By Kema Rajandran, ASM.
Some would think running the first woman-owned multi-million dollar professional security services firm in a three-state region would be time consuming enough, add two children, four grandchildren, a lifelong dedication to helping your local church and community – then throw in the wrath of Hurricane Katrina.
During her 18 years as CEO of Crescent Guardian Inc (CGI Protects), Marian Pierre transformed the company from a local guard services company to a security technology and services company. At its height, CGI employed more than 1,500 employees throughout the country, and then in 2005, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina struck.
Pierre, along with many other residents, lost her home, her belongings and her business suffered catastrophic losses. “When Hurricane Katrina came to New Orleans, our office building was completely flooded, we lost all of our records and most of our people were evacuated and moved away. Of course, this was a time when Security was most critical,” said Pierre.
Returning to the office in a boat two days after the storm, Pierre was as expected, upset at the reality of the destruction, then her feelings turned to anger and grew to determination as she began the process of re-hiring and staffing for emergency requirements. “I had to contact all of our existing customers and staff to protect their facilities. The security industry is a male dominated industry, so my task was tough from the start.”
But Pierre is of the mindset to not let anything beat her. “In any facet of life there are challenges to overcome. Regardless of your gender, race, religious affiliation or other differences, you should follow your heart and move in the direction it takes you. There is no reason not to pursue a career in any area that you choose.”
With this determination Pierre rebuilt her business. Fast forward to 2007 and Pierre is voted Woman of the Year in New Orleans City Business, in 2008 she was named the Parren J. Mitchell Entrepreneur of the Year and in October 2011, the Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), Member to Watch, which recognizes top women industry leaders who have shown themselves to be innovative and accomplished in their line of business and has benefited the women’s business community.
The first woman from the New Orleans area to receive recognition for the WIPP award, Pierre’s booming business, courageous efforts during Hurricane Katrina and her ability to identify and carry out successful solutions saw her rise above the rest.
“We have not only succeeded rebuilding the business after Hurricane Katrina, but we are the first, and to my knowledge, the only, Guard Services company that offers Electronic Surveillance technologies, thereby enabling our customers to have one company to hold accountable for all of their Security needs.”
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