Alexandre Dumas couldn’t describe better the importance of unity and solidarity within a team when he wrote one of the world’s most well-known historical novels, The Three Musketeers. In our line of work, we can see how important it is for all team members to work dedicated to one purpose (keeping client and team safe) and, as individuals, pledge support to the team.
However, too often what we witness is a far cry from team solidarity and unity. Instead of supporting each other, colleagues blame or undermine one another, not to mention the unethical characterizations from those who hide behind computer screens. With the Internet, we have seen a huge increase of those “flame wars.” Forums have been created mostly to “entertain” unemployed people who have nothing better to do than blame each other or those who can hold a job. Or networking groups that describe themselves as “raising the standards,” “networking groups,” or “sharing job groups’’ that only turn out to be people who want to advertise their services or products by pointing out other companies “wrong” actions. So-called prospective students interested in a class disingenuously raise questions about a company solely to attract negative comments about the company. This can go on for service providers as well.
Personally, I’m tired as hell and disappointed even more when I see some colleagues fall for this kind of networking. These days, you can’t be sure who is who behind a screen name. It is better to ask for and receive comments or opinions from people you know well and whose experience you can evaluate – not those who simply share what they heard or what they created.
Whether we like or dislike someone, we shouldn’t allow it to affect our professionalism. Our top priorities are client safety and mastering the art and skill of protection. But we also have a priority to the industry to which we have dedicated our lives. Loyalty to our colleagues falls within this, not the other way around.
As we all know, close protection is a profession that is unfortunately devoid of professional standards and requirements. Each country, and even each state, has its own licensing or training requirements, and in many cases no training is required at all. In light of this, you realize that you must work to solidify a team of people who bring different experiences, skills, training disciplines, standards, professionalism, culture, and ethics. It’s similar to the way a sports team or elite military unit must work through individual differences to become a uniquely cohesive team.
It is very important that team members promote and maintain strong working relationships with each other as well as the client, and, of course, others we may be in contact with, such as house personnel or office staff.
Some of the people you work with may have more or less skill and may be younger or older. In each situation, you must address issues with respect. Never offend anyone, for any reason, and never correct someone while someone else is present. If you believe they made a mistake, offer your advice and perspective. However, few people are receptive to advice from coworkers. If they refuse your help, respect them and leave it alone. If a colleague makes a sexual advance or even a comment that you are not comfortable with, address it quickly.
In our line of work, it is very important to immediately address issues. Later, you can do your research as a team and correct it. For any team, constructive criticism is meant to eliminate future problems.
Avoid conversations with colleagues on topics that trigger emotional responses like sports, religion, sex, or politics. No conversation on these topics can contribute to your client’s safety. The only conversation you should entertain is the one that adds to your client’s safety.
If someone is paying you (and others) and trusts you as a team and as individuals to protect his life, shouldn’t you show the same amount of trust toward your colleagues for your own life? When I work with others, which is 99 percent of the time, I want to be confident that those people have my back. I want to be confident that the person sitting next to me carrying a firearm can be trusted as a professional and as a person. Don’t you all want that? Now ask yourself: Can you offer that kind of trust level to your colleagues?
Indeed, our industry suffers from low standards, and the few good professionals are either trying to keep the level up or fighting to protect their image from the wannabes.
Change can come, but we all are responsible for achieving that. Unfortunately, security is not a one-man job – it requires a team effort. Many have tried and failed. They started with good motives, but ended up making the same mistakes as those they were fighting, because, at the end of the day, for them, money talked.
I hope for better and work toward it, and I will close this with Duma’s most famous motto: Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno.
Founder & CEO
Athena Worldwide LLC
Proud Member of International Security Driver Association (ISDA)
As this was the first training class of it’s kind, geared towards the nanny industry, I was very excited and nervous to participate. Nervous becasue we knew it would have things in it that would have to be fixed so the following classes could learn from our mistakes and excited to finally have a way to empower myself on the job. However, the training ended up being very on point and even more than I had hoped for.
At the end of each day, there was much discussion about things we would never have thought of, that this class brought to the forefront and really made all the participants think about their daily schedules and duties.
On Monday, following the weekend class, there was talk all across the nanny boards on Facebook about all the ways we were changing our habits and all the information that we were putting in to practice. Simple things, like backing into a parking space, curtains open in certain rooms in the home, driving different routes to school and classes…the changes in our habits were almost instantainious and have continued throughout the nanny community as we talk about what we learned and how much we are looking forward to continuing the training throughout all the different levels.
Thank you so much for offering this training for our industry and I look forward to joining the next class.
Nanny for 28 yrs
By John R. Lehman
As a security industry and Law Enforcement Training Instructor in Texas, I get slammed with questions from people from all over the country, (and world), about training programs I offer. One question I always get hit with is so general in its scope that it begs for a full and specific answer.
I was recently asked “do you have any good training coming up?” I answered the question with a question that all reasonable training providers should ask:
“What is your budget?”
To which their answer came back “Good question, not sure”. “What type of training do you have in mind?” I wanted to answer him with another question again but I decided to educate him instead so I answered him this way:
“Training is anything from push-ups to a 10 mile run to martial arts. It’s usually self-paced, up to you to do and it’s usually free or close to it.
“Good training” is typically hands on with self-defense and firearms use, vehicle use, operational organization and other “intellectual” education and can range from 50 dollars to well over 10,000 dollars and last 2 to 3 weeks.
Life altering training is a complete package from a-z and includes personal training with world class Instructors and elite military tier 1 guys in places like Panama, Israel and Africa…and Texas, and starts at around 15,000 and up to as much as 85,000 dollars” and lasts months. Remember that your money controls your training.
“So what is your training budget?”
The first Question I ask, and the answer I get back, is usually all I need to determine a candidate’s experience, previous training and discipline in the industry. I am regularly disappointed with the lack of true education and discipline in my trade. Without trying to insult you who are true professionals in the business, I will address training from an Instructor’s perspective.
If you are serious about your profession, then you have socked away about 5,000 dollars a year for “good” training. You would choose 3 programs a year to invest into, and one of those should be some form of instructor program.
If you can’t afford at least 3,000 dollars to attend one program in one year, you won’t be taken seriously when you answer the question. If your Instructors are worth a damn, they will review your CV’s and previous training record, and will contact your previous Instructors. I regularly call my student’s past Instructors to verify their training. If you know what you say you know and can do what you say you can do, you should be able to prove it in training. I get 10 to 15 calls a month from other Instructors who are checking on my past student’s training. Your Client’s life and my reputation each rely on your ability. Your ability is directly affected by your continued training which is affected by me, the Instructor.
If I ask “what is your budget”
Your answer should be 3,000 to 5,000 dollars (or more) per course.
This assumes that you would only spend part of your budget on a single training provider and course. (And remember that not only do you have to pay for the course, but you will also have to absorb the cost of not working for the training period, extra equipment, ammunition and weaponry, hotels, transportation, credentials, books….)
Never spend all of your budget in one place.
As much as I want all of your training money, I always recommend multiple schools. And other instructors. There are many exceptional instructors out there. If you can’t come to me, call me and I will recommend one for you.
Any Instructor that respects his student will prepare that student for their next step, not just take his money for the current one. The more diverse the training, the more prepared the student will be to handle diverse situations. My greatest complement is the returning student. And they won’t come back if they can’t trust my training.
Now, If you have the professional and fiscal discipline to have a training budget, and that budget allows for at least one “good” training program a year in addition to regular weekly training, you would (in my course) get 10 days of shooting, driving, investigations, first aid for EP, clothing and outfitting coaching, dining etiquette, communications, intelligence gathering and analysis and mission planning. You would also get unarmed defensive tactics and regular exercise training. I have several customizable courses and can bring my courses and Instructors to you.
When you call and ask me “do you have any good training coming up?”
Be ready to answer my question:
“What is your budget?”
About the Author
Mr. Lehman is the Vice President of Athena Academy. He is the founder and CEO of White Star Consulting, LLC based in Dallas, Texas. He is a certified TCOL (Texas Commission on Law Enforcement) classroom and Firearms Instructor, NRA Certified Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor, Federal Protective Service authorized Instructor, Texas Concealed Handgun Instructor, ASP Baton/Handcuff Instructor and unarmed defensive tactics Instructor using the Russian Systema discipline. He is a Texas Licensed Instructor for unarmed and armed Security and teaches the Texas Personal Protection Officer (PPO) course. Mr. Lehman joined Athena Academy Instructor’s team on January 2013, with over 27 years of corporate and private security experience.
NANNYGUARDS (SM) the world’s first category creating hybrid nanny/manny with security training offered only by Athena Academy
NANNYGUARDS ”Next Generation Nannies”
NANNYGUARDS(SM) and MANNYGUARDS(SM) is the world’s first category creating hybrid nanny/manny with security training offered only by Athena Academy. We provide nannies and mannies with an unparalleled level of situational awareness through our intense training held at our training centers.
Nannies and Mannies learn skills that take their level of expertise to a new level. Not only does a nanny or manny go through an extensive background investigation by our contracted private investigation firm, but they go through a basic four day course that teaches them skills to provide above average ability to protect the children in their charge. NANNYGUARDS and MANNYGUARDS work for celebrities, sports stars, CEO’s, traveling families and every day average families who understand the need for a NANNYGUARD goes beyond celebrity status.
NANNYGUARDS are trained in several disciplines including abduction mitigation, travel security, media and paparazzi relations, evacuation with children, security driving with children and many other security related drills and topics directly related to the protection of children in their charge.
The NANNYGUARD/MANNYGUARD training course is not standard close protection/executive protection training. The NANNYGUARD course is specific to the nuances of caring for a child’s emotional, physical, social, creative and intellectual development while caring for their safety and security.
NANNYGUARDS and MANNYGUARDS bring a level of conscious proactive and situational aware mindset to any family. We believe that no family regardless of wealth should be without a nanny or manny that has anything less than our training. Instead of NANNYGUARDS operating with blinders on, MANNYGUARDS and NANNYGUARDS operate with greater understanding of risk and are keenly aware of how to adopt risk management in families to bring greater peace of mind all while caring for the appropriate developmental needs of children.
-Why Hire a Nannyguard
NANNYGUARDS is a premiere category creating company that not only aids families with nanny placement, through our network of Nannyguards authorized placement agencies, but also provides the worlds first and only nanny safety and security training programs.
Started by a group of security consultants, nannies, bodyguards and private investigators, NANNYGUARDS is an answer for those that would like more peace of mind when hiring a nanny/manny.
Our collective experience in protecting people, working in federal law enforcement, investigating identies and habits of individuals, traveling in foreign countries, training bodyguards and working with children uniquely qualifies us to help shape the next generation of nannies.
Not only are we keen professionals in background investigating all potential Nannyguards, but we also are experienced in teaching, training and providing protective services for individuals and families. Nannyguards is not a security service provider. but a security training group that provide nannies with the ability to look at their child care position from a different point of view.
Nannyguards is borne from the changes ocurring in our world today. With strange, unusual, violent and unforeseen circumstances ocurring on a daily basis, Nannyguards is the answer to ensuring quality childcare. Not only do we surpass every nanny agency in “screening” (we investigate) we also bring the future of childcare through the introduction of increased situational awareness.
Nannyguards offer a distinct service over traditionally trained nannies. With training in ways to protect your family from stalkers, paparazzi, kidnap attempts and more. Not only do Nannyguards have the necessary training to mitigate exposure to negative events, but in the rare event they are faced with decisions on how to ensure the safety of the children they look after Nannyguards are prepared to do what it takes to ensure childrens safety. With training that is far superior in the management of intentional or unintentional acts of harm, Nannyguards are fulfilling their role as overall caregiver.
Nannyguards are provided to families of all types, including: celebrity, executive, reality TV, and dignitary families. Additionally, our services are even used for those families that maybe traveling often times in hostile parts of the world.
All nannies have a responsibility to carefully look after the direct and indirect actions of the children they are responsible for. This includes supporting the physical, social, emotional, creative, and intellectual development of the children of the family.
-What Do I Get In a Nannyguard
NANNYGUARDS are extremely versatile and provide you with the greatest level of versatility among traditionaly trained nannies. Despite the seriousness of our name, Nannyguards are nannies and have all the skills, posture and attitude of any caregiver that looks after children. They are not stoic knuckle dragging gorillas. The fact that they go through our process tells you that these are high caliber individuals. The training they receive means that they can meet unexpected needs you may not know you have. Even if you are not the latest to break out with a reality television series you’re no different then every parent who wants to see that when their children are not with them, that they have every aspect cared for including their safety and security.
When a Nannnyguard is placed with you they firstly evaluate the job of nanny. Secondly, Nannyguards will ask questions and observe other aspects you did not consider, especially those revolving around safety concerns and security exposures. Your Nannyguard will do things such as establishing emergency protocol, disaster preparedness and ensure fire supression materials are nearby. In other words they are prepared for potential eventuality and look after such things as smoke detectors, ensuring chemicals are out of reach from young ones and ensuring that plans are put in place for any known direct threats to the children in their charge. They will also evaluate any vehicle they are provided with and ensure it is in good mechanical care and that it has necessary items for road worthiness. If its not up to par, they will advise you and it becomes your perogative to decide whether you will take the Nannyguards advice. In some cases, depending upon the particulars of your family needs, Nannyguards will evaluate routes to and from schools, research any known sex offenders in your community and work with any other estate security or security details working with other family members.
-Bodyguards OR Nannies?
NANNYGUARDS are experienced nannies with specific training in the protection of children from intentional and unintentional acts of harm. They may work for a family as an employee or as the childrens bodyguard. However, an employer-employee relationship is required if the NANNYGUARD does not have a license to operate as a security contractor in most states of the USA.
Generally speaking, nannies are responsible for the general welfare of children and this includes their security and safety. Our program teaches nannies how to protect children as a bodyguard would, in conjunction with their responsibilities as a nanny. Nannyguards are free to choose whether to market their skills to security companies with proper licensing or market themselves to nanny agencies or directly to families in the capacity of a Child Protection Operative (CPO) or a nanny.
NANNYGUARDS are classicaly trained and experienced nannies with the added training and ability to protect your children from intentional and unintentional acts of harm. Every nanny knows they have the responsibility of caring for the children entrusted to them and this includes the safety of the children in their care. However, Nannygurads take the extra steps to ensure the safety and security of your children by taking proactive measures and countermeasures to ensure they exceed other nannies in safety and security. We take a Nanny to the next level through the introduction of safety and security measures to the nanny industry. Nannyguards are next generation nannies!
Although some of our clients may be celebrities, VIP’s and CEO’s this does not mean that families with less notoriety will receive any less from Nannyguards. The skills and abilities of registered Nannyguards are a benefit to all families with children.
What Makes a Nannyguard Unique
Simply put the training a NANNYGUARDS student receives is quite different from anything in the industry. Nannies are trained to look at their charge differently. In the 21st century our political, economical and social landscape is changing at an alarming rate. You can hardly turn on the television without seeing another tragic event revolving around terrorisim, abduction or abuse taking place. Since Nannyguards is an international company we look at what affects people in geographical areas and cater the Nannyguard Certified Child Protection Specialist (CCPS) training to those needs. This is because issues that once only pertained to countries with long histories of civil unrest and terrorism are happening similiarly everywhere including the USA.
Nannies that attend our training and become Nannyguards and carry our full Nannyguards credential have validated nanny experience. But once these same nannies attend one of our training programs they are more accutely aware to conditions that revolve around safety and security. Nannies become more aware of their surroundings, ruses used to detach children from caregivers, appropriate driving and surveillance detection, and how to deal with situations should they go ary.
To learn more about our Nannyguards services or training program visit http://www.nannyguards.com
Personal Protection has always been viewed as a physical or tangible thing that could be measured by effort and labor put into creating and maintaining a program. Since the Internet first allowed for the publishing and dispersal of personal information, the public has obliged the technology by accessing and downloading billions of terabytes of information containing personal sensitive information.
If you find it necessary to carry a firearm and build a protection team around your client you should give the same attention to simple ways of educating your client and his/her close family and working circle regarding simple security awareness tips.
We are not suggesting you have to train them as security professionals but just giving them the basic education and information regarding security and safety awareness could make it easier to protect them.
The reason I wrote this article today was because of something that came to my attention while I was surfing online.
I came across an article regarding a 17 year old boy based somewhere in America who has became a ‘’living legend’’ in social medias because of his provocative pictures and comments on on-line networking sites, where he poses with golden pens, packs of $10.000 bills etc. Doing a little research on his profile and crossing information here and there, I discovered that the kid is from a very wealthy family. What made me think seriously about this kid was how something like this could expose him and his family to the wrong attention.
It took me around 25 min to locate this kid and get good information regarding his identity and location so I wanted to test to see how much it would take for someone not in the security industry to find him using information found online. It took less than 2 hours for a 22 year old who has nothing to do with security to gather good Intel on this kid, using the pictures and information he had posted on his networking sites.
With all the information provided online It doesn’t take an expert or even a person related to the security industry to be able to find out about someone.
We have all seen examples like this one from other celebrity kids, or from the children of very affluent CEO’s or Politicians who have fallen into the trap of social media posting including pornography. What these kids and even their parents don’t consider is that the sophistication of the criminal has developed with the technology of the internet itself. A simple photo of a person by a tree could lead to the identification of the person’s address because of the shape or species of the tree or maybe because of the license plate of a car parked in a driveway across the street, visible in the corner of the photo.
So the question is: “Are you aware of your exposure through the information posted on yours or your children’s networking sites?”
Now I will ask the same question to all Security Professionals. Not only do you need to consider your client’s exposure but have you considered your own? As ridiculous as it seems, there are actually “Body Guard” companies that publish photos of their clients and even their agents on their company websites. And more ridiculous is the client’s agreeing to it.
Have you taken the time to sit down with your client and explain what he/she can do to avoid not being exposed? We are aware that not all clients will sit down and listen to your professional suggestions regarding their safety however they hired you because you have an experience and expertise on a specific matter, ‘’SAFETY’’, and you are there not only to provide a body but also provide consultation and suggestions that are addressed to lower the threat level.
Nobody wants to live in fear, and for sure no one will feel comfortable with the idea of his/her children being in danger, so address your professional concerns regarding safety to your clients. Be polite, be logical, avoid difficult professional terms and explain to them in simple words why a specific habit that they find harmless can be very dangerous for them. Not all will listen and practice what you suggest, but even if 1 out of 10 clients do as you suggested it will be a progress. Of course there will always be information leaked intentionally or unintentionally that will give away information. The goal is to reduce the negative effects of the practice thus making your job easier.
Founder & Worldwide Director