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Announcement

WiS winners

The winners of the Women in Security 2020 awards by Professional Security magazine were announced in a virtual ceremony at the Belfry outside a snowy Birmingham tonight. They were, with category in brackets:

– Alison Isom-Leonard, of guarding firm Allied Universal (Europe) (security manager);
– Lisa Reilly, of the Global Interagency Security Forum (GISF), an NGO peer support network (contribution to industry);
– Angela Bennett, of the Belfast-based installer Diamond Systems (business manager);
– Elaine Moran, of manufacturer Hanwha Techwin (technical); and
– Gemma Myring, of security contractor OCS Group UK (front line).

The awards were read out by Una Riley, pictured, the founder of the awards – now in their ninth year – and a contributor to Professional Security. The evening was anchored by Magazine MD Roy Cooper, who thanked the sponsors – the security engineering consultancy QCIC, alarm manufacturer Pyronix, guarding firm CIS Security, the Fire and Security Association, the Security Institute, the SSAIB and NSI. One of the past winners, Yasmeen Stratton, also spoke, as this year’s Master of the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals (WCoSP), this year’s industry association host.

Roy also thanked the judges, who in December whittled down the original 200-plus entries down to a shortlist of 15, three in each category, who were able to join the evening remotely.

The finalists were: in the security manager category, Laura Cockerill of Lodge Security and Amy Stanley of FGH Security; Sarah Smith of Mitie Security and Karen Lass of the US State Department; business manager, Jackie Lambert, RLP (Retail Loss Prevention) and Sally Cadec, SafeGuard Security Consultants; technical, Melanie Sullivan of Knight Fire & Security Products and Lynn Zhang of Hikvision UK & Ireland; and front line, Hannah White of Veritech Systems and Dina Abreu of G4S Secure Solutions (UK).

Nominations are now open for the 2021 awards, for those women who contribute to the wider world of security, going above and beyond; visit https://www.professionalsecurity.co.uk/wis/. All being well, the awards night will be in-person again, in London, in September. The originally intended ceremony in September 2020 had to be put off due to coronavirus restrictions.

You can watch the ceremony and hear the citations for all 15 women on Youtube. You can view pictures from the night on the gallery section of the Professional Security website.

About the winners

Alison Isom-Leonard (nominated by Lindsay Batoryk): since 2016, Ally has volunteered with Essex Police assisting in crime prevention work, such as door knocks and responding to local emergencies such as the Clacton floods and a gas cloud in Thurrock. Ally is vice chair on the Met Police Peninsula Ward Panel; does work for the anti-knife group KnifePrevent as it seeks to become a charity; and is head of security in London for Greenwich Peninsula.

Lisa Reilly (nominated by Fredrik Palsson): she works on security risk management across the humanitarian aid sector, liaising with United Nations agencies and donors. She co-chairs the Inclusive Security Special Interest Group (SIG) at the Security Institute; which by the way on March 8 is holding a webinar to mark International Women’s Day.

Angela Bennett (nominated by Stuart Bennett): she joined the family firm, an NSI Gold fire and security installer in Northern Ireland, in 2008, as the company accountant. Since 2018 she and brother Steve have been joint MDs. They’ve launched CPD accredited training for end users and consultant engineers. She’s contributed to the Belfast Telegraph’s 100 jobs in 100 days apprenticeship campaign. Pre-pandemic she was a speaker at business conferences, and has been a fund-raiser for charity, such as Cancer Fund for Children, a company client.

Elaine Moran (nominated by Murielle Runnalls): she works on post-sales support, helping system integrators and non-technical end-users with IT networks, product programming, configuration and cyber issues. In her 11 years in the industry, she has heard her share of (unconscious) sexist remarks, such as being asked by a caller to be ‘put through to technical support’.

Gemma Myring (nominated by Andy Schulten): due to be furloughed from the Birmingham Arena contract in March 2020, she volunteered to work at the city’s Women’s Hospital. Without healthcare experience, she has helped expectant mothers with their bags, and even one in the car park going into labour; and ensured staff, patients and visitors enter wearing face masks; and dealt with irate visitors: all done with a smile at a testing time.


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