Siblings grow up together, but then often take different career paths.
But for Jeff and Tisha Hester, it’s a different dynamic — the two spent the past 20 years working together, overseeing Allied Universal employees at Temple University.
“The challenge is handling different perspectives, not arguing as if we are sister and brother but as two managers having a disagreement,” Jeff Hester said. “We have to stick to the professional duties.”
Jeff and Tisha Hester are account managers for Allied Universal, a company that provides security services to Temple’s Campus Safety Services, and they oversee about 400 employees.
Jeff Hester, 51, first came to Temple in August 1996, while working as a security officer at the Health Sciences Center Campus, and then promoted to a manager position in 1999. Tisha Hester, 47, started as a security officer at the Health Sciences Center Campus in September 1997 before being promoted to management in 2004.
Now, Jeff and Tisha Hester oversee hundreds of security personnel on Main Campus, the Health Sciences Center and satellite campuses.
The West Philadelphia natives said working with each other has its pros and cons. Discussing work-related issues at home during the holidays is a con. Jeff Hester tells his little sister to leave work at work, he said. But one of the joys of his job is watching his younger sister’s passion for working in the security field grow, he added.
“He always has the knowledge I’m looking for,” Tisha Hester said. “If I need an answer, I can always count on him.”
Tisha Hester added with a laugh that if she does something wrong, her brother is always there to reprimand her.
While the siblings enjoy each other’s company, not every day is a joyride.
Jeff Hester said his team and his sister are sometimes responsible for dealing with security threats, like ensuring the Temple community was safe during the terrorist attacks in New York City on September 11, 2001.
“It was a very busy day, making sure the streets and everything was secured,” he said. “A stressful period because people were very tense, but it was a learning experience.”
One of Tisha Hester’s favorite moments working at Temple was with her security team on Feb. 4, 2018 — the night the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots to win the team’s first Super Bowl. Even though Hester was a Patriots fan in an office of Eagles fans, controlling the celebrating crowd on the street next to her boss was one of her most exciting moments.
Gene Cummings, the portfolio district manager for Allied Universal at Temple University, said he’s regularly impressed with the siblings’ performance while working alongside them.
Jeff and Tisha Hester molded and trained the security personnel to be great officers for the university, he added.
As a manager, Jeff Hester tries putting himself in other people’s shoes to best understand others’ needs, he said.
“You have to see what they see, and if it’s fixable, then you do it,” he said. “If not, you have to come up with a better strategy.”
Making sure the Temple community stays happy and safe is the best part of the job, Tisha Hester said.
“It’s good to make someone from the community smile,” she added. “It always feels good to make someone else feel happy and worry-free.”