Tag Archives: female bodyguards

A Woman’s Perspective: ICON Executive Protection Course Review


The ICON Celebrity and VIP Protection Training Course is truly an essential course for anyone wanting to enter the industry of Executive Protection. A truly engaging program, from Day One, Elijah Shaw immerses his trainees in understanding the world of celebrity protection.

Through a combination of lecture, followed by hands-on drills, his teaching style is well-absorbed by
anyone willing to learn. Mr. Shaw and his staff present the course with real-world experiences,so trainees know what to expect, what not to do and not to do and more importantly how to prevent threatening situations from occurring and what to do when they do. I decided to take the course because I had an interest in becoming a bodyguard.

After researching for what seemed to be days on end, trying to find a training course that I felt would be most beneficial to me as a beginner. What’s more, the ICON course was the one of the few courses I’d seen that openly advertised and encouraged women to take their course. Although I had already been leaning toward training with ICON, just that small amount of encouragement solidified my decision. I was truly happy in my decision because since my first inquiry for information, I received a prompt response and felt welcomed.

I felt the same welcoming environment throughout the course. The course is set up to give you the essentials needed to get started in the industry. As I stated before, the course is completely immersive and drills into you the main objective: protecting the principle. The course trains you to constantly think critically about your situation and environment and how to be proactive. It trains you on how protecting isn’t always matching or one-upping force, which particularly hit home and was a challenge for me, coming from previous law enforcement training and working in private security. Most importantly, it introduces you to the demanding nature of the job and how to remain on your game through mental, physical and emotional fatigue. Remembering,  “Mindset is Key.”

Overall, my experience was truly amazing. I would recommend ICON’s Celebrity and VIP Protection course to all men and women looking to get into the industry, as well as currently active protection agents. If you’re looking for real-life, in your face, no fluff training, ICON Services Corporation is where you want to begin. Coming from a law enforcement and private security background, this course instilled in me the true meaning of protection and gave me the foundation on how to build my skills to master the art of protection.

Bryttani Tyner
April 2013 CPC Alumni

Vehicle Embussing/Debussing Drills. Practiced over and over to achieve proficiency.


To learn more about the ICON Academy Executive Protection Course, click HERE.

2012 ICON Academy Executive Protection Training Dates


Celebrity & VIP Protection Course :  (5 Days) January 11-15, 2012  **HELD FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ARIZONA**

A five-day course of practical theory and hands-on training in the world of Celebrity & VIP Protection including the fundamentals of Close Protection.  Taught by industry veteran Elijah Shaw, who in addition to his corporate clients, has traveled the world as the personal bodyguard of international public figures such as musical giant Usher, supermodel Naomi Campbell, and rap megastar 50 Cent, the class covers not only tactics but marketing & career search, and social media techniques like buying facebook views to increase your business rating.

Advanced Executive Protection Course:  (10 Days) January 16-25, 2012 **HELD FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ARIZONA**

This intensive 10-day class is an excellent tool for Operators sharpening their skills with a focus on conducting close protection assignments with a potential high threat level. Work with experienced professionals who are not teaching “theory” put practical applications developed from many years of doing the job.  Taught by Instructors  in private security working globally in a number of high-risk environments including Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, Southeast Asia, South and Central America.


If you are interested in learning more about any of the above Close Protection related courses from Icon Services Corporation, including our special financing options, click HERE.  

We stand behind the quality of our teaching methods and can also put you in contact with previous Alumni to talk about their past experiences.  Group & back-to-back course discounts apply.



Executive Protection Course Round Up

ICON is proud to announce the successful completion of our January 5-day ICON Celebrity & VIP Protection Course!  Thank you to the 14 students that made it to the end, giving their time, dedication and hard earned dollars to attend.  (Not to mention the fact that all did their due diligence and knew they were talking a course in Minnesota, in January! –extra kudos goes for that fact alone.)

Once again the attendees came from various countries (Canada, Australia), ages, colors & genders (thank you to the 3 ladies in attendance), to meet in an environment that leveled the playing field.   By the time the course wrapped, everyone –instructors included — were tired, but as the motto goes:  Train hard, Win easy.

Next course, March 23-27, 2011.  To sign up for future classes, click HERE.

“I recognized the enormous benefits in training internationally with like minded professionals in our field.  Having instructors and presenters that actively work within the industry and who are willing to share their wealth of practical information, transposed to world class training that was both interesting & informative, with a focus on the real aspects of the work.  I will not hesitate to recommend the course to my friends and colleagues in the industry.”  ~ Chris Feretopoulos from Melbourne, Australia on why he choose to attend the course.

Protecting the Principal

Industry Spotlight: Close Protection Agent Denida Zinxhiria

Behind the Bodyguard Business holds a spotlight where we feature someone in the Executive Protection, Security or Investigation industry.  Our hope is to provide some insight into our profession and also show newcomers & the media that people from all walks of life and all parts of the globe do this type of work with honor and pride.   No it’s not like the movies, but it can be rewarding, thrilling, and yes, sometimes fun.

Agent Name: Denida Zinxhiria

Company Name: Athena Academy & Athena Worldwide LLC

Website: www.athenaacademy.com

Home city: Athens, Greece

How long have you been in the Close Protection Industry?

I am working in the Close Protection Industry the last 10 years.

What made you decide you wanted to get into the Industry?

I wanted to offer safety to others by consulting them on security issues and also ”live in the industry”.

What kind of duties are you currently involved in?

I am Athena Academy Founder and Worldwide Director, we run a Female-only Close Protection Operatives Academy in Atlanta, GA

What are some of the differences between working as an Operator and a trainer?  Do you prefer one over the other?

One of the differences is that being an Operator, means you have the responsibility of a person’s safety, that by its own can be very stressful for some people. In some Security Details you may be the Team Leader, so you will have to give the right directions to a group of Agents so they all work as one body with one purpose, in some you will be the Security Advance, which includes a lot of logistics and research, and in some just a member of his close protection team, keeping your eyes on the Principal.  You have to adjust yourself in different roles according to your clients needs and the job position you get, keeping in mind that your client’s schedule will be your daily schedule.

From the other hand as a trainer you are responsible to give the right tools and knowledge your students needs, and prepare them as best you can to be able to start their own steps in the Close Protection industry.  After their training you need to be there for them to both assist and consult. Don’t forget the old hold the experience the new require, and the bond an instructor creates with a student can be amazing.

I can say that I do enjoy the both positions, each one of them offers me different array of experiences and personal satisfaction.

Can you share a bit of one of your best experiences in the industry so far?

During my first years in security industry, I, along with a trusted colleague was hired as a support team to protect the 12 year old child of a female CEO. Because we were called after the threats had started, we were amazed by the observation of the 12 year old who had observed more valuable information that some of other agents working for the family. After a couple of weeks, with hard team work and the police investigator’s help, the people who were planning the kidnapping were arrested. I will never forget that child.

What are the challenges of being a Female Protection Agent?  How do you “even the playing field” compared to your male counterparts?

Depending on the country, Female Protection Agents may often have to deal with close-minded people who think that a woman’s positions is in the kitchen.  I seriously have heard that, along with male colleagues that disrespect or doubt a person’s skills just because of their gender.  Other times they will accept a woman working in their team but will be overprotective towards her, or make her feel that her  position is undervalued in comparison to other Detail Members.

I would say if we can educate the industry about what truly makes an exceptional CPO, there will be no need to “even the playing field”.  Executive Protection work requires a much greater percentage for using your head than your body.

If you have the ability to eliminate one thing from our industry, what would it be?

For men to respect and accept the fact that females can be trained exactly as they are, and can offer the same level services to Clients. I believe that opinions come from life experience, so the only way for a doubting male to overcome this prejudice is for them to give a trained female colleague the opportunity to prove themselves.

To those just entering the profession, what advice would you give?

I would recommend to them to research the industry thoroughly. Close Protection is much more than a well paid job and working with celebrities. Being a CPO can mean risking one’s life protecting someone who is not yourself, or your family.    You will be working a lot of hours, so forget the 9-5 job, in short –your client’s schedule will be your schedule.

After they have decided that this is the career they desire to follow, they need to make a good research on the training courses and the licensing requirements (if any). They need to have a lot of willingness to have their eyes open, to promote themselves and not put it down after a 2-3 attempts of sending a CV and getting no responses.

Close Protection Specialist Denida Zinxhiria can be reached at 1.888.LADYGUARD ext 70 or Email: dz@athenaacademy.com


Just completed the September 5-day ICON Celebrity & VIP Protection Course!  Thank you to the 24 students that crossed the finish-line and gave their time, attention and hard earned dollars to attend.  It was great to have the attendees from various backgrounds, ages, colors & genders, meet in an environment that leveled the playing field.   One of the major phrases I returned to time and again during the course is that “it’s a thinking person’s game“.   You did not have to be the biggest or strongest or best shooter to gain the skills to make your mark on the Executive Protection Industry.

Next course, January 5 – 9th, 2011

Training Day Countdown

Tomorrow begins the next ICON Celebrity & VIP Protection Course and we’re all very proud to say we once   again have a sold out class.   Looking forward to the dynamic mix of seasoned professionals polishing their skills and newcomers just getting started in the industry.

Also very excited to have Dave Marris on board as a Guest Instructor this course.   In the close protection arena his background is one who’s “been there, done that”,  so we’re especially glad to have an active Operator take the time to help out.

Pretty certain the only sleep I get for the next 5 days will occur around the same time the paperboy is making deliveries, and end before he’s done.

Today Show Interview with Elijah Shaw

So in the interest of national security (joke),  I got my hands on the the full Today Show interview conducted by host Amy Robach.  The interview is a excerpt from their recent segment with Bodyguard Careers on females in the Executive Protection Industry.

I know after the original piece aired there was a little bit of debate on if female newcomers in the industry should get that amount of exposure.  My thought process is that the Today Show viewership for that week was 4,900,000, so that was 4,900,000 that got to hear something positive about our industry as opposed to “bodyguard writes a tell-all” or “Security Contractor Takes a Bribe in Iraq“.   That type of positive exposure has got to be good for our community, and acts as a counterbalance to all the negative stereotypes.


Female Bodyguards Featured on Today Show

Amy Robach of the the Today show does a segment on the rise of females in the Executive Protection industry.  The show spotlights Executive Protection Agent Joanna Torrens and an all female class undergoing training in the profession.   While obviously greatly condensed and edited for their morning demographic, I thought the piece was a good representation of the training, challenges and mindset women would need to undergo to succeed in the male dominated bodyguard industry.

Click HERE to view the segment.

To learn more about some of the training Joanna went through follow THIS link.

ICON Featured on the Today Show

Just got off a (LONG) 22 hr flight from South Africa.  Touched down and  received word that the Today Show piece we did in conjunction with Harlan Austin at Bodyguard Careers aired.  I’ll get a proper post up later, but in the meantime, catch the segment.

And if your interested in learning more about the training (for males or females) click HERE.

Video of the program behind the jump.

Girl Guns For Female Bodyguards Spark Debate

The Daily Mail is reporting that female police bodyguards assigned to protecting the UK Royal Family and the Prime Minister are being armed with what they term ‘baby’ guns in a effort to recruit more women officers to the role.

The gun is actually the Glock 26, nicknamed the “Baby Glock” due to its smaller sized barrel and grip.

The debate centers on if this model is sufficient enough for close protection work as it would come as a replacement for the standard issued full sized Glock 17.

For the full story, click HERE.