A woman on a missionPublished on 25 Mar 2019
Kate Bright is revolutionising how international families see security
Kate Bright holds a current bodyguard license. She has trained in Krav Maga, the self-defence and fighting system first developed for the Israeli Defence Forces. But that is only half the story. With no military background and having started her career as a Family Office PA, she approaches security from a very different perspective - from many years of managing international families’ security protocols, rather than any tours of duty.
As managing director at UMBRA International, Kate advises her clients in the concept of ‘secure lifestyle’, employing their own brand of invisible security. Did she enjoy the recent BBC drama, the Bodyguard? “I enjoyed it as a drama,” says Kate, “although I would have preferred the Prime Minister’s close protection officer to be a woman, which would have been much more realistic”.
Kate has more on her agenda than providing security services to her clients, although they are both means to the same end. “I am on a mission to demonstrate that the future of security is in diversity. For example, there are not enough women in security for the current demands - both for private clients and society as a whole. The more good quality, well-trained women entering the industry, the better we are able to provide invisible security solutions for our clients”, she says.
At UMBRA, Kate has set the business a target to increase diversity in line with client demand, and bring new talent into the sector. “I think it is really important to understand that there is more to security than the use of ex-military or ex-policemen and women”, she says. “A military background can be a useful starting point, depending on experience and training,
but it is important to have a combination of different abilities, including softer skills like emotional intelligence and the capacity to blend into the background”.
To this end, UMBRA has entered into initiatives with rugby clubs including Saracens and Harlequins Ladies and bodies such as Pacific Rugby Players Welfare and the Welsh
Rugby Players Association - amongst others - to create funding pathways for former players to access close protection training. “We are looking for men and women with that mind-set - capable, disciplined,with a strong sense of purpose and team spirit deeply engrained”, explains Kate. “Given the best possible security training, transitioning athletes are perfect candidates in this sense”.
For Kate, the invisible security that her clients want entails a lot more than diverse teams who blend into the background. “They want discretion - cerebral, well integrated teams - but in combination with other services, such as cyber solutions and technology.” That might be drone surveillance projects for rural properties or supplying security-trained dogs,
“a very cost-effective way of providing a deterrent to wannabe intruders and excellent family pets to boot.”
UMBRA’s clients are high net worth individuals and families who are often in the public eye. Naturally, they are concerned about how to address the security needs of their children and subsequent generations. “Our clients have started to think long-term,” says Kate. “They are no longer seeing a secure lifestyle as a standalone ‘plug and play’ solution, with physical
security as the focus. They are also looking ahead to when the next security update might be required and whether or not CCTV will even exist in 20 years’ time in its current format.”
Her clients are looking increasingly at monitoring the effects of online threats and reputation management. “When it comes to AI and digitisation, it has always been my belief that humans will continue to adapt to outsmart technology”, says Kate. “We will have to develop more skills to understand advances in technology, for its positive and negative benefits to clients, and work faster to understand these fast-paced evolutions.”
When it comes to the next generation, families in the public eye also need to consider the challenges posed by society’s expectations in the context of the digital age. “They have grown up with tech and are much more socially aware of the impact their wealth can have and how it can change the family ‘story’ for better or worse.”
This idea of a family’s story, for Kate, is key to getting their security plan right. “It is vital for families to understand what makes the next generation tick, while passing on the best of the past”, she says. “One of the greatest vulnerabilities I see with clients is that future leaders aren’t given enough scope to explore their passions before taking the reins. This
is where security needs to get smart,” says Kate. “The challenge is to have one eye focused on the client and the life they want to lead, the other on their changing environment, then rendering that lifestyle either possible or impossible for them, and being able to communicate that to the family.”
The key to any successful invisible security approach is to keep planning, concludes Kate. “I think the penny hasn’t quite dropped yet. Be proactive. Don’t wait for things to happen before trying to protect yourself. Have a regular secure lifestyle programme and stick to it. You will save a lot of time, effort and money further down the line.”
Kate Bright is Managing Director and Founder of UMBRA International.