Janice Holmes is truly one of a kind. From starting out in hospital security to working with Rogers Communications and most recently with the CN Tower, Janice has been in the private security industry for over 30 years. Her background includes working with the Chief Firearms Office (Firearms Safety Education Service of Ontario) for almost 20 years as a firearms instructor, and recently becoming a certified Hunter Education Instructor. Combined with her love of boating and the outdoors, we are proud to call her Friday Harbour’s Security, Health and Safety Manager.
As part of the opening team, Janice has built the Security, Health and Safety Department and team, and works closely with South Simcoe Police and Innisfil Fire Services to ensure the safety of Homeowners, Guests, staff, and the community. We got to know Janice, what she does at Friday Harbour, and how she is working with Sergeant John Chalmers of the South Simcoe Police and Deputy Fire Chief Tom Raeburn to ensure ongoing safety and security at the Resort.
What is the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?
JH: It is building the Security, Health and Safety Department and team. When I first started, we decided to go with an in-house Security Team as opposed to contract security. One thing I mention to everyone that I hire is I want our Homeowners, Guests, and the community to look at us and say, “Wow, look at that Security Team.” We are raising the standards and striving to be the best in the industry. We are continuously challenging ourselves.
What would you like people to know about what you do?
JH: That I’m a member of a team and I rely on my team who are dedicated to what they do. They understand the level of customer service that we aim to provide to Homeowners and Guests. I want the team to be recognized because they’re the ones that are out there day in and day out. I hope people know we are working to be the best of the best. And everyone respects what we are trying to do and understand that there are challenges. We have guidelines, we have processes and I rely on them to protect everyone.
Which one of our Core Values do you connect with the most? (Passion, Integrity, Excellence, Respect)
JH: I always strive for excellence but in our industry, we need all of them to reach our goals. Passion is what makes us better not only for our team and for us as individuals, but for Homeowners and Guests. We also need integrity. We are governed by it with the Ministry for our security license, so we follow the Code of Conduct. And then respect, you need to respect everyone, so we always try to instill empathy. No matter what we are responding to, we need to understand what people are going through and our end goal is to try to help them.
What is the best advice you been given?
JH: “Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader. They set out to make a difference. It’s never about the role, it’s always about the goal.” When you live by that, you remember that we’re all part of the same team. To me, a leader is just someone who coordinates everything, but the team is who executes it and pulls it together.
What has it been like for South Simcoe Police and Fire Service to work with Friday Harbour?
TR: It’s been fantastic working with Friday Harbour, Janice, and her team. We have completed a lot of interactive training with the Security Team. There are a lot of remote fire alarms as buildings are being built. When we respond, Janice’s team helps guide us through this large complex, to the alarm and the fire alarm panel. They are invaluable to our response. From the training aspect, we never had buildings like this and it is new to our firefighting tactics. It’s been great that we can come to Friday Harbour, do all kinds of things in buildings that are being constructed. It’s also great for the Homeowners here because when we do respond, we are familiar with the buildings and how the systems work. It’s been just a great relationship.
JC: It has been a great learning experience working with everyone. The Chief of Police is really big on working with the owners of the Resort first hand and looking at expectations for the future. In 2016, we were there at the forefront with them and communicating what we need for the future, the different resources that are going to be available to them and what Friday Harbour had to offer the police and fire service to assist with our needs. The relationship building has been outstanding, and the interaction and everybody working together, that’s been a positive for all of us.
JH: Since we started a monthly meeting last April, it’s been very dynamic. I really appreciate that every time I call fire or police services, we are a priority. When we were training our Security Team, the fact that John and his team not only looked at our training programs to understand it but came to support it, it sent a loud message to the team about the amount of responsibility and the expectations.
Has police services or fire services worked with any organizations like this before?
JC: We have done our research and it is unique. I have reached out to different services to see what they have to help us prepare and they basically said good luck because there is nothing like this in the area. That’s why we want this close relationship with Friday Harbour Security Team, because as we grow together, we grow with the community. Everybody is a stakeholder because we are part of this community, we want to see it grow and we want to be there. If we didn’t take that relationship to the next level, then all you’re doing is reacting.
What is your goal with this partnership?
TR: For fire services, it’s to just keep working together. It just makes everyone’s job much easier and makes us much more effective. The pre-planning we are doing – if there’s a fire in one of these buildings – having the knowledge of the building by working with Friday Harbour in advance is tremendous. It’s invaluable, continuing that as we go forward, and as new buildings continue to go up and all the new things coming. Just having that two-way dialogue is so valuable for the future.
JC: We want to be with Friday Harbour as it grows. We want to be here with fire services, with the Security Team. In order to be successful, we have to work together and learn from each other.
JH: At the end of the day, our goal is to make sure that everyone feels safe and secure here at Friday Harbour and for them to understand how closely we are all working together to ensure that.