It Takes a Village: An Interview with Fallon Long, Security Manager at Grant County PUD

Fallon Long is the Security Manager with Grant County PUD.

Established by local residents over 75 years ago, Grant PUD generates and delivers energy to millions of customers throughout the Pacific Northwest. What began as a grassroots movement of public power has evolved into one of the premiere providers of renewable energy at some of the most affordable rates in the nation.

Security and safety is a critical part of any utility. And the scope of the effort requires a team approach.

Fallon has demonstrated that team approach not only with her previous work at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, but also with her volunteer time as the past Vice Chair for the Regional ASIS group, her current position as Assistant Area Regional Vice President for ASIS, .and the Co-Chair of the Puget Sound Chapter of Women in Security.

We were able to catch up with her and have a small, but great conversation.

Why do leaders need a great conversation with their peers?

Leaders need a great conversation to keep from becoming stagnate. Everything needs to evolve or it gets eliminated. They say it takes a village to raise a child. I agree that that it takes a village to develop your program. My network of professionals has supported the program I have designed within my organization and my professional development.

What have you learned from the other conversations you have participated in?

I have learned that it is ok to not know it all. People fear the exposure of not knowing the answers. So they minimize their ability to learn. When you can speak openly and freely in a conversation, you get to hear real and raw information. Who knew we all experienced the same challenges? Who knew that so and so at this organization went through the same trials I have had and found something that works? Who knew that people would utilize the methods I put in place because I shared it with them.?

It is important to know you do not need to know everything and be willing to ask and receive what others are doing.

What are the front of mind issues you have been dealing with as a security leader?

I think I have learned the secret weapon needed to be successful. I stopped telling department leaders what I wanted them to hear and I started listening.

I let the frontline staff help me build my program. I asked them to help me with the budget. I asked them to help me improve the plan that protects what is important to them. In return we have developed trust. I get their buy-in which shifts their behaviors regarding security. They see value in the partnership and services.

As a woman leader in security, what advice do you have for other women in our industry?

I don’t let being a woman hold me back or influence the way I respond.

I do my best to approach each situation with confidence and not arrogance. I can’t change the way people behave or think but I can set boundaries for respect. I address issues as they arise and let people know when boundaries have been crossed.

I look at myself as a leader in my profession first. I will be defined by my performance, my leadership, and my willingness to respect other stakeholders in my organization and in the industry. Of course I am proud to be a woman but I am more proud of my leadership capabilities.

Editor’s Note: Fallon will be a panelist on a panel that asks a very unsettling question: Are you being disrupted? The Uberization of Security. She will be joined by security leaders from Microsoft, Seattle Children’s, ASG’s Enterprise Security Risk Group, and ADT’s Enterprise Solutions Group.