Christina Duffey

A Conversation with Christina Duffey President of the ASIS Certified Professional Board

Christina Duffey was just appointed president of the ASIS Professional Certification Board. We sat down with her to talk about the job and the role that ASIS certifications play in the security industry. Duffey is the director of client services for Paragon Protection Ltd. in Toronto and has been a member of ASIS since 1996.

Q. How were you selected as ASIS PCB president?

A. The Professional Certification Board president is appointed by the incoming ASIS president, who takes several factors into consideration when selecting the PCB president: leading board committees, involvement in strategic planning, and overall commitment to lead and guide the board and its activities. This is a volunteer position, and the president generally serves on the board for up to five years prior to the appointment, in addition to having several years of proven leadership in other areas of the society.

ASIS offers three board certifications – one in security management (Certified Protection Professional – CPP), one in investigations (Professional Certified Investigator – PCI) and one in physical security (Physical Security Professional – PSP). When selecting board members, ASIS looks to ensure the composition of professionals is directly representative of the knowledge and experience of the three certifications and that there is a balance of industries -- both private and public.

Q. What are some of your priorities in your next year in this position?

A. All priorities of the board are centered on the ASIS Strategic Plan related to the enhancement and integrity of all certifications. As you can imagine, for certifications to maintain value and relevance, there is a perpetual need to survey professionals, network with subject-matter experts and scan the business environment. Work began last year on updating the PSP certification, which will continue in 2011, culminating in the release of update references and examinations in the fourth quarter this year.

I also look to focus on how to engage young professionals in both certification and volunteer leadership. In the past, the more-experienced security professional took the initiative to seek out board certification. The job market presents many challenges right now, so individuals who are looking to enhance their professional development skills may find this an excellent way to advance. While being board-certified has obvious benefits within the industry, we want to connect with this group of up-and-coming industry leaders to the many other benefits, such as networking, sharing ideas and discussing the unique challenges that young professional faces such as staying competitive, and balancing work and home life.

Q. What role does certification play in the security industry? How do you see that role changing in the coming years?

A. First and foremost, certification establishes credibility and professionalism. It distinguishes one professional from another and independently validates knowledge, skills and abilities. ASIS board certifications are recognized worldwide as the standard for competency, which is important in a world where many businesses today operate globally. Certification also offers organizations with security personnel around the world a means to standardize communication and best practices.

I think certification will continue to grow in importance as companies grow. Our certifications are not static – we survey roles and responsibilities on a set schedule and update reference materials and examinations to ensure that they accurately represent the work that professionals are doing. ASIS certifications will evolve as security practitioners and their roles evolve around the world. Ultimately, the role of certification will remain that of validating a professional’s knowledge and experience.

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