You’ve had a great and successful career at a young age. What is your recipe? What is your advice to other young people with high ambitions?
Thank you! I’ve been very fortunate to have had some great mentors myself over the years, amazing leaders who gave me the right opportunities, a dash of luck but really just setting my sights on what I want to accomplish and never looking back. For anyone who has ever worked for or with me, they’ll tell you that I’m huge on culture and managing from the bottom up rather than from the top down. In my career with Securitas, I was fortunate enough to come into the Organization at the ground level as a Security Officer and have had just about every position in between over the 10 years that I have been here. Along the way, I gained a lot of respect for our teams out working overnights, long mundane shifts, holidays, weekends, being on call, seeing the stresses of emergencies and the genuine feeling for people who are really looking to do well in the world.
It’s so hard to summarize any specific piece of advice to other young people with high ambitions because there are so many things that I’ve learned from failing and growing from those failures. But if I had to point my finger on a few pieces of advice, I’d say to realize your dream and don’t listen to anyone along the way that will tell you anything negative about accomplishing that goal no matter how big it is. We live in a society where people feed their opinions of others from the masses and much of the population is naturally wired to follow the pack to avoid standing out…good or bad. It’s key to use negative comments or adversity to fuel your drive to succeed and if you spend even a second doubting yourself or your goal, you have wasted a second that could have been used to move one step closer. There are only 24 hours in a day…work smart for 8 hours of that day, sleep hard and dream for another 8 hours of that day, and with the final 8 hours, take care of yourself both mentally and physically. Make sure you laugh at least once per hour! Humor is a universal language that is accepted in all societies, spoken amongst all languages, and always breaks down barriers to open dialogue…laughing is VERY important.
Securitas came in as a supporter of Mentor Foundation USA this year. What can you say about the partnership between Securitas and Mentor so far, and what are future aspirations for this partnership?
I was very fortunate to have become aware of Mentor Foundation through my other networking groups in Washington and so far, I’m in love with the cause. Thus far, Michaela and Melissa have not only become partners of ours but friends that I talk to often. Mentor is not like other group in that it is very much a family that is comprised of every walk of life working together for a common goal. The ambition from the volunteers, the passion of the speakers, and the light in the students’ eyes is something I’ve never seen before and I am so fortunate to be a part of it.
In the future, I’m looking forward to attending more events and working directly with the students to help them realize their own dreams. There is nothing more rewarding to me personally than to see someone grow and become a legend. We never know who might be sitting in these groups who might be a future doctor who cures a terrible disease, a future inventor who changes how we operate as a society, or a future leader who inspires the youth of their future. If we can save even one of them from destroying their dreams at the hands of a terrible drug, it was worth every hour we spent for the cause.
Why is it important for Securitas to support the mission of Mentor Foundation USA?
At Securitas, we are in the people business and we do that very well. We often find ourselves working while others sleep, spending entire shifts in the worst parts of town, and dealing with an inherently dangerous scope of work that deals with the protection of people, assets, and communities. Along the way, we spend a lot of time with individuals who are down on their luck living on the streets and committing criminal activity to fuel addiction. It’s terrible to see but motivating knowing that we can do our part to make a difference and who knows, maybe the person who is living on the street today may be our next CEO!
If we can tackle the issue of addiction and give these students the guidance to grow in the right direction, we have put out the flame of destruction before it grew into a fire. That’s our whole goal at Securitas…prevent problems from happening in the first place. We are also educating a group of kids that there are many different channels in which to support the community and grow into a successful career to support a family. We are teaching them time management, business, finance and all the key tools needed to be successful at any job. It’s so cool to get a call or a text after an event from one of the students asking how they can come to work or be an intern, that’s the best reward of all.
What motivates Securitas to give back to the community?
Corporate Social Responsibility is key in any company, but especially a company like Securitas who employs more than 345,000 employees into 58 different countries. We are constantly involved with many different aspects of protecting communities and we have the bandwidth to reach out to assist in a great way. I’m a firm believer that the future of our Organization is out there right now and if we do not make an impact or do the right thing today, we are only hurting ourselves and our Clients. By having a large network of team members in the field, we can relay safety concerns, criminal activity, suspicious behavior, and other issues real time through our reporting systems. This not only helps by detecting and stopping bad behavior, but feeds information and data which will ultimately help us predict and prevent the issue from happening in the first place. I guess what I’m saying is that outside of the obvious contributions through organizations like Mentor, Securitas is playing a role in keeping our future safe and allowing for more growth.
As you are aware, the U.S. is facing its most challenging drug and opioid epidemic in history, and the need to prevent adolescent drug misuse is imperative. What responsibilities do corporations have in creating better communities and empower young people?
I personally feel that corporations play a huge role and have a great responsibility to give back to the community and the future team members or leaders of their organizations. In more ways than one, large companies affect the way we communicate, the way we look at ourselves, the way we portray ourselves to others, the way we eat, the way we sleep, the way we travel, and the list goes on and on. Knowing that young people formulate the recipe to their future based off what they see, hear, and feel it’s important that companies are giving the right message to the public eye. For the first time in my career, the awareness to be eco-friendly and focus on CSR is at the forefront of major organizations which not only affects the way that they do business but the types of customers and employees that they attract. Almost nobody wants to go into an industry that is blatantly causing harm or giving off a poor message nor do most want to conduct business with such organizations. By giving back, they are bringing in the best talent to help fill their creative pool, looking for efficiencies so that they can reinvest and improve, and ultimately broadening their reach to offer new solutions to every day needs. We constantly need to be bringing in fresh perspectives and eyes from the outside to look at how we conduct business if we want to improve. Millennials represent over 70% of the current workforce today and we are moving faster and more efficiently than we ever have in history with innovation and invention. I’m so happy to be a part of this generation and although we get a bad rap in the workplace, the truth is that companies would not be where we are today if we had not given opportunities and empowerment to the fresh minds. I have no doubt that tomorrow’s workforce will create amazing and unthinkable solutions to the problems that our population faces and I’m so happy to be a part of watching that bloom.
What is the best piece of advice for other companies that want to make a difference in the community?
They should definitely hire Securitas to keep their Organizations safe…kidding! I would say that the best piece of advice that comes to mind to help make a difference in the community is to get out and see how the end user both internally and externally live every day. What I mean by that is what is the makeup or ethos of your field or operations level team member and what do they care about? What is the makeup or ethos of your customer? What do they care about? If you understand the people who use your product and the people who make your product happen on a personal level, you’ll understand what troubles them and how they would make the world a better place. Once companies understand this, they can formulate vision, followed by committees, followed by action, and ending with change. The positive change to the community will open the opportunity of more jobs, which equals more customers, which equals more vision, which ends with more change. This may come in the form of volunteer work, financial contributions, commitments to the environment or other channels but one thing is for sure, an ecosystem of change will happen, and everybody wins from that.
We recently had a campaign with our Honorary Ambassador, Princess Sora Saud, where she wrote a letter to her 15-year-old. What would you tell your 15-year-old self if you could go back in time and do so?
If I could write myself a letter to my 15-year-old self, I’d tell myself that you can’t write the ending to any story without writing the prologue first and every day that you wake up, you must re-write both. At 15 years old, you think you know everything until the strong winds of reality come blowing through your bank account in your 20’s and as you sit on the floor sipping your ramen soup, you realize that you have so much to learn. My dream at 15 is not the same dream I have today but I can honestly say that every day, my dream has gotten bigger and better in more ways than one. I would tell myself to enjoy every second of the good and the bad but pay attention to the darkest moments as you will become the wisest during these times. I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed every second of my life and cannot wait to wake up tomorrow to see what’s in store next. Your teenage years are tough, maybe the toughest, but there is so much good and opportunity in the world to capitalize on to throw away on senseless activities like drug abuse. Keep your head up, grind, laugh, and enjoy the ride…. it’s an amazing one!