2nd Annual ICON Social Summit Recap

Sitting about a week removed from the completion of the 2014 2nd Annual ICON Social Summit, I finally had the chance to get a Blog update in.  By all accounts the Summit was an overwhelming success, with people attending from not only all over the United States, but also all over the globe.

To have speakers arrive in expressly for the event from Afghanistan and Nigeria and place them in the same room with attendees from America, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan, was a great feeling.  We then spent full two days discussing best practices as it relates to the craft of Executive Protection.  The evening hours were also put to use with QUALITY networking going on, minus the egos and pretentiousness that you sometimes find when you put a room full of alpha-males (and females) together.

On the subject of females, the ICON Social Summit boasted a healthy attendance of women who were active in the protection industry.   Far from being marginalized, they instead “led from the front” by being a part of the speakers roster as well as engaging in healthy discussion during the interactive portions of the day.

Least anyone think I’m biased (It’s hard not to be) I caught wind of a posting by one of the Summit attendees, and asked his permission to repost here, unedited.  While I felt very good going into the ICON Social Summit, it was Mr. Michael Bell’s well-worded recap that gave me that additional assurance than we had created something special.

My personal 2nd Summit recap

I wanted to wait a day or two in an attempt to soak it all in before I tried to sum up my thoughts on attending the 2014 Summit Group conference.

It started with arranging to travel from South Florida with another colleague that I met while attending last years Summit, James B. Wright, not only ride up together but to room together as well. Although we have previously spoken from time to time on the phone and also had a face to face meeting for 30 minutes. This ride up to Orlando gave us 3 hours to get into in-depth conversation about the direction of the industry and it’s hopes and challenges.

Once arriving at the host hotel in Orlando, some familiar faces from last year’s event as well as new ones met us. Many of these individuals are people that I’ve seen or interacted with via social media, phone calls, etc. and the social networking had begun. The main topic of conversation initially was how cold it was where everyone came from (Wade Stephens -20 below C’MON MAN, It’s 75 as I type this) and what a nice change it was to be in Orlando, even if the central FL weather was in the 50’s and 60’s. That was considered a heat wave for most. The discussions then turned to bases of operations, length of time in the industry, training, etc. Business cards where exchanged, contact cards via electronic devices and of course Facebook friend request started popping up.

Although we did not get a schedule of times of the presenters or when, we knew who was speaking. With the anticipation of the opening there was surely no disappointment as the kid from Jersey, Raffaele Di Giorgio made it loud and clear on how and why you should Perform as Advertised (Oh yeah, He killed a leprechaun). One of my takeaways was there is no one size fits all, and you should find your niche in the market. Next was Benjamin Alozie with a hilarious intro (although there’s video going around, you really needed to be in the room to get the full effect), with the Anatomy of an AOP {Attack on Principal}. One of the eye openers here was working with a mole on your team {redacted}. After the lunch break (One of these days we’re going to get lunch right) Rick Colliver had me on the edge of my seat with many things that I’d personally overlooked in private jet travel as a protection specialist. Those in the room will never look at a shower head the same (ask somebody).

Day 2 started with Misty Sharp Ladd sharing immense knowledge on continuing our education. This was not just about college level but certifications and training. With the availability today, there are NO excuses not to add tools to your toolbox. Keeping track of when, where and what you’ve learned. Having a resume and a CV. Elijah Shaw followed, keeping with his “I don’t like to talk much” mantra, and the overlooked component –YOU, engaged us with an interactive discussion that put the microphone in the hands of the attendees on some great issues that we could potentially see as future Summit topics (Ethics and Honesty to name a few).

After the lunch break Eric Konohia aka T.S.S., showed us how to get noticed by the decision makers and broke down the 4P’s, with proven results sitting in the room (Oh Yeah, GET AND STAY LICENSED) and TRUST. How apropos that Eric was able to lead in to his mentor and our Keynote speaker Dr. Paul Viollis (may I suggest Google?) Paul exclaimed we are the Sheepdog. Urging us to maintain our worth and values as a professional. He broke down how it’s OK to walk away from a potential client that’s not willing to pay you what your worth, but more importantly how to value what your worth and understanding the definition of success. He sincerely offered to share and help everyone in the room and that he was only a phone call or email away (can you say WOW).

In summation, I’m glad that I changed my mind on attending; there was an immense amount of knowledge shared and relationships brokered. From the newbie to the experienced protector, there was plenty of food for thought. The presenters assured us they did not share their presentations with each other prior to the event, but ironically all the information tied into one another (ask T.S.S. he made some additional coin). The message was clear to me, and the goals of all the speakers were the same: to help us all in becoming better professional specialist.

I have a personal Summit challenge to those who where in attendance. Take the information that you gained and share it with at least one other Specialist. Dr. Viollis said “He’d never seen a U-Haul behind a hearse”. We can’t keep what we have, unless we give it away.

Stay Safe,

Michael Bell

Executive Protection Specialist

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One thought on “2nd Annual ICON Social Summit Recap”

  1. That was so energetic Michael Bell . Just wanna say we have good people in our network . Hey Elijah you have started a massive connection of think tanks .Hands on will speak always with the Mind set. Social Summit is in stone!!!!!

    Thank you Elijah Shaw & My ICON Family!!!
    Reginald Tolan Left Coast .

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