Spotlight on Women in Commercial Services: Airin Tatum, Stanley Security
As part of Convex’s observance of Women’s History Month and our celebration of women in the commercial services industry, we are thrilled to spotlight Airin Tatum, Regional Sales Manager at Stanley Security.
Airin’s career in commercial services began after she left the U.S. Army where she served as an Intelligence Imagery Analyst. Once her three children were in school full time, she started working at a small fire alarm company coordinating test and inspections and service. Airin joined Stanley Security in 2014 as a Service Coordinator. She moved to a Customer Services Specialist role in 2017, and was promoted to Regional Sales Manager of the Carolinas in late 2020. Airin recently shared with us her experiences as a woman in the traditionally male-dominated commercial services industry, her work and leadership style, and who inspires her.
Q: Airin, what drew you to a career in the commercial services industry and to Stanley Security in particular?
A: I was referred to Stanley for the Service Coordinator position by a former employee of the fire alarm company where I’d been working. It was really more just happenstance that I was in a similar industry type and was right for the role. It ended up being the best move I ever could have made.
I love working at Stanley. I’m still here for a reason. I’ve been in a lot of different positions and in a couple of different branches, and the culture is something I’ve never experienced before. The fact that it’s so supportive here speaks volumes to our leadership team.
Q: What has been your experience as a woman working for Stanley, where most of the employees and leadership are men?
A: I have two older brothers, so I’ve never been scared of “hanging out with the boys.” When I was in the military, it was co-ed basic training, so I trained side by side with men, and realized that I could do just about anything that they do — and I’ve continued to believe that ever since. I’ve never let a difference in gender affect where I stood in the room or how I spoke up. I’m not afraid to speak my mind, and I’m aware that I have just as much ability as anyone else. And even though the Stanley leadership is mostly male, they have long-time industry experience, and that is something to be respected, regardless of whether they’re male or female. Honoring and respecting our genders, cultures, ethnicities, and all of our differences is great, but when it comes to the work, it really shouldn’t matter.
Q: Have you seen an increase of women in roles at Stanley and in your field in general?
A: Stanley is making a good effort to include more women. I do see a lot of inclusivity and I don’t ever feel like a “woman in a man’s world” when I’m conversing with my teams, and that goes for being a consultant, speaking to my manager, or now as a Regional Sales Manager speaking to other RSMs. I’ve never allowed myself to feel any discrimination of being a woman in a room full of men, which I typically am, or from anyone on my team.
Q: Does your leadership style differ when you’re managing women vs. men?
A: Absolutely not. I’m very direct and straight to the point. Respecting people’s feelings is important, but at the same time, we have work to do and need to remain efficient and productive. I feel like we’re all adults and should be able to speak clearly to each other. Which doesn’t mean you have to be harsh or mean, just direct, as in, this is what I expect to be done. If I see something that could be done better, I don’t see any reason why I can’t suggest it. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to follow it. It just means that I’m suggesting a better process and being heard.
Q: Tell us about your relationship with Convex, our Atlas software, and your Customer Success Manager, Tajanique Shaw.
A: I’m new to the Carolinas and new to the Regional Sales Manager role, and Taj has been wonderful. When the latest Atlas updates came out, I got super pumped about them. I reached out to her to get training, and she jumped right on it. My team has individually reached out to her for specific trainings and she’s always right there with whatever they need. Our relationship is everything I would expect my consultants to give to our customers — and that’s a pretty high level of customer service.
Q: Is there anyone in the past who helped you reach where you are today?
A: Adam Absher was my service manager in Tampa. He tragically passed away in 2017. He was the best person, best manager, best human being — just one of those people you want to be like. His style was the same as mine: very direct, didn’t let anyone walk all over him, and he had a lot of technicians to manage as well as me. But he always had everyone’s best interests at heart, from employees to customers and beyond. His was a tough loss that really left a mark on me and made me think, if I could just be half as good a manager as Adam was, then I’ll be doing okay.
Q: Do you consider yourself a role model for women in your industry? And who is your role model?
A: I hope I’m a good role model for my daughter and my sons, and I hope they see what I’ve struggled through, and now that they’re grown, that they see me as a role model for how to behave and succeed in the future.
As for my role model, it is definitely my mom. She is the hardest-working woman I’ve ever known. She graduated from college back before it was easy for a woman to do so with my oldest brother on her back and became a chemist at a very young age. She worked as a chemist for about 20 years, got early retirement, then decided to go back to school for another four years to become a chiropractor. She is a really inspiring woman.
Q: How do you like to spend your time when you’re not being amazing at your job at Stanley?
A: I am very serious about fitness. I am a certified personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and yoga instructor, and have spent the last five years in Tampa training and teaching Group X Fitness.
I also enjoy painting, even though I rarely have enough time to do it. I love hiking. I recently learned how to snowboard. That was awesome. Now that I’m in the Carolinas, I enjoy whitewater rafting, zip line, anything fun, really outdoors as much as possible. When it’s beautiful, I want to be outside.
Ellin McHarg is Principal Copywriter at Convex.
Originally published on March 28, 2022 Updated on October 3, 2022