She runs security: ZKTeco’s women shaping the future of access control through collaboration


This International Women’s Day, which took place on March 8, ZKTeco Europe celebrated the women who drive innovation and excellence within its organisation, recognising the diverse perspectives they bring to the table —a cornerstone of the company’s success and a powerful force shaping the future of the access control and security industry.

In this article, ZKTeco shines a spotlight on women within the company, who share their experiences and insights, not just celebrating their achievements but paving the way for a more inclusive and empowered future. Delve into the stories of these inspiring women and the impact they create.

Promoting diversity and inclusion

Maria Eugenia Cortizo, HR Manager, ZKTeco Europe, comments:

“The security sector plays a vital role in ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals, businesses, and communities. However, to fully realise its potential, it must embrace diversity and inclusion.

“At ZKTeco Europe, we do, and we are convinced that businesses with equal gender representation not only drive increased revenue but also foster a range of benefits, including staff retention, innovation, creativity, and cultural change.

“All of us as ZKTeco Employees work to visualise and share our commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“There is a need to raise awareness and highlight the opportunities, achievements, and success stories of women working in the security sector so more women can be inspired to pursue careers in this field.

“Additionally, creating an inclusive and supportive workplace culture that embraces diversity will encourage talented women to join and stay within the security industry in different roles, especially in leadership positions.”

Jessica Perret, Business Development Manager for Western Europe Markets, ZKTeco Europe, adds:

“At ZKTeco, we believe in nurturing a diverse and inclusive work environment where everyone feels valued and has the opportunity to thrive. We don’t hesitate to hire women based on their qualifications and experience, and they are well-represented across various departments and levels, from finance and marketing to sales, technical roles, and project management.

“This diverse representation at operational, managerial, and director positions demonstrates a commitment to inclusivity and showcases the diverse career paths available to all within our organisation.”

Alana Dunia, Business Development Manager, ZKTeco Europe continues:

“Women in the technology industry have a vital role to play, including access control, time and attendance, and biometrics, at companies such as ZKTeco. Our diverse experiences and approaches can uncover hidden market opportunities and shape innovative strategies to connect with a wider range of customers. Additionally, studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that women often demonstrate strong communication, empathy, and problem-solving skills, aiding in understanding customer needs, tailoring solutions, and fostering positive customer experiences.

“Therefore, it is crucial to encourage an inclusive environment that actively values and promotes the full participation of women in technology across all levels. This will not only empower women within the industry but also unlock the full potential of diverse talent for a more successful and innovative future.”

The power of collaboration

Alicia Palacios, Digital Content Manager, ZKTeco Europe, comments:

“In the security industry, we believe in collaboration to unlock our collective power.

“By working together, women at ZKTeco Europe rewrite a narrative that, like in many industries, needs revision to keep growing and improving. Through collaboration we achieve goals together, sharing the success and the lessons learned as part of the process. This experience empowers women and each other to reach new heights, dismantling stereotypes and leaving a lasting impact on the future.”

Kinga Zarzycka, Distribution BU General Manager, ZKTeco Europe, adds:

“Collaboration is key to success in all our interactions, from personal relationships to professional endeavors.

“We have to stand together and support each other in changing not only stereotypes about women in the business but also coaching and helping other women to change how they feel about themselves in professional terms. And the truth is that we still do not believe in ourselves the same way men do. As a result, we are seen as difficult, sensitive, or even strife-prone, when we show our lack of confidence.

“Women are more emotional than men, which gives us tools to make more unconventional and effective decisions, which are in line with our beliefs and not attached to standards marked by society or dictated only by the general values of our society.”

Women in Leadership

Natalie Barlow, Operations & Marketing Director, ZKTeco UK, believes that leadership and management is where the biggest skills gap lies for women, as well the most under-rated competency, across most industry sectors, but particularly in male-dominated and/or technology driven organisations.

“Successful leaders must wear many hats,” she says, “turning strategy into action with agile and effective daily management that drives people and performance for long-term success in the market.

“However, all-too-often individuals are promoted into senior roles as a reward for superior technical performance or sales prowess, rather than selected for having the essential skills and qualities required to run a business and empower the people within it. Those, often women, with the right competencies and experience to perform effectively in leadership roles have historically been overlooked, but thankfully this outdated and short-sighted view is changing.

“Today, at ZKTeco, individuals are being identified for their leadership potential, rather than their previous functional performance, and being given opportunities to make a difference. Incidentally, many of our company’s leaders across the globe are women.”

Barlow goes on to say that, in addition to all of the above, training in the access control and security industry has predominantly been focused on technical product training, with the soft skills development offering being either non-existent or woefully inadequate. “The recent launch of our ZKTeco Academy is a welcome change,” she says, “making all areas of learning accessible to all employees, enabling career growth and enhanced performance regardless of gender or seniority. Steps in the right direction!”

Barlow concludes: “In a fast-paced, challenging, exciting and highly competitive environment like the access control and security industry, where time-to-market is critical and continuous innovation is the norm, it’s easy to be blindsided by the here and now. I would advocate for a greater representation of strong leaders that people want to follow —and that requires a more measured approach to appointing and supporting the right individuals, whether or not they wear the trousers.”

Lucía Sánchez, Inside Sales, ZKTeco Europe, adds:

“Throughout history, women have often faced limitations and inequities. For centuries, societal structures often relegated them to the domestic sphere, while men typically held the primary role in the public sphere, which included professional careers.

“The Industrial Revolution marked a turning point, as it opened doors for women to enter the workforce in greater numbers. This participation in the economic and labour world challenged traditional gender roles and paved the way for greater independence.

“Today, the progression of women in their careers continues to break down stereotypes, barriers, and limits, even in traditionally male-dominated fields such as security. This journey towards greater representation and leadership is ongoing, and the potential for even more progress is undeniable.”

Overcoming the gender gap

Katerina Ryan, Business Development Manager, ZKTeco Europe

“I have been working in the IT and security industry for nearly 20 years.

“While there are many stereotypes associated with the industry, it is ultimately one’s confidence, knowledge, experience, and ability to communicate effectively that defines a successful professional.

“Regardless of background, you have to win your audience and earn trust. And also be yourself, because that is what makes you unique.”

Sheila Patricia Rivas Lanz, Purchase Administrative, ZKTeco Europe

“In a male-dominated industry, women can close the gender gap by believing in themselves and their abilities to show that they can achieve and surpass goals. Connect with others in the industry, find mentors, and build a supportive network. Keep learning to stay competitive and show our skills.

“Speak up for fairness and equality, sharing your thoughts on gender issues. Facing challenges with resilience helps to break barriers and paves the way for future success.”

Jessica Perret, Business Development Manager for Western Europe Markets, ZKTeco Europe

“Having worked in sales for over a decade in male-dominated industries, I understand the challenges women face. It is crucial to demonstrate your expertise and capabilities with confidence, and not let anyone undermine your contributions based on irrelevant factors.

“My advice to other women is to believe in yourselves, maintain your professionalism, and persevere through challenges. Remember, your voice and your unique perspective are valuable assets.”

The importance of mentorship

Laykiu Hau, Corporate Services, ZKTeco Europe

“Mentorship is nothing short of a lifeline for women navigating male-dominated industries. It’s more than just guidance and support; it is a beacon of hope, a source of validation, and a lifeline of solidarity. In a world where biases and challenges often feel insurmountable, having a mentor who believes in you can make all the difference. It is in these relationships that women find not only practical skills but also the courage to defy expectations and carve out their own paths.

“Mentorship is not just about career advancement; it is about empowerment, resilience, and the unwavering belief that gender should never limit potential.”

Celebrating collaboration and collective excellence

According to ZKTeco Europe, the combined strength of the women at its firm exemplifies the power of collaboration. Through teamwork, knowledge sharing, and mutual support, they not only contribute to the organisation’s success but also leave a lasting impact on the access control and security industry, the company says.

So, on International Women’s Day, the company wanted to reaffirm its commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace that empowers women to excel. “Their unwavering dedication, exceptional skills, and collaborative spirit are the driving force behind our continued success. We are honored to celebrate their contributions and excited to witness the impact they will continue to make in the years to come.”

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