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Recap: ASIS Toronto Women in Security networking event 2022

“Nothing really shines a light on male-dominated industries until you actually start working in one," Rheana Lye, management consultant, City of Toronto.


The Women in Security Committee of ASIS Toronto hosted a virtual gathering during the last week of March which brought together security professionals to discuss the ongoing challenges women face in the security industry and to provide a space to recognize their successes.

ASIS Toronto Chapter chair Rick Snook began the evening with a warm greeting and thanked all attendees for their time. Snook also thanked WIS Committee Chair Ceres Silva for coordinating the event, and sponsors for their contributions.

“The purpose of this event is to motivate and empower,” Silva told the virtual audience. “I wanted to also acknowledge that our male counterparts are a key part of this journey as well.”

Moving up in a male-dominated industry

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Rheanna Lye, a management consultant with the City of Toronto who also serves as chair of the Toronto Network of Women, provided the keynote address for the meeting.

“Nothing really shines a light on male-dominated industries until you actually start working in one,” said Lye in her presentation.

For Lye, growing up in a single parent household meant she had to help her mother support their family. During her commerce in business technology management studies at Ryerson University, Lye found herself surrounded by male peers. She felt she somehow needed to give herself the “upper hand” to compete.

After a successful summer internship, Lye landed a full-time job in security and juggled her work hours with a full course load until she graduated.

“I was just happy to have a job in my field and build experience in my resume,” said Lye.

“But I could see how other women in this field struggled to get promotions over their male counterparts. The blatant discrimination against women’s career progression created somewhat of a toxic environment.”

Once Lye knew she wanted to start a family of her own, her contentment grew into concern after witnessing a lack of job security for women who became mothers.

When Lye expressed that she planned to have more children, she later discovered a male had been hired for a role she had interviewed for, even though he was less qualified.

“It was these types of situations that made me feel demotivated, discouraged, and the feeling of imposter syndrome,” said Lye.

It was also this type of situation that brought Lye to push her self-confidence and seek support from the Toronto Network of Women.

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According to Lye, corporations can build their own networks and connect them with external networks that draw from lessons learned in other corporate settings to educate members of their company.

Additionally, the City of Toronto’s People & Equity team receive workplace complaints involving human rights, equity, inclusion and workplace safety among other factors.

“A lot of times people who are experiencing these things don’t want to go to their managers,” said Lye.

“So, aligning these types of networks with your HR is huge in terms of seeing difference and change in these spaces and holding people accountable. If we don’t do that, then it’s just never going to change.”

ASIS Toronto will hold its in-person Best Practices event on May 5 at One King Street West in Toronto. More details are available on the ASIS Toronto website.


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