Sarah Cork, Director of Operations at Bidvest Noonan, held senior security roles at a number of retailers and has broad experience including cyber, physical security, operational, intelligence, and investigations. She is an associate member of the ICA and holds diplomas in financial crime and anti-money laundering.
Sarah was nominated as a finalist for the Women in Security Awards 2021 and told us about what has helped her to forge a successful career.
What does being a finalist in ‘Women in Security Awards’ mean to you?
Just being nominated has meant the world and made me feel very valued within the industry and I am grateful for all the coaching and mentoring I have had over the last 25 years from my colleagues, peers, friends, and family. It has been very rewarding to receive recognition for my career to date and I am immensely proud to be a finalist in 2021.
Tell us about how your broad experience has contributed to your nomination.
The experiences operating in senior roles have allowed me to gain knowledge and an understanding of how security operates in different sectors and now that I am offering the service back to clients, it allows us to enhance our service offering and deliver more than client’s expectations.
The security industry is becoming more and more diverse and inclusive. However more work has to be done. Do you have any tips for women in the security industry?
Businesses should allow you to be your “whole self”, no matter your gender, and believe in your own ability whilst identifying your own personal goals and objectives to deliver what you want from your career.
My knowledge, skill, and capability have seen me as an equal in the security industry and fortunately, I have had many coaches and mentors who have supported me in my journey.
Each one of us personally brings something unique and we need to challenge ourselves to be better the next day. My advice for all women is ‘take the seat at the table and ensure they know your worth’.
In your opinion, how does diversity impact the business?
I like working with a diverse team as this brings the best for the company ethos and bottom-line profits. I would like to see the gender gap reduced in all industries and empower all women to take their own seat at the table.
I personally enjoy wearing many different hats and juggling a home and work-life balance. However, this comes with great organisation and many to-do lists to achieve being a Mum, Wife and enjoying my career.
What lessons and experiences can you share as a leader?
Accept when you make a mistake and be honest whilst learning and ensuring it is never repeated. It is what makes you a credible professional.
Make yourself available to listen to people’s views, network, and take learnings from others.
Strive to be better every day and be innovative in your thinking whilst creating business strategy, tactical plans, and most of all, execution of strategy.
What advice do you have for people aiming for leadership positions in the security industry?
Be passionate, work hard and be determined to chase your next career role. Set yourself short-term goals and celebrate your achievements along the way. Build strong relationships internally and externally and network with security professionals that allow you to learn whilst growing your knowledge and skill.