The Electronic Security Association’s (ESA) Young Security Professionals (YSPs) unveiled the Rising Leaders Forum at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Wash., where nearly 50 of the electronic security industry’s finest rising leaders and industry veterans gathered to participate in a leadership and team building program developed by Terry Peters, CEO and founder of Leader Solutions and Decision Support LLC.

The YSP Rising Leaders Forum, spurred by the efforts of Robert Few, ESA Mentorship Program Facilitator and YSP chairman, included multiple hands-on activities designed to turn strategy into action. It began Wednesday morning with a Green Beret-style fitness boot camp, where attendees teamed up to work on their problem-solving skills while getting a workout. Groups worked together to accomplish physical tasks such as carrying a make-shift gurney and 150-lb “dummy” while exercising mental skills in communication and adaptation. Following breakfast, Peters led a keynote presentation discussing leader development, team building and change management from a Special Forces perspective.

“Leadership is the art of influencing people in such a way as to gain their willing desire to accomplish the mission. Leaders are followed because their actions impact the environment in which they operate and people see them as a catalyst to achieve the desired outcome,” Peters said.

Michele Monheim of Eastern States Sentinel Alarm Services said, “The Rising Leadership Forum had a different spin than the usual tradeshow. It gave us a chance to get to know each other better in a more relaxed environment and look at leadership in a different perspective. Great job on the event and thank you for a great experience.”

The Leadership Development Discussion Panel featured Kirk MacDowell, vice president of platform sales at Alarm.Com, Bruce Mungiguerra, senior vice president of operations at Moni, and Greg Simmons, co-owner and vice president at Eagle Sentry. This team was joined by Robert Few, director at Charter Communications-IntelligentHome, as moderator for a group exchange of real-world experiences, implemented best practices and industry-specific leadership strategies.

The YSP Rising Leaders Forum was center stage for the culmination of ESA’s Class of 2016 Mentorship Program. Group presentations highlighting workforce development, customer lifecycle and experience, and corporate social responsibility. This was followed by a ceremony, dinner and s’mores over wood fires in the Columbia Gorge Mountains.

Mentor Don Childers said, “The YSP event in Stevenson, Washington, was the culmination of a wonderful nine-month experience. Working with my mentee was an absolute joy. And now, I not only have business contact, but I have a friend for life that I would not have had if it were not for this program. A truly wonderful experience and I thank everyone involved.”

The Rising Leaders Forum concluded Thursday by putting the previous days’ education to the test in an elaborate project that had teams covering the gamut of leadership and team-building strategies as well as the entire Skamania Lodge property. Participants were blindfolded and led through a series of tasks and obstacles with the guidance of their team captain who acted as mission leader. 

“I got more out of the YSP Leadership Forum than I thought I would,” said Nicole Swartwout, “most importantly, the unique team building exercises. What an amazing opportunity to grow as an individual and as a dynamic part of our industry with leaders of every generation. Together, our futures are in good hands.”

ESA and the YSP’s would like to extend heartfelt gratitude to the event sponsors who made this event possible: Interlogix, Honeywell, Axis Communications, NAPCO, Telguard, Tri-Ed, Altronix, Security America RRG, APD, Moni, Tyco Security Products and Qolsys.