I Was Told I Wasn’t ‘Strong Enough’ To Be A Secret Service Agent

I Was Told I Wasn’t ‘Strong Enough’ To Be A Secret Service Agent

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Evy Poumpouras, Ageless

TV Correspondent and Former Secret Service Special Agent

One of only five women to have won the United States Secret Service Medal Of Valor, Evy Poumpouras is a true renegade. “Even when you fail – which you will – it’s not over until you stop trying,” the former Secret Service Agent remarks. It was with sheer determination that Poumpouras came to triumph in her career, and and now she devotes much of her time as an adjunct professor for The City University of New York instructing criminal justice to those that wish to follow in her incredible footsteps.

1. What made you choose this career path? What has been your greatest achievement?

I followed my heart in the career choices I made, both in becoming a Secret Service Agent and then a TV journalist later in life. Although people want to give you their advice sometimes it can confuse you. In the end, the only opinion that matters is mine because I have to live with the decisions I make. For years all I have ever heard and still hear is ‘You don’t look like a Secret Service Agent.’ My response, ‘Thank you.’

2. What’s the biggest criticism/stereotype/judgement you’ve faced in your career?

Most people have a stereotype in their mind that women have to look and act masculine to be in law enforcement. I maintained my authenticity and embraced the fact that I was a woman. I learned that I could still kick ass and be a lady about it. I’m someone who takes risks in life and that has always thrown people off. I constantly need to grow as a human being and that requires change. For me, staying the same is staying afraid.

“For years all I have ever heard and still hear is ‘You don’t look like a Secret Service Agent.’ My response, ‘Thank you.’”

“What I learned is that true strength lives in the mind and heart. It is about your will to succeed and push on even when you want to quit.”

3. What was the hardest part of overcoming this negativity? Do you have an anecdote you can share?

I was initially told that I wasn’t strong enough to be a Secret Service Agent simply because of what I looked like. I trained day and night, and ignored the noise around me.

Overtime I learned that you can’t demand respect, it is something people choose to give. But you can command it in how you face adversity and carry yourself. We show the world who we are by what we repeatedly do.

4. How did you #SWAAYthenarrative in your own life or career?

There is a narrative that women aren’t strong or tough enough to be in law enforcement. I never bought into that, nor did I care to listen. I wasn’t going to let a stereotype dictate what I did with my life. I trained relentlessly, pushed myself and made sacrifices. What I learned is that true strength lives in the mind and heart. It is about your will to succeed and push on even when you want to quit. I swayed my narrative by believing in myself and tuning out the bullshit. I define who am, not others. After all, I wasn’t a female special agent. I was a special agent. Period!

5. What’s your number one piece of advice to women discouraged by preconceived notions and society’s limitations?

Don’t listen to anyone because in the end you have to live with the decisions you make. Even when you fail, which you will, it’s not over until you stop trying.

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