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Vigilance is thrilled to celebrate Kathryn Ross joining Vigilance. To mark her three month anniversary, we sat down with her to discuss what working at Vigilance is like and what it's like to be a woman in security.
How have your first 3 months with Vigilance been? What has been different?
My first 3 months with Vigilance have been truly wonderful. It has been such a pleasure getting to know the team here; they are all so incredibly kind, supportive and proud to work for Vigilance. I don't make that last statement lightly either. Having worked in both large corporations and SMEs, it’s rare not to come across someone early on that’s keen to tell you all the bad bits of a company (the people to avoid, the unfair this, the unreasonable that). But not here; everyone is proud and happy to be a part of the team and the camaraderie is wonderful to watch.
I knew Vigilance was going to be a little different from what I was used to, with it having such a strong military background. But this eclectic group of people have been hand-picked to make sure that supportive, kind and generous ethos runs throughout the entire DNA of the company. It’s a proper community that I am so proud to be a part of.
You champion women in security, what advice would you give to other women joining the industry?
Let no one tell you that it's not for you. If you want to be a security guard, a close protection officer, a dog handler, a commercial manager like me, or anything in between, let no one put you off. This industry is exciting, challenging and rewarding and in my experience, there is no glass ceiling for women. For what is perceived as a male-dominated industry there is no push back from the industry when it comes to employing women. The industry needs women, it wants to champion them and achieve a better gender balance across all sectors. Most importantly, it supports women on any career path within the industry that they bring their passion to. Nothing is out of limits.
What challenges have you faced in your career? How have you overcome them?
Like anyone there have been many challenges in my career, it’s simply experience and an appetite to learn that has helped me to overcome them.
I spent many years in a large corporation working the longest hours, putting huge pressure on myself to not let people see how tired I was. That was from not only the demanding job but raising two small sons. I would work twice as hard as others to make sure I wasn't judged for being a mum. I was often refused time off to go to their school performances, leaving me racked with mum guilt. So I overcompensated with gifts for the boys. It was a big old mess because I never wanted to rock the boat and say it was all a bit too much.
Cut to now. Older and (a little) wiser I sought out a company that had the same values as me, that cared about family as much as performing well. I found a manager who never makes me feel uncomfortable if my child is sick, never unreasonably loads me with work on a Friday so I spend the weekend working, instead of being with my children. I guess it comes down to making sure the company fits you, just as much as you fit them.
How have you found a balance between work and life when working from home?
I think it is about making sure that you remember to take breaks. It is all too easy to keep working all day without stopping. There is no one there to interrupt or ask if you want a cup of tea, so hours can pass before you realise that you have not stood up or taken a break. Being strict on taking time out from work whilst at home is the most important thing I have had to learn. Also putting a padlock on the fridge. This is something I should have done at the start of lockdown...!
What is your favourite thing about working for Vigilance?
The people. Without any doubt, the people at Vigilance make it wonderful. The job is great, the company is great, my clients are great but the team really does make you feel like you are part of something special. There is a real desire to make Vigilance the best it can be; I know this sounds like a cheesy line but it really is the truth. The drive to work hard is palpable and this is because those who lead the teams have created an atmosphere where every single employee feels like a valued member of the company. When you have worked for companies that lose sight of what makes them great, you truly appreciate those companies that go above and beyond to make you feel important to them. So the people at Vigilance are something very special indeed.
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