Eleni Yannacaros is one of the few women to lead in the male-dominated field of Personal Security, and not only has she gained respect and held her own, she is also bringing about her own changes to improve and build-up the sector.
The Greek Australian director of Specialised Career Solutions understood early on, working in the industry for 18 years, that quality training is the key to providing quality security, and it is what drove her to radically transform her establishment in West Footscray, so that those looking to join the personal security force, are ready and prepared for real life.
Ms Yannacaros is only 36 years old, but looking back, she believes she has been preparing her whole life for a career in this field. From a young age she always looked up to her father, Angelo Yannacaros, owner of Foenix Protection, where she herself started off.
“Security just ended up flowing through my veins and came as something very natural to me. I got to learn from the best I suppose, from my father and the people that he surrounded himself with. It always seemed like a natural path.”
The security industry needs more women
There’s always been a shortage of women in the industry, and Eleni Yannacaros believes it is a shame, because they have so much to offer.
“Women have an automatic de-escalating trait. It’s incredible, really. Women just have a natural ability to defuse a tense situation, and calm an angry patron, compared to a male security guard in the same position. They are less likely to get agitated or hands-on and it is always good to have women in the industry.”
Besides, Ms. Yannacaros explains to Neos Kosmos, Security is not how it once was many years ago, when you could get into altercations. “Security is now 90% conflict negotiation, it’s about talking through things with individuals and being able to de-escalate a situation. And, you know, a smile goes a long way.”
Working in the industry for so many years, Ms Yannacaros says that she has only had to be hands-on, maybe once or twice. And that would have been regardless of any situation, as the person was drug induced, and that was going to go down the way it went, even with male security guards struggling. But 99% of the time, she has had no issues whatsoever.
Ms Yannacaros believes that anyone can work in this field. It is important though to have patience, good communication skills, and confidence as you are there to uphold the law. She adds that these traits are important regardless, and especially to women if we take into account the dangerous world we live in.
“I recommend to all women, to learn a few self-defense skills. It just teaches you a lot more confidence and self-awareness, so you can see things that you might otherwise ignore, and be a little bit more prepared if something was to go wrong. Of course you can’t predict every situation, but as long as you have some techniques in the back of your mind, you’ll have the confidence to put up a fight and that’s a great starting point.”
The massive changes she did to her registered training organisation in West Footscray comes at the right time, as with the pandemic, the security industry has suffered great shortages.
“We need to build the industry back up again, and bring in new blood”, she says, and adds that unfortunately it is not a short process.
“I have invested a lot of money and time into the facilities to make our training the best. The training is as real-life as it can be in a training environment.”
There are classrooms, soft-fall training areas, a two-bedroom house built in the warehouse, as well as a bar, a jewelry store, a café, a hospital room, an aviation area and even a 10-meter non-lethal ammunition range onsite.
“We are so passionate about training that we have turned it on its head.”