As part of SSN Gulf’s ‘Women in Security’ series of interviews, Louise Bou-Rached, Channel Business Manager, UAE, for Milestone Systems answered our questions…
Tell us a bit about your current role with Milestone.
This year I moved from a similar role in North Africa into the role of Channel Business Manager for the UAE. I handle top partners and key end-users in the region, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. Most of my work involves ensuring our partners have the right support from Milestone, enabling us to win and grow the business together. I am always keeping an eye as well on our major customers in the region, making sure we are meeting and exceeding their expectations and giving satisfaction with our product offerings and technology.
How does the UAE market compare to the rest of the Middle East?
The UAE is a vibrant and fast-moving market, where all parties concerned are highly knowledgeable and well aware of the industry’s trends. I am enjoying working in the UAE, helping businesses achieve even more with our solutions. By tapping into the latest technologies, we focus on how the information already available through our VMS can be leveraged to optimise business processes beyond security.
The security industry seems to be one of the last industries dominated by men – what are your thoughts?
Change is hard and takes time, but realising where we are, I think we have come a long way. Would I like to see more gender equality in the security industry? Absolutely yes! I think more females should apply for these roles and not accept the status quo.
What challenges/barriers as a woman have you gone through to rise to your position?
Sadly, the industry being heavily male-dominated, I did face delays and was excluded from opportunities based solely on my gender. Hard work and persistence did not go unseen though, and eventually I did get the roles I wanted. But there are still some markets where my gender is an issue.
If you could change one thing about the industry today to increase female inclusion what would it be?
Historically, this industry is seen as a male-only domain, probably due to the association with the military and the police, but even these industries now have a stronger female representation. I believe change will come eventually, and it is important to create awareness of the fact that this is an interesting industry to be in also for women. At the end of the day we sell a product and we provide a service just like any other industry.
Pet hate about working in the industry?
Like in all industries we face challenges, yet it is my strong belief that we have to rise above it by focusing on the positive and work hard to prove our worth.
Interestingly, the fact that this is a male-dominated industry where I am being constantly challenged, is also one of my favourite things. I am a highly competitive person and thrive when I’m proven right and can close my targets early. I also enjoy the great international vibe and openness to different cultures in Dubai. Being able to shift between my favourite languages French, Arabic and English in any given business meeting as an example.
What are your future plans/ambitions?
In the short term, I would like to take on more markets and responsibilities and prove that I can excel in them. And in the long term, the sound of “General Manager” brings a smile to my face.
Anything else you would like to add?
Just a quick note to say that opportunities will come to those who seek them. As females we shouldn’t hide behind our gender and we should be prepared to fight against any barrier ahead.