Just when I've eschewed my Jimmy Choo's I read about Stiletto Spy School for Women. Power has always been sexy -- for men. But when a woman is called powerful it's often code for "bitch." When you combine sexy with power you get the potent combustion of a femme fatale, a woman who is feared and desired. Men may even relish being controlled by her while conspiring to take her down. Think Angelina Jolie in the movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith and the current film "Salt." Of course, unlike most of us, Angelina Jolie is sexy in sneakers.
But you, too, can be sexy in both sneakers and stilettos, according to Alana Winter, founder of Stiletto Spy School, who models herself after the Emma Peel character in the TV show "The Avengers." She says that a woman can be tough, sexy and have skills. We're not talking cake baking skills, but kick-ass skills. The skills that will turn you into a woman that "every man fantasizes about and who every woman wants to be," says Winter, which includes everything from seductive dance to self protection.
The hand-to-hand combat and firearms training at spy school is done by ex-military personnel and the exercises are highly condensed. So while women aren't learning graceful martial arts moves, they are learning maneuvers that are fast and effective when it comes to self protection, quick tricks in a fix.
In addition women quickly learn how to read people, commit to action, and charm all while pushing the boundaries of what they thought was possible for them. According to Winter these are transferable skills that work in the bedroom and the boardroom -- or down a dark street.
Case in point. One of her graduates was returning home late one night evening when she heard footsteps behind her that sounded strange. In the courses the participants are taught to observe and analyze data while not telegraphing their intention. So this woman pressed her back to a parked car and pretended to bend over her shoe. The man who was following her rapidly approached and demanded her purse. Instead of a jackpot he got a stiletto across the face and a dislocated jaw.
Another woman CEO had a confrontational relationship with her CFO. Through the deception/detection and body language lessons she learned that by changing her body position she could change the direction of the conversation and eventually the course of the business. During a disagreement instead of facing him squarely she shifted to a 45 to 90 degree angle. Both metaphorically and physically she let things "slide off" her and the conversation instantly cooled.
The point of the school isn't to become the next Bond Girl, but to try on a different identity and expand the repertoire of notions and behaviors that can confine us into specific roles. "Every woman who participates is uncomfortable in one of those fields that we explore," says Winter, and is encouraged to push the boundary where she has the most resistance. For some it's self defense, for others it's seduction.
"There are six themes we cover in Stiletto Spy School," says Winter. "Observation, analysis, intention, focus, commitment to action and follow through. Women walk out with real skills and a mindset of who they are and what their limits are. They leave with a sense of power."
While you may not shift from Minnie Mouse to Angelina Jolie you'll for sure get a "fab lunch" along with ways to wield a knife and the technique to make a mean martini. I can't think of a better way to disarm an opponent than stirring up a few drinks with a twist.
Alana Winter is the founder and President of Stiletto Spy School and Mi6 Academy training programs, featuring components of defensive and offensive tactics, focus, strategy, sophistication and charisma -- skills every secret agent should possess. Clients not only learn important life-saving techniques, but also key elements that translate to success in the boardroom and everyday life. Winter holds a B.A in Psychology from Wesleyan University and has studied Business extensively. She speaks fluent French and Italian.
Susan Harrow is the author of "Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul". She runs a Media Consultancy where she helps everyone from Fortune 500 CEOs to celebrity chefs, entrepreneurs to authors grow their business through media coaching and the power of PR. For more information please contact Susan.