What particular challenges do female colleagues in the security industry face? Convergint’s Senior Account Executive, Kelle Shanks, discusses answers to this and other questions in the article written by Paul Ragusa and published by Security Systems News.

Kelle is a seasoned sales professional who has been with Convergint for 14 years. Her remarkable achievements at Convergint have been recognized with Convergint’s “Rookie of the Year” Award in 2006, as well as the Sales Master Award in 2016. These awards are presented to the Convergint collegues who demonstrate outstanding performance, leadership, and service, while being an embodiment of Convergint’s Values & Beliefs

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How She Got Here

“Having stumbled upon the security industry by a lucky chance back in 1994, Kelle turned this opportunity into success.  She truly believes that being a woman in this environment traditionally dominated by male workers rather helped her with her career.”

“I was a ‘unicorn’ in the industry, and I used it to my advantage. My gender made me memorable in an environment with a lot of ‘sameness.’ I have had lifelong loyal customers and wonderful operations people, and I have enjoyed success.”

Even though at first Kelle felt more scrutinized than her male counterparts, she proved herself and earned her customers’ loyalty and respect. Kelle is convinced that instead of being an obstacle, her gender helped her to stand out and even became one of the reasons behind her successful career. 

“I felt that men would test me more than a male salesperson about knowledge and getting things done but once I proved myself, they were very loyal. I have had some customers for over 20 years!”

Kelle Shanks

Helping Women Advance in the Industry

As one of the female forerunners in the security industry, Kelle has been passionate about attracting more women into the field and helping them advance in their careers. She has been an active participant of ASIS International’s Women in Security initiative and a member of Convergint Women Connect’s steering committee.

Kelle’s Career Advice to Female Colleagues

Having had dedicated female mentors at the begging of her career, Kelle understands the importance of mentoring and passionately promotes it among her more experienced colleagues. As for more junior female collegues, her advice to them is to commit to their chosen path and build a strong network of professionals around themselves.

“Build your tribe! Make a commitment that this is your long-term career/industry and start building relationships with people who can move with you through your journey. For an integrator, it should be consultants, manufacturer reps, manufacturer salespeople … any complementary industries to yours with which you can network. Build these relationships and nurture them throughout your career; they will take you far.”

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Convergint Women Connect's Meeting

Convergint Women Connect has a stated mission of connecting the women of Convergint Technologies in order to inspire, celebrate, and develop a leadership mentality. The group’s vision is to create a strong network of female colleagues to help one another reach their goals. Convergint Women Connect offers  Convergint colleagues various training and networking opportunities to help them advance in their careers.

Learn More About Convergint Women Connect