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Recently, the CEO of Sentir Global, Lee Wakefield, joined Bret Schanzenbach on the Carlsbad People, Purpose, and Impact Podcast. Lee’s military service has taken him all over the world, including Norway, Afghanistan, and Iraq. After serving in both the Army and the Marines, Lee decided to start his own security organization in order to equip service members, local governments, schools, churches, and businesses to proactively combat threats by reading nonverbal behavioral cues.
Lee holds training sessions and speaks all over the world. In light of the recent events in Afghanistan, many of the people he trained are being targeted by the Taliban. Now, he is focused on getting them out. In this conversation, Lee talks about his military background, how he utilized his training to build Sentir Global, and what the company is doing to create a safer world.
Reading Between the Lines: Sentir Global’s Innovative, Applicable Security Solutions
Lee Wakefield served in the US military for 23 years. He enlisted in the Army as a medic in 1970 and served with the 82nd Airborne out of Fort Bragg, NC. Then, due to the encouragement of his brother, he applied—and was accepted—to West Point. He attended for three years, but flunked out of his electrical engineering class. “I was always academically very challenged there because I didn't have the math and science background,” he recalls.
However, he did not allow this to stop him. He went on to Weaver State in Utah where he obtained a triple major in Math, Anthropology, and Literature. After this, he joined the Marine Corps and was selected to serve at the US Embassy in Norway. During the six years he was there, he worked with the Naval attaché, was assigned the role of the chief officer for all US military pre-position programs, and had the opportunity to travel all over Europe.
Once he returned to America, he began working with a contractor that provided surveillance training to Marines before they deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Through the surveillance training, Lee soon noticed that many of the young Marines did not know how to read the nonverbal behavioral cues that indicated a potential threat.
In order to fill this gap, Lee began studying and reading everything he could on nonverbal behavior, psychology, and emotional detection. This led him to enroll in San Diego State’s Anti-terrorism and Homeland Security master’s program, as he continued to study the psychology and neuroscience of human behavior. Upon completing the program, Lee, along with a few others, started Sentir Global.
Sentir Global provides training to customs officers and border police worldwide, as well as schools, local governments, businesses, and churches here at home. The company has a three-pronged approach to security: developing proactive procedures, having the right mindset, and instituting effective, innovative training programs. “[We emphasize] changing the mindset of security so that you can prevent things rather than wait until they happen and then respond.”
Because he has worked closely with people from all over the world, Lee has developed relationships with many police officers, customs officers, and state officials. This has allowed him to continue to help them in unique ways. For example, when Afghanistan began to fall to the Taliban, some of the officers Lee had trained reached out to him for help. Now, he is working with various groups in order to get those who are targeted by the Taliban and ISIS-K out of Afghanistan. For example, one of the people who contacted Lee was a female border police officer at the airport in Kabul.
“She's about 31, and she's worked for about five to seven years as a border police officer. And I knew she was also very much in danger, because working that long in the airport, she worked in a place where most of the Taliban who were traveling overseas, either for meetings or different things like that, saw her and interacted with her. Being a female in that environment and being in charge of their coming and going, she was definitely a target.”
Lee and others worked to get her out of the country, and she is now being processed at Fort Bliss. “My wife and I have agreed to be her sponsor, and so, what that means is our family is going to grow by one probably before the end of the year,” he says. Lee and his wife hope to set her up for success in America.
Although many of her immediate needs will be met, they will need assistance paying for her education. If anyone knows of organizations that offer scholarships for refugees or if they wish to donate funds, they can call Lee directly at (760) 803-8266.
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Did you like what you heard? This show is produced by Imagine Podcasting dba Heard Not Seen Media, Inc. For more, visit Imagine Podcasting’s website.