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Beyond the Uniform

Beyond the Uniform is a show to help military veterans navigate their civilian career. Each week, I meet with different veterans to learn more about their civilian career, how they got there, and what advice they'd give to other military personnel.
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Now displaying: October, 2016
Oct 31, 2016

“I had been given good advice that it didn't matter the first job I did as long as I was learning from it and seeking out opportunities in the first job to be able to figure out what I wanted to do next. And so I went into it with the mindset that I would pick  everyone's brains who I worked with even if not on my team and build these relationships so i could figure out what the next step was."
 – RaeAnne Pae

RaeAnne Pae is a Client Solution Manager at Facebook, where she helps Financial Technology marketers grow their audience and business through Facebook. RaeAnne started out at doing ROTC at Morehead State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology. After that she served for over 7 years in the Army as an Intelligence Officer, where she was awarded the Bronze Star - the military’s fourth-highest individual military award - not once but twice: first for Combat operations in Iraq while assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division; second for combat operations in southern Afghanistan with assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. When RaeAnne transitioned to a civilian career she started out at the NYSE as an Event Marketing Specialist. She then worked as a Sales & Business Development member first at Tradecraft and then at Addy before joining Facebook.

In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

  • Tradecraft and how to get an MBA equivalent experience in 3 months
  • How RaeAnne's transition straight to industry compared with her husband's transition to business school
  • Advice for those applying to Facebook and common veteran paths
  • Two concrete examples of explaining in a veteran background to a Facebook interviewer
  • And much, much more…

iTurnes Beyond the UniformStitcher Beyond the Uniform

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • 1:31 - RaeAnne's background
  • 4:58 - How RaeAnne approached her decision to leave the Army
  • 8:26 - How RaeAnne and her husband approached the Reserves
  • 10:23 - The most surpsing aspects of RaeAnne's transition to civilian life
  • 13:45 - How RaeAnne approached her initial job search
  • 25:38 - An overview of Tradecraft
  • 35:00 - RaeAnne's second job search and how she improved - great advice to all veterans
  • 44:40 - Advice for those applying to Facebook and common veteran paths
  • 47:00 - RaeAnne explains why her background is applicable at Facebook - this is a great example of how veterans could explain their story in an interview
  • 49:33 - RaeAnne explains how her background relates to sales and relationship building
  • 51:45 - How RaeAnne's journey directly to industry compared with her husband's choice to go to business school
Oct 28, 2016

“If you're going to be working that many hours, that means that's how many hours you're learning too. So in the course of one year of working Investment Banking you're effectively getting two years of work that you might get somewhere else, in terms of the shear amount of time you're exposed to these key business problems."
 – Lee Haney

Lee Haney works in Business Operations & Strategy for the COO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. He graduated in the top 5% of his class at the Naval Academy, and served in the Marine Corps for five years as a Human intelligence Officer, with deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan. After transitioning out of the military, Lee attended the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, where he graduated with honors. Since getting his MBA, Lee has worked in the Finance Industry with Goldman Sachs as an Investment Banking Associate, before transitioning to HPE. Lee is also the CFO for Service to School, which regular listeners will remember is the non-profit organization that I have a love affair with - they provide FREE service to any veteran to help you get into your ideal college or grad school program

In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

  • An overview of the Goldman Sachs Veterans Integration Program and why it's such a great fit for any veteran interested in finance
  • An overview of Goldman Sachs and the Investment Banking world
  • The day-to-day life of an Investment Banker
  • What Lee liked most and least about his time as an Investment Banker
  • How Lee made the transition to Hewlett Packard Enterprises
  • And much, much more…

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • 1:17 - Lee's Background
  • 2:30 - How Lee decided to leave the military
  • 3:40 - Choosing to not join the Reserves
  • 5:33 - The most surprising aspect of Lee's transition from the Marine Corps
  • 7:58 - An overview of Lee's experience and advice on the Chicago Booth School of Business
  • 17:15 - What drew Lee to the world of finance
  • 20:00 - an overview of the Veterans Integration Program and why it's such a great fit for any veteran interested in finance
  • 22:25 - An overview of Goldman Sachs and the Investment Banking world
  • 24:50 - the day-to-day life of an Investment Banker
  • 32:30 - Signs that you may be well suited for Investment Banking... and signs it may not be the best career option for you
  • 33:59 - Advice on applying to Goldman Sachs
  • 36:00 - What Lee liked most and least about his time as an Investment Banker
  • 39:10 - In what ways Lee felt ahead of his civilian counterparts in Investment Banker, and in what ways he felt like he had to catch up
  • 42:00 - How Lee made the transition to Hewlett Packard Enterprises
  • 45:00 - What Lee's day-to-day life looks like at HPE
  • 47:22 - Advice from Service to School
  • 49:45 - Final words of advice
Oct 26, 2016

“People always said that I was going to take a giant pay cut when I got out of the military and I thought, 'Nah - there's no way, I'm going to go into Wall Street... there's no pay cut.' There is a pay cut! I started off and had no experience in finance so I took an analyst role. And I took a significant pay cut. And I was paying for my own health care and my own taxes... it all adds up."
 – Vic Perez

Vic Perez graduated from the Naval Academy with a BS in Economics with Merit. He served in the Navy for 6 years - first as an officer onboard nuclear submarines as part of the crew of the USS Cheyenne, and after that as an instructor at Notre Dame. While at Notre Dame, Victor somehow found the time to earn his MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business with an emphasis on Finance. Not only did he do that while teaching at Notre Dame…he did it in just two years instead of the traditional 3. Vic now works in the Financial Services Industry with Wells Fargo as part of their new Veteran Internship Program. His current role is as a Credit Derivative Swap Trading Analyst

In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

  • F
  • And much, much more…

iTurnes Beyond the UniformStitcher Beyond the Uniform

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • 1:30 - Vic's Background
  • 2:33 - How Vic decided to leave the military
  • 3:39 - How Vic chose to join the Reserves, and what that experience has been like
  • 5:10 - The most surprising aspect of Vic's transition to civilian life
  • 6:58 - Vic's experience at the Chicago Booth School of Business
  • 9:50 - Advice on applying to Chicago Booth School of Business (or business school in general)
  • 10:57 - day-to-day life of working at Notre Dame and attending the Chicago Booth School of Business
  • 13:21 - what Vic liked most and least about his experience at the Chicago Booth School of Business
  • 14:53 - common paths people take to get into Wall Street
  • 17:52 - An overview of a Trader
  • 23:18 - Signs that you may love life as a Trader... and signs you may hate it
  • 29:04 - Typical career progressions in the world or trading
  • 31:08 - Trading vs Investment Banking
  • 36:40 - The team environment of the Trading role
  • 38:12 - An overview of the Wells Fargo Veterans Internship Program
  • 41:03 - Where Vic felt ahead of his peers based on his military experience, and in what areas he felt behind
  • 41:58 - Advice to those on Active Duty on how to best prepare for their transition
  • 42:55 - Final words of advice
Oct 24, 2016

“A lot of stress goes into the transition and thinking about what's next. Trust in the system that being a high performer and having a positive attitude and getting things done is going to work out. You're going to hit a lot stumbling blocks along the way and face a lot of uncertainty, but if you maintain that positive attitude you're going to be fine."
 – John Pontrello

John Pontrello graduated from the Naval Academy and served for 9 years as a Naval Aviator as part of the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron. After getting out of the Navy, he attended Harvard Business School. After receiving his MBA from Harvard, he entered the Oil & Energy industry as part of Cameron - a publicly traded company with over 10k employees. John started as a Corporate Development Manager and then progressed to a Plant Manager. John then returned to Harvard, where he is currently earning his Master of Public Administration at their Kennedy School of Government.

In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

  • Choosing to go straight to Business School at Harvard Business School rather than to industry
  • Advice on using the GI Bill
  • How John decided to enter the Oil & Energy Industry with Cameron
  • An overview of the Corporate Development Manager
  • An overview of a Plant Manager
  • What career progression looks like in the Oil & Energy industry
  • What it's been like at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government
  • And much, much more…

iTurnes Beyond the UniformStitcher Beyond the Uniform

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • 1:19 - John’s background
  • 2:06 - John’s decision to leave the Navy
  • 2:58 - Choosing to not join the Reserves
  • 3:32 - The most surprising aspect of John’s transition to civilian life
  • 4:16 - Choosing to go straight to Business School at Harvard Business School rather than to industry
  • 4:57 - Advice on applying to Business School and Harvard Business School in particular
  • 9:03 - What John liked most and least about his time at Harvard Business School
  • 10:30 - Advice on how a veteran might cover their weakness in advance (or as an alternative to business school)
  • 12:13 - Advice on using the GI Bill
  • 13:20 - How John decided to enter the Oil & Energy Industry with Cameron
  • 15:44 - An overview of the Corporate Development Manager
  • 19:25 - In what ways John felt behind his civilian counterparts, and in what ways he felt ahead.
  • 21:50 - An overview of a Plant Manager
  • 24:50 - What career progression looks like in the Oil & Energy industry
  • 30:00 - What are signs that you may enjoy a career in the Oil & Energy industry... and signs that you may not like it
  • 31:30 - What it's been like at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government
  • 33:30 - Final words of wisdom
Oct 21, 2016

“Because we were in Haiti, our wash-down was in Guantanamo Bay, so I actually did my first call interview from a call center in Guantanamo Bay in Haiti, which led to my first  in person interview the third day I was in New York, which then lead to me starting a month or two later. It was a crazy road and super smooth transition. And part of that was creating my own luck, but a huge part of it was dumb luck too."
 – Ian Folau

Jason Mangone works at the New York City Department of Veterans' Services, where he serves as their Director of Public Private Partnerships and Development. He started out studying Political Science at Boston College and then served as a Platoon Commander in the Marine Corps. After leaving the military he was a Research Associate at the Think Tank, The Council on Foreign Relations for one year, prior to going to Yale for his Master’s in International Relations. After that he joined the Aspen Institute and was their director of The Franklin Project - an initiative to start a national discussion around a year of service for all citizens.

In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

  • What it's like to work in a Think Tank
  • Yale and a Masters in International Relations
  • How General Stanley McChrystal led to Jason's work at the Aspen Institute
  • Jason's experience at the Department of Veterans' Services and what he's learned
  • And much, much more…

iTurnes Beyond the UniformStitcher Beyond the Uniform


QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • 1:40 - Jason’s background
  • 3:00 - Jason’s decision to leave the Marine Corps and how he approached that decision
  • 4:19 - How Jason approached the Reserves and his decision not to join the Reserves… and why he may come back
  • 6:44 - The most surprising aspect of Jason’s transition to civilian life
  • 8:50 - An overview of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Think Tanks in general
  • 10:32 - How Jason went about finding his first job and how he ended up at the Council on Foreign Relations
  • 15:38 - Yale and a Masters in International Relations
  • 18:22 - How General Stanley McChrystal led to Jason's work at the Aspen Institute
  • 20:28 - What day-to-day life is like at the Aspen Institute
  • 21:50 - The difference between leadership outside of the military and inside of the military
  • 24:30 - In what ways Jason felt behind his civilian counterparts, and in what ways he felt ahead
  • 28:50 - Jason's experience at the Department of Veterans' Services
  • 34:10 - Advice Jason would want to provide to veterans based on his work in New York
  • 38:45 - Advice on how to find your ideal job
  • 41:50 - Where veterans can find resources to help them in their search for benefits
  • 43:20 - What life is like in the Government Services industry
  • 44:30 - If you're on active duty, steps you can take right now to prepare for your civilian transition
  • 49:50 - Final words of wisdom for veterans
Oct 19, 2016

“I was able to throw together some website and it was bringing in enough leads that we were able to fill everybody's houses and it just really took off for me. And it was my first venture, and ever since then I was hooked. The idea that I can make more money than my paycheck was exciting for me - the fact that I can provide something that someone will pay even a dollar for motivated me beyond what I could imagine."
 – Ian Folau

Ian Folau is the Co-Founder & CEO of the New York based startup, GitLinks. However, this wasn't Ian's first startup. Ian started founding companies while still on active duty in the Army, where he started his first of multiple startups. Ian studied Systems Engineering at West Point after which he served in the Army in multiple capacities before returning to West Point as an instructor. After departing the Army, he attended Cornell Tech to obtain his MBA, and during which he co-founded his most recent company.

In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

  • Steps you can take right now to start your first company (even if you're on Active Duty)
  • Resources you can use to start learning and growing as an entrepreneur
  • Entrepreneurial mistakes that Ian made and what he learned from them, and the importance of failing fast
  • Advice on how to tease out who might be a better Co-Founder
  • What Ian's day-to-day life looked like when he first founded GitLinks
  • How leadership as an entrepreneur differs from military leadership
  • And much, much more…

iTurnes Beyond the UniformStitcher Beyond the Uniform

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • 1:39 - Ian’s background
  • 2:40 - Ian's decision to leave the Army
  • 6:26 - Deciding to not pursue the Reserves
  • 7:20 - The most surprising aspect of Ian's transition to civilian life
  • ** 9:39 - Ian does a fantastic job of explaining his background in a way that is relevant to the listener. This comes up time and time again in interviews as a really crucial skill
  • 12:45 - Advice on how to better explain a veterans history to a civilian
  • 15:10 - Ian's experience starting companies while in the Army and how he got started
  • 21:30 - Resources to consider to help in your own entrepreneurial journey
  • 28:11 - Entrepreneurial mistakes that Ian made and what he learned from them, and the importance of failing fast
  • 33:10 - Advice on how to tease out who might be a better Co-Founder
  • 38:52 - Cornell Tech, and how it supports entrepreneurs
  • 40:52 - Advice on applying to Cornell Tech, and other programs to consider
  • 43:10 - An overview on Ian's current company, GitLinks
  • 46:15 - What Ian's day-to-day life looked like when he first founded GitLinks
  • 48:56 - How leadership as an entrepreneur differs from military leadership
  • 51:19 - Actions you can take right now to start an entrepreneurial journey (even while on Active Duty)
  • 53:19 - Final words of wisdom
Oct 17, 2016

“Something that was surprising [about the transition to civilian life] is that not everything is really laid out for you. In the military a lot of things are laid out for you; you go through specific trainings and checklists, you have a criteria on how you’re going to grow your career and take the test to advance and everything is defined by points and very structured in the military. When you get out, it’s nothing like that. You’re as successful on the outside as you want to be. you have to be hungry for those opportunities and seek them, because nothing is really laid out for you."
 – Tony Zamora

Tony Zamora is the Director of Human Resources at Ipsos, a company with over 17,000 worldwide employees. Tony started out as an Electronics Tech in the US Navy, and also served as an Electronics Repair Technician in the Coast Guard. He has worked in Human Resources roles at the Sierra Nevada Corporation and The San Jose Group.

In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

  • An overview of Human Resources and why you might find it appealing
  • What it’s like to be a Director of Human Resources, and what day-to-day life looks like
  • Common mistakes that veterans make in their transition and job search
  • How to improve your resume
  • What someone on active duty can do right now to start preparing for their transition to a civilian career
  • And much, much more…

iTurnes Beyond the UniformStitcher Beyond the Uniform

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Show Notes

  • 1:20 - Tony’s background
  • 2:25 - Tony’s decision to leave the military and how he approached it
  • 3:31 - How Tony researched what he wanted to do outside of the military
  • 5:41 - An overview of Human Resources and what appealed to Tony about this career
  • 7:01 - What it’s like to be a Director of Human Resources, and what day-to-day life looks like
  • 11:10 - In what ways Tony felt ahead of his peers in Human Resources, and where he had to catch up based on his military service
  • 13:07 - What was most surprising to Tony about his transition to civilian life
  • 14:40 - Advice to veterans based on Tony’s experience in Human Resources (HR)
  • 16:35 - The best advice Tony received about how to transition to a civilian career
  • 17:40 - Advice on how to network
  • 21:45 - Common mistakes that veterans make in their transition and job search
  • 22:16 - How to improve your resume
  • 23:50 - What someone on active duty can do right now to start preparing for their transition to a civilian career
  • 27:35 - Final words of advice to veterans
Oct 14, 2016

For the podcast, while I normally interview veterans about their civilian career, today I wanted to mix things up. One of the recurring themes of my show has been the importance of networking. Today, I take you through a 5  minute video overview of powerful - and free - tools you can use to take your networking and outreach to the next level.

Related Links:

  • LinkedIn for Veterans - a must have tool for everyone in the galaxy
  • Rapportive - Provides social profile info for emails, and is helpful at guessing emails for cold outreach
  • Boomerang - lots of helpful tools here, but the one I reference is reminding you if the person you email does not respond within a set time period
  • Assistant.to - cut down on all the back and forth of scheduling with Assistant.to; it's like having a virtual assistant, but for free
  • Beyondtheuniform_email_help_for_veterans - a free excel spreadsheet that will help you identify the top 9 most common email formats
Oct 12, 2016

"Open your eyes, be receptive, try to learn about what's unknown to you, in addition to what you're already aware of."
– Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe is a career coach, author, and columnist. He is the author of OUT OF UNIFORM -- Your Guide to a Successful Military-to-Civilian Transition, as well as a columnist of 11 years for CivilianJobs.com. Tom has over 29 years of experience in the Career Development industry. Tom is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, and served as a Surface Warfare Officer and Admiral’s Aide.

In this interview we discuss:

  • Stereotypes about veterans - how to use stories in interviews to reinforce the positive ones, and preemptively combat the negative ones
  • Common mistakes veterans make - like being too humble or understated in an interview
  • Job hunting techniques (like using informational interviews to see if you’d like a career and potentially get your foot in the door of an organization)
  • Using Filters for your job search so you can avoid boiling the ocean when looking for your ideal job
  • Using a career coach as a personal trainer for your career
  • Tactical exercises you can use to improve your self knowledge as part of a job search
  • And much, much more…

iTurnes Beyond the UniformStitcher Beyond the Uniform


QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • [3:10] - Tom’s background in writing and career coaching
  • [4:10] - The most common mistakes Tom sees veterans make in their career transition
  • [13:27] - Stereotypes - how to reinforce the positives and preempt the negatives
  • [24:26] Reasons why veterans get rejected in interviews
  • [27:00] - A surefire way to succeed in an interview
  • [28:33] - How to gather information about what you want to do as efficiently as possible
  • [33:18] - Using Informational Interviews to figure out what you want to do… and potentially get your foot in the door
  • [36:12] - How to use filters to simplify your job search
  • [43:20] - 1/2 of veterans end up working for a company they weren’t aware of at the start of their search..how to broaden your search to be aware of broader opportunities
  • [47:50] - A personal trainer for your career - Career Coaching
  • [57:03] - Using mistakes to learn in you job search
  • [58:32] - Where you can learn more about Tom’s work
Oct 12, 2016

This episode is a break from my normal format - rather than interview a veteran about their civilian career, I interview TWO veterans about their advice based on their work in helping other veterans. This episode is FULL of helpful hints, resources, and recommendations that would benefit any veteran.

In this interview I meet with Johannes Schonberg and Maggi Melina. Johannes enlisted in the navy as a Nuclear Machinist Mate, before attending the Naval Academy with a degree in English. He served as a Surface Warfare Officer in San Diego for five years before transitioning to civilian life. He has done work in Politics and as a consultant, helping companies like T-Mobile and Facebook hire veterans. Maggi Air Force ground radar systems journeyman, deploying to Kuwait. After her transition, she completed her bachelors degree, went to law school, and worked as a lawyer for seven years. After practicing law, she worked in politics, as an electrician, and then as a founder of a startup.

In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

  • Practical tips and tools to use as a veteran to help in your networking
  • Coding academies and other efficient resources to help educate you for a specific job
  • What companies like Facebook and T-Mobile look for in veterans
  • And much, much more...

iTurnes Beyond the UniformStitcher Beyond the Uniform

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • 1:30 Intro and background info Johannes and Maggi
  • 7:12 What people on active duty may not understand about civilian life.
  • 12:30 What is “networking” and advice for veterans about how to get started
  • 17:10 Education - taking a proactive and efficient approach to education, and specific resources to consider
  • 21:00 How a veteran might approach “networking” in a way that is more authentic and natural to them
  • 23:26 A few other resources to consider for education
  • 25:20 Common mistakes that veterans make in their transition to civilian life
  • 29:50 An overview of Code Schools and Coding Academies
  • 34:58 What veterans should know about applying to companies like Facebook and T-Mobile
  • 43:40 Other advice and words of wisdom for veterans
Oct 10, 2016

“And I think sometimes that was hard to admit to ourselves and to others in the military: it was a little scary looking out there at the job market and trying to figure out how am I going to make this work and make this happen? It is not that bad - and I would encourage folks to be confident in themselves and their skills. You've been equipped with the skills to land pretty much any job out there."
 – John Vardaman

John Vardaman is a Senior Construction Manager at Tesla. He started his career in the Construction Industry at DPR Construction, where he served as a Project Manager. While at DPR Construction, he earned his Masters in Sustainable Design and Construction at Stanford University. In the military, John served as a Human Intelligence Officer in the Marine Corps, and graduated from the US Naval Academy.

In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

  • How John used multiple recruiters over the course of a year to find his ideal job
  • What it's like to be a Project Manager, and how the military prepares you for this role
  • The benefits of pursuing advanced education once you have civilian working experience
  • How to explain your background to an employer in terms that will resonate with them
  • How to approach the job search with confidence and humility
  • And much, much more…

iTurnes Beyond the UniformStitcher Beyond the Uniform


QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • [2:00] John's Background
  • [2:48] Making the decision to leave the Marine Corps
  • [4:54] Evaluating whether or not to join the Reserves
  • [6:30] Choosing his first job, and working with Recruiters (and the pros and cons of Recruiters)
  • [9:18] Starting to work with Recruiters one year from separation and the advantages of more time for interviews
  • [12:30] What drew John to Construction and Project Management
  • ** [13:20] John does an amazing job explaining his past as it would help in a Project Management role. I thought this was a great, tangible example of how to sell your background for ones desired role
  • [16:20] John explains how he would explain his military background in a Project Management role
  • [19:27] Day-to-day life of a Project Manager in the Construction industry
  • [22:40] Where John felt ahead of his peers based on his military service... and where he felt behind
  • [25:48] The most surprising aspect of John's transition to life as a civilian
  • [31:23] How leadership outside of the military differs from leadership in the military
  • [34:18] Pursuing a Master's at Stanford while working, and how John benefited from having experience before pursuing advanced education
  • [39:37] John's experience working at Tesla, and how great it is to work at a company aligned with your values
  • [44:44] Final words of advice for military personnel and other veterans
Oct 7, 2016

"We underestimate the incredible experience and leadership skills that we bring to the table, and I think that veterans don't appreciate the magnitude of it when they're in the thick of it."
– Tom Spahn

Tom Spahn has spent time in his civilian career as both a Corporate Lawyer at Sullivan & Cromwell, as well as a Management Consultant at McKinsey & Co. He has a collection of degrees - he received his JD from Stanford Law School while also obtaining MS in Management Science & Engineering at Stanford at the same time. He also holds a Masters in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University. Tom graduated from the Naval Academy, served on submarines with the crew of the USS Chicago (SSN 721).

In this interview we discuss:

  • Why Tom chose to remain in the Navy Reserves
  • Advice for veterans considering Law School
  • What day-to-day life is like as a Corporate Lawyer and as a Management Consultant
  • What the typical career path looks like for both Corporate Lawyers and Management Consultants
  • How the military prepared him for Corporate Law work... and where he had to catch up
  • What it's like to interview for a Management Consulting firm
  • Signs that you may like a career in Management Consulting... and indications that you might not enjoy it
  • And much, much more…

iTurnes Beyond the UniformStitcher Beyond the Uniform


QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • [1:44] - Background
  • [3:22] - Deciding to leave the Navy
  • [4:08] - Choosing to remain in the Reserves
  • [6:37] - Choosing to get another Master's Degree, and choosing Law School
  • [8:12] - How the military prepared him for Law School... and where he had to catch up
  • [10:45] - Advice for those considering Law School
  • [12:15] - Why Tom chose Corporate Law
  • [14:31] - Applying to Law School, and applying to a Corporate Law Firm
  • [19:15] - Day-to-day life as a Corporate Lawyer
  • [23:00] - How the military prepared him for Corporate Law work... and where he had to catch up
  • [23:47] - What a typical career path looks like for a Corporate Lawyer
  • [25:40] - Choosing to switch to Management Consulting
  • [27:10] - What it's like to interview for a Management Consulting firm
  • [32:45] - Day-to-day life as a Management Consultant
  • [37:43] - What a typical career path looks like for a Management Consultant
  • [41:18] - Signs that you may like a career in Management Consulting... and indications that you might not enjoy it
  • [46:34] - The biggest surprise about the transition to civilian life
  • [48:18] - Don't sell yourself short as a veteran
Oct 5, 2016

"I think military people assume that when they get out the military their skills and abilities are going to put them in a job that is paying them more than when they were in the military. I think that's a misconception - once they get out they have to realize they have to prove themselves again. That could take one month or four jobs, but you have to realize that your'e starting fresh."
– Noel Gonzalez

Noel Gonzalez - grew up in Cuba, emigrated to the United States, and eventually became the Commanding Officer of the USS Cheyenne (SSN 773), where he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. While on Active Duty, Noel founded three different startups. The most recent - and one we discuss most during the interview - is a company built to help Veterans in their transition to civilian life (SkillMil). In this interview we discuss:

  • The mistakes Noel made and learned from in starting his first two companies
  • Steps that active duty military personnel can do right now to fill in their business knowledge gaps
  • What day-to-day life is like as an entrepreneur
  • The importance of mentors and coaches as part of the transition process
  • How leadership outside of the military differs from leadership within the military
  • And much, much more…

iTurnes Beyond the UniformStitcher Beyond the Uniform


QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

  • Stanford Ignite - also there is a Veterans Ignite every summer
  • Sloan MIT Online Courses - all online courses, easy to understand
  • SkillMil - help veterans translate their experience in the military to employers in the civilian world
  • SRI International - helping make lives healthier, better, and more productive
  • Jimmy Sopko interview - I reference this as an example of a veteran who rolled up his sleeves, took a pay cut, and worked his way up in an organization

Show Notes

  • [2:15] - From Cuba to Commanding Officer of the USS Cheyenne, Noel's background
  • [4:13] - The mistakes Noel made and learned from in starting his first two companies
  • [5:42] - Where Noel felt he was most behind his civilian counterparts in starting a company
  • [7:02] - Advice on ways to fill in business knowledge gaps while in the military
  • [10:37] - How Noel started his third company, SkillMil
  • [12:28] - How SkillMil helps veterans
  • [17:48] - What day-to-day life is like as an entrepreneur
  • [20:55] - Common misconceptions about civilian life
  • [25:00] - The importance of mentors and coaches as part of the transition process
  • [27:21] - How leadership outside of the military differs from leadership within the military
  • [28:24] - Final advice to those on active duty

 

 

Oct 3, 2016

“As you start to make this transition, -asking for advice is the smart move. Thinking that you have everything figured out or that you're going to be bothering someone learning about what they're doing that's the fool's road. I would urge people to not be scared of reaching out to people - if you don't, you're hurting yourself."
 – Taylor Justice

Taylor Justice is the Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer at Unite Us, a start-up that connects citizens with local coordinated services. Based in New York, Unite Us has raised over $6M in venture funding, and over 20 employees. After attending the U.S. Military Academy and serving for over a year as an Infantry Officer in the Army, Taylor was unexpectedly military disqualified from the Army. He faced his transition to civilian life years before he expected it, with no peers or classmates from whom to seek advice. Through a meticulous approach to reaching out to others, Taylor landed his first job in the Medical Devices industry, and then transitioned to the world of tech. While attending Columbia Business School he met his co-founder, and launched Unite Us.

In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

  • An unexpected departure from the Army, and navigating a career search before his peers
  • Using a systematic email process to gain information and his first job
  • The advantages of client support functional roles and sales roles
  • What it's like to start and grow a startup
  • Advice for other veterans seeking to start their own business
  • Not being afraid to ask advice from anyone and everyone as a means of learning
  • And much, much more…

iTurnes Beyond the UniformStitcher Beyond the Uniform

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • [1:38] Background
  • [2:40] An unexpected separation from the Army
  • [8:40] The most helpful resources in his initial job search
  • [14:07] Advice for structuring an outreach process as part of a job search
  • [15:48] How the military most prepared and least prepared him for an Account Executive and Sales role
  • [18:50] The starting point of founding Unite Us
  • [22:25] Advice on finding and vetting a potential co-founder
  • [24:15] Whether to gain experience prior to starting a company, or do it straight out of the military
  • [29:12] The day-to-day life of starting a company
  • [33:30] Common misconceptions that military personnel have about starting a company
  • [38:25] How military personnel can benefit from Unite Us
  • [44:05] Biggest advice - don't be afraid to ask for help

 

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