Women in Security: Shanna Gray

Gate Logic Security president says the industry chose her
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Monday, December 9, 2019

Sometimes professionals don’t pick the security industry, it chooses them. As is the case with Shanna Gray, president of Gate Logic Security, who never aspired to work in the security industry to begin with.

“Circumstances in my personal life brought me to a cross-roads, of sorts, at which I was presented with an employment opportunity in the industry,” she told Security Systems News. “The experience proved life-changing for me and inspired to pursue a career, and ultimately, start my own business in the industry.”

Gray’s biggest driver to launching her own business and developing a career in the industry is her relationships with her vendors and clients, along with her enjoyment of system design. “I was inspired to custom design system solutions to meet individual security needs; every project is unique, and every day brings new challenges to overcome,” she said.

Throughout her professional security industry journey, Gray has had the opportunity to work for and with number of women who have enriched her professional career. Not indicating a name, Gray uplifted a woman whom she considers to be a “strong role model, extremely articulate and an adept leader, possessing a natural drive that draws the respect of her peers and subordinates – all-the-while, maintaining her femininity.” That’s who Gray strives to be as a business leader in the security industry.

It’s been through these interfaces that Gray’s “awareness of the female perspective in this male-dominated industry has been heightened;” however, she has also had a handful of experience that caused her to pause and reflect on being a female in a male-dominated industry. “I have grown significantly as a result of these experiences and I’ve had far more positive professional interactions,” Gray said, giving her brothers a bit of the credit. “Perhaps growing up with four older brothers prepared me in some ways; based on my childhood experiences, I honestly don’t give much thought to my gender and not much catches me off-guard.”

Additional challenges Gray has faced is balance and quality, although she works hard to successfully achieve both. Concerning balance, she said: “Security is not a back-burner project for anyone who is reaching out to me for solutions. The need and sense of security is essential for us as human beings. I instinctively know that I need to be responsive to those needs. The balancing act becomes very real when my customers’ needs coincide with the needs of my family.” Although it’s been a real juggling act, Gray is “grateful for the grace and patience shown to her along the way.”

When it comes to quality, Gray has set the bar high for herself, her team and her business. “I lead by example, but instilling the strength of my commitment into my team continually poses a great challenge,” she said. “I work each day through my direct interactions to impress my expectations of excellence on my team and have learned how to help each one to expect that greatness out of themselves on every project.” Quality is an uncompromising must for Gray, and she is thankful to her team that “works hard every day, to meet or exceed, my expectations.”

Gray encourages the security industry to keep seeking women to fulfill leadership/management roles via four layers that intricately intertwine with each other.

“Recognition, I believe, is a significant first step,” Gray said. “Highlighting the women who have established a successful and respected career in the industry is inspirational.” To offer such recognition is key.

“The security industry, like others, is not one size fits all,” Gray explained. “It will require us providing opportunities for learning and skill building to broaden the leadership and management roles for additional women to get involved. This will be invaluable to the entire industry.”

Next, women in security need a platform specifically for them to be recognized, demonstrate their knowledge and connect with one another and other on-the-rise women. This is powerful in that it “allows women new to the industry to network and find mentors.” The final layer is diversity, which Gray said is key to individual career success and ultimately, the success of the enterprise, noting to bring professionals from various backgrounds, with differing perspectives to the same table to work toward common goals.

Gray offered some sound advice for women who are considering joining the security industry or just starting out. “Learn as much as possible!” she exclaimed, emphasizing taking the initiative to self-educate and become a life-long learner of the industry. “Read, attend events and network to learn about as much as you can.” In addition, learn the basics. “The security industry is, and always will be, progressing at a rapid pace, but the same basic foundation will still be there, so learn the basics.” Women can do this by listening to and learning lessons from industry veterans. She also advised to never discount someone who talks about the “old school” and dreams about the future at the very same time.

“For women in the industry, embrace it,” Gray said. “You will be surrounded by some of the most amazing professionals in the world. People don’t typically get into this industry if they don’t genuinely care about others; it’s a tremendously talented group and one with which you will feel privileged to be involved.”