Read our interview with Kristen Klokis of Northland Controls, as the Security Industry Association spotlights a young professional on the rise!
Learn more about Northland Controls at http://www.northlandcontrols.com.
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1. What first got you interested in security and safety as a career choice?
Pierre Trapanese [CEO of Northland Controls]. I was in my senior year of college at George Mason University, and I saw a job advertisement for an Executive Assistant role. When I first visited Northland’s website, I had no idea what they did; I gathered they were “the security industry’s premier project management firm” (whatever that was). Pierre immediately enticed me—the way he spoke about his company and the industry was exciting. I wanted to become a Northlander immediately, which was my way into the industry.
2. What has your career path been?
I began as the Executive Assistant to Pierre. I was in that role for two-and-a-half years and then another opportunity opened at Northland—the role of HR Manager. Northland’s culture is unique and surprisingly, we didn’t have an official HR Manager until August 2013.
3. Who has influenced you or mentored you—either within the security field or outside?
I have two mentors that have absolutely been key in my development. The first is Pierre. He was the manager that brought me into the industry, showed me the Northland way and let me grow within his company. Through his vision, leadership and motivation, I have been able to progress from college graduate to a young professional. My second mentor, who has been an influence throughout my entire life, is my dad.
While Dad is an obvious choice for an influencer and mentor, I guarantee you there is no one quite like Phil Klokis! From fourth-grade Algebra help to sending me texts every day in college asking what my grades were to every swim meet to where I am now, he is the person that has always pushed me. His very active, yet sometimes annoying involvement in my life, has been a huge factor in my growth. The reason I fell in love with Northland and the industry was partially because of my dad. Through his own career path and advice given, he made me realize that I’m in the perfect spot!
4. What do you think you need to enhance your career?
To take it to the next level, I would like to receive an MBA. However, I think I’ll wait one to two years more before going back to school to gain some more work experience.
5. Any advice to young professionals just starting out in the industry?
Find your Pierre. I was extremely lucky because I started with someone like him—someone who really cares about the people in his company. Your Pierre doesn’t have to be in the C-suite or even your manager, but find that mentor if you want to succeed not only in the industry but your career. They will be the person you can call for advice, whenever you want to talk. They will be the person who pushes you to do better, not by telling you but by showing you. They probably do not even realize they have that kind of influence over you either. Your Pierre will be someone that you want to be—with more experience, of course!