Q & A: Michele Freadman, CPP


Michele FreadmanAviation Security Executives saw their role change dramatically after 9/11.  No airport was more affected than Boston Logan International from where two of the 9/11 hi-jacked airliners originated.  Over a decade later, Michele Freadman, CPP, is the Security Executive charged with coordinating aviation security at Boston Logan—a part of the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport).  In this extensive and thought-provoking interview, Freadman shares her thoughts on women in the security field, technology, security management, future trends, and much more with Voice of Security. 

Voice of Security:  At the 2012 ISC West show in Las Vegas, you were presented with a “Woman of the Year” award at the first event of its type by the Women’s Security Council.  Congratulations on the award.  You’ve had a long career in the security industry with strong leadership positions.  What does an award like that mean to you?

Michele Freadman:  I am very grateful to have been nominated and selected for this award.  As a strong advocate of mentoring, I applaud the Women’s Security Council for including mentoring as one of the nomination criteria.  The impact of mentoring on one’s career has infinite and life-long value.

Reflecting back on my career, the accomplishments that have been the most meaningful to me personally are those that I worked hard to achieve, required personal sacrifice, transformed adversity into opportunity, and have an impact on today’s youth:

  • Earning my board certification as a Certified Protection Professional (CPP) from ASIS International after completing a rigorous study program, while  balancing my work and home responsibilities;
  • Being chosen to be the 2009 Keynote Speaker for Northeastern University’s College of Criminal Justice Senior Graduation Ceremony. This was a memorable honor which afforded me with the opportunity to mentor three graduates whom I continue to mentor today;
  • Graduating first in my police academy for Academic Achievement and Firearms Expertise.  This experience made me stronger, both physically and mentally, and prepared me well for my adventurous career path.  In many ways, this achievement was a life shaping experience.
  • Mentoring with Youth Villages, a national private non-profit organization dedicated to helping troubled children and their families live successful lives through effective services and programs, and serving in an advisory role for their Career Boot Camp Program, a job prep training program for young adults.

Voice of Security:  While the roots of the security industry are still heavily influenced by male professionals, I’m curious, do you think we’ll reach a point in the security industry where we don’t break down awards into smaller segments such as “Women of the Year” or “Young Professional of the Year” and so on?   In other words, does an award like this (one that “qualifies” the type of security professional) have any less meaning?  Or, if not “less meaning” does it say something about our industry—and, if so, what?

Michele Freadman:   I appreciate your thought-provoking question.  It is an understandable practice that many professional associations sponsor awards which recognize women’s accomplishments in non-traditional or male-dominated industries.  The security industry is not alone in instituting this practice. Awards of this type exist in other non-traditional industries such as aviation, finance, construction, engineering, and film, to name a few.  Male-dominated industries provide particular challenges, as well as unique opportunities for women’s advancement.

That said, I think there is value in structuring awards to comport/harmonize with the same guidelines used in hiring and promoting employees – select the most qualified candidate while ensuring a diverse candidate pool, and reward merit.  Universally, if qualifications and performance are the key drivers of selection criteria, it builds credibility and equity, irrespective of the type of award.  Applying this framework, I would be a proponent of making awards “class neutral”, irrespective of age, gender, and race contingent upon ensuring that diversity is both encouraged and inculcated in the selection process.  In this way, we ensure that the selection pool is comprised of a wide breadth of candidates who are varied in their experience level, perspectives, and career paths.


For example, if a young professional has accomplished a noteworthy achievement, then he/she should be considered based on the specific circumstances which relate to his/her accomplishment.  Similarly, ensuring that the selection pool reflects diverse security professionals will eliminate the need to have separate awards, or at least gender specific awards.  My thinking favors a more inclusive approach where a security professional is evaluated based on his/her accomplishments, unique achievements, personal challenges which were overcome, and value proposition, rather than focusing on a class differentiator such as gender. That being said, I do believe that there is value in affinity organizations which provide an opportunity for similarly situated professionals to network and offer support to one another.

The ultimate goal in recognizing talent is to advance the profession and the professional.

Voice of Security:  While the trend is changing, the security industry has long been male-dominated, especially in positions of leadership.  Have you run into challenges of this nature in your career and, if so, what has that involved and how have you handled it?

Michele Freadman:   Over the course of my entire career, I have held non-traditional occupations from police officer, detective, loss prevention supervisor for one of the largest, international package delivery companies, and a variety of management and executive positions in the security field.  Consequently, I understand the premise and the reality that male-dominated industries provide particular challenges for women’s advancement, but I also strongly believe that with these challenges come real opportunities.  These challenges and opportunities have provided me with a platform for personal growth and leadership which I may not have been exposed to working in a traditional industry.  My grandfather who was one of my mentors and most important influences in my life once told me, “no pain, no gain.”  Although he was referring to finances (fiscal responsibility and constraint), his wisdom is applicable to personal and professional growth and maturity.

Since entering the law enforcement field with a quest for adventure, few preconceived notions, and a fair amount of naïveté, I have become significantly more self-reliant and resilient.   There have been days when failure was an option, and then other days where fear of failure motivated me to strive and excel.  In retrospect, there is a lot of truth to the theory of “survival of the fittest” even though Darwin clearly was not thinking about women in law enforcement!

Facing difficult challenges and adversity—be it historically ingrained attitudes towards women, competition in the workplace, marginalization, or just being different in your thinking and genre—I have learned to anticipate and navigate adversity, and adapt my thinking and approach.

Ultimately, there is always more than one option, more than one path, and more than one choice.

Early in my career, I was one of two women in my police academy and one of only a handful of women in both of the policing jobs.  The challenges that I encountered were frequent.  Adversity became my best friend and teacher.  When I graduated first in my class for firearms and academics, the competition and adversity escalated.  This was a difficult experience because I was not exposed to this behavior before at any point in my life. Realizing that there are people who want you to fail, and will take steps to make failure a reality, was a very difficult lesson to learn.  That lesson was painful, but it prepared me well for my future.

Even more vital in those early years, I learned the importance of having advocacy and support from other professionals in the field who believe in you and want you to succeed.  During my college co-ops, I worked at Boston Police Department (BPD) and it was there that I developed relationships with law enforcement professionals who became my mentors.  During my years as in policing, I developed close relationships with the DA’s, who some of whom I still maintain relationships with today.   In all of my law enforcement and security positions, I was fortunate to have been supported by experienced professionals who taught me key skills, helped to learn from my mistakes, and encouraged me.  And I am grateful for these relationships.

Having worked in male dominated/centric industries throughout my entire career, my most important and influential mentors have been men who have believed in me and my success.  These individuals provide me with the necessary encouragement and advocacy to flourish.  In contrast, I have faced significant adversaries who have been men who did not want me to be successful and who employed strategies to limit or impede my success.  The support that I received from my mentors was the force that kept me going when I wanted to quit.  They would say, “You are not quitting, it is not an option.”  I am forever grateful to have received the support from other professionals and mentors throughout my entire career that have believed in me and my success – even more than I did.

I learned early on that you have to be strong, resilient, perseverant, and smart to survive. Mental strength/mental attitude cannot be overestimated.  Just ask the Celtics (I am a Celtic’s fan).  And Phil Jackson, former coach of the LA Lakers had it right when he said, you “need the will to win. You win from within.”

The strategies that I have used to overcome adversity are the same remedies that are applicable to resolving any challenge or adverse experience:  emotional intelligence, hard work, focus, optimism, resilience, perseverance, and “winner’s framework/mindset”.   Essential career skills include establishing credibility, competence, earning and preserving your reputation, and being strategic in your thinking and actions. Jack Welch in his best-selling book, Winning describes one of the characteristics of leaders as “the ability to see around corners”—special capacity or sixth sense to anticipate the unexpected, and anticipate your adversary’s actions before he/she does.

Ultimately, you need the support and advocacy of your supervisors and other key decision makers to be effective and ultimately successful.   Being able to demonstrate your value, impact, and contributions are fundamental.  Being an optimist and having a sense of humor even in the most dire circumstances reduces stress, re-energizes you, and strengthens bonds with your colleagues.   Laughter really is the best medicine!

There are two relevant quotes which come to mind:

“Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.”
Orison Swett Marden

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
Albert Schweitzer

I continue to learn from difficult challenges and experiences – of which there is no shortage – and try to be more effective in my role as a person and leader.   This is a life-long process. 

Hang tough, laugh, learn, enjoy your friendships, and stay focused on your mission.

Voice of Security:  I see you have a degree in Criminal Justice along with an early career in law enforcement.  What lead you to choose Criminal Justice as a college major?  What caused you to make the leap from law enforcement to security?

Michele Freadman:   I chose Criminal Justice because it was an exciting major which combined my interest in law, psychology, and criminology.  Growing up, I was always fascinated with the “criminal mind” and intrigued with police television shows Criminal Justice seemed like a perfect fit.  From a practical standpoint, it offered me an interdisciplinary education with concentrations in criminology, sociology, psychology, and law.  I chose Northeastern University because it offered a cooperative education program (“coop”) which enabled me to participate in coop assignments at Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Boston Police Department. Working as an analyst for DEA Headquarters and as an intern at BPD in three divisions:  1) Internal Affairs, 2) Management and Budget; and 3) Criminal Investigations afforded me real life experience.  My coops translated into valuable professional experience, a resume with “real” experience, and career contacts—all before I graduated.  From my choice of a college major to my current position, I have always followed my passion.  All of the other critical success factors fell into place with hard work, adaptability, perseverance, and continuous learning.

I left law enforcement to explore the private sector, lured by the intrigue of the unknown, the color “green”, and the opportunity to apply my knowledge, skills, and abilities in a new arena.   My journey from law enforcement to corporate anti-fraud investigations, corporate security, aviation security, and homeland security has been fascinating.

The relationships and skills that I developed early in my career have opened the door to opportunity on more than one occasion and helped me to navigate from police officer to Deputy Director of Aviation Security Operations at Massport.  In every position I have held, I amassed skills, experience, personal growth, and was exposed to many remarkable and successful people.  I learned by accident that in the work world each of us is our unique brand and you must work continuously to manage your brand to be fulfilled and successful in your career.

Voice of Security:  With a career spanning nearly 30 years you’ve spent the last nine years with Massport.  What are some of your current responsibilities?

Michele Freadman:   At Boston-Logan International Airport (“Boston Logan”), I am the Airport Security Coordinator (ASC) designated in our Airport Security Program, responsible for compliance with federal security regulations, in accordance with 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1542 (Civil Aviation Security).  This regulation requires airport operators to adopt and carry out a security program approved by TSA.  As the ASC, I am the airport’s  primary contact for security activities and communications with the TSA and responsible for ensuring that the airport’s security functions are in compliance with federal regulations, our security program, and applicable Security Directives.


In my role, I oversee four core functions:

  • Security Badge Office and Violations Office (the airport issues 18,000 badges to airport workers).
  • Dispatch Unit (responsible for dispatching Massachusetts State Police Troop F to calls within our jurisdiction at the airport and seaport.
  • Aviation Officers (SSPO who control access to our secure airfield (inspecting and vetting people and vehicles).
  • Training and Compliance functions.

Overall, I design and direct the implementation and management of security programs and solutions to ensure compliance with federal security regulation and an integrated approach to security for the safe and efficient operation of Boston Logan and all aviation facilities.

Voice of Security:  As a leader on the Aviation Security side of Massport for the last year now, how does that compare with your previous Massport position as Deputy Director on the Corporate Security side?

Michele Freadman:   My previous position as Deputy Director of Corporate Security provided me with a solid background and understanding of our organization, its functions, and the “go to” people – all of which facilitate my new role in Aviation Security.  One of prior roles was to develop and oversee the Security Scorecard. This performance measurement system is comprised of a balanced framework of metrics which evaluate key security activities and overall performance.  Having this experience in measuring our security program and understanding the broad view was very helpful in transitioning to my new role.   Many of my prior core responsibilities, including security compliance oversight and security awareness programs, transferred with me in my new role.

The primary differences between the two functions are:  Corporate Security is program management versus Aviation Security Operations which is both operations centric and program management.  In addition, in my new role, I am responsible for 40 people.

My current position in Aviation Security is both strategic and tactical, is much more “hands on” and it brings the opportunity to implement change.  These changes align our decision making, process, and people with our mission to continuously improve service, security, and efficiency.

These changes are both tangible and rewarding and include everything from hiring and repositioning personnel, realigning job functions, talent identification and development, redesigning and branding work spaces, to procuring tools, technologies, and training to advance our mission.

My passion for organizational behavior aligns perfectly with my current role.  This change has been good and has allowed me the chance to broaden my bench of experience.

Voice of Security:  What challenges did you face transitioning from one position to the other?

Michele Freadman:   The challenges that come to mind include those that I referenced above – redefining team mission and strategies, realigning and redesigning job functions and responsibilities, leadership changes, and employee retention strategies.

Of course, there is the adaptation process as my team adapts to the new values and expectations of leadership.  Importantly, getting to know everyone on my team, hearing their perspectives, concerns, and ideas, and then evaluating these ideas to improve our security program and the value added.  This process lasted several months.

It was invaluable and challenging in that it was time and labor intensive, required constant focus and active listening. This effort yielded high returns. I am a firm believer in the management philosophy that if team members buy in to the system and feel ownership of it, they will be more productive and happier.

During the first several months, I lived in interviews as we had several open positions to fill. It is a challenge finding employees who actually have the requisite skills for the job – individuals who have learning agility, are able to adapt to change, are technologically proficient and skilled, and possess solid writing skills.

Learning the Collective Bargaining Agreement was another new challenge as I had not previously managed union personnel.  Applying the contract, participating in union hearings and grievances, and learning the myriad of provisions was a learning curve.  Fortunately, my colleagues in Labor Relations have been very supportive.

In addition, coinciding with the transition, we had several projects with hard deadlines including an entire rewrite of our Airport Security Program which involved a significant time commitment and collaboration with our Legal Department, an annual TSA Comprehensive Inspection of the Airport’s Security Program, and budget proposals for both operating and capital expenditures.

I have been fortunate that the airport’s units work very closely together with security and are cohesive.  The support that I received from our Facilities and Operations Units in identifying and implementing security enhancements was amazing.  These teams are responsive, efficient, expedient, and commit resources – both staff and money – to be part of a security project team, redesign work spaces to optimize efficiency, and participate in security inspections and solutions.  The collaboration of my colleagues and peer work units has aided my transition tremendously and has been most welcome if not unexpected.

Voice of Security:  While few in the Security industry seem to have a “typical” week or month, I’m wondering if you could attempt to share a bit about some of what you find yourself working on in any given week or month?

Michele Freadman:   Consistent with most jobs in the security profession, my job is very diverse and no two days or weeks or months are alike. A glimpse of the some of the areas and issues that I work on frequently include:

  • Regulatory Compliance—There is frequent interaction (meetings and discussions) with TSA Regulatory officials, my unit, and the Legal Department on compliance issues which are addressed through education, awareness, and enforcement and changes to our ASP associated with new regulations and changes to our airport layout.  I am involved in drafting security advisories on a variety of security topics to educate the airport community, amending our ASP, and implementing audit plans and programs.  I meet with Legal department many times during the course of the week on regulatory issues, proposed changes to our ASP, and to share observations on airport compliance.  We have been approved by the TSA to develop a training webinar to satisfy one of our regulatory requirements for annual training of one of our badging constituencies.  This is novel and will involve close collaboration with our Security Badge Office, IT, and Legal to ensure successful implementation.
  • Personnel Issues—As I continue to build our security team, I spend a significant amount of time on personnel issues including interviewing candidates for open security positions, meeting with members of my team individually or in groups to identify and developing talent, facilitating processes and problem solving.   In conjunction with these tasks, I work closely with my team in drafting position justifications and job descriptions.
  • Meeting Attendance—I attend numerous meetings on a daily basis ranging from operational issues, compliance issues, process improvements including introducing new procedures and identifying new technologies and work flows, personnel and staffing issues, personnel investigations, and labor issues.   I collaborate closely with the Legal Department, Labor Relations, Human Resources, Diversity, and Capital Programs. Labor Relations, Legal Department in determining dispositions, problem solve, applying labor and work rules in a variety of scenarios.
  • Public Speaking—In this position, there is significant amount of public speaking.  Recently, I was a panel member for Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) speaking with other airport representatives on implementing biometrics at our airports.  Within the past few months, I spoke to the National Defense University during their visit to Logan on leadership skills for senior leaders, strategic planning, and performance management.Recently, I presided at Logan’s Security Awareness for Everyone (SAFE) Awards Ceremony with our Director of Aviation Operations to recognize the awardees from our spring campaign at a formal ceremony at the airport.  These employees were very proud to have been selected for this honor.I am the chair of our SAFE committee which administers this security awareness program.  SAFE is an employee recognition program which recognizes front line employees who demonstrate exemplary security awareness in their daily jobs.  This is a very positive campaign which engages our front line employees, who are our best defense against a broad spectrum of security threats.  This campaign is unique to Logan and was recognized by the Airports Council – North America (ACI-NA) which awarded Massport first prize for Corporate Branding for Logan SAFE in a marketing contest.
  • Employee Development—Developing future leaders, giving feedback on performance (not just at the performance review cycle), identifying opportunities for better results, and listening. I spend a lot of time listening.
  • Responding to E-mails (lots and lots of e-mails)—Last but not least, is responding to a diverse range and large volume of emails which span operational issues, requests for permits to conduct picketing at the airport, regulatory issues, and requests for information and policy reviews from other departments and stakeholders.

Voice of Security:  What would you say are some of the biggest challenges you face in your day-to-day work?

Michele Freadman:   Bear in mind that the first year in any new leadership position is akin “to drinking out of a fire hose.”   Some of my challenges are developing a proactive mindset amongst the constituencies, communicating the importance and impact of regulatory compliance, educating external stakeholders, and reducing complacency.  Equally challenging is sustaining a high operational tempo, staying ahead of the myriad of regulations and proposed changes to the Airport Security Program as the designated Airport Security Coordinator, aligning my team with strategic objectives, and continually improving the security program through people, process, technology, and physical enhancements.

Voice of Security:  While I know you weren’t with Massport on 9/11, I would think that the events of that day still have greater meaning for security operations at Boston Logan (given that the planes that struck the twin towers both originated from there).  Does that fact motivate/impact security staff and discussions yet today?

Michele Freadman:   Massport is a perfect illustration of an organization with a resilient culture and one that is strongly committed to the security excellence.  As you mentioned, fate forever linked Boston Logan to 9/11.  Although both the 9/11 Commission and the federal courts have found Massport bore no responsibility for that tragic day, Massport changed dramatically as a result of 9/11.  Some of these changes include:

  • Starting on 9/12, Massport’s CEO instituted a daily 0830 with our airline partners, federal partners, and other stakeholder to discuss any security and operational issues (a look back and look ahead perspective).On a daily basis, approximately, 70+ stakeholders meet for a daily brief in our Briefing Room with our federal partners, TSA, FBI, FAMS, CBP, etc. Sometimes it takes 10 minutes, sometimes it takes a half hour, but the meeting is important and we’ve been told that the collaboration that exists in that room is not replicated at any other airport in the world.This meeting continues today chaired by Ed Freni, Director of Aviation and it thrives because it provides a quick forum to discuss security/operational issue with all of our partners and it is symbolic of the airport community’s commitment to security.  This meeting is symbolic of Massport’s resilient culture and safety and security mission.
  • Massport’s commitment to security is demonstrated through its investment of $211M in key physical security improvements since 9/11.  Last year (FY11), Massport security program expenditures totaled $109M.  Massport spends 11% of its net operating revenue on security.
  • Massport is not just a landlord—we are partners with our airport tenants.  We promote security, service, and safety awards to those employees who step up.  And we provide training programs, integrated emergency exercise programs, and cultural events, such as the art displays which are available to the surrounding communities.
  • We were the first airport in the country to install a $145M+ 100% in-line Baggage Handling System (BHS) ahead of the federal security deadline of December 31st 2002 for Hold Baggage Screening (HBS).   Despite the downturn in passenger traffic, we worked closely with our financial partners, engineers, and TSA to meet this milestone.
  • Massport was one of the first CAT X Airports to roll out biometrics as part of our access control system which controls 900 portals accessing secured and sterile areas.
  • We are one of the only airports to have a TSCOE – test bed to evaluate security technologies and best practices. The TSCOE has an advisory board consisting of a blue ribbon panel of educators, technologists, scientists, and many of whom are affiliated with MIT Lincoln Labs.
  • In 2004, Airport Security News Report named Logan-International Airport as the winner of the first annual Exceptional Performance in Airport Security Award. The award recognizes Logan Airport for significant advances in security and management, strong leadership and its ability to maintain public confidence in air travel.

The events of 9/11 will continue to motivate and have a profound impact for those who were personally associated and for those whose lives were forever changed by those events.  For others, 11 years post 9/11, the memory of this tragic event may not be as strong.  Complacent attitudes and behaviors can lead to lack of awareness which is why we keep security in the forefront of our community each and every day.


Voice of Security:  On the Aviation Security front, it would seem security technology is playing a bigger role than at any time in the past.  What are your general thoughts on today’s security technologies?

Michele Freadman:   Generally, I see that today’s security technologies are driven by the ever-evolving threat and the increased sophistication used to deploy attack methods and means of destruction. Perimeter security systems, video analytics, artificial intelligence, advanced imaging technologies, and economical and reliable scanning technologies to detect cargo threats, and technologies that unify and amass multiple data feeds into a comprehensive framework and dashboard to facilitate decision-making.  Today’s decision-makers need just in time information that is cost effective and easy to administer.

Al Qaeda’s recent attempt to bring down a US bound airliner using the latest iteration of the underwear bomb is a continual reminder that the terrorists remain determined and vigilant in their cause to exploit aviation security vulnerabilities to achieve their goal to attack America. They only need to get it right once. We need to get it right every time and everyday.

There is a demand for enterprise cost effective protection that leverages security systems and information sharing between physical and information security systems that is efficient and has a low false positive rate.

In the aviation security sector, I think that e-badging solutions which provide Internet based solutions to automate the badge application process will transform the badging operation at airports and yield significant returns in efficiency, service, and security.   This is big deal for airports that are responsible for maintaining thousands of paper badge applications and ID documents.  Accompanying this technology is a digitalized document management system which affords an electronic solution for searching and storing required records which are archived.

Voice of Security:  Could you provide any general thoughts or feedback to Security Manufacturers as they develop future security technologies?

Michele Freadman:

  • If you have seen one airport, you have seen one airport.  There is a need to adapt solutions to a specific environment, culture, and organizational model.  Understand the environment that you are looking to enhance through a technology solution and that each airport is different.  Similarly, some users prefer Apple and some prefer Droid.   Choice is personal.  Respect personal choice.
  • Let the end user be your compass, focal point, and your advisor.
  • Consider the impact on resources.  Sophisticated new technologies often require more staff to operate the system, as well as more technology proficient operators with a more advanced skill set.
  • Technology is not the cure all.  It needs to be integrated with people and processes for it to be effective.  If the approach is not holistic, the result will not be optimal.  So, you need to merge science with sociology.   There needs to be a way to measure the impact or value derived through performance measurement.  The technology solution needs to demonstrate real value.
  • Listen – this is the most important and most rarely employed skill and attribute.  Many salespeople and developers ask but do not listen to the answers, or worse they do all the talking.  The definition of wisdom by Carl Summers is applicable, “Shut up and listen.”  You learn far more by listening than by talking.

Voice of Security:  When you think of the future, what do you think are our greatest industry opportunities?

Michele Freadman:   Information sharing, education, cross-pollination, interdisciplinary team approach, fewer silos, cross fertilization between the public sector and private sector.  Convergence with Operations and Security as well as IT and Security is another opportunity area.  The best solutions originate from different and varied experiences, perspectives, and thinking.

Voice of Security:  The flip side when looking at the future, what do you think are our greatest industry challenges on the horizon?

Michele Freadman:

  • The human factor, technologies, and resources.  Limited and competing resources, especially financial.
  • Complacency and engaging our workforce.
  •  The ever evolving threat especially against the transportation sector.
  • Investing in our training programs.
  • Staying current with changing regulations, evolving security practices, and emerging technologies.
  • Developing future leaders.  This is an investment which requires time and a personal commitment to help others grow and optimize their potential.

Voice of Security:  Readers like learning a bit about the security professional “away” from work.  If you feel comfortable sharing, please let us know about what you enjoy when you have down time.

Michele Freadman:

  • Mentoring—I am passionate about mentoring.  I am a member of Massport’s Mentoring Steering Committee and have a variety of mentees from Northeastern University and Youth Villages (Editor’s Note:  Click here for a  story on Michele’s mentoring experience with Youth Villages).Many of my mentees do not have family support and have had very difficult lives and others are graduates of Northeastern University, my alma mater, who are seeking guidance and advice.  The mentoring process has been very rewarding for me and illustrates the value of reverse mentoring.  The mentoring relationship provides each of us the opportunity to learn from each other, share experiences, and find commonalties across generations, gender and race differences, and diverse backgrounds.My community mentoring has been the most impactful life experience for me on many levels.  It demonstrates the power of caring about someone else’s life and the impact that you can have by taking the time to care and to share.   I have been helped by others and understand the importance of giving back to others who are less fortunate.  Even on my most difficult days at work, I welcome a phone call from my mentees which always puts life in perspective for me.
  • Continuous learning—Learning about organizational behavior and leadership is intriguing and relevant.  I enjoy reading books on leadership, including The Winner’s Brain, Brain, The Leaders Edge, Five Dysfunctions of Team, and Emotional Intelligence (EQ).   EQ is my all-time favorite concept because is practical, applicable to both our professional and personal lives, and it is an enduring concept.  When I see very successful people, I see high EQ.  When I see people who are unsuccessful and whose careers have been derailed, I see low EQ.I also listen to books on tape to learn new leadership concepts and strategies, techniques to improve my leadership abilities, and ideas to optimize operational and individual performance.  During my 1 ½ + hour commute to work, I listen to books on tape and sports radio.  I am an avid Celtics fan and respect coach, Doc Rivers and his team immensely.  There are so many leadership and life lessons that you learn from sports.  Having to move forward after a bad ref call has a lot of applicability to life.  The power of teamwork and being unselfish is inspiring.
  • Career Coaching—Coaching is one my passions.  I coach other career professionals in transition, looking to change career direction, and become more fulfilled in their careers. I have developed a career presentation which illustrates several leadership principles using the personal stories of 25+ security executive and professionals that I have interviewed in the private and public sector.  I present to industry groups, at Northeastern University, and at Massport.  Helping people become more fulfilled in the careers and lives is very rewarding.
  • Walking on the beach—The opportunity to walk on the beach and experience quiet moments of solitude are rare and treasured moments.  I love the sun and walking on the beach.  Don’t ask me why I live here!
  • Spending time with friends—I cherish my friendships and have friends all over the country that I keep in touch with on a regular basis.  The blessing of friendship – sharing life stories, laughter, and great food (I love to eat good food) is what recharges my battery and keeps me balanced.

Conclusion:  At Voice of Security an effort is made to develop interviews that “dig deeper” and provide “unique perspectives” on the security industry.   In the case of this interview, Michele Freadman took that effort to a higher level—providing insights and extensive commentary not often seen in business interviews (regardless of industry).  For that, Voice of Security, owes special thanks to Michele, and believes readers will do well to share her thoughts with colleagues throughout the industry.