BTU #28: Graham Plaster - Navy to Public Policy & Startups

“I think that failure is such a scary word to anyone in a large organization, because generally in a large organization - like the military or government - they train you to not discuss failure openly. But in grappling with what you want to do next in life and coming to gips with who you are you need to develop a lot more candor. And you need to develop resiliency. It helped me to really reflect on how much sacrifice will I be willing to make in order to achieve what I want to achieve; and how will i talk about my failures to other people so I can help them." – Graham Plaster

Graham Plaster a Senior Adviser at the Defense Language and National Security Education Office. He started out at the Naval Academy, where he received his Bachelors degree in English. After that, he served in the Navy for 11 years as: a Surface Warfare Officer, the Assistant Dean of Students at the Naval War College, a United Nations Liaison Officer, a Foreign Area Officer, and a Navy Staff Officer for the OPNAV Staff. Since his transition to his civilian career he has worked as a consultant, author, editor, founder and advisor in a variety of capacities in the Washington D.C. area

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

  • How to embrace failure as a way to learn about yourself
  • How to find a community where you can add value and potentially start a business
  • The advantages of juggling multiple projects and how you can more effectively do this
  • How to use LinkedIn as a powerful tool for networking and advancing your career
  • And much, much more…

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

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • 1:38 - Graham's Background
  • 3:21 - How Graham approached the decision to leave the Navy
  • 5:02 - How Graham considered the Reserves and remained involved
  • 6:44 - An overview of American Corporate Partners - a FREE resource every veteran should consider
  • 9:50 - The most surprising aspect of Graham's transition to civilian life
  • 11:21 - Graham's advice on how to approach a job search
  • 13:22  - Some practical tips and tools to help with increasing your self-knowledge
  • 18:10 - Advice for using LinkedIn effectively for networking
  • 25:27 - How Graham started
  • 31:30 - What Graham's startup looks like on a day-to-day basis and what it's like juggling this with a fulltime job
  • 38:30 - Advice for veterans considering starting their own company
  • 40:10 - Advice for those seeking to juggle multiple jobs and side projects at the same time
  • 46:80 - What it's like working at the Defense Language and National Security Education Office
  • 49:40 - Final words of advice