Spies have come in from the cold and into the ballroom. The first talent agency to offer real spies is now a reality. The skills and lessons learned by these experts in intelligence can be fascinating—and useful in the nonespionage world—and now many of these specialists from the CIA, FBI, KGB and Mossad are for hire for your next meeting or training session for keynotes, corporate training and team development.
Spyex, the company behind this, just officially launched but has been partnering with a handful of corporations over the last eight months. What began as podcast series True Spies, which debuted in 2020, and later, as a planned introduction of Spycon (postponed until 2022), a convention designed to bring these experts together with Hollywood and Silicon Valley, has shapeshifted into a venture meeting professionals will love.
“Through the recruitment of experts for the podcast series and the development of both B2B and consumer programming for Spycon, we discovered that these unique experts have skills, knowledge and experience that translate very effectively in the business world,” says Lisa Paul, senior vice president of Spyex.
It’s a niche in the world of business training waiting to be tapped into. “We discovered that no one had ever gathered [these experts] to bring their incredible training expertise to the private sector, nor [showed] how to apply their world-class agencies’ methodologies and best practices to help win in business,” she says. “These people can distill tens of billions of dollars’ worth of government training and development and pass on the key practices.”
Spyex has nearly 100 intelligence experts ready for deployment—“adding more every day”—including a senior advisor at CIA’s National Counterterrorism Center who put Osama bin Laden on CIA’s radar and a KGB officer who secretly served U.S. counterintelligence for 10 years spying on Russia during the Cold War. The agency also provides activities and workshops designed to improve collaboration, effective communication and “innovative, outside-the-box strategizing.”
Also available are hackers with experience in breaching organizations and defending against cyber threats, investigative journalists, undercover filmmakers and historians with expertise in the world of secrecy.
By tapping into best practices from the top intelligence agencies and organizations in the world, Spyex offers training courses such as “Turning Good Leaders into Great Leaders,” “Protecting Intellectual Property,” “Safeguarding Your International Business Travelers” and “How to Maintain Focus on Your Core Business.”
“Our speakers are experts who have worked at the highest levels of security clearance and lived through mind-blowing experiences,” Paul says. “Event and incentive program planners can now set themselves apart with unforgettable keynotes, unique guest appearances and coveted instructional workshops. The opportunity to have unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences—especially those that educate and enrich employees professionally—can very positively impact a company’s brand where recruiting and retaining top talent is concerned.”
Via Spyscape, Spyex’s parent company, meeting professionals can also host events in a high-tech, 60,000-square-foot facility in New York City. In this venue, attendees will have the opportunity to engage in challenges designed and led by a former head of training for British Intelligence. Guests will also be able to test their spycraft chops and receive a detailed profile listing skills and attributes like empathy and risk tolerance, physical agility and the ability to detect lies.