After a 30-year Navy career, Chuck made his transition into the corporate world. We talk about what that transition was like, and how leadership differs inside of the military vs. outside of the military. We talk about his role in Corporate Strategy & Business Development at Lockheed Martin, and how the collateral jobs we did in the military may play a bigger role in our career choice than we often realize. We talk about the breadth of skills Veterans bring to their employers, and how to communicate this in interviews. We also take a detailed look at the incredible breadth of opportunity at Lockheed Martin, and what they’re doing to support the military community. Lockheed Martin employs over 22,000 Vets, and just last year they had 19,000 connections with Veterans, with 170 events and 3,500 Veterans hired.
Chuck Hollingsworth is part of Lockheed Martin’s Corporate Strategy and Business Development, where he focuses on strategic customer relationship development, corporate orders growth and focus programs, and several functional development courses such as the Doing Business Overseas Institute. He started out at the US Naval Academy, after which he served as an officer in the Navy for over 30 years. This service includes serving as Chief of Staff to the Chief of Naval Air Training, with oversight of all undergraduate Navy flight training, as well as the Navy Flight Demonstration Team (Blue Angels). It also includes being a responder to support in the aftermath of the USS Cole attack. And it includes, immediately after 9/11, being dispatched to Islamabad, Pakistan where, at the Pakistan government’s request, he served as the principle U.S. military liaison to coordinate combat operations through Pakistan into Afghanistan. Chuck has worked at Lockheed Martin for over five years.
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Joining me today from Rockville, Maryland is Chuck Hollingsworth. Chuck Hollingsworth is part of Lockheed Martin’s Corporate Strategy and Business Development group, where he focuses on strategic customer relationship development, corporate orders growth and focus programs, and several functional development courses such as the Doing Business Overseas Institute.
He started out at the US Naval Academy, after which he served as an officer in the Navy for over 30 years. This service includes serving as Chief of Staff to the Chief of Naval Air Training, with oversight of all undergraduate Navy flight training, as well as the Navy Flight Demonstration Team (Blue Angels). It also includes being a responder to support in the aftermath of the USS Cole attack. And it includes, immediately after 9/11, being dispatched to Islamabad, Pakistan where, at the Pakistan government’s request, he served as the principle U.S. military liaison to coordinate combat operations through Pakistan into Afghanistan. Chuck has worked at Lockheed Martin for over five years.
Could you walk us through your transition out of the Navy after 30 years?
I had a wonderful career in the Navy but at some point it comes to an end. As I looked beyond the military, I was overwhelmed by the amount of possibilities. I decided that I really wanted to be part of the aerospace industry. Once I made that decision, I was able to really focus my job search on a handful of companies. Then it became about networking. I started reaching out to people at my target companies. What I would advise to you is to be clear and open about your transition and what you’re looking for. People want to help you but it’s difficult for them to do that without clarity from you about exactly what you want.
I contacted some former colleagues that were working at Lockheed Martin and it all just really flowed from there.
To me, one of the best pieces of advice I was given during my transition was to ask for informational interviews. That’s when you meet up with someone from a particular company not to ask for a specific job but just to learn more about that industry and company. Often times, building those relationships can lead to job offers down the road.
How do you describe what you do as part of Lockheed Martin’s Corporate Strategy and Business Development group?
Being at Lockheed’s headquarters is not unlike being assigned to the Pentagon. I have an oversight role here. My personal role is more about the professional development of everyone within our business development group. We have about 1500 people within business development and I work to make sure all of them are being challenged and developed. It’s not unlike many of my positions within the Navy. My last role in the Navy was Chief of Staff and in many ways it was very similar to my role now.
Sometimes I think as veterans, we don’t really understand all of what the military has given us. When I came to interview for this job, I didn’t know what specific job I was interviewing for. They just wanted to talk to me. But I was able to bring a lot of my experience in the military into the interview and talk about how that could be relevant to a role with Lockheed Martin.
You never know what will end up helping you on the civilian side. Experience in a small collateral duty could give you exposure to something that will eventually help you with a corporation.
What are the different groups within Lockheed Martin?
We have four broad business areas - aeronautics, mission systems, missiles, and space. We have over 375 locations around the world. So no matter where you are, Lockheed probably has a footprint fairly close by.
You’re also the chair of Lockheed’s Military Veteran Resource Group. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
Lockheed has over 22,000 veterans as part of our workforce. As I learned about the military veteran resource group here, I raised my hand to be part of the leadership group. I found that it gave me a sense of belonging that I missed after leaving the military. Annually, we do a leadership conference. We had the opportunity to bring in some great speakers to talk to our company’s veterans. We also work to provide professional development opportunities.
As a corporation we support philanthropic efforts specifically in the areas of STEM and veterans. We support the USO and various wounded veteran organizations. I’m also a mentor through American Corporate Partners.
I came to this company for two reasons - one was their ethical reputation. The other was that the breadth of the company would allow me to take on different roles within the company.
If someone is interested in working with Lockheed Martin, how should they proceed?
Go to the Military Connect tab on our main website to be connected with a recruiter. Last year, our recruiters had contacts with 19,000 veterans. We hired over 3,500 veterans during the 2018 year. Being a veteran essentially gives you an “HOV lane” into our organization. Our recruiters are also trained to interpret and translate the experience veterans had during their time in the military.
How do you think leadership is different in the military from outside the military?
During my time in the Navy, I commanded the Center for Personal and Professional Development. In that role, my job was basically to focus and think about leadership.
Coming to Lockheed, I was happy to find that the organization has a leadership and management development program. I’ve been able to provide input into that program which has been rewarding for me.
I think there’s more consensus building in general in the corporate world. There’s a lot of team building both inside and outside the military.
During interviews, weave leadership and team building examples into your answers to questions from the interviewer. That experience is extremely valuable both inside and outside the military.
During my time in the Navy, I was very involved in the Navy’s sexual assault prevention program. I used the experience during my interview with Lockheed to talk about how I cared about making the workplace more comfortable and safe for all employees.
Are there any resources you would recommend?
The Communication Guys is a great podcast for veterans to learn more about effective communication.
Another area that’s important is executive presence. The one thing that veterans bring to the workplace is that presence. But there are still some things that we can polish - things like professional attire and how to stylistically answer questions.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with listeners?
You have more to offer than you may think. It’s like a fish swimming in water - you don’t even see the water you’re swimming in. But I’m here to tell you that you can make a valuable contribution to any organization.
I encourage you to not move too quickly on the first offer you get after leaving the military. Try to get a couple offers on the table so that you can better discover what job will be the best fit for you.
Lastly, keep that sense of purpose you had in the military. For me, that gives me a sense of fulfillment. Outside of my job, I’m involved in various non-profits and community groups and these activities give me energy.