To James Morris, CPP, a career in security is all about the people.
“I’ve traveled to amazing places, met truly fantastic professionals at every level of organizations, and worked alongside interesting companies, but my most memorable moments are all people-related,” he notes. “The colleagues I have supported. The clients who have been open to learning and collaborating. We are a people industry. People are the key factor.”
Morris was an engineering student when he enlisted with the British Army for a tour in Iraq in 2004. Near the end of his tour, he was approached by a security company filling contracts in the region, and he signed on for two years of reconstruction work in Iraq. He pivoted to an intelligence role for the British Embassies in Basra, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Then, in 2009, he took on a position as a security analyst for the gold mining industry in sub-Saharan Africa.
While spending more than a decade overseas, he experienced the power of ASIS to help cultivate his security prowess. “I heard about ASIS while looking for opportunities to increase my knowledge and broaden my network when working in Afghanistan,” he shares. “I’ve found that the greatest benefit of membership is the professional network. Wherever I go, I can rely on ASIS members to answer my call.”
Recognizing the need for an ASIS chapter after he relocated to Ghana, he was a founding member of the ASIS Ghana Chapter in late 2011 and served as its inaugural secretary in 2012.
Returning to the United Kingdom a few years later, he served as security manager of the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region for two financial services firms. These roles require a healthy amount of travel—he currently spends seven to ten days per month abroad—as he supports security needs around the globe.
Driven to prove his place among his management peers, Morris earned the Certified Protection Professional (CPP®) certification in 2016. “The CPP is the stamp of authority that demonstrates to other professionals that I have the knowledge and experience needed by senior leaders in the security industry,” he says.
“Studying for the exam was also an opportunity to identify best practices, and it amazed me the number of times I was able to link examples from my studies to actual scenarios that I had worked through,” he adds. “I still refer to my study materials while working with clients to discuss best practices and global standards.”
It all maps back to people. With a wealth of experience and the gold standard of security certification at his back, he pays his experience forward to the young professionals of the ASIS United Kingdom Chapter.
“I find that the more I put into my membership, the more I get out of it,” he explains. “So I serve as director of the UK Young Professionals Group and try to give as much time as I can to ASIS members who ask for help. My work history demonstrates how dynamic our industry is. Whether you’re a security officer or an analyst, or working in investigations, compliance, or cyber roles, there are more security careers available than you might think. I want to do my part to communicate these opportunities to the leaders of tomorrow.”