Grant Lecky, Co-Founder, Security Partners’ Forum, discusses advancing diversity, inclusivity and convergence in the security industry
Security News Desk catches up exclusively with Grant Lecky, Co-Founder of the Security Partners’ Forum and all-round global security visionary to find out more about the initiatives that he is involved in, as well as understanding the opportunity for diversity, equality, professionalism and convergence currently available in the security industry.
You co-founded the Security Partners’ Forum (SPF) with award winning security influencer and wife, Bonnie Butlin, the first of its kind with the purpose of building security and resilience capacity globally. How did this come about?
Back when I was doing my master’s degree, I was focusing on the issue of professionalisation of security, and believed an additional construct should be developed. A construct that could help facilitate certain elements of security to help further professionalise the industry.
The forum adopts a plug and play model where associations themselves can actually come together in this network in a non hierarchical manner, sharing information as they see fit to help benefit the industry as a whole. It is important to note that the SPF is neither an association, nor a hierarchical umbrella group, but rather a non-hierarchical agile network.
Bonnie Butlin and I didn’t want to create another association, because there are already so many out there. We wanted something that could help work with associations and act as a force multiplier and global facilitator then go from there. So, the SPF was created. Originally, its scope was limited to the National Capital Region of Ottawa, but within a couple of months other jurisdictions across Canada wanted to see it. And then we went national in 2012 with all 10 provinces. Within two years, we went global. Fast forword to 2021 and we have just celebrated our 10th anniversary.
The rapid growth caught us by surprise, but the demand was there. And we were very fortunate that we were able to do it the right way with the right people.
Could you explain how the Women in Security & Resilience Alliance (WISECRA) was born?
In 2011, I attended two events that I noticed were standing room only, but very well attended. One that involved the Chief Security Officer of Microsoft at the time, Mike Howard, so of course, you knew he was always going to draw a crowd. But the other was a Women in Security panel. There was a lot of interest. I wondered how something like that would do back home. So I proposed to the forum that we do a women’s security event. The event was partnered with two associations and it was a roaring success with over 300 people attending a single evening event – virtually unheard of.
Despite the event being held in Ottawa, it attracted attention across Canada, and the rest of the globe. So we were incredibly successful in bringing this topic forward.
Around 2015, we attended a couple conferences, where Bonnie was receiving awards, and during that time we were able to meet with various women in security and resilience associations and and we discovered that although they were doing great work, and could award people, their awards had a limited range, because their networks weren’t big enough to reach a wider audience.
They didn’t have enough bandwidth at the time to get the message out across other vectors. They had mentorship & training programs, but they could only reach limited audiences. So there was further discussion about creating something that could achieve a much wider network across the globe. Bonnie felt that where we could come in, was to build a sub network of the Security Partners’ Forum, that could serve as a council of sorts, a non hierarchical entity for women in security & resilience -related associations, networks and groups to be able to come together on a global scale, to discuss current issues that would relevant to the participating women in security & resilience associations, networks and groups. Even on LinkedIn alone, WISECRA just exceeded 7000 members, in just over seven weeks and are continuing to grow substantially.
How does your work with the International Network for Security & Resilience Educators (INSRE), help address the gaps in research to create innovation and best practice?
There are five key elements of a profession generally: belonging to a recognised association; values & ethics; training & certification; education; and a body of knowledge. So, with that in mind I wanted to create a network that could further explore the body of knowledge component, with the intention to eventually develop a comprehensive global body of knowledge.
Esteemed professionals such as Dr. David Brooks, Dr. Alison Wakefield, Dr. Stephen Flynn (among many others) are the cornerstones to helping create this. We’re still working on it, but we’ve brought together over 500 members of leading academics and pracademics from across the global security community, to help develop a strategy to build a global body of knowledge that all security professionals can benefit from.
You currently serve as the Lead Judge for the IFSEC Global “Top Influencers in Security & Fire” as well as the newly created “Global Security Influencer of the Year Award”, how has your involvement with IFSEC evolved?
I was approached in 2017 by IFSEC to assist them in refining their “Top Influencers in Security & Fire” accolade. I took on the role of lead judge and began putting together a global judging panel consisting of known influential global security professionals to judge the nominations. We began in 2018, and it was a huge success. And so, year on year we continued to have a more diverse pool of people from numerous countries, some of which we had never previously seen nominations from.
In early 2021, the Security Partners’ Forum and IFSEC Global decided to create a new Award that would focus on those who scored #1 in the five security nomination categories including: Security Executives; Security Association Figures/Academics/Thought Leaders; Security End Users; Cyber Security Professionals and Security Manufacturers / Vendors / Integrators / Installers. the award is designed to celebrate the successes of the Primus inter pares – ‘first among equals’ with the winner set to be revealed at the prestigious Security & Fire Excellence Awards in London on the 23rd November.
Any new ventures for the future?
For now, I would say we’ll continue to build further capacity on the events and initiatives we have in place. It’s difficult to say sometimes something can arise really quickly and then you just have to jump on it.
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Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, Security Portfolio
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922