It won’t come as a shock when statistics display the security space to be a male-dominated industry. The security sector is still unnecessarily gender biased in the public consciousness. People are yet to understand the fact that to make an efficient security officer; one has to have qualities that transcend the physical strengths.
Modern security personnel need to possess skills such as good communication, empathy, and industry knowledge to make a good officer. These skills surpass the physical attributes, and so they also break the stereotype that the security space is supposed to be an ‘old boys club’.
Taking this thought forward, SECURICO Security Services came into existence. Divine Ndhlukula, the Founder and Managing Director of the firm believing firmly in equal opportunities for all, took the initiative to change the narrative in the security space.
In the following interview, Divine talks about her journey in the security sector and how she pivoted various challenges that came along the way.
Brief our audience about your journey as the Managing Director at SECURICO.
Well, I can say the journey is like a train going through the hills where there are valleys; it is a journey full of splendor and rapture. When you say splendor, you are enjoying; where there is rapture, you are obviously going through issues that are really heavy. It is an exciting journey.
My journey began 23 years ago from an idea on a kitchen table – conceived out of the need to earn a livelihood but critically to revolutionize the male-dominated security industry. The first office was in a servants’ quarters in Mabelreign, Harare, Zimbabwe. The story has evolved and reads like a fairy tale punctuated by a string of successes that are akin to limited stories in Zimbabwe over the last two decades due to the economic environment.
Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in the security space through your stronghold in the industry?
Building SECURICO has been quite an exciting journey for me. I immersed myself into building systems, searching for smart people to hire, developing them to bring the best out of them, inculcating the culture of excellence, putting the business at the forefront by bringing international standards like ISO Standards to the security sector.
I also fought for the acceptance of women in this hitherto male industry. As I often say in my own words, “We came in the male, grey and dull sector and jazzed it up and eventually made it look like a little picnic.”
Being an experienced leader, share your opinion on how the adaptation of novel technologies in the security sector has transformed the industry and what more could be expected in the near future?
One of our pillars of success as an organization is technological innovations. From its inception, SECURICO has spearheaded innovation in professional integrated security services providers across all sectors of industry. The company has grown in numbers and in technological advancements, making it the leading security systems installer in Zimbabwe, providing a full spectrum of electronic security solutions, including the latest cutting-edge electronic security products.
The adaptation of novel technologies by SECURICO and in the security sector, in general, has changed the face of the industry in terms of efficiency in the delivery of services. As we advance, security is highly likely to be affordable to the mass market.
Taking into consideration the current pandemic and its impact on global economies, how are you driving your organization to sustain operations and ensure the safety of your employees at the same time?
Given over 4,000 employees, we faced a high risk of exposure to the virus as they interface with the public in places they are deployed; some of our workers use public transport, which further exposed them.
We provide all the Protective Equipment needed to our workforce so that they feel safe as they do their work. Awareness training on symptoms and prevention, providing transport to and from work, among other things. The pandemic also provides opportunities because it requires technology-driven solutions on how to deal with the virus at the workplace.
What is your opinion on adopting gender egalitarianism from a leadership perspective?
I believe everyone should have equal access to opportunities regardless of gender. My mission is to support women, just like other women have supported me. One of the motivations to start up SECURICO was a desire to empower previously disadvantaged women in Zimbabwe who were not able to access opportunities for formal employment.
Today our company is arguably the largest private employer of permanently employed women. We employ over 900 women, comprising at least 25% of our workforce. I have a deliberate policy to support women, and I have a passion for women’s economic and social empowerment. Besides my work at SECURICO, I am also involved in several women empowerment initiatives.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the security and investigations niche market and the related industry?
Our key pillars of success as a company are a motivated, disciplined, and happy workforce, service excellence, and technological innovations. I would say take care of your employees, be customer-focused by providing excellent service, and stay abreast with technological changes. Above all, take time to learn the trade and create networks with local and international security experts.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for your company?
We want to expand from being solely a Zimbabwean security services company into being an African giant. The SECURICO success story can be replicated in the region.