“I was honored and very excited,” he says of gaining his position on the board. Emde reached the presidency of ASIS this year after serving terms as its treasurer, secretary, and president-elect.
Of the term of office ahead of him, Emde prefaces his plans by saying, “I really look forward to meeting a lot of people—not just the ones who are able to travel and who are very active, although I am grateful to them for what they do, dedicating their companies’ and their own personal funds to attend. But there are also members and potential members who are, for all sorts of reasons, not as active and mobile. There is a bit of a blind spot in knowing how to cater to their needs, so I hope to meet people who may be less visible but who have nonetheless been very loyal members over many years."
He goes on to explain the importance of that effort, stating, “Related to that is my interest in how we make new members feel welcome and how we can expose them in the best way possible to the opportunities that are relevant to them within the Society. Generally, new members will become long-term members if we can welcome and engage them from the moment they join. I look forward to learning from the chapter volunteers around the globe about how they engage in attracting and keeping new members and what best practices can be shared throughout ASIS. Overall, I hope I can contribute to celebrating ASIS and everything it entails.”
Emde, who has been a fixture in recent years at ASIS events with his lovely wife Yolanthe and charming young son Floris, will have the chance to meet many ASIS members this year at events such as the president’s reception at the Annual Volunteer Leadership Meeting and Meeting of the Membership in Alexandria, Virginia, this month, as well as the upcoming ASIS 3rd Middle East Security Conference and Exhibition, February 19-21 in Dubai, UAE; the ASIS 11th Annual European Security Conference and Exhibition in London, April 15-17; and the ASIS 58th Annual Seminar and Exhibits in Philadelphia, September 10-13.
Emde says that the strategic plan in place for the Society is both aspirational and practical, and there is no need to try to reshape it. His first goal, while working inside of the plan, is to increase the focus on members—“attracting new ones, keeping the current ones, motivating our volunteers, also stretching what we do a little bit in serving our members. With members, I also mean serving our peers—peer to peer, council to peer—all these inter-links that we have and interactions that we have on a daily basis. What can we improve there or is there a need to do things differently? How can we prepare best for the needs of the future and be agile enough to pursue opportunities successfully when they present themselves? How will we drive security’s future?” he asks.
His next area of focus is “being global and inclusive—truly global in terms of how we deal with current and new geographical areas,” he says. “And being truly inclusive is more than security professionals feeling invited to join and participate, but also niches—other groups in other professions that are linked to ours. We are already doing that with the IT security world with (ISC)2, for example.” This issue will be explored by a presidential commission already established by former president, now chairman of the board, Raymond T. O’Hara, CPP.
In terms of the Society’s long-term development, Emde hopes that ASIS will spread its influence to “wherever security is prevalent and there are people who share our philosophy.”
He explains, “I’m not saying that we should grow for growth’s sake, but that ASIS should exist where people who practice our profession are. For example, the Society does not have a chapter in Poland, although one is finally in the process of being established. And there are, of course, more geographical areas that we are not really present in or that we could serve more actively.”
The Society should be one of the leading parties to provide professionals with a network, and it’s vital to let them know about “all the wonderful opportunities ASIS can bring. Where there are countries with security management activities, bringing those professionals on board will strengthen the security body of knowledge and benefit the Society, too,” he explains.
Fortunately, he quips, the wonderful ASIS leaders of the recent past have tackled the creation of other programs—such as the CSO Roundtable, standards development, the ASIS Young Professionals, and Women in Security—“or else they would have been on my list. I’m very happy that those traditional blind spots of our profession are now being addressed and that we are now very active in those areas.”
Emde would also like to see the ASIS certification program continue to flourish. “Although we’ve been doing very well and have one of the best programs in terms of consistency and quality, I get slightly nervous when numbers tend to be relatively flat, because it may signal a drop in enthusiasm. So with certification, I would be tempted to ask that for the next three years, all CPPs, Physical Security Professionals®, and Professional Certified Investigators® each attract one more person per year to become certified. Just think what that would do for our base of certified members,” he says.
“If we do good things, we as a Society need to fly the flag and be sure everyone knows about us and recognizes us for the good programs and activities we have in so many unique forms and shapes around the world,” Emde concludes.