Monthly Archives: April, 2012

London Olympics…Are you ready ladies?

A big event that brings many job openings and career opportunities for many professionals in security industry. Maybe the only event in the world that can combine visitors from show business, politicians, businessmen, royal families and what we use to say all the VIPs.

Mostly of them (if not all of them) will be in need for close protection services and security escorts, even those who will be traveling with their own security teams will need to hire someone local, so if you are looking for a job, or sending CVs to different companies maybe you should need to start thinking how you will break into this big social and athletic event.

Being aware and on time informed for athletic, fashion, movie openings, awards events etc is a must in our work. Sometimes you need to ”chase” job opportunities and apply for. Unfortunately only those who advertise and spend a lot of money in advertising are well known and their phone will ring first, so when people don’t know you exist make the first step and make yourself and your services known to them.

For an event like London Olympics, first of all you must be willing to travel and work abroad, not many female close protection operatives are willing to do that.

Secondly you need to start and make a research on UK based security companies that provides close protection services. Make a contact with them, send your resume and make them know you are able to work with them. Of course you wont receive an answer from all of them, but you must know that during an event like the Olympic Games there will be a huge need for specific professionals, so why not giving your self a step ahead?

 

Denida Zinxhiria

Athena Academy Founder

http://www.athenaacademy.com

 

When a Secret Agent goes bad…

The last days all we in security industry have been receiving a lot of shared links with the story of the secret service agents and military personnel who were in charge for President Barrack Obama’s trip to Colombia security detail. According to the news, 12 recalled officials were involved in this incident and accused for hiring and bringing to their hotel rooms (in the same hotel where the President was staying as well), prostitutes.

As we all can understand, something like that is let’s said unprofessional in many ways and putting the whole detail in danger. Not to comment at all the unethical part of it… Human history has shown us the power of female sex on males, a woman using her ways can learn from a man whatever information she is looking for. Many women have been trained from different secret services around the globe and used to gather Intel from the ‘’enemy’’. Knowing your enemy’s deepest secrets gives you always one step ahead, so by this fact is not surprising at all, how much some information can costs, in money or let’s say in paying with other ways…

During our close protection training classes we all have heard about cases such as the ones of Ronald Reagan assassination attempt or the assassination of Anwar Sadat, according to rumors, their close protection agents were ‘’women victims’’, women who were sent to gather Intel about their details. Rumors or true stories? Well where a smoke there is is a fire too.

What is important to comment is the fact that when it comes to this kind of ‘’seductions’’ a man will be a victim no matter his training or professional background, secret agents, military or private security agents. It takes a lot more than good professional skills to know your limitations and stay professional and ethical during your detail. And when we say your detail that also includes your colleagues who work with you. If we think about it, it takes only 1 man from the whole team to break down, and you will have Intel and access to the whole team.

So is very important to not only be aware and in alert for ourselves but also observe and guide our colleagues as well. When it comes to the detail’s safety and benefit, it will be times when you need to be strict and tough with your colleagues who seem to have lost their way and professionalism. Remember what keeps your client safe keeps you safe and vice versa.

Denida Zinxhiria

Athena Academy Founder

http://www.athenaacademy.com

So you are trained to protect your client, but are you good enough in protecting your family too?

We chose our profession and we are fully responsible for the risks we are taking on our own life, but what about our family?  The people who love us and are part of our life either by blood or personal choice… Those who accepted our way of living because they love us.

So we got through our professional development course, we got skills and experience and we can provide safety to our client, but are we sure we know how to provide safety for our family?

It is sad to see nowadays many professionals who work in security industry exposing their family members in social networks. Trying to stay in touch with friends or other family members and sharing your children’s or your spouse photos and info is something who give to all of us joy but if we think about it, it is very risky, especially when we do it in social networks when everyone can have access and we can’t control who is watching what.

Tagging your child, spouse, mother, sister etc is like targeting them as well. If someone would like to hurt your client he will first get to the one who is standing in between him and your client, and that person is you and everyone related to you. He will try to get intel about you and use it against you, make you weak cause your presence makes his action more difficult.

Before many years we had a story going in Greece, when a colleague was sent his child photo with a note: ‘’don’t go to work today….’’ He had to decide between his family, his own child and his client safety. If we think about it, it can happen to anyone, what would we do in this case?

Instead of thinking what we would do in a situation like that lets think what we can do to prevent it and provide to our loved ones more safety. Being in security industry we must learn how to work in low profile, try not to talk about your job and most of all about who your client is!!!

If you can use a different name while working, nowadays is way too easy to have access to anyone info online in USA that has to do with their marital status, financials etc.  

Do not wear your wedding ring while working, do not talk about your family even to your colleagues, they may be trusted but you never know what someone can reveal by mistake.

Do not keep in your wallet photos or anything that would reveal information about family when you go to work.

Try to use different mobile phones, one for your personal life and one for your work. And the most important…KEEP AWAY SOCIAL NETWORKING any information and photos about your family. If you must use social networking places for your job then make sure you have two accounts, one for personal and one for business use and make sure those two have nothing in common. Nothing that would connect the one account with the other. Keep business contacts for business account and family members for your personal account. 

 

Denida Zinxhiria

Athena Academy Founder

 

http://www.athenaacademy.com

Train to Protect? What you need to know

Lately we are getting some questions from prospective students and we would like to answer to those questions and give to those who are interested to join the industry  more information about our profession and what to expect.

– How fit you need to be to manage the CPO-training?

Being in security industry you have to be in good health condition, have good resistance and ability to react fast. There is no specific height or weight scale that you must fit in in order to become a Close Protection Agent. Some security service companies when they want to hire may ask for specific height and weight, although this have been very rarely. What you have to have in mind is that you need to be ”in shape”, our job is very demanding not only physically when it comes to conflicts and maybe hand to hand combat but also being many hours standing up out of a door or a vehicle waiting for the client.

Some training providers also use to put specific standards on their application like push ups, sprint etc in order to be accepted to their training course. Personally, i don’t agree with the idea. As i believe the majority of our profession is based on mental awareness and brain skills than physical skills (of course you need also physical skills, but you don’t have to be the best weightlifter or sprinter!). Neither you can make a student in 8 or 12 training days during CPO course super fit or change his shape maze. That is something that every CPO has to be responsible and work hard day by day to achieve it.

– How the job market currently lo0k for bodyguards, would you get any jobs/job chanses after the CPO-training?

In order to answer to this, you have to think that attending a CPO course you are getting professional skills and education like attending in a College. Before you spend your time and money you have to think it well if this profession suit to you and also study the market. No training provider can guaranty you will find a job after the training or when…(if some do so consider it as a red flag), can anyone guaranty you a job position after your BSc achievement? No.. it is up to you to do your homework and market yourself accordingly.

Security industry is considered as a ”well paying industry”, but until you make it up there you need to start from down steps and work every time.

 

-Why the CPO-training is “so expensive”?

Actually, CPO training’s are not expensive at all if you consider the fact that by attending one you will receive the skills and knowledge to do a job that is well paying. Maybe it seems expensive because people see the short term educational program in combination with cost, so an 8 or 12 days courses for $2000-$3000 may look expensive for some prospective students.

Having gone through University education and Security Related courses the last eleven years of my life i can definitely say my University education cost me much much more.

You have to have in mind as well the fact that in our profession we need to go under more training courses all the time to develop our skills and be prepared better. Don’t think just because you attended a CPO course you are ready to go, that’s only a course to start. But would be more easy to you when you are already working and making some money to attend in more courses later.

 

-Why some training providers don’t run trainings in their (prospective students)  city/hometown, as some think its a long way to different training facilities.

Running a CPO training requires specific training facilities, something that has costs a lot for the training provider to built. In some states and countries you even need a specific license from the government to run a training facility like that, so as you understand it is not easy to ”move all equipment” in another part of the country that would be closer to some students.

If you are interested to become a bodyguard your first step is to be willing to travel a bit/long way to get a good CPO-training. If you´re not ready to travel to a new city, or perhaps a new country to take this kind of training, then you are probably not ready to be a bodyguard and travel with a client either, cause traveling is a big part of beeing somebodys protective shadow. You as a BG/CPO always follow your client whereever he/she goes, and it can continue for hours, weeks, months and even years, depending on the contract.

Sometimes you may even need to move into another area, state, city that can offer you more job vacancies than the one you are living in.

 

-And last but very important the LICENSE issue….

There seems to be some confusion around the topics of bodyguard certifications and licenses. I think this is a result of prospective female bodyguards trying to break into the industry and trying to sift through the multitude of training schools, associations and the “puffery” being perpetuated by misleading marketing language. I seem to answer this question a lot from prospective students. So I would like to put this out to all those who haven’t asked for some reason or another, but want to know.

There are multiple ASSOCIATIONS for bodyguards, most of which charge a fee to be a member. Some are better than others as far as what benefits they offer their members. An Association is nothing more than a business created by someone who thinks they can provide a service and try to make the bodyguard industry better. They usually have experience in the field and would like to further the industry as a whole. Some do a good job of that and some don’t. Either way, there is nothing special needed to create an Association other than the desire, willingness and a business license. They are not usually “sanctioned” by an overarching authority. They intend to BE the authority.

Most Associations are trying to “standardize” the industry by offering their own CERTIFICATION. Their Certification is a set of knowledge, skills and abilities that they think a bodyguard should have to be successful. There again, the association chooses what to include in the Certification, there is not one set of standards. They are trying to create that set of standards. There are many differing opinions in this industry so you have to weigh how much credibility each one has. A Certification is NOTHING MORE than a piece of paper proving you attended a course that you can put on your CV to show to a prospective employer. Some Certifications will make you look better than others because of the school’s credibility.

A LICENSE is what the governmental unit of your area grants to individuals that allow them to work as a bodyguard legally within their jurisdiction (area). Certifications are not Licenses. Every governmental unit has different requirements to get a license. Some may not even require you to have a Certification because it doesn’t mean anything to them.

There are some students that are coming to us saying that they want an international bodyguard course because they want to work internationally. Keep in mind though that just because the course is called an International Bodyguard course, it does not give you any more privileges than a course called Bodyguard Training. They might give you instruction slanted towards how to operate across country lines but there is no international license. There is no authority that could grant such a license because there is not a governmental unit that governs the whole earth. You still have to get a license in every country, state, area, province, etc that you want to work in.

Some of prospective students have been led to believe that they will be trained by US Federal Agencies. This is not true. US federal law enforcement agencies do not train bodyguards. If a school makes that claim, it should be a red flag. Pay careful attention to the language. It may be that one of the instructors used to teach at a US federal law enforcement academy prior to training bodyguards, but the curriculum you will learn is not sanctioned by that agency. There are companies that have contracts with the federal government to provide training, but again, if you are not part of the agency they are training, you won’t get that training material. You will get a civilian version or a close protection version, but not a military or law enforcement version.

So, as far as associations and schools go, no one can tell you which one to join or which school to attend. Only you can decide what’s in your best interest for your career. You should get as much knowledge as you can from many different sources. Just make sure the source isn’t making you think it is more than it really is.

Denida Zinxhiria

Athena Academy Founder

http://www.athenaacademy.com