Emerging Leader 2023: Chris Anquist
Chris Anquist could have pursued any number of different career paths, yet he always seemed to veer back to security.
Anquist spent his post-secondary education and formative years of employment picking up a variety of interests, skills and accreditations.
With doctors in the family, he broke with tradition and went to school for politics at Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C. An internship at Indigenous Services Canada took him to Ottawa in his third year of university. He subsequently moved to back to B.C., working in the Surrey mayor’s office as a speech writer.
Security began to seep into these experiences, first via a temporary job helping to process a backlog of passport applications, then more noticeably through his work with the mayor.
He also interned with a meditation firm, picking up conflict resolution skills, and became more familiar with CPTED (crime prevention through environmental design) concepts from experts he met who worked at the city.
Security became a viable career option Anquist hadn’t seriously considered before, so he looked for a means to explore it more fully. Anquist and his wife moved to the U.K., where he attended the University of Sheffield for a master’s degree in global security.
Immersing himself in education, he absorbed not only the curriculum but the deep conversations he had with students and faculty. “I learned a lot about how other people view the world… I learned how to think critically about the big picture stuff,” he says.
Anquist moved back to Canada, settling in Calgary, and began working at his father-in-law’s auditing firm. There, he sharpened his business skills and took an interest in one of the company’s clients, a private school. He helped the school develop a more secure way to manage the way students are dropped off and picked up by their parents.
With each new experience, Anquist was adding more arrows to his quiver, but still found it challenging to find a permanent job he could settle in to. He and his family moved to Saskatoon, where he took on a communications job for the city. Anquist’s keen interest in security matters shone through and he was asked to develop the city’s corporate security department as manager.
That led to more exposure to security technology, risk assessments and guarding contracts. “Then COVID hit and the world turned upside down. Every week, it would be a new thing,” says Anquist.
A meeting with Scott Young at GardaWorld (then the vice-president of company’s Prairies division and currently the national VP of security systems and technology) opened a door for Anquist and he was ready for a new experience.
Initially hired to do business development, Anquist says he made himself an indispensable strategic resource for the company.
He was tasked to update one of GardaWorld’s control centres, then found himself pivotal in a much larger plan when the company consolidated some key operations into a brand new Calgary facility. This July, Anquist shifted over full-time into GardaWorld’s consulting and investigations business.
Anquist credits several mentors for guiding him along his professional journey, including Young, who gave him an opportunity at GardaWorld and encouraged him to take on bigger responsibilities. Young also suggested Anquist earn his CPP designation at ASIS International and join the local ASIS chapter in Saskatchewan. Anquist did both and recently finished a term as chapter chair. (Young was the recipient of Canadian Security’s Emerging Leader award in 2018.)
“My philosophy that I coined years ago is, ‘Good security starts with genuine care for people,’” says Anquist. “This is really satisfying work. I’m glad to be here.”
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