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Q&A: ASIS New Zealand Chair, Dean Kidd

NZ Security, June/July 2017

NZ Security recently checked in with Dean Kidd, Chair of the ASIS New Zealand Chapter, to gain insight into where the organisation is heading and what it can offer to prospective members.


NZSM: What are ASIS NZ’s objectives for the near future?

DK: We’ve got three strategic goals. The first is around establishing and maintaining initiatives to actively recruit and retain members. The second is around holding activities to strengthen the ASIS brand and give member value. The third is to identify strategic relationships and offer professional development opportunities.

What’s became evident to us earlier this year was that numbers for ASIS were dropping off in the various chapters around the world, and that was also evident in NZ, so we’re looking at actively recruiting new members. There’s a few ways we can do that.

The traditional method is word-of-mouth. Throughout our networks, we meet people and spell out the benefits of ASIS and what potential members can get from joining. We’re also exploring other ways of recruiting members through the various risk societies. There are a number of associations that have a risk theme running through them, and we’re looking to partner with them in terms of adding value to their memberships from a security perspective

We’re also looking at the cybersecurity space. There are work groups, associations and societies here, and we’re looking at how we can offer members of these organisations further value through ASIS.

The ASIS strategic plan talks about all these groups holistically, but what you’re finding is that professionals who have only ever done cooperate risk and assurance are now being bundled into positions to do with ‘security programs’ and ‘security risk’, and they’re not geared up to handle it. You only have to see the recent news of the Manchester stadium bombing to understand that events around the world are making it critical that we get these things joined up.

It’s important that ASIS reach out to these individuals as part of a fresh way forward. We’ve had a lot of new memberships this year in terms of individuals in New Zealand joining ASIS International, but the challenge for us is to raise awareness among these people about joining the NZ chapter.


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NZSM: Is ASIS Auckland-centric or have you got wider coverage?

DK: We’re spread all over the country, although Auckland and Wellington have been traditional strongholds, and are where tend to have been able to organise activities such as the breakfast speaker events. We’ve struggled to get members connected in Wellington, and haven’t been able to identify a person to lead the initiative there. There are a lot of chapter members throughout government agencies, but ASIS role are purely voluntary and not everyone has the time.

I’ve been working with a small group of people to plot a way forward for the NZ chapter. We’ve identified the challenges and pieced together a document that we’re currently sharing with our members for them to digest that lists the initiatives we intend to take following our AGM in December, and we hope that will be a positive way forward for us.

The sorts of things we’re looking at aren’t necessarily revolutionary, but they have real potential to transform ASIS NZ.

The types of things we’re looking at are putting some metrics around the chair and committee to ensure that things get done. We need to incentivise those people, we need to set some objectives and KPIs, and we need to move this whole thing forward. We’re putting this out to members, who will need to vote on it at AGM time.

Another thing we’re looking at is sponsorships, which we traditionally haven’t touched because there’s always been a perception of potential conflict of interest around the idea. I just don’t see that. I see our events as a platform to network and develop professionally and a space where you can benefit from bespoke security risk focused experiences.

The sponsorship option would also likely generate some healthy competition. If you had Company A sponsoring in August why wouldn’t you have Company B doing so in September? And why wouldn’t this be a good thing?

At the end of the day it’s all about the member deriving benefit. If you’re a member you should be able to go to a sponsored breakfast and listen to an expert talking about what they know best for negligible or no charge.


NZSM: ASIS is widely regarded as a professional development and networking organisation, but is there more to it?

DK: Yes, but it’s more than that. If you’re an NZ chapter member and want to operate outside the domestic context, membership provides opportunities to attend seminars in the US and elsewhere, and greater networking opportunities for people who do business in other parts of the world.


NZSM: The flip side is that some people may see ASIS accreditation as being a little US-centric.

DK: Yes, there is an American-ised side to it, but what I’ve done is learnt to look past that, and in this part of the world there is not a lot of tangible credible certifications out there. I’m currently working my way through the CPP and PSP myself so having as long as you understand there is some US content there. I’d say that the knowledge base is best practice, it’s shared around the world so it’s what you want to make of it. The examination doesn’t focus as much as it might on US law; it tries to stay away from that, it focuses on best practices, strategies and ways to set things up.

Once you start getting into the study you see that it’s well-structured, it has plenty of reference points. The people that write the papers all come from either academic backgrounds or from high-level strategic roles. For little expense, ASIS can unlock that information for you.

We talk about active shooter and weapons attacks. There’s very little information out there, but you can go to an ASIS library and find bound material about it, and the webinars are another fantastic tool. You only have to be in the company of people who have achieved ASIS certification to know that you’re dealing with a different level of operator, because the way they approach things, the knowledge they have at their fingertips is that impressive.

Getting the certification is one thing, but the hardest part is maintaining it. To maintain it you’re required to do certain things, not only education but you also have to present to score points. By presenting you are imparting knowledge to others.

The way it’s designed is very much a route learning process. The tests are now available online, but you have to read. ASIS has a comprehensive library of study material, and Wellington has a study group up and running, but not currently in Auckland. For no further cost we can lend manuals to members, and our member network is a very supportive one.


NZSM: What would you say to people who are considering their professional development in the industry and considering ASIS as a possibility?

DK: Membership provides opportunities. The learning and professional development is one thing, but the connectedness I’ve been able to plug into is immense. Immediately you have access to a network of security executives and cooperate risk and security managers, and that’s a very powerful tool in itself.


NZSM: What specifically would you like to say to ASIS NZ members?

DK: I think we need to change what we’re doing. It would be a sad day if we came to December and we didn’t want change as a group. There’s a lot of good intentions out there, and good people, and we need to increase our membership with the right kind of people. Our membership is ageing, we need to look forward at young aspiring professionals that have chosen to make this a vocation and get them on board and use their energies going forward.

We’ll get a page out shortly to the members so that come December they can make an informed vote on it. We need to be putting some building blocks in place to move forward. With world events such as Manchester unfolding before our eyes, we need to ensure that all those professionals out there have access to all the tools they possibly can.


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