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Building Strength in the Security Profession Through Diversity

In 2022, the International Organization of Black Security Executives (IOBSE) celebrated 40 Years of Legacy and Leadership serving the security and loss prevention communities. IOBSE is the leading organization for minority security professionals. Founded in 1982 by six security professionals who saw a need to educate and introduce minority professionals to the opportunities that existed in the security field, the primary mission of IOBSE is to “impart professional resources to aid in the integration of security management into business operations.” That mission has now eclipsed several generations of security and loss prevention professionals and is still growing to this day.

The tremendous diversity of our country has provided a foundation for our unique strength, prosperity, and resilience. Embracing diversity is becoming more and more important as the world continues to shrink and the demographics of our society transform in a global environment. We are a nation built on the promise of inclusion and acceptance, where every individual has the opportunity to find their place and make a difference. IOBSE was built on that promise.

This is just as important in the workplace, where we have come to recognize the value of an employee population that respects and supports our human differences. By learning to better understand each other we can better appreciate the unique contributions that people with variable backgrounds and experiences can bring to the workforce, creating a positive and nurturing work environment that maximizes the potential of all employees.

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The Annual Conference

The IOBSE is a non-profit organization that provides education and training to help keep practitioners and students abreast of current trends in security operations and technology. With a primary focus on minority security professionals, the purpose of the annual conference is to connect and network with successful and emerging professionals in the security industry; gain knowledge with the support of leading professionals and subject matter experts; build leadership skills through educational panel discussions, presentations, and workshops that cover a variety of security topics; and assist in professional networking to facilitate the exchange of information, ideas, knowledge, and experience.

Active members include individuals who are either a director, manager, supervisor, or exempt-level security practitioner; law enforcement officials; security solution providers at the executive, managerial, or supervisory level; and educators providing instruction or administering educational programs in security, criminal justice, law enforcement, or closely related programs at accredited colleges or universities. However, anyone interested in learning more about the security industry is welcomed to attend the conference.

Attendees should expect a conference atmosphere that is genuine, engaging, and inviting. The two-day event is filled with insightful panel discussions with industry leadership, educational presentations by leading subject matter experts, and informative workshops focused on current trends and topics. Networking opportunities bookend the conference, with a welcome reception kicking off the event and the Founder’s Dinner, a formal “black-tie” event that closes out the conference.

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The conference features small exhibition areas sponsored by leading solution providers, an aspect of the event that has continued to grow and develop over the past several years.

With a goal to develop leaders for today, tomorrow, and into the future, IOBSE also sponsors college students to attend the annual event to create exposure and awareness of the opportunities that exist in the security and loss prevention industries. A day prior to the conference, IOBSE hosts what has become known as “Student Education Day.” Students are selected to attend the conference by committee members who work with historically black colleges and universities. IOBSE sponsors each student and pays for all their expenses to take part in the conference.

The conference is typically held in the spring, however, adjustments will be made if necessary in the best interests of the organization and its members. IOBSE has developed partnerships with various companies, vendors, and solution providers over the years, and as a result the conferences are held in different locations each year with prominent organizations sponsoring and hosting the conferences by offering their facilities and financial resources to support the conference.

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Those who attend the IOBSE conference receive a certificate for continuing education units. It is then up to that specific board to acknowledge and apply those hours toward maintaining their certifications.

Beyond the Conference

The IOBSE is committed to giving back to our communities by ensuring our future leaders are a key focus. Beyond the conference experience, IOBSE offers quarterly webinars for our members. Current and up- to- date information is provided along with topics that inspire and provoke thought to promote education and awareness among our security and loss prevention leaders. This helps to develop business and leadership skills while keeping members informed on the latest industry trends, technology, and topics.

By continuing to build a culture of acceptance and mutual respect where both attitudes and actions will encourage understanding, IOBSE looks to create an environment where people of all attributes and backgrounds are valued, where every voice has a chance to be heard, and every individual has an equal opportunity to be successful. Some additional initiatives include:

  • Identifying colleges and universities with prominent minority enrollment. IOBSE members will visit those campuses and provide seminars for the student population to educate them about the opportunities in security and loss prevention. Scholarships are also offered to select students to help support their education.
  • Mentorship programs that are available to students and young professionals to help them further develop and advance in their professional careers.
  • Exclusive job listings are provided to members to further support growth and advancement opportunities.
  • Virtual mixers and in-person social events are held throughout the year to help keep members engaged. This allows for networking, which is key for developing professional relationships.
  • Several committees are available that any member can join and get to work helping the organization, to include a Membership Committee, Professional Education Committee, Student Education Committee, and the Communication Committee. When a person gets involved in a committee, they stay connected to the organization and the community.

IOBSE members have the opportunity to network and align with likeminded individuals with an organization that promotes excellence. Members are provided with a number of opportunities to make a difference, allowing everyone to stay personally connected throughout the year. You can be a part of an organization that gives back to its community, providing prospects for students to grow into future leaders.

The IOBSE allows today’s leaders to provide support, knowledge, and life experiences to develop future leaders for tomorrow’s challenges. If you are looking for an organization where you can meet security executives, middle level managers, and young professionals to assist with building a strong network, learn more about the security field, and find mentorship opportunities, the IOBSE is the organization. If you are interested in joining an organization that will allow you to network with leading security professionals, enhance and broaden your knowledge about all security fields, develop your leadership skills, and give back to the community, this organization fits that bill.

To learn more, read “IOBSE: A Message of Workplace Inclusion and Leading with Purpose”by LP Magazine. You can also visit the IOBSE website at https://iobse.org.

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