”Female Bodyguards are in high demand!” I am sure you have heard this before but as a female CPO you are still struggling to find a job. There are many misconceptions regarding our role in the industry. In this article, we will try to address some.
Anyone who has read my articles knows that I base most of them on questions or inquiries from those professionals who either offer good and accurate advice or from those who ask for it.
First, I prefer placing female Close Protection Operatives with female clients or their children for the client’s comfort or peace of mind. Some males are easily suited to this task but the client may simply think that a male does not belong in constant close proximity and occasionally in isolated private settings with the kids or a client’s wife. This can be equally true with female CPOs and male clients but the concern of inappropriate behavior with the children dissolves when a female is placed with them. Remember, it’s always up to the client.
The most active topics to come through my office are all related to females in the Executive Protection industry. As a female CPO, a business owner, and as the founder of a successful training academy exclusive to females in the Personal Protection Industry, I will address a few of the most popular statements I am routinely tasked with arguing against.
“A female CPO is better than a male CPO”
Your gender doesn’t make you better in this profession. What allows you to outperform a colleague or be more suited to a specific task is how well you meet or can adapt to a client’s specific needs. In our case, the security needs that a client may have might be provided by a female, male, canine, or even a machine.
“It is very hard for a woman to break into this industry”
Well, it is also difficult for a male to break into this industry. Training, experience, personality, knowledge of how to dress, how to drive, and a really well-polished CV mean nothing if you believe that you have some preordained right to be here. Both women and men alike will be passed over equally if they lack humility, charm, manners, couth, education, social polish, or real-world experience. Which of these is most important?
“It is hard to find a job”
Keep in mind that the market for female CPOs has historically been smaller which means you have to compete harder to get the job.
It is worth mentioning that in cases where security is needed for females and kids, many clients are looking for not just female CPOs but feminine looking females to place next to their wife, sister or daughter so if you are a female with a very harsh or more masculine appearance, you reduce your chances of being hired. And if a male appears too feminine or too “cute” or even too “handsome” he may not be hired either. You see, it is not your gender, it is the appearance you choose to reflect to your client, and it is your client’s perception you must cater to in order to get hired.
Additionally, my records show that a majority of females who want to break into the industry seem to be older than 40 years of age. It seems that many women who are retired Law Enforcement or military are looking to get into the private security industry. The fact is that unless you are applying for a Nanny position, most clients are looking for 25 to 38-year-old CPOs with at least 5 years of experience. So at 40+ with no experience, men and women alike stand less of a chance against a younger experienced CPO.
Finally, among those women who complain that they can’t find a job, a vast majority of them do not have what it takes to be hired or they do not know how to sell their skills. Having a large database of female candidates and qualified operatives allows me to compare them to each other. Here is what I found out of 400 applications:
Some don’t have a passport.
Some don’t have a local State license and can’t drive.
Some have no firearms license or experience with anything mechanical.
Some are waiting to apply for licenses as they are interviewed and being hired by a client or a company.
Understand that if you don’t have the licenses or other qualifications, you will never be considered for a position, so act in advance. And if you make a misstatement of facts to get hired, you will get fired and never hired again.
Some are not willing to relocate and looking only for gigs in their area. Many female candidates are not willing to relocate due to being married with kids. Although a male CPO can leave his wife and kids behind, it is traditionally harder and less socially acceptable for a female CPO to do so. Many women in the U.S. left to fight in the Gulf War in 2002. The practice of the Father staying behind became acceptable there and the trend quickly spread to other countries.
Some are not willing to take an entry-level position even though they have not much experience.
Some do not know how to present themselves professionally during a phone, video, or live interview.
Some women practice the outward arrogance associated with a man’s success when they have a couple of good assignments and don’t recognize when this attitude is rejected by the client or colleagues. This is a problem with the men too so again, no difference.
The result is, if you rub the placement company or client the wrong way, your CV goes in the trash. Turn down too many offers due to money (I had a candidate with zero experience who was requesting more payment than what the rest of the team was being paid) or other issues and we will stop calling. If you don’t have a verifiable track record and reputation, you cannot make demands. Fail to answer when we call with an offer or fail to present yourself after the first selection and we will not call back……ever. Clients are looking for people who can commit and be responsible.
“Female CPO’s are paid less”
From my experience both personally being an operative and placing females with other companies or clients I highly disagree with this. I have always been paid the same as the rest of the team and even more than the rest of the team when my performance or qualifications were measured against theirs.
In closing, we need to clarify and understand four things:
1) If you are making less than your colleagues, male or female, remember that you agreed to the terms of your employment. It was your choice.
2) If you don’t know how to ‘’sell’’ your skillset then you have missed something in your professional training. Go back to the basics and learn how to respond to a contract offer.
3) If you are a beginner, you may have to agree to a lower rate in order to build up your experience and work portfolio. If you do your job, you will progress.
4) Because of the nature of the services needed, some team members may work fewer hours than the rest of the team, therefore they may be paid less. If you are a female working with the kids for 6 hours a day, you cannot compare your position with a CPO that works for 10 hours driving the car or standing next to the client. If you are doing equal work on equal ground, you should argue for equal pay and equal treatment. If you don’t like the terms, don’t take the job. If you find out after you accept a position that you are paid less, chalk it up to a lesson learned and don’t make the mistake next time.
The demand for female CPOs has increased steadily over the last decade. If you are not working or not earning what you think you are worth, ask yourself the following:
-What kind of experience do I have?
-What education do I have?
-Does my personality, loyalty, integrity, knowledge, skill, and ability add to the client’s needs or solutions?
-How I’m I presenting myself in online forums or social media? Unfortunately, there are many female operatives who are using unprofessional ways to present themselves in the industry. Provocative pictures, aggressive and insulting language to other operatives, etc.
-How does my CV measure up against the other candidates interviewing for a position?
-Am I willing to take an entry position job or a job that pays less to progress and make my connections in the industry? Some companies may not have the budget to pay big money and they may be stuck with finding someone, so if you have nothing else to do, I would highly suggest you take that job. Many of us would highly appreciate an operative who can cover a position when we are having hard time filling it and make sure we call you again for a better placement.
If you need a professional assessment of your CV or even your image or need to add to your skillset, go to our website. There is guidance there to help you. Or reach out to us at email@example.com.
You are equal in your ability to protect a person from the threat of another but the opportunity to perform will be based on a human being assessing your value to the effort. What are you doing to increase your value to the person that needs what you offer? And, as always, there are a number of well qualified, experienced, time tested female agents out there that you can reach out to and speak with regarding further questions, mentorship, and guidance…We’re all here to help!
Denida Zinxhiria Grow
Founder & CEO
At Athena Worldwide we are industry leaders for promoting, training and staffing female bodyguards internationally. With our affiliate offices, we can provide world-wide close protection and executive protection services for entertainment professionals, politicians, CEOs, Royal Families, journalists, clergy and corporate personnel.Want to find out more about female bodyguards? visit www.athenaworldwide.com
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