. Despite higher levels of education, women still earn less than men, and more than half experience various forms of discrimination. ”
The majority of women in top positions in the physical security industry concur that taking part in mentoring and leadership development programs is essential for success. Rachel urges organizations to support initiatives that will increase the skills and potential of all women working in the field, whether in the public or private sector. Gender parity is not the issue when it comes to hiring more women in the security industry; rather, the leadership has a responsibility to acquire more women and bring more diverse talent to the security industry as a whole.
A Key Factor in Favoring Women in Security
Women in top positions within the security industry have dramatically increased during the previous ten years. Women are increasingly obtaining executive-level positions in businesses all throughout the world. Rachel thinks that women who work in security in entry-level jobs are remarkably and swiftly moving up the organizational success ladder. Women have been credited with giving security agencies more legitimacy and have been seen to instill respect in their methods and procedures. According to Rachel, these are some of the main reasons why inventive and progressive security companies are increasing the number of women they hire and promote to managerial positions.
Rachel adds, “the keen eye for details and the depth of creativity and technical knowledge are key points that have drawn the attention of leadership in security organizations towards women employees who show promising potential.”
Following Ethics for Success
According to Rachel Wyatt-Swanson, servant leadership entails achieving success by ensuring the success of those around you. A non-traditional leadership style known as servant leadership is embodied in a set of behaviors and activities that put the wellbeing of the people being served first. She also believes in trial-and-error, and despite her best efforts, she occasionally fails to close a significant contract. When that occurs, she takes a moment to collect herself, consider why she failed, request a debrief from the client, and resolve to perform better the next time.
Supporting servant leadership and being active in the community, she steps forward to assist the homeless and less fortunate. She would like to see the day when everyone who wants housing has it. This inspired her to join Norman Care-A-Vans, a 501(c)3 charity that has a significant local impact and of which she is currently the Chairwoman.
The security profession is continuously evolving, according to Rachel, and she finds it intriguing. She adores how they develop over time to strengthen and improve key infrastructure. Her goal is to stay in the security industry and hone her leadership abilities in sales and operations. She always advises young women entering the field to never let anyone stifle their speech since doing so will result in them losing their voice in conversations for the rest of their lives. Also encourages you to work hard and play hard.
“Finally, the security industry is a small world; never ever burn a bridge! ”- says Rachel.