Milestone’s Megan McHugh Talks About the Importance of Diversity in the Security Industry

A hard worker with sharp people smarts, Megan McHugh sought new challenges when she drove across the country to Portland, Oregon, from her hometown in Indiana. Milestone Systems snapped her up to contribute her savvy to the fast-expanding video management software development company. She was recently interviewed by the security media about what it’s like for women in this business tech sector.

1. How did you come to this industry?

I’ve been in the security sector since 2012. In my first year, I was a Marketing intern with Milestone and before moving to Regional Marketing in 2018, I was responsible for the marketing strategy for our channel partner Training & Certification under the Milestone Learning & Performance Program.

I’ve spent the last seven years growing with Milestone – learning how to be successful within a global B2B company and in turn helping to make Milestone more significant in the security space. Today, as Marketing Manager for the Americas region, I plan and coordinate global and regional programs and campaigns for the U.S., Canada and Latin America, as well as supporting other initiatives.

2. In your opinion, how is the growth of women’s participation in the security sector?

I believe that it’s very important to increase the participation of women in the security sector because diversity in any industry drives the expansion of new perspectives in business – and for the people themselves who are involved with those companies.

In order to ‘move the needle’ toward broader success, we need to consider the opinions of both men and women. Women are beginning to fill more technical positions, as well, also in the security sector, and they will positively influence decisions being made that affect all of us.

See, for example, the interview of Lena Alfaro, a woman engineer who has been steadily promoted, currently performing as Technical Services Manager for Milestone Systems, based out of our main Latin region office in Mexico.

3. What barriers still exist for women in this industry? Is it difficult to work in a sector dominated by men?

There are barriers to a ‘seat at the table’. And resistance is still present when it comes to ideas and initiatives brought forth by women in a space they haven’t always occupied. One reason for this is that many roles – especially those in product development and sales – have been historically held by men, and experience is highly valued. When women are not in those roles, it is difficult to gain the experience and therefore unlikely that their opinions will be considered valuable. The tide is changing, however, and I am fortunate enough to work for a company that is continuing to diversify and add more women to various departments and levels of management. Diversity is good for business, and the quicker companies can realize that and act on it, the better.

4. Why do you think there are so many women leaders in the marketing area of security companies?

Women are beginning to go after more (and different) jobs than they have in the past. The security industry conventionally has been male-dominated but is now seeing an increase in interest from women to be a part of that story, to help innovate and influence its direction in more ways.

5. Hasn’t the marketing area in the electronic security sector grown in recent years?

With safety and heightened operational overview being a top concern across all areas, the security industry continues to grow. It is a natural progression to then see more companies marketing how they can solve customer needs. Over several years now, we’ve seen a move from an events-only approach in marketing to more storytelling and communication-based marketing strategies, as well as broadening the focus on collaborative partnering.

The Milestone Marketplace that was launched in 2019 illustrates such evolution. It provides both partners and customers with new ways to find integrated solutions that can address constantly evolving demands. It’s an open marketplace for technology and services that operate within the sphere of our open platform software.

This article was translated and adapted from an interview of Meg by the Latin American security media Ventas de Seguridad for its December 2019 issue, on page 24.