Conversation & Communication the Key for Kristine


By Kema Rajandran, ASM.

The security professional today is part of a diverse workforce and represents a variety of backgrounds, but despite diversity in race, age or gender, many people still believe that the average security employee is a male with military or law enforcement experience.

While men represent the majority of employees in the security sector, more and more women, like Woodside Energy’s Security Advisor, Kristine Leo, are gravitating to the field.

Woodside, an independent Australian oil and gas company, is one of the world’s leading producers of liquefied natural gas helping meet the demands for cleaner energy from Japan, China, Korea and other countries in the Asia Pacific region.

With a team of 20 in the company’s Security and Emergency Management Department, staff have varying roles including fraud and corruption control, crisis and emergency management, and intelligence and research.

“The training provided at Woodside is comprehensive but the focus is on improving the skills within each specific role, such as intelligence training, cyber security, maritime security, risk management, crisis management, audit and assurance,” said Kristine.

“There is a strong focus on experiential learning and building relationships along with the academic value gained with partnerships with tertiary institutions.”

Her focus is on corporate security at a strategic level. This includes the protection of people and company assets in a number of different parts of the world during development, exploration, commercial negotiations, drilling campaigns and production.

While Kristine recognises that in certain situations and environments there may be benefits of physical size and strength in the industry, she believes the value of conversation and communication outweigh all other attributes.

“People and communication skills are essential in the role. Mitigating threats in any environment will always involve liaison with a number of stakeholders with varying perspectives.”

With experience dealing with flexible and dynamic situations and continually evolving threats in all parts of the world, she affirms that business risk owners need to be fully appraised of the environment, their vulnerabilities and provided the necessary security advice and assurance.

“You also need strong engagement with government, regulators and law enforcement. You have to be able to sell the return on investment which isn’t always easy when you’re talking intangible benefits.”

Showcasing an impressive academic background, with a Masters in Leadership and Management, Graduate Certificates in Emergency Management, Applied Management and Management, a Bachelor in Investigations, and a Certificate IV in Workplace Assessment and Training, Kristine spent the majority of her career in the police force.

During 23 years of Policing, with the last seven as a Police Superintendent in two jurisdictions (NT & WA), she was in charge of areas ranging from remote bush stations in Arnhem Land to running counter terrorism capabilities and intelligence.

The opportunity and the possibilities provided in a larger state within a larger organisation appealed to Kristine and with the support of her family the move from Darwin to Perth was positive.

“Policing teaches you very good people skills and it’s necessary to communicate at a number of levels along with managing internal and external expectations.”

After 23 years in Law Enforcement, Kristine’s move to Corporate Security was a complete change in direction. “Corporate security had never been on my radar as a possibility, even though I had exposure to the industry through Policing roles in Counter Terrorism and Critical Infrastructure Protection, it’s an exciting time to be involved in the industry as Western Australia is currently the focus for the resources sector in Australia.”

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