Canadian Security Magazine

The power of community in the security industry

Neil Sutton   

News Opinion canadian security honours

CS Honours winners offer career-building advice

The switch to the world of virtual meetings has been an adjustment for all of us. But, as I wrote recently in our sister publication, SP&T News, this form of communication has enabled connections to flourish at a time when we truly need them.

Creating connections was one of the major themes explored during our recent Canadian Security Honours virtual event, held on Oct. 1.

After the event concluded, I revisited each of the award acceptance speeches to put together some thoughts for this column. Each winner indicated that community is one of the essential elements of a successful career.

Josh Darby MacLellan, winner of the Emerging Leader award, said he has learned that self-reliance isn’t everything. His fierce independence and determination served him well in his university years, but the professional world operates in different ways. “I had that awakening… I soon realized that unless I wanted to make all my own mistakes and learn the hard way, I needed to draw on the experience of others,” he said. “I became very OK with asking for help.”


His advice now is to “become the best participant on a team.”

Kevin Murphy, Lifetime Achievement award winner, spent 45 years with his employer Woodbine Entertainment until his recent retirement. As he advanced in his career, those “growth opportunities were presented to me by people that I work for and with,” he said. The later stages of his career were focused less on “spreadsheets and technology” and more on “trying to do for others what was done for me, and that was to give people the opportunity to learn and grow and develop.”

Community Leader award winner Sherri Ireland described the hard work and sacrifice that is often required in order to achieve success, but she also spoke of a quality that sometimes goes overlooked in this industry: compassion. “You have to have a desire to help others. You have to have a high standard of morals and ethics. You have to have integrity,” she said.

The final speaker for the afternoon, Harold Wax, recipient of the Security Director of the Year award, thanked and acknowledged dozens of security professionals he has worked with or for during his career. He urged young professionals looking to make their mark to get involved in associations or in a volunteer capacity that showcases the profession in a positive light and allows their voices to be heard. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you can’t succeed without a solid team, great partnerships, and, if you are lucky, making a few good friends along the way,” said Wax.

“Free advice” is often accorded little value, but in this case, our winners have already paid the way through their collective experience. The fact that they are willing to share it for free makes it all the more remarkable and speaks to a genuine community effort to raise the profile of the security industry in Canada.

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