The executive protection industry is often associated with burly men in dark suits and sunglasses. So when a woman like Denida Grow steps into the ring, she challenges stereotypes and breaks barriers, proving that gender does not determine one’s ability to provide top-notch security.
Born in Albania and raised in Greece, Denida knew from a young age that she wanted to work in the security space. Undeterred by the cultural and physical hurdles she faced in the beginning as a woman in a male-dominated industry, she received her initial security training from the Israelis and eventually went on to establish her own companies providing protective security services across the globe.
Today, Denida is the founder of Athena Worldwide and its training academy, dedicated to the employment and advancement of female security professionals. Inspired by the ancient Greek goddess Athena, her focus is on teaching her students to “protect through wisdom and intelligence.” She is also the founder of Nannyguards, a hybrid service that combines child care with protective services. With additional training in psychology and body language, Denida emphasizes the importance of communication and trust when interacting with her high-level clients.
One of my favorite things about Denida is her grit and flexibility in the earlier days of her career. When no one was interested in hiring a female security agent, she got her foot in the door by offering to work for free as an intern. No job in the security field was too lowly for her, leading to a variety of early employment experiences that ultimately resulted in a unique multidisciplinary and multicultural portfolio.
Denida’s career trajectory demonstrates that diverse backgrounds and skills can enhance the overall effectiveness of executive protection teams. In a field that is constantly evolving, we can all take a lesson from Denida’s story on how to adapt and excel in challenging environments.
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About Jessica Lauren Walton: Jessica is a communications strategist, video producer, and writer in the U.S. defense sector. She has written articles on a range of security and mental health topics and conducted interviews with military leadership, CIA officers, law enforcement, psychologists, filmmakers, and more. Jessica recently completed her memoir about her experience as an American woman struggling with mental illness while trying to get into Israeli intelligence.
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