In the 300+ interviews I’ve completed with military Veterans about their civilian career, one of the most often cited pieces of advice is to understand your finances. Many guests have talked about how one’s financial situation can provide you with more time to find your ideal career, and avoid the stress that comes with a career transition. Chris Hogan is one of the world’s foremost experts on personal finances, retirement planning and more. It’s an honor to have him on the show, and I guarantee you’ll walk away from this episode inspired and with tactics you can put to use today.
Chris Hogan is a best-selling author, a personal finance expert, and America’s leading voice on retirement, investing, and building wealth. His goal is to help as many people as possible avoid financial traps and set their families up for the future.
His book Retire Inspired: It’s Not an Age; It’s a Financial Number is a number one national best seller, and The Chris Hogan Show has millions of downloads. Chris is also a regular contributor to the EntreLeadership Podcast, a top podcast on business and leadership.
Along with speaking at events across the country, Chris works with business leaders, professional athletes, and entertainers to help them set goals and navigate their financial futures.
Lt. General Freakley had an incredible career of over 36 years in the Army prior to his retirement. Yet, similar to nearly every guest I’ve had on the show, when he approached his own transition to a civilian career he experienced fear. In this interview, we talk about how to approach that transition, how to cultivate curiosity and learn something new, and we talk about leadership - we talk about leadership in the uniform and beyond. We talk about Ben’s work at Arizona State University and the McCain Institute for International Leadership, and more.
Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley is the Special Advisor to the President for Leadership Initiatives at Arizona State University. Additionally, he serves at the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. He recently retired from the U.S. Army after more than 36 years of active military service, and was serving as Commanding General, U.S. Army Accessions Command, at the time of his retirement. He started out at West Point.
This is the first interview I’ve done with a Production Supervisor, and it is a fantastic way to start with this career field. Chris does perhaps the best job of any guest I’ve had on the show of breaking down what this role looks like - what it looks like across industries and different sized companies, including pay scales, as well as the specific traits from the military that will help you - and hinder you - in this career path. We also talk about differences in communication when you leave the military, and how to approach this in a way that will be easier for you; the unpredictability inherent in the civilian job market; how leadership differs from one industry to the next and more.
Chris Lee is a Production Supervisor at PCC Structurals, and has spent over 5 years in the functional role of Production Supervisor in a variety of industries. He started out at West Point, and served as an Infantry Officer in the Army for 8 years, with two deployments to Afghanistan.
While the bulk of this interview is about Product Manager, Richard and I cover a lot of ground that will interest you regardless of your desired career path. We talk about leadership, we talk about technology, we talk about values and how to find a career path that aligned with your personal value; we talk about how technology may be an a-moral career path, and we talk using hypothesis to confirm or deny a career move… and how either of those, the confirmation or the denial, is equally valuable.
Richard I. Porter is a Product Manager at IBM as part of their IBM Cloud: API Connect/Gateways team. He started out in the Marine Corps as a Ground Intelligence Officer, where he served for 8 years. After his time in the Marine Corps, he studied business at UNC Kenan-Flagler.
Sal has had an incredible career as a journalist, from newspapers, to authoring four books, to being a Veteran of ESPN for over 25 years. With ESPN he covers the National Football League for SportsCenter, Sunday NFL Countdown, NFL Live and Fantasy Football Now. He also hosts the long-running NFL Matchup show. While Sal’s career has been in journalism and sports, he talks about curiosity, about finding information that no one else knows, about approaching one’s job with a beginner’s mindset, and a whole host of topics applicable to any career.
Sal Paolantonio is a national correspondent for ESPN. He primarily covers the National Football League for SportsCenter, Sunday NFL Countdown, NFL Live and Fantasy Football Now. He also hosts the long-running NFL Matchup show. He has been a mainstay of ESPN’s NFL coverage since he joined ESPN in August 1995, and is a veteran of 25 Super Bowls. Prior to joining ESPN, Paolantonio was a political reporter (1985-93), as well as a beat reporter for the Philadelphia Eagles (1993-95), for the Philadelphia Inquirer. In 1994, he won the Associated Press Sports Editors Award for Reporting, and in 1995, he was named Philadelphia’s Best Sportswriter by Philadelphia Magazine. He also served as a reporter for Philadelphia’s WPHL-TV nightly newscast, Inquirer News Tonight (1994-95), and hosted Saturday Morning Sports Page, a weekly call-in show on WIP-AM all-sports radio (1993-95). Paolantonio began his journalism career as a reporter for the Albany Times Union, where he received the Associated Press Managing Editor’s Award for Enterprise Reporting (1985). He received the 2017 Jack Newfield Courage in Journalism Award from the New York Daily News.
Paolantonio is the author of four books. His most recent, Philly Special: The Inside Story of How the Philadelphia Eagles Won Their First Super Bowl Championship, will be available in September 3, 2019. His previous book, How Football Explains America, was published in 2008 and was the No. 1 selling football book in America for six straight months, according to Amazon.com.
Paolantonio served in the United States Navy (1979-83) as a surface warfare officer in the Pacific Fleet and was awarded the United Nations Meritorious Service Medal in 1981 for supervising the rescue of Vietnamese refugees in the South China Sea. He retired as a full lieutenant in 1983. Paolantonio is also a member of the board of the Cooper University Hospital Foundation in Camden, N.J.
Whether or not you’re interested in entrepreneurship, you MUST listen to this episode. Yolanda has such a fascinating way of viewing and explaining the world of entrepreneurship. She also gives some of the best networking advice I’ve ever heard in over 300 episodes to date. As both a Veteran and a military spouse, she approaches the concept of entrepreneurship from a variety of angles, and I found this interview to be a real “knuckle burner” of an episode. I loved our conversation and hope you will too.
Yolanda Clarke is the CEO of Powder River Industries, which focuses on the management and technical needs of the U.S. Government. She served in the Army as an Intelligence Officer, worked at Lockheed Martin for over 12 years, serves as City Leader for Bunker Labs San Diego, is the Co-founder of a DEF chapter in Monterey, is a military spouse, and is in the Army Reserves.
"With more than 27 years in the culinary profession, Chef Robert Irvine has cooked his way through Europe, the Far East, the Caribbean and the Americas, in hotels and on the high seas. Robert hosts the Food Network series Restaurant: Impossible, where he saves struggling restaurants across America by assessing and overhauling their weakest spots. He also previously hosted Dinner: Impossible and Worst Cooks in America. Robert has authored two cookbooks, Mission: Cook! and Impossible to Easy, and one healthy-living book, Fit Fuel: A Chef’s Guide to Eating Well and Living Your Best Life. He tours with his interactive live show, Robert Irvine Live, and appears regularly as an expert guest on national morning and daytime talk shows.
In 2015 Robert launched Robert Irvine Foods, a company that features a nutritionally improved line of food products without compromising great taste. He recently established his eponymously named nonprofit organization, The Robert Irvine Foundation, in an effort to support military personnel and their families. In recent years he was honored with two very distinguished recognitions for his dedication to the armed services and our country’s heroes. He was first designated Honorary Chief Petty Officer by the U.S. Navy, and later that year awarded the Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment and Support of our Service Members, bestowed upon him by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Continuing his support of the military, Robert became the first celebrity chef to open a restaurant — aptly named Chef Robert Irvine’s Fresh Kitchen — at the Pentagon, in the fall of 2016. His other recent projects include the Robert Irvine Magazine in May 2016; the opening of a new Gold’s Gym in Largo, Florida, in January 2017; and the opening of a new restaurant in Las Vegas at the Tropicana in late 2017. For more information on Chef Robert Irvine, visit www.ChefIrvine.com.”
Brian co-founded a wine business while on Active Duty, which is one of several “side hustles” in his life. Regardless of your interest in wine, entrepreneurship, or side hustles, this is a FANTASTIC interview. We talk about how you can use an existing product while bringing marketing and branding to the table to make it a business. In Brian’s case, he is redistributing wines from incredible vineyards under his own label, which means he doesn’t have to worry about creating and maintaining a product. We talk about how preparation happens well before the opportunity arises, about giving back, about using volunteering opportunities, about cultivating side pursuits while in the military and more.
Brian Retherford is currently serving in the US Army, where he is the team leader for a multi-function cyberspace operations team, and has served for 15 years. He is also the Founder of Claudine Wines, which is what we're going to spend most of our time talking about today. He started out at West Point, and has served in the Army since he graduated in 2004. He has an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Why Listen: In this episode, I share lessons learned from four interviews I did this week. These episodes will air in September, but there were some important professional lessons I wanted to share in advance.
Special thanks for ESPN for helping make this interview happen. A new film about Rocky, The Return, will air on August 20th, featuring Rocky’s story, and his return to Vietnam where he sustained his injuries 50 years ago. Rocky’s story - of going from the NFL to Vietnam, to being wounded in action, being told he will never again play football, and clawing his way back to the NFL to win 4 Super Bowls is absolutely inspiring.
Not falling within the ideal of what a running back should look like, Bleier had to run harder and play smarter to be able to stand out. Despite his drive and ability to make the big play, the Pittsburgh Steelers only considered him a late round pick. But before the season ended that first year, he was drafted again…this time by the United States Army. At the height of the Vietnam War, Bleier was thrust into combat early and was seriously wounded when his platoon ran into an ambush. Receiving wounds from both rifle fire and grenade fragments in his legs, he was barely able to walk and his professional football career seemed to have ended before it began…
For more than two years, he drove himself. Little by little he overcame obstacles and fought his way back. He not only made the Pittsburgh Steelers, but also eventually became a starting running back on a team that won four Super Bowls and became the greatest football team of the 20th century.
The hard lessons Rocky Bleier learned early in his life that helped him overcome adversity and reach his goals, have paid off after football. These lessons are seen between the lines in the popular book on his life, "Fighting Back" and on stages of speaking appearances around the country.
After multiple jobs, Laura found a career that is aligned with her personal values and, as a result, feels more energy in what she does. And what she does as Founder & CEO of Freedom Makers is help military spouses gain freedom in their own life. Laura talks about how small businesses can benefit from working with military spouses, about how listeners can benefit by having their own virtual assistant, and a whole host of topics related to any military Veteran.
Laura Renner is the President and Founder of Freedom Makers, which creates freedom for small business owners by providing virtual assistance. Freedom Makers’ assistants are military spouses who also gain freedom because they can keep working no matter when or where the military moves their family. She served in the Air Force for six years as a Public Affairs Officer, earned an International MBA at the Chicago Booth School of Business, has worked in recruiting in the airline industry, and has started a few businesses.
David transitioned from the military… twice. He talks about what he got wrong on his first transition, and advice on pitfalls to avoid. He serves as the Project Manager for a 5 person Military Relations Team at Lockheed Martin who organize over 170 career fairs per year, and has helped countless military Veterans in their career search. We cover a lot of ground in terms of resources Veterans should consider, mistakes to avoid and more.
David Wallace is a Military Relations Project Manager at Lockheed Martin, where he has worked since 2009. He served in the US Navy for over 20 years, first as a Navy photographer on USS Fulton (AS 11), USS Forrestal (CV 59) then became a Navy Reserve career recruiter.
We’re honored to have held a panel with Amgen back in June, and had over 40 people sign-up as part of this live, video seminar. During the seminar we had three members from Amgen, each with three very different military experiences, interacting with and responding to our live audience. I wanted to share this seminar with you so you can benefit from their fantastic advice.
About our Panel
Bre Cameron - Bre was featured in BTU Episode #252. She is based in Findlay, Ohio and is is the Veteran Employment Program Manager at Amgen, where she has worked for over two years. She started out in the U.S. Navy as a Photographer’s Mate, and has been in talent acquisition for over 7 years. She holds a Master’s degree in Engaged Humanities and The Creative Life from Pacific Graduate Institute, and a Bachelors in Liberal Studies from Bowling Green State University.
Troy Knapp is based in San Francisco, CA and is a Talent Acquisition Senior Manager at Amgen, where he has worked for nearly 9 years. He served in the Marine Corps for 8 years, and has worked at Bank of America, Transmerica, Aon Hewitt and more. He holds a B.A. in Behavioral Neuroscience form the University of Colorado, an M.A. in Organization Development from John f. Kennedy University and is currently working on his EdD in Organizational Leadership at the University of California, San Diego.
Mariela Quirk is based in Tampa, Florida and is a Project Manager at Amgen, where she has worked for nearly two years. She served in the Air Force for 20 years, and did her undergrad at Trident University International, and earned her MBA at the University of Maryland.
I LOVED my conversation with Charlie, and found myself partly taking notes for Beyond the Uniform, and partly taking notes just for myself. As a Prisoner of War, the lessons that Charlie shares in this episode are hard earned. We talk about mindset, finding your purpose, resilience, and more. I left our conversation inspired and uplifted and hope that you do as well.
Charlie Plumb is an author and motivational speaker. He started out at the Naval Academy, and served in the Navy for over 31 years. A pilot of the F-4 Phantom Jet, Charlie flew 74 successful combat missions over North Vietnam and made over 100 carrier landings. On his 75th mission, just five days before the end of his tour, Charlie was shot down over Hanoi, taken prisoner, tortured, and spent the next 2,103 days in an 8-by-8 foot cell as a Prisoner Of War. During his nearly six years of captivity, Plumb distinguished himself as a pro in underground communications. He was a great inspiration to all the other POWs and served as chaplain for two years. Since his return home, Plumb has captivated more than 5,000 audiences in almost every industry around the world with stories that parallel his POW experience with the challenges of everyday life.
Seriously? This is Coach K. I know nothing about sports, and even I know about Coach K. Hailing back to my days trying to escape from the Naval Academy, my friend Scott and I would go down to Duke to hang out with a friend of mine from High School. Hearing her and her friends talk about Coach K with reverence, started my esteem for this man. Despite his insanely busy schedule, Coach K took time to speak with me and the Beyond the Uniform audience about how his military experience shaped his coaching philosophy, how he crosses the generational gap to motivate his players, how to overcome failure, how to achieve work life balance and more.
About Coach K
A graduate of West Point, Mike Krzyzewski is a living legend. In 39 seasons at Duke, Coach K is a Naismith Hall of Fame coach, a five-time national champion and 12-time Final Four participant; a 6 time Gold Medalist as head coach of US Men's National Team, and is the winningest Basketball Coach in Division 1 Men's Basketball history.
Although Chris is an entrepreneur in the digital health software space, there is something in this episode for every Veteran. We talk about making sure that you are running towards something in your career, not running away from something. We talk about how to find a co-founder. We talk about Chris’ own Founding story… and it’s a good one, which draws deeply from his military experience. We talk about how failure is not really failure if you learn something new and become better - advice that sounds pretty, but is actually pretty messy, painful, and often embarrassing, while still being true. We talk about being flexible in your career and not just sticking to an idea or aspiration that no longer servers you. And we talk about the power of understanding your own mission and intent, and how to apply this to your career.
Christopher Molaro is the CEO & Co-Founder of the digital health software company, NeuroFlow, which uses advanced data analytics from wearables to objectively measure mental states and emotions for behavioral health, wellness and performance applications. He started out at West Point, after which he served for 5 years as a Field Artillery Army officer. After transitioning off active duty, Chris co-founded the Veteran literacy non-profit Things We Read, and has received his MBA as a graduate of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Jason has an immense amount of experience in recruiting, both in and out of the military. He gives a WEALTH of knowledge in this interviewing about networking, job fair prep, applying to jobs and more. At ADP, he leads a team of 12 who help companies institute a Veteran hiring program, as well as a Veteran training program once they start to hire Veterans. We talk about the step back that most Veterans need to make in terms of pay and seniority when they leave the military. We talk about continuously learning and building a skill set to progress one’s career. And we talk about a whole host of topics relevant to any military Veteran.
Jason Goroff is a Military Recruitment Manager at ADP, which gives companies of every size the tools to help their people thrive. From payroll, benefits and regulatory compliance to talent management and analytics, ADP helps their clients succeed. Jason started out in the Army, where he served for 11 years. He started his civilian career in the staffing industry before moving on to the First Data Corporation and now ADP.
It was such an honor to connect with Preston, who runs the #1 Investing Podcast, We Study Billionairs, which has over 1 million downloads per month. In addition to that, he is ranked on Amazon in the top 35 Business Authors. Both of these are impressive enough on their own, but what really kicks this to the next level is the fact that Preston does all of this while serving on Active Duty in the military, as well as being a present parent of four kids. First of all - my apologies to both Preston and listeners, because I had some technical difficulties with this interview. Fortunately, Preston is always prepared, and had a backup recording of our interview, as my recording software crashed for the first time in 280 episodes during Preston’s interview. However, that recording did not have my audio, so I had to re-record this. So, bear with me if the audio quality of this episode is not as good as other episodes, but I assure you the content is absolutely top notch. Preston is humble and authentic in his advice, and I believe - regardless of your intended career path - you will benefit from listening to this episode.
Preston is the founder of The Pylon Holding company, which conservatively grows equity through the acquisition of private or public companies. He runs the #1 Investing Podcast, The Investor’s Podcast, with over 1 Million downloads per month. He a best selling author and ranked by Amazon in the top 35 Business Authors. He started out at West Point, served in the Army for over seven years. He holds an MBA from the Johns Hopkins University and has been accepted to pursue a Master of Computer and Information Technology at the University of Pennsylvania.
Context: in 275+ interviews with military Veterans about their civilian career, one of the biggest challenges I hear about from guests is around interviewing, salary negotiation, and sales in general. Two reasons often cited for this are (1) little to no practice with this while in the military, (2) a culture of advocating for one’s subordinates but not ones self (eg. I will use “we” not “I”, I will speak of what my team accomplished, but not what I accomplished), and (3) a culture of service and putting others before self (ie. everyone’s needs matter except my own). Maggie, while not a Veteran herself, is a world renowned authority on negotiations. She has taught negotiations for over 24 years at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, has authored over 70 articles in top publications about negotiation, and is the author of multiple books. This interview is a must-listen-to episode for Veterans in any career path.
Margaret Neale is the Adams Distinguished Professor of Management, Emerita. She has been a Professor at Stanford University for nearly 24 years, where her research includes bargaining and negotiation, distributed work groups, and team composition, learning, and performance. She is the author of over 70 articles on these topics and is the author of multiple books, including Getting (More of) What you Want. Previous to Stanford, Maggie was a Professor at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management for 8 years. She holds a PhD, 2 Master of Science degrees, and a Bachelor of Science.
Steve served as President & CEO of Mercedes Benz USA, and now oversees the parent company for the Falcons and other iconic brands. We talk about the rejection that Steve faced on his way to these incredible accomplishments, and how persistence, taking advice from wherever you can get it, and creating purpose in the workplace made all the difference. Having served in such high-level leadership positions, Steve and I talk about the differences between leadership in and out of the military, as well as a common misconception about work-life balance. And we talk about the importance of getting out of one’s comfort zone, because this is precisely the area where all growth comes from.
Steve Cannon is the CEO of AMB Group, which is comprised of Arthur Blank's for-profit businesses, including the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United, Mercedes-Benz Stadium and PGA TOUR Superstore. He started out at West Point, after which he served as an Army Airborne Ranger and served as 1st Lieutenant in West Germany during the fall of the Iron Curtain. He worked as a Principal at The Richards Group, which is the largest independent branding agency in the nation, with a staff of over 700 and annual billings above $1 billion. He worked at Mercedes Benz USA, first as Vice President of Marketing, and then as President and CEO.
This is my second interview with Jan, and if you haven’t had a chance to listen to Episode #240, be sure to check that out. In this interview we talk about crucible experiences - what they are, why they are so valuable, and steps you can take to introduce them into your everyday life. We talk about why you may want to write a book even if you don’t think you would like to write a book. We talk about self-publishing vs. publishing, costs associated with writing a book, and tactical advice on how to make it a success. We talk about entrepreneurship, life, and a whole lot more.
Jan Rutherford is the Founder of Self Reliant Leadership, an executive and military veteran program for leaders who are Selfless, Adventurous, and possess Heroic Aspirations. He entered the US Army at age 17 (weighing 114 pounds), and spent six years in Special Forces as a medic and “A” team executive officer, and three years as a military intelligence officer. In addition to having over 25 years of business and healthcare experience, he is the co-host of The Leadership Podcast, and the author of “The Littlest Green Beret: On Self-Reliant Leadership” where half the proceeds go to the Special Operations Warrior and Green Beret Foundations.
Valerie left active duty after 15 years of service, and has gone on to found a company designed to help people thrive at work. In addition to discussing her own journey, we talk about how to find out if a culture is right for you, how to shift your mindset to be happier at work, how to make sure you are living a life of alignment, and more.
Valerie Rivera is the Founder & CEO of Take Back WOrk, who’s mission is to partner with organizations of all stripes to create workplace cultures where people thrive. She served for over six years in the AIr Force, most recently as Team Leader for Tradecraft Deelopment and Capability Integration. She earned her MBA at Stanford Business School. "