TechMag recently published an article, “Women Take Their Place on the Global Security Stage,” featuring Watermark’s Vice President of Education Services, Dr. Jennifer Hesterman. The article focused on how women are making new and important strides in the security field. This is an overview of the article, focusing on the contribution of Dr. Hesterman. To read the entire article, click here.

Physical security, like information security, has long been an industry dominated by men. Fortunately, in the past decade, women have been making new and significant inroads into the security industry. Statistics indicate that there are more women in the security field than ever before, and the women who are leading the charge say this is a good thing.

Dr. Jennifer Hesterman, Watermark Risk Management International’s Vice President of Education Services, is one of those women. Dr. Hesterman is retired colonel from the U.S. Air Force. Her last assignment was Vice Commander at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, where she led installation security, force support, and the 1st Helicopter Squadron. She regularly escorted the U.S. president and other heads of state on the ramp. After retiring from the military, she started work as a private contractor in Washington, DC, studying international and domestic terrorist organizations, transnational threats, organized crime and the terrorist and criminal exploitation of the Internet. Dr. Hesterman’s book, Soft Target Hardening: Protecting People from Attack, was the ASIS Security Book of the Year for 2015. The second edition of the book won the same award in 2019. She also authored Soft Target Crisis Management (2016) and The Terrorist-Criminal Nexus (2013).

At a recent Global Security Exchange Conference in Chicago this month, Dr. Hesterman gave a presentation on how women in security bring unique qualities and perspectives to the workplace. Diversifying the security profession’s future talent pool is a responsibility for organizations and individuals alike, she said. Rather than exclude women from the security dialogue, she said it’s important to leverage those insights into developing new and important strategies and responses to the ever evolving security environment.

Dr. Hesterman said one way to bring more women into the field is by mentoring. Mentoring is vital to success, she said, and the benefits of cross-gender mentoring relationships are significant. Those companies and organizations in the security industry need to engage and involve more women experts in security discussions, leveraging their considerable insights and contributions, she emphasized.

“Cross-generational and cross-gender mentorship – it’s a two-way street,” Dr. Hesterman said. “If the industry wants more women, they’re going to have to work for it. It’s what can be done, and what should be done.”

In addition to her job at Watermark, Dr. Hesterman is also senior fellow at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University, a member of the Board of Directors for the International Foundation for Protection Officers, and she advises the Homeland Security Training Institute at the College of DuPage in Chicago. She is an alumnus of the Harvard Senior Executive Fellows program.

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