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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: June, 2017
Jun 28, 2017

“I think the biggest thing is finding something you're passionate about and really going all-in on it. There's no lack of different ways to become an astronaut. If you look at the resumes of people that were just selected, Navy SEALS, Pilots, MIT Professors, engineers at SpaceX, people who specialize in Marine Biology, Doctors - so there's no lack of options on how to get there. I think the biggest thing is just finding what you're really passionate about and going all-in on it."
- Dr. Scott Washburn

Dr. Scott Washburn is a Radiation Effects Engineering Manager at SEAKR Engineering. He started out at the University of Colorado, Boulder, after which he served in the Navy as a Submarine Officer for five years. When he first left the Navy he worked as a Thermal and Project Engineer at SSL (Space Systems Loral), after which he returned to the University of Colorado Boulder for his Masters, and then his PhD in Aerospace Engineering. Since then he has worked as Chief Engineer at Geryon Space Technologies, as well as a research engineer at NASA. Scott was also one of the 50 finalists of the astronaut selection program.

The top 2 reasons to listen to this episode is:

  1. Shooting for the stars: Scott always wanted to be an astronaut and he pursued this career with all he had.  He was one of 50 finalists... from 18k applicants (0.27% of all applicants). He's a case study in setting crazy goals and fighting with everything you've got to pursue them.
  2. Passion: Scott talks about pursing one's passion with vigor, and it's inspiring no matter what your desired career path.

Our Sponsor:

  • Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources

Show Notes

Note: I've typed these notes during my interview with Josh, so they may not completely represent his words, and may contain spelling and grammar errors. My intention is to provide veterans with a quick reference to see the gist of our conversation, along with timestamps to hear Josh's actual advice in his own words within the interview.

  • 3:43 - Scott's bio
  • 4:40 - There’s a story about you and your wife Amanda, summiting Mt. Bierstadt, a German Shepherd, and the Ellen Degeneres - could you share a bit about what happened?
    • A 14er is a mountain that is over 14k feet tall; it's big in Colorado. Back in 2012, his wife and he went to climb Mt. Bierstadt. They were planning on doing two peaks in the same day (Mt. Evans). They got off course in the traverse and his wife spotted a dog. She had found a big, German Shepherd tucked under the rocks. As they got close, they realized she was injured. They tried to carry her, but the terrain was rough and they weren't able to make it work. They found a park ranger further down the mountain, but he wasn't able to help. So they drove back to Denver, calling rescue groups along the way, but weren't able to get any help. So when they got home, they posted about the dog on 14ers.com, and posted the location and started to organize a rescue group. They received a hug outpouring of support, and went back up with a group of 8. They found the dog, loaded her into a backpack and took turns hiking her out. They took her to a vet (who they had met on 14ers.com) and helped her recover.
    • They figured that was the end of the story. However, it reached it's way to the local news that evening. From that point it exploded, which they hadn't anticipated. Part of the reason it exploded was because they were contacted by the dog owner, who wanted the dog back. They wanted to know what had happened first, and it seemed like the owner had been stuck in a storm and decided to leave the dog behind. However, since the owner hadn't tried to get the dog back or rescue the dog, they were uncomfortable returning the dog. They went on Good Morning America and then the Ellen Degeneres show.
  • 12:28 - For an active duty audience, how would you explain what you do for a living?
    • The short version is that his team tests and analyzes how electronics work in a space radiation environment. There's a HUGE radiation environment in space - more than xrays at a doctor of a nuclear power plant. The space environment is constantly bombarded by these atomic nuclei. They're so energetic they'll go straight through a person or piece of electronics and drive a huge amount of damage. So his group looks at this damage, and analyzes the electronics at his company and see how they respond and fare
  • 14:28 - How did you decide to leave the Navy?
    • It was a really tough decision. He had initially signed up only intending to do five years. However, he LOVED his time in the Navy and the submarine force. He loved the job, missino, and people. So appraoching the end of his term, he struggled with whether to stay in or get out. The reason to get out was because he always wanted to be an astronaut. And he knew he could get there as a submarine officer - back in 2000 Captain Steven Bowen was selected, and one more recently. However, he wasn't sure how to standout amongst other submarine officer. So to improve his odds, he decided to get out go into the industry.
  • 16:20 - When you decided to leave the submarine force, did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to do?
    • His first job at SSL was fortuitous. There was another former submariner who worked there and was familiar with what veterans were capable of. He worked with a recruiting agency that had worked with him previously and they made the connection. He didn't have a clear picture of when he left how he would go about doing this. So he was employed for a while after leaving the service because he hadn't planned properly. He didn't realize what opportunities were out there, and didn't start this process until he got out.
    • There wasn't a clear-cut path to be an astronaut, so had to really experiment
  • 19:14 - Role at SSL
    • It was very different than my role in the submarine force, where I was mostly operatinally focused. At SSL it was heavy engineering - math, computer models of satellites & thermal systems and how they worked together, and what temperature they'd operate at in orbit. It was a massive transition.
    • One thing that motivated him to go back ot grad school was being in a hard engineering environment, and my skills from undergrad were pretty soft. After over a year I decided to go back to grad school (starting two years after he started working). he had started trying to work nights & weekends. So decided to switch to full time
  • 20:57 - Straight to education vs. industry experience
    • 50/50 on this - it was very beneficial to get experience in industry first
    • But if you have a really good idea of what you want to do or the field, going back right away is a good way to go
  • 22:18 - How did you decide to pursue a PhD in Aerospace Engineering?
    • It was an idea of getting a PhD but not the primary plan. He originally intended to go back to industry with his masters
    • After his first year he was given a National Defense Fellowship; the nice thing was that it gve him the opportunity to study any topic that he wanted to. He had gone to grad school wanting to merge nuclear background with aerospace - space radiation, space nuclear reactors, etc. There wasn't a graduate program for this, but the fellowship gave him the opportunity to forge his own path.
    • his dissertation; Magentic fields to sheild humans from space
  • 24:30 - What advice do you have for veterans wanting to pursue a PhD?
    • One nice thing about being a veteran in a program like this is that you can get down to business and knock it out. I did mine in two years, which is a pretty short time frame. Most service members I met were the same. It's different if yuo're more focused and willing to get the job down
    • My advice is to not get it just to get it; make sure you're really interested in it, because as soon as you leave with your PhD, that sets what you will do; it is difficult to branch out from there
  • 25:56 - What led you to astronaut training?
    • It's not really a training program. He submitted his application early in 2016 for the group that was selected this year. It was 18k people who put in for the application down to 120 semi-finalists who come in for a 3-day interview, and 50 people for a weeklong interview to select 12 people this year. They'll go on a  two year training cycle: wilderness survival, underwater vehicle egress, Russian language and international space station
    • It was a lifelong dream, so he plotted along the way his interests and what things he could add on to help him get there. Working in the space industry was 1. Being a submarine officer was another one (and this had led him to submarines in the first place, in addition to serving his country). he tried to find little things along the way - private pilots license, scuba certification. They were things I wanted to do anyways, but found them exciting and worked
    • It started as a standard job application - follow-up questions, medical requirements, if yo8're a pilot or not. They had over 50 HR specialists to go through all the resumes
    • The 3-day interview process was one of the coolest processes of his life. It's covered by NDAs so he can't talk in detail but they evaluate screening you as a person, medically (medical requirements are VERY strict) for example kidney stones, you're disqualified if you've ever had them.
  • 31:06 - What advice do you have for veterans wanting to go this route?
    • The biggest thing is finding something that you're passionate about and going all-in on it. You've got Navy SEALs, pilots, MIT professors, SpaceX engineers, Doctors, Marine Biologists - there's no lack of options on how to get tehre. it's about finding out what you're passionate about and going all-in on it. Finding people who can push themselves constantly - constantly work to improve yourself and make yourself better. Find things challengin that push your skills and boundaries.
  • 33:27- What was it like not getting in the final stage
    • It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. When I got the news it was in one way a crushing blow - I spent so many years in pursuit of this goal. At the same time it was ok. When you make it to the final 50 every person there is absolutely incredible. It's something they've been pursuing their entire life as well.
    • When he wasn't selected it was hard to be too upset when he saw the people who were selected; so it was hard to be too upset about it. And now he has a few friends who are astronauts as well, which is very cool
    • At some point when you're swinging for the fences and the odds of getting selected are so low you have to temper your expectations so if it doesn't work out you're still ok with everything.
  • 37:15 - What resources - books, websites, programs - have been helpful to you in your civilian career that you would recommend to listeners?
    • Didn't have a ton of resources that I relied on
    • One thing I've gone back to a lot lately is Chris Hatfields - an astronauts guide to life on earth
    • His path to becoming an astronaut - there are so many snippets of wisdom that apply to every day life
    • how to go after things in a way that helps you in your pursuit. Really good life l
  • 38:27 - Work at NASA
    • A co-investigator, while researching at the University of Colorado. Very cool being able to work with the NASA research centers. IF you are really interested in pursuing this path, tehre are a lot of great opportunities to get involved. If you're undergrad or grad school, you can do co-ops that are a great way to get your foot in the door. Or if you reach out and tap into the NASA network. Everyone there is so excited and passionate about what they do, they are more than willing to share their experience with people
    • Find the person at NASA doing it and reach out; you'll be surprised that they'll reach back out
  • 40:04 - Final words of wisdom for active duty & veteran listens?
    • The biggest thing is to find your passion
    • It's wortwhile, espeically in times of transition if you're on active duty looking to get out and at different points - take stock of your world and make sure you're striving for those things. I was taking a look at what I liiked about th emilitary when I got out and looked to try to fit them in my life when I got out. That was one of the big struggles - many things I loved in the service Ic ouldn't find at my job. Realized I needed to find these in outside of owrk activities. Espeically a sense of service. This is my biggest peice of advice - see what you like and find how to get more of
Jun 21, 2017

“There are people who have - in their head - ideas that they think are ridiculous; dreams that they're afraid to pursue because of failure; because we're all afraid to fail. But while you have that safety net, go ahead an investigate it - dig into it deep, and then make a plan. Work backwards: this is the goal, assess what you have, and what do you need. And sometimes with plans you have to go back and course correct. Be OK with that. It's not a bad thing sometimes. We often beat ourselves up because we made a plan and it didn't go the way we thought it would - but that's OK. Always look back, reflect and see how you can grow from this."
- Dr. Felicia Haecker

Dr. Felicia Haecker is the President of Haecker Associates Consulting, CEO of Dog Tag Divas, and Adjunct Professor at Brandman University, where she also received her Doctor of Education and Organizational Leadership. She started out in the Air Force, where she served for 12 years along with her husband, who served in the Air Force for 15 years. She faced many challenges after her separation from the military, and ultimately chose to pursue her Ed.D on female veterans transitions into post secondary education. Using this understanding of transitions, she now seeks to help other veterans diagnose where they are and construct a plan to reach their goals.

She has made herself available to the Beyond the Uniform community by email at shaecker@yahoo [dot] com

The top 2 reasons to listen to this episode is:

  1. A road of discovery - Felicia articulates so well what I - and so many of my guests - have experienced about a meandering road from the military to finding our career. She talks about taking leaps of faith, making mistakes along the way, but learning and being ok with those mistakes. Felicia and her husband left the Air Force after 12 & 15 years of service, respectively. They purchased an RV, and with their newborn daughter spent a year traveling the United States. This was the starting point of a journey that would lead Felicia to pursue her doctorate.
  2. Advice on transitions - Felicia did her doctorate work on the female veteran transition into post secondary education. She has also advised and mentored many veterans about this process, and has fantastic advice about how to avoid common mistakes in this transition.

Our Sponsor:

  • Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources

Show Notes

Note: I've typed these notes during my interview with Josh, so they may not completely represent his words, and may contain spelling and grammar errors. My intention is to provide veterans with a quick reference to see the gist of our conversation, along with timestamps to hear Josh's actual advice in his own words within the interview.

  • 3:10 - Felicia's bio
  • 4:03 - How would you explain what you do
    • Every veteran makes a transition
    • Her and her husband realized they transitioned out of a community that was safe and comfortable. After their transition, a lot of people didn't understand their background and they were definitely out of their comfort zone.
    • This applies to the families as well - they have to deal with their significant other
  • 6:15 - How she divides her time
    • HCC & Dog Tag Divas are both emerging. She was diagnosed with PTSD and ADHD, and is learning there are things she needs to do to stay on task. Must do / should do / could do "To do lists" dominate her schedule on bright orange post its.
    • She has two kids, and it's a matter of taking advantage of time when she has it - time in line at Starbucks, at piano practice. Sometimes she
  • 8:12 - How did you decide to leave the military?
    • It wasn't an easy decision; she was an Army brat, with both parents in the military. She followed her dad all over Europe as an Army kid.
    • She recognized on her own she wasn't ready for college, and didn't want to waste her parents money
    • Decided to join the military - originally the Marine Corps - but wasn't treated seriously during the process and saw the Air Force recruiter on her way out. The military was safe and something she understood.
    • She was a photographer, and wanted to try something else out - she loved the military but wanted to try something new
    • When she found out she was going to have a mother, she wanted to be the mother she didn't have. It would be tough to do both the military and a mom, so her and her husband decided she would transition. Her husband had a similar background, so they both decided - at 12 & 15 years - to get out of the military.
    • They made the goal of each of them finishing their master's degree prior to leaving the military, which lead for a rushed schedule leading up to departure
    • They purchased a 35' RV, and spent a year traveling the United States.
  • 11:46 - Advice for figuring out when to leave the military
    • Investigate the feeling - if you feel like you need to move on, give that room. See if you can switch jobs within the military, but if you can't find it start figuring out how to make it happen.
    • She recently worked with someone who decided to open a catering business. But you need to do EVERYTHING you can to investigate this right now - intern, or find a temporary job. This person learned it wasn't what they wanted to do it. So investigate every avenue you can. Call people who do that job (better yet a veteran who does it) and get a feel for what it is like.
    • Harness your power - my power right now is I have a paycheck and roof over my head. This is what I have - what is it I need. Capitalize on your opportunities for growth. I want to have this much money in the bank, this much education, talk to them and get buy-in with the family. Sometimes you need to go back and course correct
    • The Hack Process:
      • H - Harness your power. You have SOME power in the situation
      • A - Assess your resources. What do you have on hand that will propel you forward, and what do you need to gather to get to that goal
      • I - Identify them. The people and resources that will help you and you need to get in your corner to get there
      • C - Capitalize on the opportunity
    • You may be more comfortable right now than you realize - any stress you can take
    • Give yourself permission to recognize how difficult the transition is, but don't wallow in it.
  • 22:59 - How would you describe your path from the military to deciding to pursue a PhD?
    • They were stationed in Missouri. They got in their RV and didn't know what to do next. They decided to visit her parents in Oklahoma. They piecemeal the first part of the trip together, visiting diners and different sites.
    • They noticed in their journey there was a subculture of veterans everywhere they went.  She noticed many experienced difficulty, and many were on the verge of homelessness. She realized that she wasn't the only one who felt challenged in the transition - there were many other veterans like this.
    • Along the journey she became pregnant with their second child. As they were unpacking their house in Georgia, her husband received a job offer in Sacramento. So they packed up their house and moved cross country with their two kids
    • After five days as a stay-at-home mom, she realized she couldn't do it. It was more difficult than her three deployments. She saw a commercial for a doctoral degree, and wanted to give it a try. Her children were 9 months and 3 when she started - it was crazy but she did it. And her husband just received his degree from the same program. He saw the growth and self discovery journey she went through and that motivated him to do it as well
  • What was the PhD process like for you?
    • She views herself as very lucky. Her program was very creative, and she was able to chart what she was interested in - which was transition in veterans. She was able to research, write papers, and do whatever she wanted. It became addicting, because she kept finding more and more information, but didn't find the readily available resources she wanted for veterans. It felt like a well-kept secret and she didn't want it to be like that.
    • She kept getting assignments that kept her digging and before she knew it she stood back and realized what she wanted to go after
    • When she left, her resume was good, professionally she was ready to transition. No one spoke to her heart and mind transition, that you never receive when leaving the military.
  • 37:40 - In your work with veterans, what are common problems you see them facing in their civilian career?
    • She teaches a masters class on Leadership. One thing she has her students do (and she does as well) is Morning Pages. You put the pen on paper for 20 minutes and you just write non-stop. She didn't think it would work and the first two weeks were random song lyrics, shopping lists, and babble, but at the end of two weeks the cob webs went away and certain things came into focus.
    • She kept doing it and started to get clarity on different items - things she hadn't thought about in years. It's completely free and is an easy way to make progress in thinking through issues. Just write about whatever comes to mind - no matter how random. Keep with it and you'll find clarity. Supposed to do it first thing in the morning, as soon as she wakes up.
    • There's a book called Road Map. There was a PBS show called Road Trip Nation and they actually wrote a book "the get it together guide for what to do with your life" - it will inspire you but also give you a roadmap.
    • A mentor would be a GREAT addition for veterans. Help you navigate the new waters and identify what is important to you.
  • Common mistakes that veterans face
    • The adage that "the grass is greener" is definitely true. Without someone telling you what to do, there is also a challenge of autonomy and having to do everything on your own.
    • She encourages people to imagine that you were dropped into the center of England. Yes - they speak English, but there are different words, customs, and norms. You still need to learn a lot - and it's like this with a military transition
    • Some people may not understand your life and may ask you offensive questions like, "Have you ever killed someone." Try to remember it's out of ignorance and curiosity and not malice.
    • She has found in Mommy Groups that things that are earth shattering to other people are not so for her... she has to remember that "my journey is different." It may take time to find your time. Observe how they interact with other people.
    • Emotional Intelligence will be key too and this was something she had to learn
  • 44:50 - What can we do to help veterans who are struggling in their transition
    • Her local VA has a special office to help veterans who are homeless and she is looking at how to help with this
    • Sometimes they just need someone to listen to them
    • The TAPs programs send a LOT of information towards veterans, and going and talking and sharing there could help a lot
    • She was surprised that she was diagnosed with PTSD, even though she had taken many disturbing photos as a photographer on active duty.
  • 49:20 - Final words of wisdom?
    • If you've been listening to this and thinking of an idea and not sure if you should do it - give yourself permission to try. It's ok to be afraid to fail - that's ok. If you think about it - the times you succeed you probably didn't think about how you got there... you didn't think about how you got there. It's only when you fail that you do. But this is when we learn - from this failure. It may work, it may not, but it's ok. Have more than an A-D plan - there are 26 letters in teh alphabet. At the end of the day, try to do what makes you happy.
Jun 14, 2017

“I leveraged the skills that I learned in the Marine Corps, and literally I just started kicking in doors. When I got to New York I had to figure it out and I had to figure it out quickly. Again, it was all about establishing that network. I called people, I learned from them. And I started to whittle down exactly what I wanted to do... There are things that a veteran can control and things they can't control. I couldn't control my technical proficiency at the time because I had just gotten out of the Marine Corps. But - darn it - I could control how hard I could work. So I was the first one in in the morning, I was the last one to go at night, and I was studying like crazy."
– Christopher Perkins

“I leveraged the skills that I learned in the Marine Corps, and literally I just started kicking in doors. When I got to New York I had to figure it out and I had to figure it out quickly. Again, it was all about establishing that network. I called people, I learned from them. And I started to whittle down exactly what I wanted to do... There are things that a veteran can control and things they can't control. I couldn't control my technical proficiency at the time because I had just gotten out of the Marine Corps. But - darn it - I could control how hard I could work. So I was the first one in in the morning, I was the last one to go at night, and I was studying like crazy."
– Christopher Perkins

Christopher is the Managing Director and Global Head of OTC Clearing at Citi and founder of Citi’s Military Veterans Networks. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he earned a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. He then served as an officer in the Marine Corps for over nine years. After the Marine Corps, Christopher worked at Lehman Brothers as their US Head of Derivatives Intermediation. He is also the co-founder of Veterans On Wall Street - an initiative dedicated to honoring former and currently military personnel by facilitating career and business opportunities in the financial services industry.

The top three reasons to listen to today’s show are:

  1. Senior finance - Christopher is very high up at one of the most respected financial institutions in the world, so if you’re at all interested in the Finance Industry, this is worth a listen
  2. Explanation - Christopher gives great advice on how a veteran can explain their background. He managed to land a senior position at Lehman brothers directly out of the military. He was the ONLY person to do so without an MBA - not only not having an MBA, but competing against valedictorians from top business schools. He did it by being an expert storyteller, and his advice for veterans is fantastic
  3. Financial Collapse - Christopher talks about what it was like on wall street during the financial collapse and how his military training paid off, keeping him calm and stable when the world around him seemed to be falling apart.

Our Sponsor

Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Links

Show Notes

  • 2:31 - Christopher's background
  • 3:15 - How Christopher decided to leave the Marine Corps and how he approached this decision
  • 5:55 - How Christopher managed to directly from the Marine Corps to a very senior role at Lehman Brothers
  • 12:53 - How Christopher would explain his role as the US Head of Derivatives Intermediation at Lehman Brothers
  • 17:13 - How a call from Citi changed Christopher's career
  • 18:15 - What life was like during a financial collapse, and how Christopher's military training paid off. Also a look at how Christopher has given back through Veterans on Wall Street (VOWS) and Citi Salutes
  • 26:48 - The biggest advice Christopher would give to Veterans in finance or those considering a career in finance
  • 29:23 - Some common misconceptions and mistakes Christopher sees when it comes to veterans
  • 31:36 - Christopher's thoughts on the MBA and how valuable it is within the world of finance
  • 34:35 - A few possible career paths to the role of Managing Director at a major company like Citi
  • 36:38 - What Christopher's day-to-day life looks like as a Managing Director at Citi
  • 40:05 - Christopher's recommended resources for those veterans considering a career in finance
  • 42:06 - A look at mistakes Christopher has made and what he learned from them
  • 44:09 - In what ways Christopher felt ahead of his civilian counterparts, and it what ways he felt behind
  • 46:30 - Christopher's final words of wisdom
Jun 7, 2017

“When I got out after 12 years I was married, we had our first child and were looking at having our second child. I was very focused on a career that would pay me what a Major with twelve years in was currently paying me. I wasn't so interested in taking a step back and thinking about these questions of what am I good at, and what do I enjoy doing and what do I think is important. What most people don't think about is that you have forty more years in your career - so really, that's the right time to start asking yourself these questions - what do you enjoy doing, what are you good at?”
- Joshua Jabin

Joshua Jabin is the Chief Operations Officer (COO) at Travis Manion Foundation. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served in the Marine Corps for 12 years, first as a Aviation Supply Logistics Officer, obtaining his MS in Operations Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School, and teaching Mathematics at the Naval Academy. After his transition to the civilian sector, Joshua worked as a Senior Management Consultant at the ReefPoint Group, before joining the Travis Mountain Foundation about 2.5 years ago.

The top 2 reasons to listen to this episode is:

  1. Passion + Skills - Joshua works for a incredible organization and resource for veterans. They have a transition workshop that doesn't focus just on finding the right job... they focus on helping you find the intersection of passion and skills in your personal and professional life. Joshua LIVES this, as he initially took a 1/3 pay cut from his initial consulting job, in order to follow work that he knew would be more fulfilling for him and his family.
  2. Great resource for veterans - whether you're on active duty, recently transitioned, or transitioned decades ago, The Travis Manion Foundation has a lot to offer and is an organization worth taking a look at.

Our Sponsor:

  • Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books

Selected Resources

Show Notes

Note: I've typed these notes during my interview with Jacob, so they may not completely represent his words, and may contain spelling and grammar errors. My intention is to provide veterans with a quick reference to see the gist of our conversation, along with timestamps to hear Jacob's actual advice in his own words within the interview.

  • 3:50 - Joshua's background
  • 4:35 - What would you want listeners to know about the Travis Manion Foundation?
    • Membership veteran organization to develop character in the next generation to help communities. They want to create THRIVING communities - creating meaning through serving others, relationships, and engagement (leveraging your strengths).
    • Travis was a Naval Academy Graduate (2004) and 1st Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He was killed on April 29, 2007 on his second tour overseas. His mother started the foundation to help other veterans and families of fallen veterans
    • Today they are an organization of 90k people worldwide
    • Their goal is also to help create the next generation of leaders
    • For all veterans who come back and want to see how they can continue to serve, they also provide a way they can do this and have that same sense they had in the military
  • 9:45 - What is the TMF transition workshop program?
    • It is VERY different from a lot of other great transition programs out there - they don't focus solely on the career piece. Their goal is to help veterans have a successful post-military life - meaning, relationships, engagement. Both in your career and how you can continue to grow.
    • After this, they help veterans identify their strengths and passions, and how to incorporate into their story, along with their training and education. This helps them network, communicate as they find their ideal job
    • The final piece of the transition has successful veterans come in and share what they do and what they've learned, and how that relates to their passion and strengths (to see options)
    • There are other additional workshops - resumes, interviewing, etc
  • 16:16 - If someone listening would like to get involved with or help support the Travis Manion Foundation, how can they do that?
    • Not exclusive to veterans - we have "inspired civilians" as well
    • If you're 1 year out from leaving or recently left the military and need help in the career transition, you can find info about attending workshops and also resources directly on the website
    • There's also info on the website about their character workshop
  • 18:00 - For someone listening on active duty, how would you explain what you do?
    • He is the #2 at the Travis Manion Foundation. Started 2.5 years ago, and worked way quickly to COO (initially Chief of Staff)
    • He is the #2 next to the CEO
    • Their President is very external - partnership & fundraising meetings, presenting at conferences. So Joshua's role is about overseeing daily operations - finances, budget, curriculum, operations... all the daily operations
    • They have Regional Heads throughout country and various departments - his job is to hold them all together
  • 19:46 - How would you explain a COO role? What does this look like on a day-to-day basis?
    • Every day is different - this is one thing he really loves
    • 5-5:30 - wake up before kids and check email (West Coast team emailed through the night)
    • Spend time with kids
    • When in at the office, every Monday morning he (and his program & department heads) put out their top 3 list for the week
      • This week: #1 Program evaluation, #2 Developing Curriculum, #3 - 1st Spartan Leadership summit
    • Review finances
    • 2:30 - meet with Regional Heads to review big picture anything that affects their programs
    • get home, play with kids, check email afterwards depending on the day
    • End of week they share a weekly summary. This allows to support as needed all the execution that occurs throughout the week
  • 27:08 - You got out after 12 years of service. How did you think about transition from the military earlier, vs staying in for 20 years?
    • What he found from his transition - and working with thousands of vets who have transitioned - it's challenging no matter when you transition
    • After 12 years I felt too senior to go through the JMO Recruiters, but I wasn't senior enough for some of the other positions available
    • He started with a JMO recruiter - they were very knowledgeable and had great advice. TMF uses a lot of this info in their transition workshop as well now. But he knew it wouldn't be a good fit because Joshua wanted a small company rather than a large company. He would need to take a step back in terms of salary and authority / leadership when going to a larger company. However, there would be a larger runway to be able to build into a very senior role.
    • He realized there are other options: working for a smaller company (like Travis Manion Foundation) or starting your own company
  • 30:18 - Big company v. small company.
    • He LOVED being a Marine, and is still a Reservist and loves it
    • It did get to a point where he was in a HUGE organization and realized he couldn't move the needle
    • Wanted to go to a small company where he could see a big impact from his work
    • He loves now that he will be there for a LONG time and enjoys seeing the impact of his work
  • 33:32 - What is the ReefPoint Group?
    • It was started by three Naval Academy grads who started the year before him. He didn't know them at the Naval Academy, but heard about them while teaching math at the Naval Academy
    • He was applying to IBM, Booz Allen, etc and had several friends refer him to the owner of the ReefPoint Group
    • Met with Chris (using his network) and joined them - they were the smaller company he was looking for
    • It's a very bright team - a Management Consulting firm that focuses on data analytics, so different from traditional MBA Management Consulting type roles
    • Enjoyed it but quickly realized it wasn't his passion in life; many people were way ahead of him technically
  • 35:50 - How would you explain to someone on Active Duty what you did as a Senior Management Consultant?
    • Was living in Annapolis as a subcontractor for a large organization and also at a hospital in San Diego. He would fly out every Monday and fly back red-eye on Thursday. He was doing consulting work for Navy Hospitals
    • It was important work, liked the people he worked with
    • When thinking about how he spent his time when he wasn't working, he was a "Character does matter" ambassador for the Travis Manion Foundation - this was his passion. He loved being a leader and a mentor
    • When he spoke with the family he found out they were looking for a #2
    • He wrestled with Travis Manion at the USNA - he was at an Army vs. Navy game and saw Colonel Manion. He told him "at some point I' going to come work for you full time"
    • Joshua though he wanted to make al to of money first and come work there. But Colonel Manion encouraged him to talk anyways
    • He didn't think there was any way he could do it (financially)
    • He was going to need to take a 1/3 pay-cut. He told his wife he couldn't do it, and she actually pushed him into it. He initially turned it down and couldn't sleep afterwards. His wife pointed out that they didn't need all the things they currently had and he decided to make the leap
    • His kids still have way more things than they need and he's never regretted it
    • Everyone deserves to be happy - we as veterans are so competitive and set such high bars for ourselves, always looking ahead. He stepped back and said - "when do I cash in these chips... how long to defer happiness"
  • 47:20 - Are there any resources - books, podcasts, conferences, websites, trainings - that have helped you in your civilian career that you would recommend to veterans listening?
    • Hire Heros USA - great resource for veterans. TMF is a great Step 1, when veterans leave he recommends them to Hire Heroes USA (resumes, job placement)
  • 48:47 - Final words of wisdom?
    • Life is short - you have to do what it takes to be happy
    • Career is important, salary is a factor, but step back and think what makes you happy.
    • Think about your strengths and passions and how to channel them to make a difference
    • Don't wait - don't think that if you grind it out you can do it later
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