At Paladin Security, we believe the best way to create a strong team is through employee development and our promotion-from-within philosophy. Through our development programs, an employee can plot their own career path within our organization, lending stability to our workforce. In our bi-weekly feature, Paladin Then & Now, we're showcasing some of the amazing and inspirational stories of our employees rising through the ranks. This week, we’re featuring Brandon Branch Manager Debbie Burgess.
Debbie Burgess | Branch Manager
Can you share some learning opportunities that have helped you get to where you are today in your career? Has post-secondary education helped?
This has been a ‘learn as you go’ experience for me. When I first started working with Paladin, I was working in the dispatch department responding to emergency call-outs, scheduling last-minute coverage, and engaging with employees on a regular basis. I quickly developed skills that helped me further my career and steer me towards things that I found truly engaging. Later into my career with Paladin, I got promoted to work in the payroll department. Not long after I was learning to do invoicing and supporting the branch during the Chief Operating Officer's absence. I’ve spent twenty years in this industry and what I’ve learned cannot be taught in the classroom.
It’s phenomenal to hear how many opportunities there are within the company. When we talk about Paladin’s promotion-from-within philosophy, what comes to mind?
At first, I didn’t feel that I would be considered for advancement right away but fast forward 20 years, and here I am; now overseeing an entire branch. One thing I always keep in mind is that you may think you’re at the top of your game but within this industry, we are all constantly changing and evolving. Because of that, I truly believe there will always be new opportunities for growth and promotions from within.
Aligning with our promotion-from-within can sometimes mean transferring from the field to office; what was your experience like?
When working as a security officer you always have to be prepared to go out and do your best, which means sometimes expecting the unexpected. Each day is something new, a new chance to interact with people and a new chance to learn. As a security officer, there are different roles that you can choose from, but when you accept a role in the office, that changes a bit. It’s a good change; one that will keep throwing you curve balls, new challenges, and new opportunities.
Congratulations on all your successful roles, did you have a mentor who contributed any guidance or direction?
I had a great opportunity to work alongside a great mentor, Dick Scott. It was an absolute privilege working with such an amazing and inspiring person. When Dick retired, another opportunity presented itself and I had a chance to mentor with Thor Goodmanson. These two gentlemen taught me much of what I know today, and I feel extremely lucky to have had the chance to work with them.
Can you share with us, some of your favorite things about working with Paladin and how those have aligned with our corporate values?
One thing that has impressed me with Paladin is the investment that we’re so willing to put into our people. The training Paladin provides is top notch and someone is always looking out for you. Part of the corporate values talks about how the most important thing in our company is our people. We’ve got a strong support system in place. Should you veer off the path, we are always there to guide you back. This happens on all levels within Paladin, we are truly committed to seeing you succeed.
For someone looking to move up in the company, what piece of advice would you bestow upon them?
I truly believe once you have had your boots on the ground in the security industry you will always have a better understanding of what security work is really like. If you are not successful at moving up in the ranks on your first try, don’t get discouraged. There are always new opportunities, you just have to be willing to put in the work, ask questions and learn all that you can. Our promotion-from-within is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I highly recommend you take advantage of it. There is a career coach waiting to speak with you about the next steps within your career path.
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