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Women in Security Awards Aotearoa launches

Underrepresented in New Zealand’s security sector, a new recognition initiative celebrates the women who are making a difference, influencing others and achieving security excellence in Aotearoa.

The Women in Security & Resilience Alliance (WISECRA), Defsec Media, ASIS New Zealand and New Zealand Security Association (NZSA) announced the launch of the inaugural Women in Security Awards Aotearoa recognition program on November 10.

Established to recognise women who have advanced the New Zealand security industry, the Women in Security Awards Aotearoa initiative attracted an impressive 37 nominations across seven categories following a fleeting 10-day nomination period.

“By offering recognition to women working in the field, other women may be inspired to consider security as a career, which in turn helps address the imbalance,” said Bonnie Butlin, the founder and international coordinator of WISECRA, a global network of female security and resilience professionals.

Nominations were accepted in relation to women with more than three years of experience in New Zealand working in physical security, personnel security and/or information security, with an international judging panel considering such information as:

• What the person has done to inspire the nomination;

• Who benefits from the work, contribution, or influence of the person – and how;

• How the person sets a positive example for other women in security and demonstrates the potential for change;

• What time commitment, risks, and challenges the person has faced to make an impact;

• What the person has done above and beyond to show leadership, create change, and give back;

• How thoughtful, creative, and unique the person’s approach is to their challenge, opportunity, or situation; and

• How the person plans to grow and/or adapt their work, contribution, or influence in the future? How winning the award might impact on them and their work.

Winners and Finalists

Following consideration by the judging panel, the following outstanding women in security were identified as the category winners:

• Educator: Ngaire Kelaher of RISQ New Zealand

• Consultant: Sai Honig of ANZ

• Indigenous Awareness: Tash Bettridge of Vodafone

• Executive: Natasha Hallet of Maritime NZ

• Rising Star: Ankita Dhakar of Security Lit

• Thought Leader: Kendra Ross of Duo

• Engineering: Grace Lee of Cyber Research

Also identified by the judging panel were a select group of Finalists consisting of the following exceptional nominees:

• Jill Priest of FIRST Security

• Melonie Cole of Mind Shift

• Michelle Welten of Global Security

• Georgia Kitt-Lobo of SecOps

• Toni James of SafeStack

• Rosario Soria of IAG

• Maniaiwaho (Sarah) Philips of SSS

• Jazz Kaur of Global Security

• Marie Ahokava of Global Security

• Carla Edgar of Alpha Security Services

• Angela Beaumont of Seacom Guardall NZ

• Janine Anderson of VR Security

• Sam Wheatley of Advanced

Security • Suliana Jacobsen of Auckland War Memorial Museum

• Helen Alai-Stowers of Platform 4 Group

• Erina Edmonds of Seacom Guardall NZ

• Yvonne Bruce of FIRST Security

Comprising the international judging panel were Dr Carrine Teoh Chooi Shi, CISSP, CBCP, Chief Strategy Officer at Westplan Resources Sdn Bhd; Sir Kenneth McKenzie, Head of Security, Health & Safety at Auckland War Memorial Museum; Bonnie Butlin, co-founder and Executive Director of the Security Partners’ Forum; Nicholas Dynon, Chief Editor at Defsec Media; and Jennie Vickers, CEO of the New Zealand Defence Industry Association.