SVP/Allied Universal® Event Services
Thushan Rajapaksa is a perfect example of an exemplary and dedicated Allied Universal employee who started his security career with the company 25 years ago. At the young age of 18, Thushan started working at the ticket booth at various events and moved on to become a guest services coordinator, recruiter, scheduler, event manager, account manager and sales manager. At 23, he became general manager for the company’s Event Services division in Los Angeles. Today, he leads the division as Senior Vice President. His goal for the company is truly inspiring as he wants to implement an Event Services branch office in every major city in the United States and eventually expand into international markets.
Throughout his career, he has always been a huge supporter of diversity in the workplace. He believes that diversity makes all teams more unified, collaborative and stronger.
“I have seen first-hand our team thrive through diversity among employees with innovation, creativity, and strategic problem solving,” said Thushan. “Each team member brings to the table their own unique perspectives and approaches, forged by their cultural background, experiences, personality, and a multitude of other factors. Change is like a steamroller, if you don’t roll with it, you become part of the road.”
Especially in the security industry, according to Thushan, it is extremely important to recognize diversity because a truly diverse workforce can become a powerful asset.
“Our job, as leaders, is to bring together best practices from our hiring processes and training initiatives, and give the necessary tools for our managers in order so they can build a diverse workforce.”
Over the years, there have been times when Thushan and his team had to deal with difficult situations surrounding diversity in regards to event management. For example, in one weekend, his team worked event security for a diverse group of performers such as Metallica, Snoop Dog, Disney on Ice, Lady Gaga etc., which can be difficult for staff to adjust quickly.
“We must celebrate these mass differences and diversity of events and mirror the demographics of these events to connect at a deeper level,” he said. “Understanding and being empathetic to guest and staff needs are key to our success.”
Thushan believes an inclusive work environment builds confidence among employees as they feel their contributions are being recognized and respected.
“When I first started my career, I was the only person of color and someone who grew up in another country (island of Sri Lanka),” he said. “My direct supervisor never saw me for the color of my skin or background and only appreciated my work ethic, passion and intensity to “win” for the company. Now that I am leading an incredible team, I strive to show them the same respect that was shown to me.”