The ICON Executive Protection Academy kicked 2013 off with a bang. In January we ran our well established Celebrity & VIP Protection Course immediately followed by our Advanced Executive Protection Course for those who were looking for continuing training in the close protection industry. Sandwiched in between the two courses was our first Annual ICON Social Summit. The Summit itself made waves, having originally been conceived to bring ICON Alumni of the previous years together to discuss best practices and network. We tried to keep word of the Summit relatively under wraps (Prior to the event, I didn’t even do a Blog posting on it) however as word spread, we started getting inundated with request from industry peers who were also interested in attending.
One of the big draws to what came to be a by invitation only, sold out event, was our impressive lineup of guest speakers which had the distinction of having subject matter experts as speakers who were actually ACTIVE in the Protection field on a full-time basis. (As my friend Tony Scotti would say, “What a concept”?) The speaker roster included:
Mark James: Internationally published author and CEO of Panther Protective Services
Eric Konohia: CEO of BPI Security
Benjamin Alozie: ICON Director of International Operations
Raffaele Di Giorgio: CEO of Global Options and Solutions
Raffaele also had the distinction of traveling the furthest to be at the Summit, scheduling his time back in the US from an assignment in the Middle East around it. Further enhancing the flavor and overall spirit of unity was the welcome presence of graduates of several other industry schools which included Executive Security International (ESI) the Executive Protection Institute (EPI) and the International Academy of Executive Protection Agents (IAEPA) as well as many members of the North American Bodyguard Association (NABA).
With a sold out attendee list and a full day of seminars (which included a few surprises) the Summit switched gears slightly to move to the “social” phase which was a chance for new Protectors to meet, old associates to get reacquainted, and those that knew each other solely from social media to finally put a real face to the virtual one. The laughs were many, the exchange of contact information was frequent, and the amount of people that used the access of liquor at the nearby bar to damage their credibility was nil.
Immediately following the Summit, I launched into Day 1 of the ICON Advanced Executive Protection Course, so the feedback on what everyone thought was sporadic for me; however upon its conclusion I was able to truly get a sense that those in attendance appreciated the presentations and flow of the day and were looking forward to more in the future. In fact, in addition to Summit presenter Eric Konohia’s Blog article on his experiences, one able bodied Protector in attendance even took the time to do a video review. Find it HERE.
With all of this said, the Summit Group is well into planning the 2nd Annual ICON Social Summit, and hope to continue to find new and creative ways to unite and strengthen the Executive Protection industry. (Not counting the virtual fistfight almost broke out on the North American Bodyguard Association Facebook Page about where to hold the next Summit, but I digress…)
It truly warmed my heart to interact with a room full of like minded individuals who took the time out of their schedules to attend, and it is my hope that the best practices discussed and networking opportunities presented help make life easier for the men and women that risk their well being to engage in the business of Executive Protection.
Elijah Shaw~ ICON
To see a photo gallery of the 1st Annual ICON Social Summit Click HERE.
To get more information about the 2nd Annual ICON Social Summit Click HERE.