International Sports Event Security Specialist Anke Becker Ensures Fans’ Safety Around the Globe

When we are heading off to our favourite sports events, donned in our team attire and waving flags, something that might not cross our minds is how much goes into keeping us safe while we are attending these gatherings. That’s where Anke Becker comes in, she is a security specialist who has worked on various sports events, most of them on the global stage, like the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, as well as the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, in 2023. All Photos: Supplied

When we are heading off to our favourite sports events, donned in our team attire and waving flags, something that might not cross our minds is how much goes into keeping us safe while we are attending these gatherings. That’s where Anke Becker comes in, she is a security specialist who has worked on various sports events, most of them on the global stage, like the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar as well as the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023. 

Becker is currently working as the Lead Security Specialist for the operational delivery of the Formula 1, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2024, taking place from 7-9 March 2024, leading a team of 20 international specialists on the project. She says when it comes to her leadership style, it  depends on the environment and the job timeline. She says her leadership is not a fixed style and she has to adapt her approach.

“As a leader, I see my role as a combination of servant – and transformational leadership styles.”

“I believe in serving my team members by providing support, guidance, and resources to help them succeed in their roles. I prioritise their needs and development, empowering them to reach their full potential.”

“At the same time, I aim to inspire and motivate my team through transformational leadership. I set a clear vision and direction for our collective goals, encouraging innovation, creativity, and growth. I foster a collaborative environment where ideas are valued, and everyone feels empowered to contribute.

“By combining these leadership styles, I strive to create a supportive and empowering culture where team members feel valued, motivated, and inspired to achieve excellence. I lead by example, demonstrating integrity, empathy, and a commitment to continuous improvement. Ultimately, my goal is to cultivate a high-performing team that is not only successful but also fulfilled and engaged in their work.”

Understandably Becker finds herself in a male-dominated world, but feels that this is something that has not been a hindrance to her in her career, instead, it is something that she believes allows her to show her strength in what she can achieve. 

“I have always found myself in male-dominated industries and countries. I spent 16 years in various roles across Iraq and Afghanistan from 2006-2020. It has never been easy, but it has made me more resilient and determined to take up space, speak my mind, and stand up for what I believe is right. This struggle continues as a woman, even in 2024. But it is a battle that I am always eager to face head-on.”

However, Becker also says there is plenty to be grateful for when it comes to where she finds herself in a career. In her younger days, Becker was ‘lost’ and she was unsure of what to do with life, but she safely landed on her current path. She says her job constantly fills her with gratitude in various ways, as it gives her many different opportunities to live a fulfilled life. 

“The best thing about my job is that I can support my family and loved ones when needed financially, and I can travel and see beautiful places and meet people from all over the world. Due to the opportunities, I have been given, I value what matters, not glamorous things, but simple moments, nature, and people.”

Back to Becker’s job at hand – Her main focus areas are overseeing local security vendors to ensure the site is safe and secure, as the build phase continues for the second race on the F1 calendar for 2024. 

“It is a massive operation with 1000’s of people involved. The Jeddah Cornish track is a street race; therefore, every year, they rebuild the site before the race and take down the builds post-race. It is a 24/7 operation, 7 days a week until it’s time for the race. And it’s a very exciting project for which I am very grateful to be a part of.”

She has had quite a storied career path, beginning her event career with the Expo2020 in Dubai as a Zone Security Manager, and from there, she went to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup. Becker worked as the Deputy Venue Security Manager at Lusail Stadium, the largest stadium that hosted nine World Cup matches, including the World Cup Final, as well as three test events before the World Cup. 

Becker detailed what her job entailed while being part of last year’s Women’s World Cup, she then explains what she did when she moved on to her next project.

“Due to Spanish being a requirement, I moved to New Zealand for the Women’s World Cup, where I joined the HQ security team to oversee the security operational planning and delivery across four stadiums in New Zealand. I went from New Zealand to Indonesia to join the FIFA site visits for the U17 World Cup planning. I joined FIFA as a freelance Venue Manager for the U17 World Cup and successfully delivered all matches in Bandung during the tournament.”

During this time she was also accepted into year 2 of an Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree in Risk and Resilience from New Buckinghamshire University, which meant she had to take a pause from her MBA to deliver this project in Jeddah, and will continue her studies from mid-March, to finish her MBA at the end of 2024. 

Her message to the youngsters who are looking at not just entering a career like hers but who may be pondering what might be next for them, is that: “Sometimes the answer might not be in front of you, and that’s okay!” 

“Cultivate self-discipline and learn about people. No one cares about what you know until they know you care. If you land a role, pour yourself into it fully. Never do only what is expected of you; do more, learn more, and not for more rewards or money; do it because that is what it takes to stand out from the rest. 

“Start at the bottom and work your way up. It is rewarding to be at the top and know you worked hard to get there.”  

“At 20, 30, or even 40, I was uncertain about my career path, and that’s perfectly fine. Even now, I can’t definitively answer that question: ‘What do you do/What do you want to do with your life?’, I’m comfortable with that ambiguity. I pursue what I enjoy, navigating through challenges with self-discipline and hard work.” 


Photo caption: When we are heading off to our favourite sports events, donned in our team attire and waving flags, something that might not cross our minds is how much goes into keeping us safe while we are attending these gatherings. That’s where Anke Becker comes in, she is a security specialist who has worked on various sports events, most of them on the global stage, like the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, as well as the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, in 2023.

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