One of Us: Toni Chrabot


In 2015, Toni Chrabot retired after more than two decades of service with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She recently founded ConfIdence, a company that helps clients “control risk and secure secrets.” She is also a frequent media commentator on issues related to national security, drawing on her extensive FBI experience to offer insight and analysis on situations such as the recent terrorist attack in Orlando.

What types of services does ConfIdence provide to its clients?

ConfIdence is a network of problem solvers, with depth of knowledge gained from real world experience. We help individuals and organizations better understand and effectively manage risks. Our network of consultants possesses a unique blend of leadership, management, education and specialized training, with years of experience in leading diverse work groups, responding to and de-escalating high-risk situations, investigating sensitive matters, collecting and analyzing information, and managing and adhering to compliance and ethics programs.

You’re often called upon by the media to offer analysis of security situations. What are some of the key things you look for when examining a volatile situation?

There are a number of security and risk-related challenges. Incidents of terrorism, workplace violence, and disruptive violence in general seem to be on the rise. A look back at the incidents that have occurred at universities, businesses, and political rallies tells us there were often indicators. When there are indicators there is opportunity – opportunity to intervene and prevent. Police respond to these situations but they would much rather intervene – and that requires everyone to report suspicious behavior.

What prompted you to become an FBI agent?

When I was a little girl, I played a lot of “cops and robbers!” And when I was a teen, I saw a movie about the first two female FBI agents. I thought then, “I would love to do that!” As I graduated college, I again thought I would like to work for the FBI or CIA, and I was provided an application that was an overwhelming 12 or more pages long. At the time, it overwhelmed me. But I always kept it in the back of my mind. About five years later, I was looking to change jobs and move outside of the hospitality industry. A friend of my husband’s told me the FBI was trying to recruit women and there was a lot of opportunity within the agency itself because of its broad jurisdiction and size. So, I applied. After a lengthy testing, interview and background process, capped off with 16 weeks at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, I graduated and took the oath as a special agent of the FBI. The following 20-plus years were an incredible journey for which I am extremely grateful and proud.

What was the most challenging case on which you worked while at the FBI?

I worked on a wide variety of cases over my career. Each one had different challenges, levels of complexity, and levels of violence and danger. One time, another agent and I posed as talent scouts for a recording studio, in a sting-like operation. A guy showed up in a t-shirt, ripped jeans and with a pocket full of heroin. We agreed, that is not the way to show up for an interview! The cases that left a mark on my heart were those with child victims, like the kidnapping and murder of Somer Thompson in Clay County and Nevaeh Buchanan in Monroe County, Michigan.

You were a woman operating at a very high level in a predominantly male field. Was that a challenge or a disadvantage?

It is true, currently female agents make up less than 20 percent of all FBI Agents. As I rose into supervisory positions, I was often the only female at the table. I looked different, sounded different, and sometimes had different ideas, so there was no avoiding being noticed! I always tried to contribute and add value to whatever group I was associated with. Most of my male colleagues, in and outside the FBI, were fantastic gentlemen, family men, kind and generous, and dedicated public servants. Being a female had its advantages, too. I was able to get access to people and places without suspicion! It really is a great career for women, and I take every opportunity to encourage young ladies to pursue a career with the FBI, if they have any interest at all.

How do you enjoy spending your free time?

I love to run, ride my bike and go to yoga. We have the best beaches here in Northeast Florida, and I can enjoy all three at the beach if I like.