1 - I'll be launching a new podcast next year. As part of this, I'll be leading an online men's group. If you're interested in checking it out or learning more you can find details @https://www.worknprogress.co
2 - Jocko & Leif interview on Monday!!!! Last episode of the year and it's a good one.
3 - 4 new events for January. Check them out and claim your spot @ https://beyondtheuniform.org/events
Alejandro went directly from Active Duty to the NFL, a feat that few have accomplished. His story is one of determination, perspective, and family-first values.
Alejandro Villanueva is a Left tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He started out at West Point, where he played left tackle, defensive lineman, and wide receiver. He was voted to be team captain his final year at West Point, and a feature story in the Army football program read, "Already touted as the tallest football player in the country, Villanueva completed the transformation from being an offensive lineman for the past two years, to running routes on the field with the starting offense last Saturday night.” He served as a Captain in the Army, as an Army Ranger and was decorated with a Bronze Star for valor, having served three tours of duty in Afghanistan. After his military service he was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, and later after by the Pittsburgh Steelers
My guest today transitioned from the Air Force into high tech in Silicon Valley, where he has worked in Product Management at Intel, Trulia, Realtor.com and other great companies. He also wrote a book about Product Management, where he takes the principles around procedures and checklists from the military, and applies them to the functional role of Product Management.
However, beyond our discussion of Product Management in this interview, there are two things that I absolutely loved about my conversation with GS.
First: side hustle. GS made the transition to the Real Estate industry. While his day job was building tech products for the Real Estate industry, he leveraged what he was learning to start investing in Real Estate as a side hustle. The result is that, over the course of his career, he developed side income that has allowed him to transition into more meaningful work around coaching and writing. This is a wonderful example of how - outside of the workplace - listeners can cultivate a hobby that creates the financial freedom to pursue a deeper purpose in your next chapter.
Second: relationships. In the 300+ episodes I’ve done so far, we’ve only talked about relationships in one other episode, and that is the recent episode #323 - Conscious Leadership, with Floyd Carlson. It’s something we should talk about more. For those of you who are in relationship, I’m sure you can relate: when my relationship is off with my wife, Rebecca, everything is off in my life. I’m not as productive at work, I’m not as focused in my conversations, I’m not able to operate at my peak potential in my professional life. There is not this clear distinction between work and life… they blend together, and one affects the other. In his work with couples, and in his recent book, “The Masculine in Relationship” GS brings some very poignant advice to how listeners can improve and deepen their relationship. I know, I know, this is a podcast ABOUT career success… trust me on this, you can have success in your career without success in your relationship or family, but it’s not much fun.
I met GS through the men’s work I’m doing with John Wineland, and it was a pleasure to get to know this professional side of him in our conversation - I hope you enjoy it as well.
GS is a men’s coach focused on men in relationship, former Silicon Valley executive, founder of a tech company that he eventually sold, and the author of two books (including the recently published “The Masculine in Relationship”). His teachings are based on 12 years as a student and creator in the realm of the Masculine-Feminine dynamic, and also pull in principles from a variety of fields: psychology, martial arts, tango, meditation, and BDSM.
After his time as a military officer, GS got his MBA from the University of Virginia and transitioned into the high tech industry. He spent time at Intel, Broadcom, Trulia, Realtor.com, and Matterport. He also founded and sold the company CityStash, which sought to disrupt the $23B self-storage space with technology.
If you listened to my conversation with Stacy Bare or my recent conversation with Dan Cnossen - if you liked the flavor of those conversations, you’ll love this episode. I shut up as much as possible during my time with Micah - he is a force to be reckoned with. He had a thriving career until 9/11, where he was in New York when the towers fell. He ran into the towers, dragging out whoever he could, and swore in that moment to kill whoever was responsible. He wanted to be an Army Ranger, he ran into a Navy recruiter on the way to enlist, and signed up to become a Navy SEAL instead. After ten years as a Navy SEAL and 4 years as Paramilitary, he moved to Montanta. Wackinenss ensued. It led him to start a non-profit called Heroes & Horses. I’m betting money that you will donate to this organization before the episode is over. It’s incredible. In the show notes we have a link to Micah’s TedX talk - in it, Micah talks about how important struggle is. This is something he learned in his 1,110 days - 13 deployments - in which he was deployed to combat zones, but even more so when he returned. We talk about Micah’s struggles, and how we’re doing that to the Veteran community by often coddling them - doing the work for them - prescribing them medications, trying to keep them from the very pain that will heal them. And so, Micah and his team take a different approach. They take 30+ Veterans into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights where they face austerity and challenge. They have water, coffee, meat and veggies… not a whole lot else. They ride 400-500 miles on horses. They learn to shoe horses. They take philosophy courses. They wake up at 4AM to workout, and work all day until 10PM. They provide tools so that each individual can mine who they are.
Micah Fink is the CEO of Heroes and Horses, where for the last five years he has offered combat veterans an alternative solution for defining and approaching their physical and mental scars – a solution that does not include the overprescribing of medication, or traditional psychotherapy, but rather the opportunity aand tools to redefine their purpose, rediscover their inner-strength, engage in a practice of self-responsibility, and maximize their potential. He started out in the Navy, where he served for ten years as a Navy SEAL and four years in paramilitary service. Since then he has also worked as a professional speaker for Free Matter, as well as the Executive Producer of the film, 500 Miles.
No matter what your political affiliation, I’m guessing that you’re pretty upset about our countries state of affairs. In this interview, I talk with Bob Garfield - who, in addition to being one of the world’s foremost podcasters and writers, is also a co-founder for Purple: Project For Democracy. Purple: Project for Democracy is a non-partisan coalition, campaign and movement. They span the breadth of American society to rediscover and recommit to our democratic values.
If you like this interview, be sure to check out BTU #70 - Emily Cherniack: How New Politics is helping veterans of both parties run for office (https://beyondtheuniform.org/blog/btu-70-emily-cherniak-how-new-politics-is-helping-veterans-of-both-parties-run-for-office?rq=emily)
I didn’t have time to read Bob’s bio prior to our interview, so here it is:
Bob Garfield is co-host of public radio’s weekly, Peabody Award-winning On the Media. He is also the founding co-host of Slate’s podcast on language, Lexicon Valley, and Amazon Channels’ The Genius Dialogues. He is the founder of the Media Future Summit, and, on weekends, is on a sporadic national tour with his one-man show, Ruggedly Jewish.
A heroic multimediocrity, Bob has been a columnist or contributing editor for the Washington Post Magazine, The Guardian, Advertising Age, Civilization and the op-ed page of USA Today. He has also written for The New York Times, Playboy, Atlantic, Sports Illustrated, Wired and the Mainichi Shimbun and been employed variously by ABC, CBS, CNBC and the defunct FNN as an on-air analyst. As a lecturer and panelist, he has appeared in 37 countries on six continents. He wrote a shitty episode of a short-lived NBC sitcom, Sweet Surrender, and co-wrote a song recorded by Willie Nelson. (Long story.) He is a five-time New York Times worst-selling author. His sixth book, American Manifesto, will be published in early 2020.
I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment.
In this informal episode, I go through one admin item, two professional items, and a lot of personal items. Listen to as much or as little as serves you.
While Floyd has had an impressive 13-year career as a Sales Executive at Cisco and now as an Executive & Team Coach, in this interview we talk about the work that Floyd does with military marriages. Floyd has done extensive work with military and Veteran relationships, helping couples improve their marriage, as well as helping Veterans be more effective in their working relationships. We cover a lot of ground in this conversation about tactics that can help any listener improve their most important relationships.
Floyd is a Corporate Sales Executive at CRR Global, which is a coach training school. He also works as the President and Executive & Team Coach at Relatance. He served in the U.S. Army for 13 years, originally enlisting in Infantry, going on to ROTC and then serving as a Company Commander and a Management Information Officer. While on Active Duty, he also obtained his Masters in Management Informational Systems. After the Army, he worked at Cisco for over 14 years, most recently as the Director of Operations Supporting Sales. He is the author of the book, Conscious Leadership in Action.
Why to Listen:
The Commit Foundation is a fantastic and free resource to help veterans get where they want to go… just a whole lot faster. They take a very individual approach with each veteran with whom the work, and tailor their approach to help instill veterans with information, confidence, and imagination. Having worked with so many veterans over the years, Anne Meree has some fantastic advice for listeners about interviews - it’s some of the best advice this subject I’ve had on the show.
About our Guest:
Anne Meree Craig is the Executive Director and Co-Founder, The COMMIT Foundation, which is changing the way highly talented veterans think about transition and creating serendipity for them by fostering mentorship, networking, and inspiration. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for Bunker Labs.
If you’re interested in sports and entertainment - either as an enthusiast or as a potential career option - you’ve got to hear James’ story. He went from 31 year Army Veteran to being an Executive Vice President for Hornets Sports & Entertainment. Not only does this entail the logistics for each and every Hornets basketball game… but that is literally less than 20% of the events that occur at the Spectrum Center each year, and James oversees all of them. We talk about how much of our military experience translates well to operations. We talk about why Veterans may love a career in sports and entertainment. And we talk about swimming in your own lane. James’ younger brother is a guy you may have heard of - Michael Jordan… the Michael Jordan. Towards the end of our conversation, James and I talk about this, and his response to my question about this made me respect James even more. James has a wonderful perspective on the military transition, and I hope you enjoy this unique conversation.
If you enjoy this episode, I’d recommend checking out four other similar episodes, each listed in our show notes, which are:
1. BTU #93 - Matt Ufford: Marines to Editor & Host at SB Nation - https://beyondtheuniform.org/blog/btu-93-matt-ufford-marines-to-editor-host-at-sb-nation?rq=ufford
2. BTU #74 - Nate Boyer: Army Green Beret to the NFL - https://beyondtheuniform.org/blog/btu-84-nate-boyer-army-green-beret-to-the-nfl?rq=nfl
3. BTU #258 - Army Ranger to HBO and Writing & Directing Movies (Brian Hanson) - https://beyondtheuniform.org/blog/btu-258-army-ranger-to-hbo-and-writing-directing-movies-brian-hanson?rq=hbo
4. BTU #302 - Navy SWO to ESPN Reporter and Host (Sal Paolantonio) - https://beyondtheuniform.org/blog/btu-302-navy-to-espn-sal-paolantonio?rq=espn
James Jordan is the Executive Vice President of Operations for Hornets Sports & Entertainment, where he has served for nearly six years. He started out in the Army, where he served for over 31 years, most recently as the 35th Signal Brigade Airborne Command Sergeant Major as a part of 18th Airborne Corps Task Force supporting Combat Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. After his military service, he worked for over seven years as the Director of Operations and Administration for the EPS Corporation, Field Service Company.
In this informal episode, I go through two announcements, answer one listener question, and delve into more personal info than you’d ever want to know.
I’m embarrassed to say this, but my interview with Jason was an eye opening reminder of how many positions there are in public service that are not elected office. When I think of public service, I think of previous guests I’ve had on the show, like Sean Barney from episode #66, who ran for a seat in the House of Representative. However, as Jason points out in this interview - for every one of those positions, there are thousands of others, working behind the scenes, making things run efficiently, all serving their country in their own way. Jason makes some great points about why Veterans might love a career in public service. He is also an exceptional example of someone who has done the heavy lifting to uncover and identify his personal values. As you’ll learn in this interview, this has helped him keep an open mind when new and unexpected opportunities arise, and decide whether this is the right change for himself and his family. Changes such as leaving Intuit after over 8 years in the private sector to make the switch to public service.
Jason Jackson is the Director of Administrative Services and Chief HR Officer to the Governor for the State of Nebraska. He started out at the Naval Academy as part of the illustrious class of 2002, served as a Surface Warfare Officer in the Navy for over five years, worked in a variety of roles at Intuit for nearly nine years, and has been working for the State of Nebraska for nearly four years. He holds an MA in Political Science from San Diego State University and a Juris Doctorate from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
A plug for our events, a request for recommendations, and a recap of an interview this week that will be broadcast in mid-November.
Sign me up for the Danny Hwang fan club. We cover some fresh terrain for Beyond the Uniform, as we follow Danny’s story of leaving the Army - and just weeks later - traveling to Shanghai, and growing an education startup until - three years later - he and his brother successfully sold their first company. In doing so, they achieved a lifelong goal they committed to at age six, of being able to retire their parents and move them from their home in Atlanta back to Seoul, Korea. Now, Danny is at it again, this time in Vietnam, joined by co-founders who were his classmates at West Point, and friends in the Army. If you are interested in taking a risk in your career, in setting goals and achieving them, in maintaining a great family life in addition to a great work life, in starting companies, or just hearing a story from an inspirational veteran doing great things in the world. This episode is for you.
If you enjoy this episode, two similar episodes that I would recommend are:
BTU #114 - Founding an Inc 500 Company While Traveling Southeast
Asia (Justin Cooke) - where Justin Cooke talks about founding Empire
Flippers all while traveling through Southeast Asia.
2 - BTU #11 -BTU #111: Two sibling Army Vets and Their Two Successful
Startups - the story of Jon and Chris Boggiano, both West Point grads
and Army Veterans who co-founded two different successful startups
Danny Hwang is the Founder & CEO of Point Avenue. Based in Vietnam, Point Avenue is a private education technology company offering K-12 educational services and admissions consulting across Southeast Asia. He started out at West Point, after which he served as an Army Ranger for six years, including two tours in Iraq and over 25 months overseas. After his military service, he co-founded New Pathway Education & Technology Group with his older brother, Sam, in Shanghai, China, which was acquired in 2014 by CVC Capital Partners. He currently serves as the Chairman of Ignite, a professional services company that specializes in human capital development, and CEO of Odyssey, a joint venture company developing AI technology. Danny's hobbies include traveling the world with his wife, Honda, racing in ultra-marathons and Ironman competitions, reading, and spending time with his family.
This episode is sponsored by Point Avenue. Based in Vietnam, Point Avenue is a private education technology company offering K-12 educational services and admissions consulting across Southeast Asia. We are grateful for the financial support of Point Avenue on this episode, which helps us further our mission at Beyond the Uniform and have a bigger impact on the military Veteran community.