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Women of security: Jenni Jetzer





Jenni has had the opportunity to work in several different sectors – Security / Facilities Management, Magazine Publishing, Financial Services, and Technology – including Cyber Security and Automotive. However, Jenni has found a preference for working within the Security Sector and her varied expertise helps her look at challenges and projects from different perspectives.


Jenni is also a board member of the Women's Security Society (WSS) and sits on different ED&I boards. In this latest interview, Jenni takes us on a journey with her, discussing her route to the sector and why working in the industry serves a purpose for her.



What is your current role and what do you most enjoy about it?

 

I’m Group People Director for Lodge Service, I rejoined the Security industry and Lodge in October 2021.

 

I love working within HR, while the role and dealing with people can at times be challenging, the role provides plenty of variety and most importantly the opportunity to help improve and create the right culture in the workplace where people can be their best and reach their potential. 

 

Could you describe the journey that led you into the security industry?

 

I completed a degree in psychology and at the end of my degree, with not much idea of what to do, I considered the opportunities available within Social Work and the Probation Service and decided to investigate becoming a Probation Officer, by taking an administrative job with my local probation service.  From there I fell into the HR department, took the opportunity offered to start working towards a Masters in HR and my career grew from there.

 

Working in HR, my skill set is transferable across different industries, and I have had the opportunity to work in several different sectors – Security / Facilities Management, Magazine Publishing, Financial Services, Technology – including Cyber Security and Automotive. I have found a preference for working within the Security Sector and that my varied expertise helps me look at challenges and projects from different perspectives, to consider how other industries have approached challenges and situations and utilise the learning from them.   

 

When my current role with Lodge Service was advertised, I jumped at the opportunity to return to the Security Sector, but it was very important to me to ensure that the business I worked for aligned to my values in the way I see employees and how they should be valued, treated and respected. 

 


What makes the Security Sector special, why have I worked in this sector more than any other? 

 

Each sector is different, but the Security Sector makes a difference, it gives back to the communicates that we all work, live and play in. 

 

As a sector, it is so diverse with the range of job roles and opportunities, whilst there is an increasing appreciation for the value of qualifications.  As an industry, individuals are able to progress and grow their careers based on their hard work and potential. It is inspiring that so many managers and senior leaders across the sector started as Security Officers and worked their way up.

 

"As a sector, it is so diverse with the range of job roles and opportunities, whilst there is an increasing appreciation for the value of qualifications.  As an industry, individuals are able to progress and grow their careers based on their hard work and potential. It is inspiring that so many managers and senior leaders across the sector started as Security Officers and worked their way up."

But let’s not underestimate the amount of work still required, there is a huge amount to do to professionalise the security sector, create clearer career paths, drive better pay and get the public to understand the impact and importance of the role of each and every security professional, as well as developing better diversity across the sector. 


There is currently greater collaboration across the industry than before, and I am grateful and excited to be part of that journey alongside my colleagues on the Women’s Security City Council and the ED&I Boards that I sit on.

 

 

What are the main transferrable skills that are useful for others to bring to a  career in security?

 

Within Security, we need to reflect the communities that we protect. As such, teams that are diverse in characteristics as well as skills are important. Skills developed in any sector can be transferable in particular the key skills are communication, problem-solving, customer service, ability to follow processes, observational skills and people management

 

The 2 most important skills to me are:\


·      Communication: the ability to listen and share information, whether through verbal, non-verbal, or written methods.  For me, Frank Luntz's statement is always very true: “It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear”.

·      The desire to make a difference / to help others.

 

 

What do you consider your biggest successes in your career?

 

My biggest success is looking at how far I’ve come, when I started my career, the thought that I would ever aspire or aim to be a director, I would have considered a joke.

 

I was once told I wasn’t ambitious, which was more of a comment that I didn’t shout about it or demonstrate ambition ‘in the way a man would’... however that is??  There is definite truth in that women can typically be less likely to put themselves forward for a promotion or a job if they don’t feel they meet all the requirements detailed in a job advert.


"My career journey has involved taking each step and each role one at a time, always delivering. It has involved moving laterally, taking steps backwards as well as moving up, but the most important thing has been to never stop learning. Things will go wrong, mistakes will be made, but it's important to learn from them and figure out how to fix them and prevent further occurrences."

 

My career journey has involved taking each step and each role one at a time, always delivering. It has involved moving laterally, taking steps backwards as well as moving up, but the most important thing has been to never stop learning. Things will go wrong, mistakes will be made, but it's important to learn from them and figure out how to fix them and prevent further occurrences.

 

Through my career, I've learned that how others see you and what your internal voice says can be completely different. You may have heard of ‘imposter syndrome’, but it is genuinely surprising how many people this impacts and how self-limiting beliefs can hold you back. I have definitely had periods in my career where I have suffered from imposter syndrome or spent a long time dwelling on an issue that everyone else has long forgotten about. The only way to make something fit within your comfort zone is to step out of it, try, learn, and make your comfort zone bigger.


"Through my career, I've learned that how others see you and what your internal voice says can be completely different. You may have heard of ‘imposter syndrome’, but it is genuinely surprising how many people this impacts and how self-limiting beliefs can hold you back."

 


Do you have any role models or mentors who have inspired your career?

 

Everyone you meet and interact with, provides you with the opportunity to learn, I am very grateful to have built a great network within Lodge Service and across the Security sector.   I’ve worked with some great colleagues, managers and leaders throughout my career and they have all influenced me. 

 

I would in particular call out my manager prior to my current role - Gill Crowther, for challenging me and my own self-beliefs and her lessons around authenticity at work and the importance of being yourself.  In 2021 she supported me with gaining a coaching qualification, the skills I learnt on that course have been invaluable, however as part of that course, I also received a lot of coaching, it was those sessions that gave me the self-realisation and belief to apply for my current role. 

 

Since rejoining the Security Sector I would call out Sarah Cork, who has been invaluable to me in helping me develop my network.

 

On a daily basis, I would also have to thank Darren Conway and Andy Cockrill, as a team to work with, they both challenge and act as a sounding board.  The team you work with daily is so important for maintaining that inspiration and motivation.

 

 

Have you had any setbacks and how did you deal with those?

 

We all experience setbacks, whether it is being made redundant or working within a role or for a manager that you dislike. However, I very much view every experience opportunity and situation as a learning experience. 

 

I had one particular manager whose management style and method of providing feedback (which was valid feedback) focused on only the negatives and areas for improvement, this one-sided approach had a particularly negative impact on me, my self-confidence and well-being. Their management style could swap from micromanaging to being completely hands-off which at times felt like a form of mental whiplash.

 

In this situation, there were two approaches I eventually took to better manage the situation

·      I spoke to them about their management style and its impact on me, this involved one very honest conversation, as well as ongoing discussions.  They genuinely didn’t realise that when they gave feedback they only focused and referenced constructive feedback. I do have respect that they listened to the feedback, took it onboard and did try to make changes. 


·      I recognised that their actions and behaviours were their response to situations, and not a reflection of the work that I was delivering.  What they were saying in the moment didn’t fully encompass what they thought.  This was helped by stepping back from the situation viewing how they managed and gave feedback to other individuals.  As well as by listening to the positive feedback I received from them in a performance review, which at the time was surprising given they hadn’t said thank you or given any praise in the 6 months period prior only focusing on how I could improve and be better.

 

Whilst not a great experience at the time, I did learn to work with them and looking back now I can appreciate their intentions were always positive and that they provided me with so much insight and learning, on how I react to situations, how I like to be managed, the type of leader I want to be and the importance of giving balanced feedback and recognition.  That experience gave me as much, if not more learning than reporting into some of the great managers I’ve had and helped me to build my resilience.

 

 

What inspires you about the security sector?

 

The role that Security provides is so important not only to our clients but to the communities in which we operate.  To hear about the stories about the actions of our frontline staff, is what inspires me to try and ensure that we do better for them, we provide opportunities to grow and develop, that we create the right cultures and support our managers to be better equipped to lead and support them.

 


 Do you think there are good career progression opportunities for women in the security industry? What could be done to create more opportunities?

 

The Security sector has so many opportunities for everyone, it is great to see more females in management positions, but there is still a lot to do to attract women and improve representation at all levels and to develop security to being seen as a profession that people choose to enter rather than fall into.    

 

Part of the challenge is a lack of understanding of the Security sector. We need to breakdown the old stereotypes associated with working in Security, that you need to be a big burly man when actually the skills require are listening, customer service and calming situations down.  This is why I have loved being involved in the Changing Perceptions Campaign through my role on the City Security Council ED&I Board, hearing from so many individuals within the sector about their roles and experiences, what they enjoy and the opportunities available.  The best advocates for working in the Security Sector are those already working in the sector.

 

We can all personally do more to help change this by working collaboratively, by talking about our roles, our experiences and the opportunities. It's not all just about frontline security officers, there is a huge central operations network of roles that are there to deliver the service and opportunities to our customers and colleagues. We all need to play our part in creating inclusive cultures and creating a sense of belonging, connecting people and helping others to build networks.

 


What advice would you give to women who are starting in or transitioning into the security sector?

 

Be you, don’t place any limits on yourself and believe in yourself.  Take ownership of what you deliver, but also give praise and recognition to those who support and work with you or you see doing great work. 

 

Build yourself a network to support you, within your company and externally.  

 

If you want to know how to progress to the next level talk about it with your manager, with your network to find out how you can develop and to understand what roles and opportunities are available.

 


 How do you think WSS can contribute to the security industry?

 

It can sometimes be hard when trying to figure out how to build a network, the WSS can help solve this for you by providing you with instant access to a diverse network, alongside access to webinars, networking events and information. 



"The WSS allows women in the sector to come together and for us to share our experiences and knowledge collectively. By working together we drive change in the sector."

 

The WSS allows women in the sector to come together and for us to share our experiences and knowledge collectively. By working together we drive change in the sector.

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