Today we are excited to present an international guest for our Safety Speakers Series. Miranda Coppoolse is based in the Netherlands and the Founder and CEO of MC Global Security Consulting. Miranda is a distinguished Behavior Analyst & Trainer, and Security Risk Advisor on various interrelated security topics.
Kwema: Miranda, thank you for providing us the time to speak to you. Could you tell us more about your background? How did you start in the security field?
Miranda: With pleasure Ali. I was born in the Netherlands, almost half a century ago, in a very loving working-class family.
My reason for choosing this profession really came naturally almost. As a very young girl, I lost two of my friends. One day we were out ice skating, he disappeared in an ice-hole and slipped further under the ice. He was too young to find his way back to the hole and we were too young to know how to save him. I believe I was only about 7 years old. It was devastating, I’ll never forget that day. Another friend had a heart condition. I remember the day we had to say goodbye. He was so very sick. It was heartbreaking. I really struggled with the fact that I was not able to protect them, to save them, despite my age of 8 years old, and promised myself I would do better next time.
I’ve always been kind of a “helper” and very sensitive to people’s moods and behaviors. I somehow always wanted to see people happy and safe. Almost some kind of Mother Theresa syndrome maybe. I eventually however, paid a high price for that naivety.
As a young teen I was convinced that kindness was the way to save everyone. I had to learn the hard way that some people were not always victims that needed to be helped but that some actually were predators that took advantage of good people.
The latter was a personal experience that I barely survived. But instead of feeling sorry for myself, I decided that I could and should use my experiences to help others. I there and then decided to be a victor and not a victim and I wanted to make sure to never depend on anyone again. I found myself a management job in retail. Back in those days there were no specific security departments, yet as a manager, eventually responsible for multiple stores, I was confronted with robberies, theft, insider threats as well as the hiring and firing process.
The behavior of people really kept fascinating me. Why one person chooses right, and the other wrong. Due to my turbulent past, I noticed that I had developed sort of a sixth, if not seventh sense, for certain abnormal behavior. Next to my full time job, I started working as a volunteer for an organization that, in collaboration with Law Enforcement, helped all kinds of victims, from domestic violence, to human-trafficking, to traffic victims, etc. I knew immediately that this just was my calling, to help get people safe.
When I heard about a company that was recruiting high-risk security agents in Amsterdam, at Schiphol Airport I decided to apply. It was for a special team of security agents specifically trained in analyzing human behavior in combination with document checks. This to find/spot people with the wrong intentions.
To my biggest joy I got hired. During my first 5 months there I was scouted by the company who trains these high-risk security agents. One month later I started working for them and became a Profiling trainer. This was an incredible learning curve for my career which I thoroughly enjoyed. Years later I made the move to the Dutch Ministry of Justice and the rest is history. It has been and still is an incredible journey and I’m planning on doing this for as long as I can and are able to do this work. It truly is my passion. Although I have made and will continue to make sacrifices in my personal life, like long days from home, working in dangerous areas and under oftentimes a lot of stress, I still up to this day feel this is my calling.
Kwema: We see that you run your own Security Consulting. What encouraged you to launch it? In which areas does your company specialize?
Miranda: I’d love to tell you an amazing heroine story and that I had always dreamed about starting my own company but that would be a lie. The honest truth is that after almost three decades in the field, I got stuck in the job market. Luckily sometimes the bad or sad things that happen in our life put us on the path of something good. This roller coaster, called life, led me to become the founder of my own security consulting in where security, risk and human behavior intersect. I’m now operating in more of a niche market with my services which I love. My services, in where the human factor is key, can seamlessly be integrated into any industry and organization.
I’ve been very lucky to have worked for some fantastic organizations with some amazing people, but I noticed that eventually I always hit a wall somewhere. Mainly that wall was that I felt restricted into doing what I believed was right for me, for my colleagues, the clients or the organization as a whole. Keep in mind that diversity and inclusion were not a thing back in the days, so a woman with a vision and a voice was maybe, to put it mildly, somewhat of a challenge for organizations. Policies and regulations are fairly easy to change but company cultures, as you know, especially back in the days, were an extreme challenge. I am really happy to see a shift in that now.
Of course, security has for a long time, and I sadly still often see and hear this, being seen as a cost and a burden for organizations. Security officers, guards and managers are always challenged to have their voice heard without getting a seat at the C-suit or Board table. Add behavioral analysis to that and being a woman in a men’s world and you can maybe imagine the challenges I faced. Back in the day’s behavioral analysis was really only something in movies and apart from Israel never been taken that seriously in any country. Thankfully that is changing now.
Another reason I often received as a rejection was being “overqualified”. I am sure many people will recognize this struggle, when applying for a job after your fortieth. When I figured that I had really tried all options, I realized that there were two options left. That was pulling the victim card or growing a pair and becoming an entrepreneur myself. So, I took matters in my own hand and founded MC Global Security.
Although I did miss working for an organization in the first couple of months when I started for myself, as I am a team player and love to improve and grow together, I now truly thoroughly enjoy working as a consultant. I see it as a luxury to team up with many amazing people and organizations now.
I feel so very blessed to be able to be a source for others and to help them solve some of the challenges they are facing. It’s very rewarding and I have not regretted a day, not even a second, doing this. I’m humbled being seen as a trusted source for many now. I love lending a hand, being that listening ear, coach and teacher, as also playing the advocate of the devil at times to come to the best solutions.
My company is mainly focused on the human factor. To mention a few of my services and here to be found in detail https://mcglobalsecurity.com/: Behavioral Analysis & Identification: Data & People, Investigation Analysis, Risk Assessment analysis & implementation service, Confidential Advisory & coaching Services, and more..
Kwema: We see you are a Behavioral Analyst pioneer for safety and security purposes. This is fascinating! How typical is behavior as a variable for security assessments?
Miranda: It is becoming more common, thankfully, but it is still somewhat pioneering indeed.
Adapting the human factor in a security assessment really makes us understand our environment better and with that people and their behavior. Our behavior is almost always a result of our environment. You need, and can, learn about how best to recognize and control our and other people’s actions. I am fascinated by how we are wired and why we do what we do in certain circumstances. I have researched this for decades from the observable to the neurological level.
Understanding this makes you better equipped to proactively take precautions instead of reactively. For the security and safety industry, I believe this is crucial, but I like to go one step further by saying that this is crucial for any organization, profession or industry.
Kwema: How could organizations benefit from conducting these types of analyses in security management?
Miranda: This could be beneficial in so many ways. It can help organizations in their hiring and firing process, in understanding the cultures of the different departments within the organization, it can help organizations identify their customers, it can help connecting with their stakeholders better, it can help with insider threats, it can help them decide what kind of technical and practical tools they need, it can help them understand their environment, it can help them identify baseline and questionable behavior, it can help them identify anomalies, it can help them learn how to protect their people, their clients, their property and information, it can help them understand how people ignite an event or respond to an event, etc… There’s a huge return of investment (ROI) here. The cost and result of destruction are often times much higher than that of prevention.
Let me be clear about this: behavioral analysis is a tool that combined with all the existing security, safety, protection, customer service and human resource programs and plans gives the best results. It is the roots, the basics of understanding the environment and the behavior of the people in it.
Kwema: We admire your work, and we realize you have had the opportunity to work around the world. How different are security challenges in the other countries you have been to?
Miranda: Yes, they are different. Not so much the fact that it all is about the safety of (their) people, property and information, but more so about the environment which eventually decides the how and why certain security measures are implemented or not. To mention a few..
Location-wise organizations face different challenges. Not only culture-wise but also things like natural disasters, epidemics and local laws or whether there is a war or other humanitarian challenges. The continents and countries are a challenge in itself. It is therefore very important to understand their laws and culture. It also depends on what kind of organization it is and the risks they are facing as an industry or brand. Whether they are a candy store, a hospital, in the gas and oil industry, a hotel, an airport, a ministry or a famous person, etc. It all comes with its own risks.
As you can imagine, it even makes a difference whether you are in a cosmopolitan city, a rustic little village or on an island. So, you see, security isn’t as easy as many like to believe. So many factors come into play when making a solid plan to keep people, property and not to forget, information, safe.
Kwema: What was your most impactful experience?
Miranda: That’s a difficult question since I’ve seen and encountered so many shocking, horrendous as well as fascinating and heroic things due to the nature of my work. Most probably I would say my conversations with a serial killer and that with a terrorist. Getting the opportunity to get a glimpse into their head and to interact with them was quite the experience, really fascinating.
Another immensely impactful experience was meeting the CRI (Children’s Rescue Initiative) team and hearing their stories about saving those from slavery and human-trafficking and giving these victims a new chance in life. So incredibly humbled for them to allow me to be part of their team and to raise awareness for this. Did you know that daily about 1800 children are being trafficked internationally and still today slavery is legal in 167 countries?
It is estimated that traffickers gain about 150 billion dollars in profits annually from the use of forced labour and forced sexual exploitation. Can you imagine your child being snached and exploited that way? It is a terrifying thought, isn’t it?
Kwema: How has your international experience impacted your knowledge and understanding regarding security?
Miranda: It has helped me tremendously. It is a humbling and more so enriching experience. I really recommend anyone to get as much exposure to various cultures as you can. What’s normal or polite in one country, is not or even the opposite for the other and vice versa.
Learn about languages, gestures, codes of conduct, religions, dress codes, manners and more. More so, be open to change, learn to adapt and just absorb all the information, be like a sponge.
Kwema: Based on your experience, how can security leaders be better prepared to face security challenges in their industry?
Miranda: Get to know yourself and be honest to yourself and others. If you have flaws, face them! If you lack certain knowledge, acknowledge it and go after it. Learn when to say no, this industry can be very demanding and draining. Find yourself a mentor, someone you trust. Invest in building a strong network. Team up, combine forces, when and where you have to, because together you truly are stronger.
Stop seeing each other as competitors. We are all fighting for the same cause, making this world a better place. Always be willing to learn, the world changes every day and with that the threat and risk landscape. Understand your environment. With that I mean, the political situation in a country, the industry & organization you work for/in, the location, the culture of the company, the people (e.g., those that work for or with the organization, visitors, suppliers or clients of the organization and those that might want to harm the organization, etc.)
Remember that it is never a smooth ride, nothing in life is, but know that we only learn by falling and failing. Tough times won’t last but tough people/teams do! You are only as good as your last performance, so make it count! Stay calm! Communicate! Listen! Empower!
We would like to thank Miranda for taking the time to have this conversation with us! It has been great to learn from her experiences and knowledge. We hope all security and safety professionals enjoyed this insightful interview with Miranda and keep her advice in mind as they move forward. We are looking forward to hearing from your comments below, so please share your thoughts about our series.
About Miranda Coppoolse
Miranda Coppoolse is the Founder of MC Global Security Consulting. She is a distinguished Behavioral Analyst and serves as a Security Risk Advisor on various interrelated security topics.
While known for her behavioral identification trainings & seminars tailored to any industry and profession, her mentoring and coaching of professionals and creating psychological profiles for risk assessments, Miranda also serves as an Advisory Board Member for the TINYg Global Terrorism Information Network, Lobbying Africa, Hard Target Living, and has been an active member for ASIS International.
Additionally, she serves as a team member for the Children’s Rescue Initiative (CRI), an organization that fights human trafficking worldwide. During her career, she has lived around the globe, gaining a broad understanding of numerous languages and cultures. Her core business focuses on:
- Behavioral Analysis, People & Data
- Security Risk Assessment Analysis
- Behavioral Identification trainings & workshops for safety and security purposes
- Predictive & Criminal Profiling
- Risk Assessment Implementation Service
- Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning analysis for behavioral recognition
- Physical, Enterprise and Travel Security
- Confidential Advisory & Coaching Services
- Human-Trafficking Education
Miranda has achieved success in many areas of work in such platforms as Government, Public law enforcement, Aviation, Places of worship, Ports, Healthcare, Banks, Tourism, Hospitality, Retail, Humanitarian aid, Executive Protection and more...