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Elijah Shaw; founder of the multi-million dollar Executive Protection Firm-Private Sector, ICON GLOBAL was raised in Ida B. Wells, a Chicago housing project located on the south side of the city during the 1980’s, it could be described as one of many concrete jungles. The 1980’s was the introduction era of the crack cocaine epidemic, which sweep through many major cities across the Nation and initiated the beginning of high rates of gang violence. The violence was based on the establishment of turf territory and, amazedly the high rate of drug use didn’t impact Chicago as hard it did in some of the other major cities yet, in the mist of it all, was a diamond in the rough. Elijah Shaw witnessed the debilitating effects crack cocaine had on residents in the housing complex along with, the devastating decline of the Ida B. Wells community. Growing up in what could be considered poor conditions along with being poor financially, he came to understand that “everyone in the neighborhood was poor so it never occurred to him just how poor his family was”.
Fortunately, Elijah was raised on a strong family structure, his mother was directly involved with his up bring while he lived in the household of his grandparents. Being conscious of the disturbing deterioration that would only worsen, Elijah began to put in motion a plan to ensure that his existing environment would not become his future.
ICON GLOBAL Beginnings
He enrolled in Chicago’s Columbia University Film school and in order to pay tuition, Elijah took a job providing security in a Chicago night club that was owned by one of the famous Chicago Bulls, where many celebrities frequent. His security position was bathroom detail, eventually he was promoted to securing the entire night club, which escalated into him providing private security for a team member of the Chicago Bulls. As all entrepreneurs know there are many lessons to be learned and Elijah had his first experience when his high profile client was traded to Europe. By ‘1998’, ICON GLOBAL was founded and due to his exposure to high profile celebrities and politicians his client list for protective services expanded into ICON GLOBAL becoming a highly sought after multi-million dollar source of private protection. Elijah credits the firm’s success based on it being contemporary as he explains, “many have been in the business since the 1950’s and set in their ways, with the age of technology it is imperative to be abreast with social media platforms. Also, many have started security agencies based on military or law enforcement backgrounds. His advantage is, the business of security has been his only career for over 20 years and has given him real world on the job training experience. Lastly the firm always Thinks Outside the Box, logistics is problem solving which means, being able to get high profile clients from point A to point B in a strategic manner that removes an overwhelming intrusion and minimizes risk which allows his clients the continuation of a normal life. “The images of a bodyguard most people are accustomed to have been constructed from television and movies”.
Encouraging the fullness of life
Being in the business of protective services has afforded Elijah to travel the world five times and it occurred to him that he had never taken the time to explore and enjoy the wonderful places he has visited. Being mindful of this, he created a schedule for himself that allowed him time to capture the moments by photographing his travels. Amazedly his attention to detail is reflected through the lenses of his camera. Aware of the magnificent and similarities of people around the world he created a website and those viewing the pictures begin requesting print copies.
It also began the birth of his philanthropy work that started LifeUpThere which purchases cameras for inner city youth in hopes of them taking to heart his words of encouragement, that is also his mantra “the world is a big place” at times you have to create your own opportunities, remove the fear of failure, think outside the box and be willing to take risk”, with the willingness to explore opportunities behind the scene, to gain the ability to see the art behind the camera”.
Elijah believes that it is imperative to encourage African American males today to be strong entrepreneurs, with the many overwhelming negative images on social media and television presenting such poor reflections, as a leader he makes an effort to present himself as a positive walking example. He explains; “In today’s society it is important that we focus on learning what the youth of today want. What careers would they like to pursue? Many want to escape from their social conditions but have no guidance, as to how to work toward their goals, I place an emphasis on them not believing, they have to fall into the negative images that are defined as cool”.
Elijah continues to expose his humble nature by providing pro bono services through his non-for-profit organization ISC Safety Net. Elijah provides volunteer protective services for women, who have been victims of domestic violence. With an overwhelming outreach, he worked directly with women shelters and this portion of his philanthropic work gained the attention of the organization “Women Advocates”, the group requested that Elijah become a Member of the Board, a position in which he currently holds.
Think you have what it takes to become a part of the ICON GLOBAL team? Currently positions and training are available. Check it out and best of luck.