In the past several years, key governments and multilateral institutions have devoted considerable efforts to integrating development and security policy responses more effectively to the related challenges of countries affected by conflict, post-conflict peace-building, and conflict prevention. The war between two neighbors – Ukraine and Russia, as well as the instability in Afghanistan, the Indo-Pacific region, and elsewhere, is ample proof of the fact that international security has never been as important before in maintaining peace and progress across the world.
Susanne Skov Diemer is an international security specialist who is working towards this goal. During her 25-year career, Diemer has mastered the art of extensive risk, security, intelligence, consulting, and management. She is the CEO & founder of Praesidio Group and also serves as a Security and Intelligence expert within the private, public, and corporate sectors, organizations, and communities.
Diemer is an expert on the Advisory Committee for the European Forum for Urban Security (EFUS) – the only European network of local and regional authorities dedicated to urban security, bringing together 250 cities and regions from 16 countries.
Founding Praesidio Group
In a recent interview with WomELLE, Susanne Skov Diemer said founding her own company (Praesidio Group) came as natural and organic growth and development to her. The expertise, values, and foundation were laid strongly from day 1.
“Having my own company allows me more diversity and independence to work for a broader range of interests, sectors, and geographical areas. It allows me to be a senior security consultant and advisor for a broad range of projects, people, governments, and purposes, as well as for deciding what projects to take on. It also allows an element of pro-bono work, which is deeply fulfilling, and I am able to help more people globally,” Diemer said
Talking about why she founded the Praesidio Group, the international security specialist candidly acknowledges that establishing the Praesidio Group was easy for her due to her unique and crucial expertise and existing client base. “We had a strong foundation to build on. We have broadened our spectrum, and today we are able to assist and guide more people, companies, organizations, and governments. We work both under and on the radar.”
At the same time, Diemer acknowledged that working with security, intelligence, and crisis management meant plenty of obstacles. That is the nature of the business. To foresee, handle and mitigate obstacles optimally. She says, “I manage this by surrounding myself with the best people, being fully prepared and positive, informed and alert and with a solid expertise to draw from, and being calm, conscious and collected by nature make it easier.”
Core areas of operation
Overall, the Praesidio Group undertakes risk assessments and planning, and mitigates potential dangers in any shape or form, at any time and location. It creates more and better awareness and preparation whether small or large crises, internal or external, local or global. “We protect assets and people, present and future,” says Diemer.
While Diemer says that it is challenging to pinpoint the company’s activities and clients due to confidentiality, she says, “We have worked on large events and projects globally. From EU projects involving 26 countries to royal ships in exotic locations, kidnapping and ransomware to powerful families’ vacation security. However, there are done in full confidentiality.”
As an event and crisis advisor, the company has participated in protection and security management and coordination for state visits, Denmark’s Presidency of the Council of the EU, COP15, and the International Olympic Committee Meeting, among others.
Like other entrepreneurs, Diemer too faced some challenges in her business venture. According to her, a classic challenge that many founders face is learning to say no. “In my industry, it can be especially difficult when someone is in the middle of a major crisis, or have other security-related challenges, and ask for help. Here it is important to always use one’s moral compass”.
Another challenge is the nature of the industry – they are often called in late in the process, when it is too late to prevent, where it is about mitigating and managing a crisis. “We are the voice of the inconvenient truth, and that can be a challenge too, she admits.
So, what is the mantra of Diemer’s successful career and the Praesidio Group? According to her, it is important to be “yourself” at any time, in any situation and location, and never sell yourself short. “Develop and advance to be the best version of yourself and keep your eyes on the ball – or on the crisis. Work with respect, openness, and non-judgment. Cross collaborates – cross-sector, segment, nationality, and borders. Develop and dare to follow your own compass to lead and guide you,” Diemer says.
A woman in a male domain
When asked how it feels to be a leader in a male’s domain, Diemer explains, “In the security and intelligence business, it is not about gender. It is about prevention, protection, risk mitigation, information, crisis handling, and prediction. It is about expertise, confidentiality, and respect. About duty, and it is a call.” She goes on to add, “I have been fortunate to have incredible mentors, who very early on saw my potential. The same men have stayed with me as my close friends and later as business partners. As a woman in the industry, I have always been met with respect.”
For Diemer, the Praesidio Group is her essence, expertise, and standards. Elaborating, she says, “It is about trust, confidentiality, know-how, experience, talent, and people. It is about raising the bar for better morale and security and more awareness and preparation. It is about seeing competitors as colleagues, cross collaborate, and rise above any crisis or challenge.”
What actually motivates Susanne Skov Diemer to keep going so strongly? According to her, it is all about finding purpose in life and work that keeps her going. “My life, work, and duty are a dedication to security, risk mitigation, and crisis management. It is a purposeful and fulfilling life where I can truly make a positive impact, guide, and assist globally. It is essential to me to help as many people as I possibly can.”
Diemer has published two books to share her expertise with people and make more people aware and prepared. The first book is in her native Denmark, “Forbered dig bedst på det værste”(How to prepare best for the worst), and an extended international version with worksheets “Your Urban Survival Crisis Planner.” These books are for everyone who wants to understand the basics of urban crisis survival. The incredible feedbacks she gets from readers, clients, and collaborators are what keeps her going strong. “Being able to save lives and guide people through crises, making a personal and professional impact. That is an incredible privilege. Through my books, I also guide and encourage men and women to take responsibility as parents, relatives, citizens, friends, and individuals, she says candidly.
Awards & achievements
Diemer says she is beyond grateful, proud, and happy for each of the amazing recognitions she has received so far. She, however, adds, “But the real recognitions remain in confidentiality. The lives I have helped to save and the crises I have helped prevent. I am often pleasantly surprised by people I have helped in the past, who years later share their heartfelt gratitude. Real recognitions are under the radar.”
Talking about her vision, Diemer says she wants to prepare people for a better future. “Our vision is to make the world a little bit safer by preparing and impacting more people to be more aware and take responsibility by democratizing and sharing my expertise. We desire to prepare, to mitigate, and to impact people to people.”
Diemer and her company, the Praesidio Group Prepare, want more people to raise the bar for preparedness and awareness. At the same time, they are striving to create a better understanding and broader crisis knowledge to mitigate and minimize risks. “I hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” she concludes.
Leave a Reply