Former Secret Service Agent
Int’l. Personal Protection Agent
Self-Esteem Mentor
Doctor of Clinical Psychology
Forensic Psychology Expert
College Professor

And now, Author.

About mary beth


Former Secret Service Agent
Int’l. Personal Protection Agent
Self-Esteem Mentor
Doctor of Clinical Psychology
Forensic Psychology Expert
College Professor

And now, Author.

“Never let them see you sweat.”

Those words got me to where I am today. As one of seven children in a family of athletes, I learned two things early in life:

  1. You don’t let your teammates (or yourself) down
  2. Never let the competition know you’re struggling

It was that mentality that gave me the strength and motivation to always move forward, even when times were tough.

When I was 25, I walked… no, I barged into an historically male-dominated profession, the United States Secret Service. I’d just arrived home from living and working in Spain when I was recruited into the Washington Field Office as a Special Agent. I also happen to be the ONLY Spanish speaker in what is considered the epicenter of Secret Service protective operations.

As a Special Agent under George H.W. Bush’s administration, I received what is considered some of the best protection and investigative training in the world – and I loved every minute of it.

It was also where I got my first real taste of what it’s like to be a woman determined to make a name for herself in a male-dominated profession…

About mary beth training

They were just waiting for me to screw up.

about mary beth with colleagues

The reality is that many of my colleagues didn’t think I deserved to be there. To many of my fellow agents, women had ended the good old days of “Buicks, booze, and broads” or, as it was known, the “good old boy network”.

They expected me to “get emotional” and mess up when situations got heated. And that meant every minute of every day, eyes were on me, just waiting for me to fail. They were looking for any perceived weakness to justify their belief that women couldn’t handle the pressure, the job… that women didn’t belong in federal law enforcement or the protection industry at all. That it should have stayed a man’s world.

You might be experiencing the same (or worry you will) in your career. You know, one of the sad things is that many women experience the necessity – or perceived necessity – to prove themselves over, and over, and over again. All as a way of overcompensating for other people’s opinion of what they should and shouldn’t be doing.

This is because there’s a presumption that a man in a highly-skilled, high-stress profession knows what he’s doing. While women… well, maybe they were a diversity hire, a way for the higher-ups to fulfill a quota.

But hear me when I say…
YOU deserve to be in that room.

Wherever you are, and wherever you’re going in life and in your career, you BELONG there. You’re coming from a disadvantage, yet you’re still putting in the hard work every day, working on yourself and up-leveling your skills.

Here’s what I did…

I knew that if I went in there with the mindset that, “I’m a woman so it’s going to be harder for me to succeed”, I’d be putting myself at a disadvantage. So I didn’t change how I worked at all. Instead, I kept my head down, worked my butt off, and did my job. I decided to believe wholeheartedly I’d earned my place as a Secret Service Agent and none of the underhanded comments or attempts to throw me off my game would change that.

…And that tactic worked.

Little by little, I watched everyone around me defrost as I gained their respect – not by demanding it or even asking for it, but by working hard and acting as though I belonged there.

If there’s no path in front of you, grab some cement and start paving.

My career in the Secret Service ended before I wanted it to (you can read the whole story in my book, The Protector). It was a major setback – one that could have derailed my entire future. But I made sure it didn’t…

I channeled all the anger and disappointment I felt into going out and making it on my own as a Freelance International Protection Agent. Soon, I was traveling to places like Peru and Haiti protecting wealthy families and high-profile individuals such as the President of Haiti at the time, Jean-Bertrand Aristide (that particular mission crowning me the only woman to have ever officially protected a foreign president outside of the US).

From there, I owned my expertise and worked with The Investigative Group – a global leader in investigative intelligence, as a VIP Protection Instructor for the US State Department-sponsored Anti-terrorism Assistance Program (ATA), and as the US Security Advisor to the Minister of Defense and the Vice President of Colombia.

The takeaway here is: if I had just rolled over and given up after losing my dream job with the Secret Service, I never would have found success on my own. It was only by taking ownership of my future that I was able to continue doing what I loved, Protection and Investigations, but this time on my own terms.

About Freelance International Protection Agent
“Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right.” -Henry Ford

Today, protection is as important to me as it has ever been; yet my work focuses less on protecting the body (although I have been known to teach fitness and self-defense classes), and more on protecting the mind. Forensic and Clinical Psychology are long-time passions of mine and, later in life, they became my career.

Since earning my doctorate, and with a background in Forensic and Clinical psychology, I’ve spent the past 20 years split between practicing psychology as a therapist and serving as an Adjunct Professor in the Psychology Department at the George Washington University where I teach Abnormal Psychology and the Psychology of Crime and Violence. I also regularly facilitate mental health trainings and continue to consult in the fields of Forensic and Clinical Psychology.

At every stage of my life, I’ve encountered individuals and institutions who have tried to tell me that I’m not good enough, and I don’t belong…

I didn’t believe them. And I know that’s the reason why I made it through.

What we think and tell ourselves translates into our behavior. If I tell myself I can’t, then chances are I’ll never achieve what I set out to do. But if I tell myself I can, I make success possible.

Women who are high-functioning, powerful, and full of potential often feel very alone. This emotional isolation means they spend a lot of time in their heads, worrying, thinking, and over-analyzing their lives, their choices, and their decisions. They are full of a burning desire to achieve. But they often lack a reliable or trustworthy source to go to for support and help to reach their goals.

I know that whatever dream you have, you have the ability to make it a reality.

And I’m here on your team to help you do it by tapping into the power of psychology and a lifetime of experience falling and getting back up to “make it” again and again.

Through speaking, mentoring, writing, and my book The Protector, I’m here to guide you through personal doubt and life’s difficulties. Not only by showing you what’s possible, but also by helping you build the self-esteem, self-belief, self-confidence, resilience, and the grit you need to rise to the top.

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