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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. www.beyondtheuniform.org
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Now displaying: Page 13
Jan 10, 2017

“One [aspect of startups] is the uncertainty. I mean that in the macro level in the sense that at any moment the company could die. And I mean that at a more micro level in that you don't always know what to do. You don't know, should I spend the next 15 minutes calling back a customer, or should I spend it talking to a developer about the next product release, or should I spend it strategizing the next investor fundraising meeting. And there's almost never an obvious answer. And so to say that you're in a world of uncertainty is probably an understatement."
– Alex Pedersen

Alex Pedersen is the COO of POLCO - an early stage startup that is a political participation platform for local governments. He started out at the Air Force Academy, after which he received his Masters of Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He served for seven years as an Air Force Officer, before transitioning directly to Google where he worked on Strategy, Planning & Analysis.

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

  • What it's like to be employee #5 at an early-stage company, and how this compares to Google
  • What it's like to work as part of a distrubted team, where each team member is in a different location
  • An overview on the different types of ways you can raise funding for an early stage startup
  • And much, much more…

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

  • 1:33 - Alex's background
  • 2:00 - The moment Alex decided to leave the Air Force and how he approached that decision
  • 3:05 - How Alex approached his first job search after the military and how he found his way to Google
  • 6:06 - How Alex identified the companies at which he would like to work
  • 6:58 - How Alex applied on Google's website and what the interview process was like
  • 7:32 - An overview of Alex's first role at Google
  • 8:57 - A typical day at Google for Alex
  • 10:41 - Advice for other veterans seeking to apply at Google
  • 12:00 - Why Alex chose to not pursue another advanced degree after he left the military and before he entered into industry
  • 13:36 - How long it took Alex to land his first job after the military
  • 14:50 - How Alex made the decision to leave the certainty of Google to join a startup
  • 16:03 - How Alex met the Founders of his startup, POLCO
  • 16:50 - An overview of POLCO, Alex's startup
  • 18:05 - What POLCO was like when Alex first joined
  • 18:56 - Advice to veterans about how to vet and evaluate an early stage startup
  • 21:43 - The contrast of going from Google to an employee with five employees
  • 23:23 - An overview of Alex's role as COO at an early stage startup
  • 24:38 - What Alex's day-to-day life looks like at an early stage startup
  • 25:45 - What it's like to work as part of a distributed team, and how he stays in contact with his teammates
  • 27:23 - What Alex's salary is like at an early stage startup
  • 28:35 - Alex's experience raising funding for a startup and advice he'd give to other veterans considering raising funding
  • 31:57 - Indications that you may like life at an early stage startup, and indications that you may not like it
  • 34:52 - Advice on how to maintain balance in the midst of a chaotic, early stage startup
  • 36:50 - Advice on where to go to learn skills that will help you in an early stage startup
  • 38:20 - What lead Alex to pursue a role in operations as COO
  • 39:12 - What skills are necessary to be successful in operations
  • 41:28 - The most surprising aspect of Alex's transition to civilian life
  • 43:00 - Habits that Alex had to break when he left the military
  • 45:12 - In what ways Alex felt ahead of his civilian counterparts, and the ways in which he needed to catch up
  • 48:17 - Final words of wisdom
Jan 9, 2017

“Frankly it was never anticipated, I certainly never expected to be the head of PepsiCo. That was not my aspiration. I say that because i think that it's important for people to take positions and work in places that they really enjoy what they're doing, not that they're doing something in order to just be prepared for the big job somewhere down the road. The problem with that is: first of all you won't enjoy it. And second of all, if you're not happy in doing it, likely the people around you won't be happy with you doing it either. And therefore you'll probably never get to that top position."
– Steve Reinemund

Steve Reinemund was CEO of PepsiCo from 2001 to 2006, during which time:

  • Revenues grew by $9 billion
  • Net income rose 70%
  • Earnings per share were up 80%
  • PepsiCo’s market cap exceeded $100 billion.

Steve started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served for 5 years as an officer in the Marine Corps. After the military, Steven joined IBM as a Sales Rep, and then earning his MBA at the Darden School of Business. After Business School, Steven joined the Marriott, Roy Rogers division, before moving on to PepsiCo’s Pizza Hut division, where after two years he became President & CEO of Pizza Hut. During his time as CEO, he introduced home-delivery as a distribution method, overtaking market share of rival Domino's Pizza within 2 years. Steve then moved to PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division as President & CEO, and then promoted to PepsiCo president and COO before being named to CEO two years later. After his tenure at Pepsi as CEO, Steven served as the Dean of the Calloway School of Business and Accountancy and Babcock Graduate School of Management at Wake Forest University for six years. Steven has served on multiple boards, including:

  • The Exxon Mobil Corporation
  • Marriott International
  • Walmart
  • American Express
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • American Express Company
  • Chick-fil-A
  • The United States Naval Academy Foundation
  • The Salvation Army.

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

  • How Steve approached his career path to CEO of a Fortune 100 company
  • One of the most career defining and harrowing moments of Steve's career
  • How Steve sought mentorship and feedback when he was CEO of PepsiCo
  • How the General Management landscape has changed and advice for veterans pursuing this career path
  • Advice on maintaining a marriage that will last over 42 years
  • And much, much more…

 

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

  • Steve's "Last Lecture" at Wake Forrest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_j8-oag5qc
    • Minute 34 onwards is particularly worthwhile. It's about finding your "fire" and what you want to do, and determining who you are
  • Bloomberg article on Steve and how he got to be CEO of PepsiCo: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2012-03-12/how-i-got-here-steven-reinemund
  • BizJournals article on Steve's career: http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/blog/bank_notes/2015/12/former-pepsico-ceo-steve-reinemund-talks.html

Show Notes

  • 1:05 - Steve's background
  • 3:00 - Steve's decision to leave the Marine Corps and how he approached this decision
  • 4:00 - Steve's journey to IBM for his first job and how he ended up there
  • 5:40 - Some of the more common career paths for veterans when Steve left the Marine Corps
  • 7:00 - Steve's decision to pursue a career in General Management over a more specific functional expertise
  • 12:00 - Did Steve always know he wanted to be CEO, or was it a gradual progression?
  • 16:38 - One of the most defining moments of Steve's career
  • 27:22 - How Steve's job changed from Pizza Hut to Frito Lay, and then from Frito Lay to PepsiCo, and how Steve adapted to the changing challenges
  • 34:24 - How Steve sought mentorship and feedback when he was CEO of PepsiCo
  • 39:17 - Leadership - the traits Steve tried to maintain in the civilian world, the traits he tried to unlearn, and the traits he learned after the military
  • 44:40 - How the landscape has changed since Steve first set out (and how Steve might approach his career differently today than when he first started out)
  • 47:00 - Advice on maintaining a marriage that will last over 42 years
  • 51:07 - Final words of wisdom
Jan 6, 2017

“Even getting my foot in the door at Google, once I had my foot in the door I had so many opportunities open. I was able to network, meet other veterans and learn about what they're doing. And that's why after one year I was in a role that I liked. It wasn't a perfect match - I was able to get into a role that I really like and it feels like a role I can do for the next five years."
– Ashley Snyder

Ashley Snyder is the Global Process Manager, Finance Operations at Google. She started out at the US Air Force Academy, where she studied Operations Research and was a Distinguished Grad. After the Air Force Academy she went on to MIT, where she earned her Masters in Operations Research, while also serving at Draper Laboratories as a Operations Research Analyst. She then served for five years in the Air Force in a variety of capacities as part of the Medical Services corps, including positions as

  • A Manager of TriCare Operations
  • Budget, Manpower, and Resources Program Manager
  • Business Plan Consultant working directly for the hospitals executive group
  • And eventually the Executive Assistant for Pacific Air Forces Surgeon General

She went directly from the Air Force to Google, starting out as an Operations Manager in the Global Sales Operations group.

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

  • How Ashley used career fairs to find her way from the Air Force directly to Google
  • Advice Ashley has for other veterans about getting in to Google and finding your ideal job once you're inside
  • An overview of career paths for someone in operations inside and outside of Google
  • 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.

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

  • 1:40 - Ashely's background
  • 2:53 - An overview of Ashley's role at Google
  • 3:38 - A day in the life of Ashley at Google
  • 5:02 - An overview of Ashley's first role at Google as an Operations Manager and how she got her job at Google
  • 8:22 - How Ashely faced an unexpected transition from the Air Force
  • 10:22 - How Google initially found her way to Google through a NUPOC conference
  • 13:50 - An overview of the Google application process and advice to other veterans seeking to work at Google
  • 15:50 - Additional resources Ashley would recommend to prepare for your career transition
  • 17:40 - Why Ashley decided against getting another advanced degree prior to going to industry at Google
  • 23:00 - Ashley's focus on operations and how it relates to finance
  • 25:20 - Habits that Ashely has tried to keep from the Air Force and habits she's tried to change
  • 30:30 - How leadership at Google has differed from leadership in the military
  • 33:00 - The most challenging aspect of working at Google
  • 34:46 - In general, a few possible career paths for someone in operations at Google
  • 37:40 - Indications that you may enjoy operations at Google and indications that it may not be the best fit for you
  • 39:30 - One of the biggest surprises about Ashley's transition from the military to the civilian workforce
  • 42:45 - Advice that Ashley would give to herself prior to leaving the military
  • 44:04 - For someone on active duty, a few resources Ashley would recommend
  • 47:36 - Final words of wisdom
Jan 5, 2017

“I think that the biggest thing is don't sell yourself short. I see too many people getting out - on both the officer and enlisted side - that look at these really simple programs. They’re great programs that may have transition assistance to get you into certain career fields, or take that first available job, or do something - if you’re working in logistics - to go right back into logistics. But all too often people do it because it’s convenient, rather than because it’s what they want to do. And I think that by really realizing that you’re capable of looking at a lot of different things, and that you’re capable of working at a lot of different places - figure out what you want to do rather than what’s easily available."
– Ben Vickery

Ben Vickery works at Google as a Finance Associate. He is also pursuing his MBA at Berkeley while full time at Google. He started out as Sergeant in the Marine Corps and served for nearly five years, including time as an Afghan Pashto Cryptologic Linguist at 1st Radio Battalion. After the Marines, he went to Columbia University and then on to Google. He also works as an Associate Instructor at Four Block, an organization that equips high potential veterans to achieve great careers at our nation’s top companies.

The top reason to listen to today’s episode is:

  1. Rockstar - Ben was a Sergeant in the Marine Corps. Since transitioning out of the military he went to Columbia University, and landed a job at Google as a Finance Associate directly out of Columbia. As if that weren’t enough, he’s pursuing an MBA at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business WHILE at Google. He has a great story of how he got there and what he learned along the way.

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

  • 1:37 - Ben's background
  • 2:13 - Ben's decision to transition from the Marine Corps to the civilian world
  • 2:53 - How Ben decided to go to college vs. directly to industry
  • 3:38 - Resources and advice that were helpful for Ben in applying to Columbia
  • 4:31 - The internships Ben pursued while at Columbia, and how this helped him narrow in on what he didn't want to do
  • 8:02 - How Ben decided to apply to Google
  • 10:56 - Advice for veterans thinking of applying to Google
  • 12:04 - How Ben prepared for his interview at Google
  • 12:51 - An overview of Ben's role as a Finance Associate at Google
  • 13:40 - What Ben's life at Google looks like on a day-to-day basis
  • 14:55 - Common advice Ben gives to veterans who reach out to him about Google
  • 18:33 - Habits Ben has tried to maintain - and break - from the military
  • 21:12 - Indications that a veteran may like life as a Finance Associate at Google, and indications that it may not be a good fit for you
  • 22:58 - Advice Ben would give to himself when he first left the Marine Corps
  • 23:54 - The ways in which Ben has felt ahead and behind his civilian counterparts
  • 27:18 - How Ben thought about the Reserves
  • 27:50 - Advice to those on active duty about what they can do right now to prepare for their civilian career
  • 30:40 - Final words of wisdom
Jan 4, 2017

“From the process of going through West Point and then being an officer and then deciding where you're going to next, one of the first things that is told to you is that you can go do whatever you want; you can write your own path. I think I took that to heart. If I can do whatever I want, this is what I want to do. It was a thing where I picked up a camera and started photographing a few things, and really, really enjoyed it. It was very intuitive and I liked that. It was the closest thing I had found to playing sports, where I was building muscle memory and then let that instinctive ability take over and get lost in the flow of what's going on. And I really wanted to keep doing that - if I got to choose what I would do, that's what I wanted to do. Then just dove neck deep in it and tried to figure it out."
– Chris Pestel

Chris Pestel is the Founder of Pestel Photography, and has worked as a freelance photographer for ESPN for nearly 9 years now. He started out at West Point after which he served as an Army Officer for five years. After his transition he started out as a photographer at Carolina Sports, before moving on to Playboy Enterprises as a Junior Designer & Photo Editor. He’s also served as the Director of Public Relations for his high school alma matter, Montini Catholic. Chris has run his company - Pestel Photography - for over 9 years, making him on the verge of the 4% of entrepreneurs who keep their company running for 10 years.

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

  • How Chris got his start with photography
  • How Chris found his first job in photography with Carolina Sports
  • What Chris' day-to-day life looked like at his first job with Carolina Sports
  • How Chris trained and improved himself as a photographer
  • What day-to-day life was like at Playboy
  • How Chris founded his own company, Pestel Photography
  • How Chris got started with ESPN
  • And much, much more…

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

  • 2:45 - Chris' background
  • 3:28 - Chris' decision to leave the Army
  • 4:35 - How Chris got his start with photography
  • 6:20 - How Chris decided to start a career in photography
  • 8:10 - How Chris found his first job in photography with Carolina Sports
  • 10:57 - What Chris' day-to-day life looked like at his first job with Carolina Sports
  • 13:30 - How Chris trained and improved himself as a photographer
  • 14:58 - Specific resources Chris would recommend to other aspiring photographers
  • 19:32 - How Chris transitioned from Carolina Sports to Playboy
  • 27:39 - What day-to-day life was like at Playboy
  • 30:00 - How Chris approached the opportunity at Playboy
  • 32:50 - How Chris' approaches mentors and role models as an artist
  • 37:12 - How Chris founded his own company, Pestel Photography
  • 40:31 - How Chris got started with ESPN
  • 43:24 - In what ways Chris' military service has helped him and in what ways he's had to break habits
  • 49:34 - If Chris could give advice to himself when he separated from the military, the one piece of advice he'd give to himself
  • 53:39 - Final words of wisdom
Jan 3, 2017

“I've been retired for 6.5 years now and some of the things that I've learned are that it's different after you leave active duty; the people are different and your motivations are different. One of the things you need to figure out how to do is relax, because most things just aren't as important as they were when you were wearing a uniform. And that's ok. It's ok to relax."
– Robert Underwood

Robert Underwood served as an Officer in the Marine Corps for 25 years, retiring as a Colonel and works as a Business Development Manager in the Electronic Manufacturing Industry at Eaton.

The top two reasons to listen to today’s episode:

  1. Start with why - Bob has some incredible advice about figuring out what you want to do with your career, and how this is a process that occurs every 3-5 years for most people. He talks about finding the why that makes sense to you right now - not the one that made sense in the past, and provides a specific example of how this got him a job at Amazon
  2. Interview prep - Bob has some exceptional advice about preparing for interviews. Rather than using books like “200 questions to prepare for an interview” he provides practical and tactical steps to get ready now
  3. Perspective - Bob left the military and returned shortly after as active reservist through his retirement. He talks about the perspective this has given him and the the advantages of retiring
  4. Business Development - at very end, describes job at Eaton in BD, which is a great overview.

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

Show Notes

Show Notes

  • 1:55 - Bob's background
  • 4:11 - How Bob approached his decision to leave the military
  • 5:21 - How do you know whether or not leaving the military is the right decision for you?
  • 6:21 - How to consider leaving the military when you're uncertain of whether to disclose this process to those around you
  • 8:55 - How Bob approach his first job search
  • 10:20 - How Bob hired a PhD to help him figure out his ideal career
  • 11:40 - What Bob's 30 minute coaching sessions looked like
  • 13:06 - How Bob's coach - after he understood Bob's motivations - helped him explore job possibilities
  • 20:33 - How Bob revisits his "why" frequently as he evaluates new job possibilities
  • 32:00 - How Bob found his way to Amazon
  • 33:04 - Advice on how to best prepare for an interview
  • 35:20 - Advice on how to find a coach
  • 39:30 - Other resources Bob would recommend
  • 44:01 - An overview of Eaton and the role of Business Development
  • 47:57 - Final words of wisdom
Jan 2, 2017

“I know that sounds really broad, but that's what people in academia are doing - it's knowledge production. It's not just sitting around sitting on a beach chair reading and thinking 'I love foreign policy' it's actually reading some of the dry stuff, engaging with others, writing, thinking and seeing whether or not you agree with the way we see things now and if you don't, do you know ways to change the way we look at things."
 – Aileen Teague

Aileen Teague is a Ph.D. Candidate at Vanderbilt University, where she studies, U.S. and Latin American History. She will finish her doctoral studies next summer and move toward her ambition of being a history professor. She teaches history at both Vanderbilt University and Nashville State Community College. She serves as an assistant coach on the marksmanship teach of the Nashville all boy's school Montgomery Bell Academy.

She started out at Boston University where she studied History and participated in the NROTC program. After this she served for 4 years active duty and then 4 years as a reservist as an officer in the US Marine Corps. After leaving the Marine Corps, she earned a Masters of Arts in History at Vanderbilt, and received a Fulbright Scholarship that took her to Mexico City to conduct research on Mexico's experience with the U.S. war on drugs over the course of 10 months. Since returning from Mexico Aileen has published various opinion pieces on her research and continues to write her dissertation, which focuses on the effects of U.S. drug control policies in 1970s Mexico.
In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

  • An overview of life as a PhD student
  • Having so much unstructured time, how Aileen structures her day
  • How to prepare financially to give yourself time to find what you want to do
  • Some typical career paths post-PhD
  • An overview of the Fulbright Scholarship
  • And much, much more…

 

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

 

Show Notes

  • 2:16 - Aileen's background
  • 3:53 - An overview of life as a PhD student
  • 5:12 - Having so much unstructured time, how Aileen structures her day
  • 7:07 - How long a PhD process takes
  • 10:25 - How Aileen knew she wanted to pursue a PhD
  • 14:16 - How to prepare financially to give yourself time to find what you want to do
  • 16:06 - Side jobs that come to mind as ways to generate side income
  • 20:06 - What the PhD application process looks like
  • 23:15 - What Aileen plans to do after her PhD
  • 25:27 - Some typical career paths post-PhD
  • 29:03 - Indications that you may love life as a PhD... and indications that you may not like it
  • 31:58 - The hardest part of pursuing a PhD
  • 35:05 - Advice for veterans pursuing a PhD
  • 36:46 - How Aileen decided to leave the Marine Corps
  • 37:47 - An overview of the Fulbright Scholarship
  • 45:57 - Advice to any veteran considering applying for a Fulbright Scholarship
  • 48:00 - The more surprising aspects of Aileen's transition to civilian life
  • 50:44 - Final words of wisdom
Dec 28, 2016

“In the private company world these companies are typically on 2-2.5 year funding cycles. If you don't get the next check in, the entity may go belly up. The person who feels the most pressure in that situation is the CFO - you're looking at payroll, vendor payments, at office lighting. You've got better visibility into when things reach cash exhaustion. And you expect CEOs to be very optimistic and Heads of Sales to be very optimistic in believing it will come, but when you're not seeing it, you're not holding the sales order and you've got a backlog of payments that can be pretty nerve wracking. But you can also thrive in the fact that in some situations the weight of the company is on your shoulders and for me that's highly motivational. "
 – John Quarles

John Quarles has served as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for two different startups, where he has raised over $150M of equity and debt for his companies. John is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, and served as a Navy SEAL as part of SEAL Team 8. After transitioning from the military, he worked as a consultant at Accenture for one year prior to attending Harvard Business School. After HBS, he entered the Finance Industry and began his progression towards CFO.

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

  • What day-to-day life looks like as a CFO
  • The most challenging aspect of being CFO
  • The advantages of gaining experience prior to pursuing an MBA
  • More tried and true career paths to the position of CFO
  • And much, much more…

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • 1:53 - John’s background
  • 2:35 - An overview of the role of Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • 4:30 - What day-to-day life looks like as a CFO
  • 11:50 - The most challenging aspect of being CFO
  • 15:37 - John's journey from the Navy to consulting and his initial job search
  • 18:06 - The advantages of gaining experience prior to pursuing an MBA
  • 20:06 - How John decided to pursue a career in finance
  • 24:00 - John's path from entering finance to becoming a CFO
  • 27:00 - More tried and true career paths to the position of CFO
  • 29:45 - Indications that you may love the job of CFO... and indications that you may hate it
  • 36:11 - The ways in which John felt ahead and behind based on his military service
  • 38:38 - Habits John had to break when he left the military, and positive habits he's tried to maintain
  • 43:03 - Some of the more surprising aspects of a transition to civilian life
  • 49:30 - Final words of wisdom
Dec 26, 2016

“Veterans, writ large, miss being in the military because of that sense of community and a greater pruprose. In that sense, politics is a perfect fit for veterans: you work hard with a group of people to solve problems, and make a difference and serve your country; the mission statements are perfectly aligned. The thing that I think gets hard for a lot of veterans getting into the political space is that in order to get elected you have to be able to go out and tell a community of people why you're so great and why they should vote for you. Veterans as a group are a little more reserved about that."
 – Kate Kranz

Kate Kranz is the Director of Women's Initiative at Veterans Campaign, a non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage, mentor and prepare veterans, transitioning service members, and other members of the military community for a "Second Service" in civic and political leadership. She started out at the Naval Academy, and served as a Naval Flight Officer for 11 years. She is finishing up a Masters of Law and Diplomacy from Tufts University, and a Master’s of Administrative Leadership from Oklahoma University.

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

  • An overview of the Veteran's Campaign and what they do
  • How veterans can work with Veteran's Campaign
  • In what ways veterans would enjoy the world of politics and what might be more challenging
  • How Kate figured out what she wanted to do after an unexpected transition to a civilian career
  • And much, much more…

Related Links

  • Kate's company, Veterans Campaign: http://www.veteranscampaign.org/
  • Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers: http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/
  • Homefront Rising - encourages and helps military spouses to run for office
  • Service 2 School - free help for any veteran to get into your ideal college or graduate school program
  • American Corporate Partners - free mentorship for any veteran pursuing a career in business
  • Vets for Diplomacy
  • Hill Vets - increasing veteran involvement in government and advocacy
  • Vet Tech Trek - VetTechTrek runs immersive recruiting events for veterans and their spouses.

Show Notes

  • 2:02 - Kate's background
  • 2:52 - An overview of the Veteran's Campaign and what they do
  •  3:56 - How veterans can work with Veteran's Campaign
  • 6:08 - What Kate's day-to-day life looks like
  • 10:40 - In what ways veterans would enjoy the world of politics and what might be more challenging
  • 13:43 - Kate's decision to leave the military
  • 19:33 - How Kate figured out what she wanted to do after an unexpected transition to a civilian career
  • 24:33 - The most surprising aspect of Kate's transition to civilian life
  • 30:10 - How people on active duty can start preparing right now for their eventual transition to civilian life
  • 33:00 - Final words of wisdom
Dec 23, 2016

“[Veterans] rush into [their first job]. They worry so much about the changes that they don't pause and really think about what the next step is. Now, not everyone has the luxury of preparing for six months. Sometimes they are medically discharged or there are other extraneous circumstances that make their transition come upon them much quicker. But there are so many times that I see veterans rush into a role without looking at the broad picture first."
– Liz McLean

Liz McLean is the Senior Program Director of Veteran Employment at Military.com, as well as the Owner & President of Liz McLean Veteran Solutions. She started out at the Air Force Academy where she served for five years as a Logistics Readiness Officer. Since 2010 she has worked as a recruiter for civilians and veterans, with multiple companies including positions at Booz Allen Hamilton and Hewlett-Packard where she worked to refine veteran programs. Liz holds a bachelors in behavioral science and a Masters of Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology, where she focused on the people versus the product for program efficiency. Her passions are fueled by ultra-running and up to the ironman distance triathlon

The top three reasons to listen to today's are:

  • #1 Transition Advice - Liz has worked as a recruiter for top companies including Booz Allen Hamilton and Hewlett-Packard. Each of us only make a transition from the military once, but Liz has worked with hundreds of veterans in their transition. Her advice on this is really worthwhile.
  • #2 Recruiting - a career path that not a lot of veterans consider is being a recruiter. Liz talks about what it's like, and how you can succeed in this career path.
  • #3 Starting a company - Liz chose to start her own recruiting company rather than join an established company. She's got some great advice for vets thinking of starting their own organization.

Selected Links

Show Notes

  • 1:43 - Liz's background in the Air Force until today
  • 2:30 - Liz's decision to leave the Air Force and how she approached this decision
  • 3:50 - What Liz learned in her first job search outside of the Air Force
  • 8:03 - How Liz thought about agreeing to 100% commission based salary, and why she wouldn't recommend that veterans consider a commission based salary for their first job
  • 12:07 - Liz's current role at Military.com and what her day-to-day life looks like
  • 14:58 - With so much experience recruiting, a few common mistakes that Liz sees veterans making in their first job search outside of the military
  • 18:30 - Resources that Liz would recommend to veterans to help in their civilian career
  • 20:48 - Liz's advice for veterans interested in starting their career as a recruiter, and an overview of the career of a recruiter
  • 24:26 - The most challenging part of Liz's job
  • 26:06 - How Liz started her own company, and why this was an important career decision for her as a recruiter
  • 28:08 - The Pros & Cons of starting your own company as a recruiter, vs. joining an established company as a recruiter
  • 31:33 - Liz's advice to any veteran interested in starting their own company
  • 33:00 - One of the biggest mistakes Liz made since leaving the Air Force and what she learned from it
  • 34:54 - What habits Liz tried to maintain from the Air Force, and habits she needed to break to be successful in her civilian career
  • 39:15 - What surprised Liz the most about her transition from the Air Force to civilian life
  • 41:24 - Liz's final words of wisdom
Dec 21, 2016

“When you go into a project, everyone has the understanding that they probably don't know what the right answer is. At Slack we're very successful and we've done a lot of right movement: when there was a decision to go left, we went left; when there was a decision to pick door #3, we happened to pick door #3. A lot of it is by chance and luck and at the same time when we attempt a project, I don't think anyone assumes that they know what the right answer is. Because of that there is a lot of open mindedness of being ok if this doesn't work out. A lot of the time we do things here to try it out and if it doesn't work it doesn't work."
 – Tom Pae

Tom Pae is a Sales Enablement Manager at Slack - one of the fastest growing startups in San Francisco, who has raised $540M in funding. He started out at West Point, and served in the Army for over seven years as an Armor & Military Intelligence Officer. When he left the Army he went to Columbia Business School. After that, he joined LinkedIn - first as a Sales Operations Manager and then as a Senior Learning Technology Strategist. He is married to fellow Army veteran, RaeAnne Pae, who I interviewed in Episode 26.

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

  • An overview of the role of Account Operations Management
  • The lifestyle component of working in a high-growth startup
  • How life at Slack (and a high growth startup) compares to life at LinkedIn (an established company)
  • How Tom used nights and weekends to prepare for his transition to tech
  • And much, much more…

Selected Links

  • My interview with Tom's wife, RaeAnne - http://beyondtheuniform.io/btu-26-raeanne-pae-army-to-facebook-and-business-development/
  • Slack's incredible commercial about their vision for the workplace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6sSa5NpqUI
  • Articles mentioned about tech
    • Recode - http://www.recode.net/
    • Venture beat - http://venturebeat.com/
    • Tech crunch - https://techcrunch.com/
    • Wall Street Journal Tech & Marketing section - http://www.wsj.com/news/technology
  • General Assembly - short form content on different topics at night. Helped Tom figure out what he wanted to do

Show Notes

  • 2:37 - Tom's background
  • 3:18 - An overview of Slack
  • 5:50 - An overview of the role of Account Operations Management
  • 7:42 - The day-to-day life of an Account Operations Manager
  • 9:18 - The lifestyle component of working in a high-growth startup
  • 11:20 - Career progressions for an Account Operations Manager
  • 13:20 - Indications that you may be well suited for a role in Account Operations, and indications that you may not enjoy it
  • 16:47 - How life at Slack (and a high growth startup) compares to life at LinkedIn (an established company)
  • 21:28 - How Tom approached the decision to leave the Army
  • 23:28 - The most surprising aspect of Tom's transition to civilian life
  • 26:26 - Advice on whether or not to pursue an MBA after the military
  • 30:10 - How Tom found his way from business school to LinkedIn
  • 37:50 - How Tom pursued Operations as a starting point for his career
  • 41:04 - How Tom decided to move on from LinkedIn
  • 44:00 - Final words of wisdom
Dec 19, 2016

“In the military we like to talk about, 'we accomplish more before 9am than the rest of the world.' If you take that thought into the civilian world, it's going to hurt you. There are really smart people out there and there is so much to be learned as you make the transition. Everyone has chosen to do something different - whether you're in the military or working for Chick-fil-a, or somewhere else. They're adding a lot of value where they are. So just keep in mind that - 'I can add value too in a unique way and I have a unique skill set to bring, but there are also a lot of people around me who are really smart and adding a lot of value too."
 – Mandy Psiaki

Mandy Psiaki is a Senior Team Lead at Chick-fil-A Corporate. She started out at West Point, and served in the Army for five years as a Finance Officer. She received her MBA from Colorado State University while still on Active Duty. She started her civilian career at Proctor & Gamble, where she worked for three months as an Associate Manager, Consumer and Market Knowledge. Before she transitioned to Chick-fil-A, where she has worked for nearly five years: starting as a Franchisee Selection Consultant, a Senior Franchisee Selection Consultant, and now her current role as Senior Team Lead, Specialized Training.

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

  • An overview of Mandy's work at Chick-fil-a
  • What it was like getting an MBA while on Active Duty
  • How Mandy transitioned to Proctor & Gamble
  • How Mandy started working at Chick-fil-a and an overview of her first role as Franchisee Selection Consultant
  • How the separation between Mandy and her husband in the corporate world differed from their separation while on Active Duty
  • And much, much more…Show Notes
  • 2:07 - Mandy's background
  • 2:51 - An overview of Mandy's work at Chick-fil-a
  • 4:15 - What her job looks like on a day-to-day basis
  • 7:05 - The lifestyle component of her work
  • 8:08 - The most challenging aspect of Mandy's work
  • 9:25 - Mandy's decision to leave the Army
  • 10:53 - How she thought about the Reserves
  • 11:42 - What it was like getting an MBA while on Active Duty
  • 14:46 - How Mandy transitioned to Proctor & Gamble
  • 20:01 - How Mandy started working at Chick-fil-a and an overview of her first role as Franchisee Selection Consultant
  • 22:20 - How the separation between Mandy and her husband in the corporate world differed from their separation while on Active Duty
  • 25:53 - How Mandy's next role at Chick-fil-a compared to her first role
  • 26:59 - Indications that you may like a job like Mandy's... and indications you may not enjoy it
  • 29:07 - Common career paths for someone in Mandy's shoes
  • 30:30 - How leadership outside of the military has differed from leadership in the military
  • 32:12 - Positive habits Mandy has tried to maintain from the military... and bad habits she had to break
  • 33:44 - The most surprising aspect of Mandy's transition to the civilian world
  • 35:08 - How Mandy felt ahead of her civilian counterparts, and where she felt behind
  • 39:40 - Final words of wisdom
Dec 16, 2016

“When I left Bain I reached out to a variety of folks… to explore what was out there. I kept in touch with those folks, and made a point to regularly get back in touch with people and see what they’re up to. It was after a meeting like that - we grabbed coffee and didn’t think much of it at the time, but he called me a few weeks later to let me know that Lyft was starting up in Atlanta. It was basically a lightening bolt that made me aware. It appeared and it appeared because I made contacts and maintained them."
 – Sam Bond

Sam Bond is a General Manager at Lyft - a company most listeners have probably used for their app which makes it simple for you to find a ride whenever you need one. Although only four years old, Lyft has raised $2B in funding, and has nearly 6k employees listed on LinkedIn. Sam started out at Princeton University and then served as an officer in the Marine Corps for 4 years. After his service, he attended the University of Virginia - Darden Graduate School of Business. He worked in consulting at Bain & Company as a Consultant and then Case Team Leader. He also worked at the Coca-Cola Company - first as a Director Supply Chain Strategy and then as a Group Director of Strategy and Portfolio Management.

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

  • An overview of the General Manager position at Lyft
  • Indications that a veteran may enjoy the role of General Manager, and indications that it might not be a good fit for them
  • What it's like to work at an explosively growing startup (and the pros and cons of joining a company on an exponential growth path)
  • An overview of entry level positions at Coca-Cola for a newly transitioned veteran
  • How Sam looks back on his journey to a role of General Manager
  • And much, much more…

Links

  • The ride sharing service, Lyft

Show Notes

  • 2:23 - Sam's background
  • 3:27 - An overview of the General Manager position at Lyft
  • 7:27 - Sam's day-to-day life at Lyft
  • 11:58 - Indications that a veteran may enjoy the role of General Manager, and indications that it might not be a good fit for them
  • 15:00 - What it's like to work at an explosively growing startup (and the pros and cons of joining a company on an exponential growth path)
  • 19:20 - Sam's decision to leave the Marine Corps
  • 22:05 - Sam's view on an MBA and how essential it is to a veteran aspiring to a General Manager role
  • 24:04 - How Sam decided to enter Management Consulting at Bain & Company
  • 26:25 - Some of the skills that Sam learned at Bain that have helped him in his role as General Manager
  • 29:45 - How Sam's lifestyle changed between a Consultant to a Case Team Leader
  • 31:50 - After three years, how Sam transitioned from Bain & Company to Coca-Cola
  • 34:50 - An overview of Sam's roles at Coca-Cola
  • 38:20 - An overview of entry level positions at Coca-Cola for a newly transitioned veteran
  • 41:10 - How Sam transitioned from Coca-Cola to Lyft
  • 47:32 - How Sam looks back on his journey to a role of General Manager
  • 50:00 - How leadership outside of the military differs from leadership within the military
  • 52:20 - Final words of wisdom from Sam
Dec 14, 2016

“Many Product Managers - most of them, actually - don't have anyone directly working for them. They work with everybody and yet are the owner - and that's a really interesting role. One of the things that I found useful in the military that I translated was: I found - personally - that getting things done, even in the military where it is more hierarchical, that treating people as peers and as experts in their area; that motivating them to get things done without using your direct authority over them was the best way to get things done. And that skill set really translates well to Product Management. "
 – Todd Pringle

Todd Pringle General Manager and Vice President of Product at Stitcher - the podcasting app that many of you are use to listen to this podcast, and was acquired by Midroll. Todd started out at UCLA, after which he served in the Navy for 4 years as part of the Supply Corps. After his transition out of the military, Todd attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business. After this he held a variety of Product Management roles - at Netscape and AOL in the early 2000s, and then eBay, AirPlay and then a company called Yoono. Todd also holds two US Patents

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

  • An overview of the role of General Manager & VP of Product
  • How the role of Product Manager has changed over the last 15 years
  • How Todd would approach the Product Manager role if he were starting over again today
  • Indications that you may enjoy Product Management, and signs you might dislike it
  • An overview of Todd's career in Product Management since business school
  • Advice on the decision between joining a startup vs. a more established company
  • Things you can do right now to start building a skill set to be a Product Manager
  • And much, much more…

Links

  • Todd's Company - Stitcher - is my favorite app for listening to podcasts

Show Notes

  • 2:24 - Todd's background
  • 3:26 - An overview of the role of General Manager & VP of Product
  • 5:39 - The General Manger role on a day-to-day basis
  • 7:12 - What drew Todd to the Product Manager role after business school
  • 11:00 - How the role of Product Manager has changed over the last 15 years
  • 12:45 - How Todd would approach the Product Manager role if he were starting over again today
  • 15:12 - Indications that you may enjoy Product Management, and signs you might dislike it
  • 17:40 - How leadership has differed outside of the military vs. inside the military
  • 19:15 - An overview of Todd's career in Product Management since business school
  • 24:18 - Advice on the decision between joining a startup vs. a more established company
  • 27:52 - Things you can do right now to start building a skill set to be a Product Manager
  • 29:55 - Habits that have helped - and hurt - veterans in the civilian world
  • 33:29 - How to know when to move on from one company - or role - to the next
  • 36:36 - How Todd approached the Reserves 
  • 39:09 - An overview of Todd's company, Stitcher
  • 43:11 - Some of Todd's favorite podcasts
  • 44:53 - Final words of wisdom from Todd
Dec 12, 2016

“It's more change than you ever think it will be, because in the corporate world plans change all the time. Everything changes even more so than in the military. Don't expect a table nine to five job where you're just going to sit in the office all day. That's what you imagine when you're in the military - 'Oh, I wish I had more stability and wasn't changing around so much.' But it's just like that if not more in the corporate world."
 – Shaoli Breaux

Shaoli Breaux is part of the Junior Officer Leadership Program at GE Oil & Gas in Houston, Texas. She started out at the Naval Academy, and served as a Surface Warfare Officer for for 5.5 years. After she left the Navy, she stayed at home to take care of her young children for two years. Then, she transitioned directly to General Electric.

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

  • An overview of the Junior Officer Leadership Program at General Electric
  • What the GE Junior Officer Leadership Program looks like on a day-to-day basis
  • What it was like to re-enter the workforce after two years of maternity leave
  • What Shaoli's experience has been like in the Reserves while at General Electric
  • And much, much more…

 

Links

  • GE's Junior Officer Leadership Program: https://www.ge.com/careers/culture/us-veterans/junior-officer-leadership-program

Show Notes

  • 1:35 - Shaoli's background
  • 2:20 - An overview of the Junior Officer Leadership Program at General Electric
  • 3:34 - Examples of the types of rotations available at a program like the GE JOLP
  • 5:02 - What happens at the end of the two year rotational program
  • 5:55 - An overview of the application process and advice for veterans considering applying
  • 7:20 - What the GE Junior Officer Leadership Program looks like on a day-to-day basis
  • 9:00 - The most challenging aspect of the GE Junior Officer Leadership Program
  • 11:43 - Indications you may be well suited for the JOLP and indications that you may not like it
  • 13:20 - What Shaoli wished she had known when she first started the GE Junior Officer Leadership Program
  • 15:22 - Shaoli's decision to leave the military and how she approached this decision
  • 16:30 - What it was like to re-enter the workforce after two years of maternity leave
  • 17:55 - What Shaoli's experience has been like in the Reserves while at General Electric
  • 19:20 - In what ways Shaoli felt ahead and behind her civilian counterparts
  • 21:30 - Good habits that Shaoli learned in the military that she's tried to maintain, and habits she's had to break
  • 23:20 - The most surprising aspects of Shaoli's transition to civilian life
  • 26:07 - Advice on how to best prepare for one's transition from active duty
  • 28:06 - Shaoli's final words of wisdom
Dec 9, 2016

“Prior to the financial collapse and my first day at Deutsche, I was thinking: I’m in finance, I’m on this ladder and trajectory, I’m going to make Director or Managing Director some day, it’s just a matter of time. But then after the financial collapse everything got mixed up, and it was very difficult to make life decisions when you have that cloud over your head. So, over time I started to really question whether that was the right thing for me. And I did a Google search of “which companies have the best culture” and Google came up. I applied through the online portal (“the black hole”) and was fortunate to get a call back and things worked out."
 – Steven Muller

Steven Muller works at Google as a Global Strategic Business Development for Google Play. He started out at the Naval Academy,after which he served in the Navy for four years with the Submarine Force as part of the USS West Virginia. After transitioning out of the Navy he worked for 5 years in the Finance Industry: first at Barclays Capital as their Associate Director - Head of Derivative Client Valuations, North America; then at Deutsche Bank as a Vice President. He then transitioned to Google, where was a Finance Manger for 4 years before his current role. Steven holds an MBA from the Duke Fuqua School of Business and a Master’s Degree of Engineering Management from Old Dominion University

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

  • What day-to-day life is like at Google
  • How Steven made the switch from the world of finance to high tech at Google
  • What life was like in the Finance industry during the 2008 meltdown
  • And much, much more…

Show Notes

  • 2:05 - Steven’s background
  • 3:07 - What Steven does at Google
  • 4:25 - What Steven’s day-to-day life looks like
  • 6:15 - The lifestyle component of working at Google
  • 9:30 - Steven’s decision to leave the military
  • 14:15 - the day-to-day life in derivatives at Barclays Capital
  • 16:02 - How Steven transitioned to Deutsche Bank
  • 17:40 - An MBA and whether or not it’s essential for the world of finance
  • 19:45 - How Steven decided to move on from the Financial Services industry
  • 22:45 - Day-to-day life when Steven first joined Google
  • 26:50 - Advice to those looking to work at Google (or in the world of high tech)
  • 29:45 - The switch from financial services to Finance Manager at Google
  • 35:07 - How leadership differs outside of the military vs. inside the military
  • 37:10 - Habits Steven had to break when he left the military
  • 39:10 - Common veteran entry points at Google
  • 42:40 - Final words of wisdom
Dec 7, 2016

“They kept saying: "forget about what job you want, what do you want to do?" It dawned on me and that day I ended up applying to culinary school. That's what I want to do! Forget about this corporate route I'm headed to, forget about business school. Unfortunately, the culinary school I was enrolled in when out of business a month before I left the Army. But it was a great sign that I had already made that jump, that the options were so much broader than I was giving myself credit for. In that sense, teh floodgates were already open in terms of telling myself that I could do this type of work full time. That was the distinct moment from it being a hobby to knowing that I could do this."
 – Annie Taft

Annie Taft is the Founder & Executive director of The Brazen Gourmand, which is a Lifestyle brand for the culinarily curious. She started out at West Point, where she graduated 17th in her class and served in the Army for over five years as part of the intelligence community. When she left the Army, she participated in the Stanford Ignite Program, after which she started three different companies, of which The Brazen Gourmand is one.

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

  • What it was like starting a company while still on Active Duty, and advice for veterans seeking to do the same
  • What Annie's day-to-day life looks like as an entrepreneur
  • How Annie knew when to turn her hobby into a business
  • An overview of the Stanford Ignite program, and why veterans aspiring to entrepreneruship should consider it
  • Additional resources Annie would recommend for aspiring veteran entrepreneurs
  • And much, much more…

 

Links

  • The Brazen Gourmand - http://www.thebrazengourmand.com/
  • Stanford Ignite - https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/programs/stanford-ignite/campus/post-9-11-veterans
  • Vet Tech Trek
  • Boots to business
  • 1 Million Cups - weekly meeting of entrepreneurs (every week someone pitches their idea, surrounded by likeminded people

Show Notes

  • 2:03 - Annie's background
  • 2:30 - An overview of Annie's current company, The Brazen Gourmand
  • 3:40 - What Annie's day-to-day life looks like as an entrepreneur
  • 10:00 - What it was like starting a company while still on Active Duty, and advice for veterans seeking to do the same
  • 11:36 - The point at which Annie knew she could turn a hobby into a business
  • 20:30 - Some of the challenges Annie faced while starting her company
  • 24:30 - An overview of the Stanford Ignite program
  • 35:10 - Why veterans should consider the Stanford Ignite veteran track
  • 39:05 - Additional resources Annie would recommend for aspiring veteran entrepreneurs
  • 42:30 - Final words of wisdom
Dec 6, 2016

“Me and Derek went in there and pitched to Mike [Maples] for an hour, 9am the next morning we had a term sheet. And we were about to die. We were running out of money - we pitched to Mike on September 10th, and we got a term sheet on September 11th. If you're not used to taking risks, you're going to have a hard time succeeding as an entrepreneur. I'm $240k in debt; my credit sucks; I lived with my co-founder for three years and we were in our mid to late 30s at the time; I've given up going to weddings, I gave up skiing and surfing for six years, given up love, the list goes on and on the sacrifice."
– Anthony Garcia

Anthony Garcia is CEO and co-founder at GuideOn -a military veteran talent acquisition platform. He started out at St. Mary's University, after which he served in the Army for eight years as a Medical Service Corps Officer and Medical Evacuation Pilot. After transitioning out of the Army, he received his MBA at Cornell University. Since then he has worked as a General Manager at SRI International and the CEO and co-founder of Adjacent Applications. He started GuideOn in late 2014, and has raised funding from Mike Maple’s VC firm - Floodgate, one of the most respected investors in Silicon Valley.

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

  • Anthony's experience with PTSD and candid advice for other veterans
  • The biggest mistakes Anthony made that made his current success possible
  • How Anthony raised funding from one of the best investors in the world
  • What it's like to hire your father as your Chief Information Officer (CIO)
  • How GuideOn is a FREE resource that will translate a veterans resume instantly
  • And much, much more…

Selected Links

  • Two resources I'd recommend to any and every veteran are:
    • GuideOn - free resume creator tool and, soon, a candidate placement resource. What the White House has called "the Rosetta Stone for veteran placement"
    • Line1.org - built venue for veterans, non-veterans, corporations, and thought leaders to help veterans transition. Free guidance for all veterans

Show Notes

  • 3:25 - Anthony's background
  • 4:10 - Anthony's decision to leave the Army and how he approached that decision
  • 5:27 - Anthony's struggle with PTSD and how he found a way through
  • 13:37 - Anthony's thoughts on business school as it relates to entrepreneurship - how the network helped, but also how there are a lot of resources available now for veterans as an alternative
  • 16:53 - How Cornell's network lead Anthony to the Co-Founder & Lyft and an introduction to Mike Maples that changed his life
  • 19:08 - An overview of GuideOn and how it's one of the best FREE resources for every veteran
  • 22:54 - When Anthony first got the idea to start GuideOn
  • 26:35 - The most painful failures Anthony experienced after the Army and how that helped him achieve his current success
  • 33:03 - How veterans can work with GuideOn - FOR FREE - to instantly create a resume
  • 35:16 - Common mistakes that veterans make in their transition to a civilian career
  • 40:04 - Anthony's advice for veterans about the fundraising process
  • 44:04 - What it's like working with your father when he is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of your company
  • 49:27 - Anthony's final words of wisdom
Dec 5, 2016

“What I'm saying is that when there is nothing at stake - you're not being paid for it or receiving credit - what are you interested in? If you can figure out what you're genuinely interested in, and you can combine that with what your natural strength is, you have the foundation for planning your future. Until you do that, you're just spinning in the wind. If you ever leave a job without understanding those two things, you're just tossing the dice."
 – Frank Van Buren

Frank Van Buren lives in North Carolina and works at Wells Fargo in their High Yield Sales & Trading Group. Frank started out at the Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, where he did Army ROTC, after which he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the National Guard/Reserve, and then decided to become a Chief Warrant Officer on active duty in the US Army, where served as a Blackhawk pilot for six years. After his transition from the Army, he earned his MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has worked at Wells Fargo for the last 18 years, first as part of their Investment Banking group and then as part of their Fixed-Income Sales & Trading groups. He also runs the site, AdviceForVets.com.

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

  • How to decide between Investment Banking and Sales & Trading
  • An overview of the Financial Services industry and where you might fit in
  • What Frank has learned from over 18 years in Financial Services
  • How to find your dream and uncover what you might want to do for a career
  • And much, much more…

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Links

Show Notes

  • 1:37 - Frank’s background
  • 3:30 - An overview of Frank’s role at Well’s Fargo
  • 8:40 - Frank's day-to-day life
  • 15:05 - Frank's lifestyle in sales & trading (as compared to Investment Banking)
  • 17:45 - Frank's journey from pilot to life as a civilian
  • 28:00 - How to find your dream and uncover what you might want to do for a career
  • 36:00 - How to decide between Investment Banking and Sales & Trading
  • 45:30 - Bad habits that veterans need to break when they leave active duty
  • 54:00 - Frank's final words of advice to veterans
Dec 2, 2016

“The autonomy is incredible. I think back to my time in the military and the best times I had was when I was flying around the mountains of Afghanistan, and we had a lot of flexibility in the mission we were running. When I think about being an entrepreneur, it's very similar to that in a lot of ways. I love that I can set my own hours and create my own success. That is really exciting and gets my adrelanine going. The bad part is that you don't have a paycheck. If you make a sale and get cash you can take a small salary from there, but there's a lot of unpredictability there. Going into this I didn't expect that aspect of this to wear on me emotionally as much as it does. But it does, and it's real - you just need to understand that that's part of the deal."
 – Chris Shaw

Chris Shaw is the Founder of CORE Leader, the Director of the NY Office of Bunker Labs at the NYU Tandon Engineering School. He graduated from NYU Stern School of Business in May 2016. He started out at Cornell University, where he earned his BA in history, after which he served in the US Army as an Aviation Officer for 8 years flying the Kiowa Warrior armed reconnaissance helicopter. He deployed twice to combat in Afghanistan, most recently as the head of his squadron’s intelligence department in the 82nd Airborne Division.

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

  • How Chris decided to go to business school rather than industry after the military
  • An overview of Bunker Labs, and why every aspiring entrepreneur should consider applying
  • Advice on finding a co-founder... and how to make sure you get it right. Chris talks about the biggest mistake he made when starting his company
  • The experiences that best help Chris prepare for his life as an entrepreneur
  • And much, much more…

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links

Show Notes

  • 1:50 - Chris' background
  • 2:30 - How Chris decided to leave the Army
  • 3:12 - How Chris thought about joining the Reserves and why he chose not to
  • 3:48 - The most surprising aspect of Chris' transition to civilian life
  • 5:20 - A few bad habits Chris had to break when he left the military
  • 6:30 - How Chris decided to go to business school rather than industry after the military
  • 9:28 - Chris' experience at Stern School of Business and his advice on how to apply and why to go
  • 11:10 - An overview of Bunker Labs, and why every aspiring entrepreneur should consider applying
  • 15:20 - What Chris' day-to-day life looks like as a Director at Bunker Labs
  • 17:40 - An overview of Chris' second company - CORE Leader
  • 20:13 - Advice on finding a co-founder... and how to make sure you get it right. Chris talks about the biggest mistake he made when starting his company
  • 24:17 - The experiences that best help Chris prepare for his life as an entrepreneur
  • 25:38 - What Chris' day-to-day life looks like as an entrepreneur
  • 27:44 - What Chris like most and least about his life as an entrepreneur
  • 29:30 - Chris' advice for other veterans considering entrepreneurship
  • 32:45 - How Chris felt ahead and behind his civilian counterparts
  • 36:37 - Final words of wisdom from Chris for all veterans
Dec 1, 2016

“I do feel like we had 6 or 7 bet the company decisions all strung together. It felt like I was in Vegas, going to the roulette wheel and just betting on red - over and over again - and depending on each one of those to be right. Startups a lot of is timing. If we had tried to start [SkyBox Imaging] two years earlier, the technologies wouldn't have existed for us to be able to build and point a spacecraft to take a pretty enough picture. If we had come along two or three years later, someone else would have already done this. It just to be in that sweet spot, to thread the needle, I just realize that we just happened to be the right people, telling the right story at the right time."
 – John Fenwick

John Fenwick is Head of Spacecraft Operations at Google. He started out at the Air Force Academy, after which he served for 8 years in the Air Force as a Physicist & Space Acquisitions Officer. He holds a Masters in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science from MIT and an MBA from Stanford Business School. After business school, John co-founded SkyBox Imaging and served as their Vice President of Flight Programs. Skybox provides commercial, high-resolution satellite imagery and high-definition video and analytics services. SkyBox raised over $91M in funding prior to being acquired by Google for $500M, as reported by the WSJ. SkyBox is now known as Terra Bella within Google.

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

  • Starting a company and thinking it was only a class project
  • How to find co-founders who will complement and challenge your own approach to work
  • Advice on raising venture capital from top investors
  • Advice on going through an acquisition process
  • The ways in which a military background is both advantageous and challenging for entrepreneurship
  • And much, much more…

Links

Show Notes

  • 2:23 - John's background
  • 4:10 - Johns journey in the Air Force and his decision to leave
  • 7:35 - How to consider an MBA if you're a veteran pursuing entrepreneurship
  • 8:53 - John's advice to those considering applying to business school
  • 10:03 - How John went about finding his co-founders
  • 11:32 - An overview of SkyBox Imaging
  • 13:45 - Advice to veterans in seeking a co-founder for your startup
  • 17:52 - Out of a classroom, how John started his first company, SkyBox Imaging
  • 19:17 - Advice for those seeking to raise venture capital
  • 21:12 - What the fundraising process was like... and what it felt like to raise his first $3M
  • 22:57 - Day-to-day life in an early stage startup
  • 24:03 - How a military background can help in starting a company, and how it might hold you back
  • 28:29 - After raising funding, the next milestone in John's startup journey
  • 31:03 - Launching their first satellite
  • 35:40 - The acquisition process with Google
  • 38:43 - Advice on managing an acquisition process and how to be successful
  • 40:58 - Habits to break as you depart from the military
  • 42:23 - Indications that a veteran may be well suited for entrepreneurship, and indications that it may not be right for you
  • 44:37 - John's final words of wisdom
Nov 30, 2016

“I'm in the beauty industry. I'm this ex-combat arms officer who knows way too much about cosmetics now. I think it's really funny. For me, timing really worked out. When we started Soko Glam, I was an Executive Aide to a General Officer. Although my time was really sporadic, for the most part I was in garrison. So I had a lot of time to research and take night classes, research certain things and go out and network. That would be my piece of advice - when you're still in really take the time to meet people and  figure out what you want to do. Do as much reading as possible but you gotta go out there and meet people."
 – David Cho

David Cho is the Co-Founder and CEO of Soko Glam - an eCommerce beauty shop and lifestyle brand with the best selection of Korean Beauty products and content. Dave started out at West Point, and served as a Combat Arms Officer for over 8 years. After his transition from the Army, David attended Columbia Business School, during which he worked at Facebook as a Global Accounts Intern. In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

  • How Dave started an e-commerce beauty company while on active duty in the Army
  • What it's like to have your wife as your co-founder
  • Resources Dave would recommend to any aspiring veteran entrepreneur
  • WhatWhat Dave wished he had known when he first started his company, Soko Glam
  • And much, much more…

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Links

Show Notes

  • 2:19 - Dave's background
  • 2:53 - An overview of Dave's company, Soko Glam
  • 4:48 - Finding a co-founder, and what it's like to be married to them
  • 11:11 - What Dave's like as a Co-Founder & CEO looks like on a day-to-day basis
  • 13:16 - What Dave's lifestyle looks like as an entrepreneur
  • 16:33 - What it was like to start Soko Glam while on active duty in the Army
  • 19:19 - Resources Dave would recommend when you're preparing to start your company
  • 23:30 - Whether or not to consider business school when starting your own company
  • 29:07 - How Dave's wife, Charlotte, continued to work on Soko Glam while Dave was at business school
  • 29:37 - What Dave wished he had known when he first started his company, Soko Glam
  • 32:32 - Some of the best advice Dave received when making the transition from the Army
  • 38:15 - Some consistent misconceptions that Dave sees veterans make when he is mentoring veterans going through the transition to civilian life
  • 41:30 - How to better know if you'd like a large company or start your own company
  • 43:20 - The bad habits that Dave needed to break when he left the military
  • 46:30 - The biggest surprises Dave experienced in his transition to civilian life
  • 49:20 - Dave's final words of wisdom
Nov 29, 2016

“Aim high - aim way higher than you think that you should. Because you have so much to offer and we need your expertise and talent in the private sector; we'd be lucky to have you. But you've gotta go for it. Don't let this be the moment in your career or life where you settle. You've got to go for it. And so let this be the time when you really shoot for the stars because you've earned it - you've earned this opportunity."
– Bethany Coates

Normally, I interview a veteran about their civilian career. In this episode, instead, I interview an amazing company that is helping veterans in their career transition.

BreakLine is an education and employment company that builds an affordable path to compelling careers. Their programs combine skills-based training with professional networking and connect participants directly with hiring managers.

Bethany Coates is the Founder & CEO of BreakLine. She has served as the Assistant Dean at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and has been a consultant at McKinsey & Co. She holds an MBA from Stanford Business School, and a BA from Princeton University.

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

  • What listeners should know about Breakline Education
  • An overview of the upcoming event, Breakline Technology
  • An overview of the application process for Breakline Tech
  • The strengths and weaknesses that veterans bring to the private sector
  • Advice on improving a veteran's resume, LinkedIn Profile, and interview techniques
  • And much, much more…

Selected Links

  • Another interview the discusses the impact of an immersive program similar to Breakline - Tradecraft - is my interview with RaeAnne Pae (BTU #26)
  • Some of the companies that Bethany mentioned that work with Breakline Education are: Medallia, Nielsoft, Box, Andreessen Horowitz, Paypal, BMZ, and LifeLock
  • Breakline Tech - an alternative to traditional education and one-stop shopping experience for veterans. This program is an immersive experience with technology companies in the United States.
    • Application Deadline: 12/6/16
    • Cost: $475
    • Duration: 1 month
    • Dates: 2/21/17 - 3/17/17
    • Company immersive experience include: Andreessen Horowitz, Paypal, BMZ, and LifeLock
  • Breakline Finance - an immersive program for veterans curious or interested in careers at First Republic Bank and in Financial Services in general
    • Application Deadline: 1/30/17
    • Cost: $75
    • Duration: 1 week
    • Dates: 5/1/17 - 5/5/17
    • Company immersive experience include: First Republic Bank

Show Notes

  • 1:51 - An overview of Breakline Education & their founder, Bethany Coates
  • 2:55 - What listeners should know about Breakline Education
  • 3:35 - How Bethany started Breakline Education
  • 7:15 - In Breakline's 8 months of operation, nearly 100 veterans have worked with them. Here's a look at what some of their alumnus have done afterwards
  • 10:25 - Common veteran backgrounds for veterans working with Breakline
  • 12:38 - An overview of the upcoming event, Breakline Technology
  • 19:41 - How many people will join the Breakline Technology group in February
  • 23:58 - At the end of Breakline Technology's one month program, what they can expect
  • 26:00 - The ideal timing for a veteran to attend the Breakline Tech group
  • 28:38 - Indications that a veteran may be well suited to Breakline Tech, and indications that it might not be a good fit
  • 31:03 - An overview of the application process for Breakline Tech
  • 34:45 - The deadline for applications is December 6, 2016
  • 35:10 - An overview of the Breakline Finance experience
  • 37:21 - The dates for the Breakline Finance program and the deadline for the application
  • 37:40 - An overview of the application process for Breakline Finance
  • 38:05 - If you're unable to attend this year's Breakline Technology or Breakline Finance a look at the future schedule
  • 38:54 - The strengths and weaknesses that veterans bring to the private sector
  • 43:40 - Bethany's advice in regards to improving a veteran's resume
  • 46:00 - Bethany's advice in regards to improving a veteran's LinkedIn Profile
  • 48:20 - Bethany's advice for how veterans could improve in their interview process
  • 49:44 - Bethany's final words of wisdom.
Nov 28, 2016

“Instead of complaining about what I can't do because I'm in the Navy, I decided what can I do to help the Navy? How can I be the change that I want to see? Because if everyone leaves and decides to get out... I hate to break it to you, it's not that easy. You have all types of irritants. Just like you have irritants in the Navy there are irritants in every industry.  That  doesn't mean you shouldn't get out, but don't expect to not have irritants. And I've learned to deal with those irritants a lot better.
 – Nicole Schwegman

Nicole Schwegmen is an industry Fellow (Tours with Industry)  with USAA and is currently on active duty in the US Navy. She started out at the Naval Academy, after which she served as a Surface Warfare Officer for four years, and then a Public Affairs Officer. She first left the Navy in 2008, where she worked at a small PR firm, as a Contractor for Deloitte, and then as a Communications Partner for Gallup. She returned to Active Duty in 2010 after a deployment to Afghanistan, moved to San Diego, deployed on two different surface ships (USS Essex and USS Peleliu) then got a Master's in Journalism and Media Studies at San Diego State.

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

  • An overview of the Tours with Industry program, and Nicole's work with USAA
  • What it's like working at USAA, and what they do to earn their exceptional customer support reputation
  • What Nicole learned from her first transition from the military, and how that affects her view of being on Active Duty now
  • How Nicole's perspective on Active Duty is different than the first time she was on Active Duty
  • And much, much more…

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Show Notes

  • 2:30 - Nicole's background
  • 4:05 - An overview of the Tours with Industry program, and Nicole's work with USAA
  • 10:55 - What it's like working at USAA, and what they do to earn their exceptional customer support reputation
  • 14:33 - What Nicole learned from her first transition from the military, and how that affects her view of being on Active Duty now
  • 24:20 - How Nicole's perspective on Active Duty is different than the first time she was on Active Duty
  • 31:00 - How Nicole will approach her next transition from the military
Nov 21, 2016

“I think that’s one of the things that I love most about my job is that my whole life I’ve always been interested in the news and what’s going on in the world. Now I feel like I get paid to pay attention to it. Any obscure reference, you could make a case that it can have an effect on the market. And for that reason, you truly have to stay engaged in what’s going on."
 – Casey Carroll

Casey Carroll lives in Charlotte, North Carolina and works with Wells Fargo in their Credit Sales department. He started out at Duke University, where he studied History and Visual Arts, and was on the Men’s Lacrosse Team. He served for four and a half years in the Army with the Rangers as a Fire team Leader. After transitioning from the Army he returned to Duke, this time at their Fuqua School of Business.

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

  • Casey’s decision to go to business school instead of going straight into industry
  • An overview of a career in High Yield Sales & Trading in the Finance Industry
  • The day-to-day life of someone in High Yield Sales & Trading
  • How Casey knew he wanted to enter the world of Finance, and how he found his way to Wells Fargo
  • Indications that you may really like a career in Sales & Trading… and signs you may hate it
  • And much, much more…

 

Show Notes

  • 1:09 - Casey’s road from Duke University to Wells Fargo
  • 1:35 - When Casey knew he was going to leave the Army
  • 3:30 - The most unexpected and surprising aspects of Casey’s transition to the civilian world
  • 7:43 - Casey’s decision to go to business school instead of going straight into industry
  • 11:11 - Advice for veterans applying to business school or Duke in particular
  • 15:03 - What Casey liked most and least about his time at Duke
  • 22:40 - An overview of a career in High Yield Sales & Trading in the Finance Industry
  • 25:55 - The day-to-day life of someone in High Yield Sales & Trading
  • 31:38 - How Casey knew he wanted to enter the world of Finance, and how he found his way to Wells Fargo
  • 34:28 - Indications that you may really like a career in Sales & Trading… and signs you may hate it
  • 37:30 - Negative habits Casey had to break when coming out of the military
  • 41:10 - Final words of wisdom
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