A conversation with Don Young, hosted by TMA NextGen Co-Chairs Ryan Brady, TRG Associates, and Jessica Lambert, General Monitoring Services, on June 15, 2021

Brought to you by TMA’s NextGen, we are pleased to introduce our second episode or our exciting virtual meeting series – Meet Your Mentor. Each broadcast will welcome a respected TMA leader in an informal, interview-style format that invites attendees to ask questions and share comments.

Strive For 51%

For over 30 years,  TMA President Don Young has been instrumental in helping the industry’s best-known leaders and largest installation and monitoring service providers grow their businesses by leveraging both his operational prowess and technology experience to operate more effectively through innovative thinking and execution.

It was a commander in the U.S. Air Force that initially identified Young’s strong leadership potential early on in his military service. His first official mentor, the commander, assigned the enlisted Young to lead a group his peers. The opportunity to lead was, according to Young, “Hugely beneficial! It set me on my path forward.”

When asked what makes a leader great, Young was quick to identify his top attributes. First is character. “Attitude and character are highly valued,” emphasized Young who refers to character as a muscle that professionals need to develop and strengthen. Transparency is the second, critical attribute, raised by Young. “Transparency establishes trust from day one between a leader and his team members. It is really important to have faith in each other and know that each one has the other’s back.” In turn, Young admonishes that professionals should avoid dishonesty and lying at all costs, as it breaks down the trust in the relationship.

Young previously spoke to merits of “attitude vs aptitude” or character vs competence in hiring, saying, “I prefer attitude over aptitude from my team members and endeavor to earn their trust and never demand their respect.”

“The art of delegation is really critical – most especially for professionals like me,” stated Young, “Team members don’t perform at the same level. You need to make certain there is an understanding of expectations.”

“My path is to invest energy, effort, faith, and trust in those I manage or mentor. I seek to be vulnerable even though it is hard– especially if you have been burned in the past,” Young says, adding, “You can be much more effective if you can be vulnerable.” He recommends that professionals foster risk-taking and “go for the brass ring.”

Many executives struggle to find a healthy and fulfilling balance between work responsibilities and the joys of personal life. Young’s own perspective shifted dramatically 10 years ago when he was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor, which required surgery and a year of rehabilitation. “I wish I had understood what I learned through this experience much earlier in my career.”

“Try to have fun with your journey! Maintain as many options as possible in your life. And, don’t be stressed out if Plan A doesn’t work; move to Plan B.”

Of his TMA presidency, Young, without hesitation, says, “I’m proud TMA continues to thrive. I am having the time of my life!” In particular, Young is most inspired and rewarded by the opportunity to engage with top leaders from across the security and monitoring space and draw from their decades of industry experience.

Above all, Young encourages professionals to believe in themselves. “Invest time and energy to build trust and faith so that you can make 51% good decisions.”

The next episode of Meet Your Mentor on September 21 with Teresa Gonzalez, President, United Central Control.

To view recordings and register for an upcoming episode, learn more about this group, or to join TMA NextGen visit us online.

Interested in sponsoring an episode of Meet Your Mentor, or perhaps the full series? Contact Illeny Maaza, 703-660-4918 or membership@tma.us.