The celebrity world fascinates us all. Some people are captivated by everyday people and their celebrity status, and they spend hours watching them through social media. Some spend hours tuning in on reality programs. Other people find their celebrities on movies, at premiere events, and on Twitter or Instagram. When in motion, a celebrity’s primary concern though, is not as much their publicity, as it is, their safety. Not often will the outside world see those who provide their safety. They do not see security, unless someone is either a uniformed officer, or someone is standing there in a shirt, with bold stacked letters spelling out, “SECURITY”. The celebrities know they are there. They feel at ease, and you can see it as they glide through the entertainment welcoming parties with cameras and people calling their names. So what do they know? What is this safety experience? What is the defining moment of knowing everything “is handled”? Once before, Ralph Waldo Emerson stated – the Defining Moment is –What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. Not a time were these words more eloquently defined, nor has there been a better opportunity to refer to them, than now, to Elijah J. Shaw, the most fortunate soldier.
(ICON) Global Corporation and the Business Behind It
The business of ICON Global Corporation is a security and investigative agency, entering into its 13th year. The president and CEO bringing it, is Elijah Shaw. Offering global protection on long-term basis, in a discreet capacity of some of the most elite celebrity clients, Mr. Shaw provides protection and security, consultations and classroom demonstrations and staffing worldwide.
ICON Global provide public and private training internationally. Mr. Shaw has invited and received people from the most diverse corners of the world to the United States, or himself, has traveled to their remote regions, to train under ICON’s services. Having had the esteemed pleasure to speak with Elijah Shaw about ICON, the conversation began as anyone who had seen the movie “The Bodyguard” may think “Oh, so you teach people to do what Kevin Costner does with Whitney Houston?” However, Mr. Shaw assured, that was just the movies. “ICON Global provides a training academy, that evolved during pre-twitter and pro-social media times.” “It was a ‘cloak and dagger’ business that evolved through helping others learn the work, and then helping them find work to do.” The Security Industry is about more than just working security at an event, or standing outside of a nightclub checking names off of a list, though many people who watch television, may seem to believe. The people who train with this service, learn about risks and secure situations. They learn to work any where and under any circumstances, either standing next to someone in an uncontrolled situation, to a risk situation, or on the border of Haiti making efforts to work with local doctors in an area where police and warlords work together. It’s about more than learning how just do the duties of a “bodyguard.” These people train to become Protection Agents, licensed and trained to act in an proper way, with an emphasis on professionalism and courtesy.
PASSION IN PROTECTION
One thing I noticed while speaking with Mr. Shaw; he really has a passion for what he does, and as the saying goes, “Passion, like negativity, is contagious.” In the celebrity business, I am certain this is an omnipresent truth. Mr. Shaw discussed his passion, how he assimilates it into the training academy, and what it provides to a trainee. He began by explaining how he came into the business world in the beginning, by discussing how sometimes in life an incident or an interaction, can transform us or others in a memorable way. For Shaw, his interaction was through a former employer, “I was working as a Senior Manager, and kept working toward moving forward.” “For some reason, when I came up for review, it never was my time.” However, on one particular occasion, “I was told I should start your own business.” “It was with these words of consideration I began to give it some thought.”
At ICON Global Corporation, their goal is to deliver superior services, with open lines of communication, and repetition of a real-world element. The Executive Protection Industry assists in facilitating Civilian and Professional services offered including Safety, Protection, Fitness, and Firearms training. The specialized courses cover a range of diverse disciplines; after all, Mr. Shaw’s 16-year contribution encompasses mechanisms of managing issues of both a domestic and international accord, applying them to the protection and security industry, that only years of training could produce.
GROWING UP SHAW
While speaking with Elijah Shaw, I suppose the question always comes up at some point of, “What did you want to do growing up?” I suppose some of us plan our lives out ahead or ourselves, and even as children, we know exactly what lies ahead of us. We also know what to
do with our time, our studies, and even our finances as we grow into ourselves. Therefore, the question was asked, “What about when you were growing up Mr. Shaw?” Elijah Shaw had no such well laid-out plan, but he did have dreams. Dreams he never let fall to the side, and still to this day, he is not afraid to admit to being just that.
Elijah Shaw grew up in the inner city housing project, Ida B. Wells, in Chicago, Illinois. He went to grammar school and high school and began college studies in Film and Television. As he studied, he began working in some nightclubs. He also held a job at a safety facility, in the bodyguard and security discipline. He worked up to a manager, then kept working up to Senior Manager, gaining experience, but not enough to move up to where he “dreamed” of being. There’s that word again. Mr. Shaw responded by saying, “I grew up in the inner city and I always dreamed bigger.”
Dreamers are often visionaries of the future. They learn the concept of defining moments. Years ago, I remember the words, “When the defining moment comes along, you can either define the moment, or let the moment define you.” I always think about it when I hear about dreamers, because when those dreamers take those dreams with them, they are the ones who walk the green. His dreams did take him further. When he heard the words, “You should get your own business.” And with a bit of continuing education, Elijah Shaw dreamed even bigger. Referring to himself as a creative sort, he referenced his creativeness and his perfected craft through his years of experience. Let me state something to you, that he mentioned, “Creative people are not business people; therefore, they have to learn to be a business person, or they have to partner with someone who is a business person.” “As creative people, we want creativity, but business people are business people.” The one constant carrying over from then to now, is his love for capturing the moment. He still loves taking pictures, which prompted his decision to move into the field of “Film” as a choice for a college major in the first place.
LOVER OF THE ARTS
One love for Elijah Shaw holding him forever close, is his love for the Arts. One love is for nature. Mr. Shaw’s career requires him to travel often, and he has been around the world five times and he has touched every continent except Antarctica. In conversation, one of his highlights of travel, was a time he had taken clients in the safe-keeping capacity to the world cup in South Africa. He mentioned, “It is my responsibility to keep someone safe.” “We travel to some really interesting places, but the threats against one’s self, is my concern.” Another love of the Arts for Elijah Shaw, includes architecture. Even though a person who loves the Arts, especially nature, might seem a bit laid-back; Elijah Shaw does not fit this classification. He then was asked how he considered his emotional state, and his response was, “I would consider myself engaged.” “Just like coming here, and meeting with you guys, this takes a lot for me, just to slow down and to get this, but I am excited to do this.” “I am very much attracted to nature and architecture.” “So, when I go over to something, like a wallaby, I am really excited.” “The life and shadows that appear on a structure, that makes me excited.”
The love for Art doesn’t stop with nature and structure, it goes to music, with compositions of jazz and classical music. Reading is also a love – anything from Business and Marketing, to Astronomy and History, such as the Ancient ruins to the Tongan Islands. His love of learning and reading would explain some of his love of travel, and his wish is not only to explore, but to share in all that he does.
You see Elijah Shaw is not your typical man. His heart leads him to the places he goes, as much as his career. When he isn’t working to create a safe environment, he is working to create the best possible photograph of that environment; he does so to capture the image of today to share with those he could not bring with him to see all he does. Elijah Shaw is certainly a man of defining moments.
To see this great love of the Arts, and how deep it runs, creates a picture of Shaw. You see this very intense man who has created a Security Consulting Firm, known for working with celebrities, members of Fortune 500 Companies, and political affiliates. He trains others for bodyguards, works with private and public law enforcement agencies, and he teaches others to do their duty with integrity, for the work is important. One minute you see this sophisticated, sharp-dressed man who takes each trainee from the classroom to the real-world implementation of the worst possible scenario in hopes each person leaves training with a realistic expectation of what could happen, and the knowledge that every cause has an effect. It is their job to not just react to a situation, but to also be proactive and keep things from escalating, to the point a reaction is warranted to de-escalate a potentially dangerous situation.
The training provided by ICON seems not just as much about the protection; it seems comparably as much about the protector, as it is about the one being protected. The training provided by the defensive firearms instructors, allows individuals to participate in constructed live fire incidents, simulated to appear as a real-world event. This allows each person to experience a simulated event under-the-influence of adrenaline, which is a powerful neurotransmitter which can affect the way you think, the way you act, how quickly you cat, etc. This is one of the major factors that cause bad shoots in police work. These situations are realistically handled in the utmost manner of safety, as to allow individuals a realistic view of what could happen in a life or death situation.
Elijah Shaw really is quite the chameleon when it comes to visualizing the man at work, and the man at heart. Coming from a close family unit, where he was close with his grandparents, and even closer with his mom. For Shaw, at the lower times of his life, it is his mom,
he looks to when he feels the most open. It is this respect for his mother, it seems might have led his traits of humility and respect. He referenced, “I am blessed to travel the world, and I made a conscious effort to document it.” “So, I put them up on the website, and thought, I will sell the pics to help others.” It is the changeling which comes about is his spare time who travels through Israel and finds a sight to behold. It is on his off days he treks the risky and treacherous footing near the Colorado River, in Archers National Park, in Moab, Utah to stay until dark, under the stars to get the best image he can to place on a website for sale to whomever? That’s just one of the unique things about Elijah Shaw. All he does, all he feels, all he sees; it takes him home, and not just to his present home, but to his childhood home. He remembers what he missed as a child. He didn’t miss cameras or travel. He didn’t know about that. What he missed was the chance to know it! That is, he missed it then. Now, he knows about it. And he plans on taking every opportunity to share with those back in Ida B., in Chicago, Illinois. The cameras, the pictures, the money for supplies? It is just a small gesture from Elijah Shaw, to define yet another moment to share his point that there is #lifeupthere.
Although Elijah Shaw has many proficients, many are used to teach others through training sessions provided through his security services; others are poured into his philanthropic side which shows the most of who he is. Mr. Shaw has this vulnerable side of himself; a side it seems he would rather keep to himself. However, for someone who is so involved in the community, at such a distance; his shy exterior, seems to fall to the wayside, as his tender heart attempts to stay hidden mercilessly, behind the strongholds of his human armor.
For instance, he began photography in hopes of capturing some of the more beautiful and unique things he would see on his assignments or exhibitions away from home. Recently, he launched a website called lifeupthere.com where these photos are presented. The proceeds are donated from this site to inner city schools for to equip youths with projects and learning, awakening their creative insights. One again, defining Mr. Shaw, and the moments of the visionary he has become.
Another set of skills from the business used in return for altruism include the services for the ICON Safety-Net Program. The Women’s Advocates members host the nation’s oldest shelters for victims of domestic violence. Mr. Shaw’s services are free security services offered to the program to support these victims of domestic abuse and the shelters that support them. When asked about their relationship, he responded, “We provide Pro-Bono bodyguard and security guard services for domestic violence services and victims.” “I really wanted to help those who have a need, even if they do not have the payments for these.” “The shelters started screening for those who needed the services for court purposes and I started getting the clientele.” “Other people started doing things that worked with me too from my agency.” “This is a part of what I do.” “We started working with a group of others going to the homes and to the court dates as well.” “This is some of the things I do, and teach others to do, not just because it’s about helping other people, and it’s about learning how I do that work, without it being a job?”
Elijah Shaw has truly come a long way from the inner city streets of Chicago, Illinois. The current director of the North American Bodyguard Association (NABA), the Managing Editor of the NABA-produced Circuit Magazine, as an ongoing columnist called Keeping Your Edge Mr. Shaw is an expert in dealing with Operational Security (OPSEC), Executive Protection and the Security Industry. He has worked with the media on multiple occasions in feature publications, major broadcasts and standing in with celebrities. For most people, this is what they love – celebrities, media, the when, the where, and all that entails. And when it comes to being the one to call for all that entails, the one to call is “Elijah Shaw, the Fortunate Soldier“, with so many defining moments. Take a look at his projects! Some of those defining moments, he’s out of this country, he’s riding exotic animals, he’s learning new things, and lately, he’s even upside down.
Upside Down on Instagram – Elijah Shaw on Instagram
Tell him you saw him Upside Down on Instagram – Elijah Shaw on Twitter