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. "
Kirk retired from the Army after 22 years of service, but still found that the transition to his civilian career snuck up on him. In this interview, Kirk is candid about a lot of the mistakes that he made in his own transition. More importantly, as an act of service he put together some of the most compressive transition documents we’ve come across. In this interview we talk about Kirk’s advice on how to approach a transition out of the military, as well as Kirk’s experience at Lockheed Martin. We talk about personal branding, advanced planning on LinkedIn, the burden of responsibility that you may not realize you have, why Veterans should consider PMP programs, and more.
Kirk Windmueller is a Senior Operations Analyst at Lockheed Martin. He has written a few very popular articles on LinkedIn about transitioning, timeline and more, which is actually how we came to connect. Beyond the Uniform listener Chris Pisani sent me an incredible document that Kirk put together, and I realized we had to meet. Kirk is a graduate of the Citadel and the Naval Post Graduate School, and served in the Army for over 22 years, including work as a Green Beret, and retiring as an O-5.
American Corporate Partners is one of the most cited resources on Beyond the Uniform. Colleen is ACP’s Executive Director, and in this interview we talk about what she and her team have learned from helping over 14,500 Veterans in their civilian career. We talk about mentorship, networking, and more.
Colleen Deere is the Executive Director of American Corporate Partners, where she has served for over nine years. She graduated from the University of Mary Washington, Cum Laude, and holds a Master’s in English Composition and Rhetoric from Kansas State University. She is married to an Army Veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2008-2009, and is the mother of two toddlers, and is an avid long-distance runner.
What to say about Justin? Well, he was shot in the head by a sniper and pronounced killed in action… but that didn’t stick. Justin is a Purple Heart recipient, an author, a lawyer, an motivational speaker, an entrepreneur, and he now works with a company that helps over 24k military members and their families EVERY MONTH - that’s right, every month - find their ideal job and make their career transitions easier. It’s a little disappointing to be on a show with two Justin’s, and realize that the other Justin is kicking a— and you need to try your best to keep up. This is a great interview for any career path, and I think you’ll really enjoy Justin’s story.
Justin joined the Marine Corps while in law school at the University of Denver School of Law, and served on active duty as a JAG officer for six years. Then as a Reservist, Justin deployed to Iraq in 2006, serving as a Civil Affairs Team Leader while attached to an infantry battalion. During a combat patrol, Justin was shot in the head by a sniper.
Although the original prognosis was that he had been killed in action, Justin survived thanks to risks taken by his fellow Marines and a courageous Navy Corpsman. In fact, when Corpsman Grant first rolled Justin over, he was no longer breathing. For his service in Iraq, Justin earned the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon and Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal.
Justin retired from the Marine Corps at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He now runs his own business as an inspirational speaker and veteran employment expert. His writing on military and leadership issues has been published in The Washington Post, Time, CNN, The Atlantic, Forbes Magazine and other media outlets. In 2015, he completed his first book, My Battlefield, Your Office, which applies military leadership skills to the private sector. And in partnership with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Justin recently authored From “We Will” to “At Will”, an authoritative and interactive guidebook about veteran and military spouse employment. Justin is also a Partner at JobPath, a robust veteran employment platform that provides a variety of solutions to corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations that hire veterans.
Well this is the first interview I’ve done with a vineyard owner, and the first interview I’ve done with the owner of a wellness retreat for Veterans. These are both great resources and career overview for listeners, but Leon and Ken cover so much more ground. They both served in Explosive Ordinance Disposal while in the military. They have some incredible nuggets of wisdom about doing your job better rather than looking for a better job, and how work life balance doesn’t exist. Prepare to be motivated, because Ken and Leon make for an incredible combination of wisdom in this episode.
About Ken & Leon:
Ken Falke is Chairman of Boulder Crest Retreat for Military and Veteran wellness, which is a free, first-class rural wellness retreat for America’s military members, veterans and their families to recover from visible and invisible wounds by providing rest and reconnection time, reintegration training, and world-class combat stress recovery programming. He also serves as the Chairman of the EOD Warrior Foundation. He served in the US Navy for over 21 years, retiring as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Master Chief Petty Officer. He has also served as the CEO and Founder of A-T Solutions, and the CEO and Co-Founder of Shoulder 2 Shoulder.
Leon Tackitt Started his career in Navy Search and Rescue as a helicopter aircrewman in the Anti-Submarine Warfare field. He transitioned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal in 1985 and rose to the rank of Senior Chief before he was commissioned as a Limited Duty Officer in 1998. He retired in 2007 as a Lieutenant Commander
Why Listen: 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.
About Chuck: 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 being the, 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
Billy is a professional golfer, the first Naval Academy graduate to earn a PGA TOUR card, which he has done for the last seven years. The more I learn about Billy’s journey, the more I’m blown away by what he achieved. In a field that is crowded and incredibly competitive, Billy has succeeded despite having five years where - instead of focusing 100% on golf like his peer set - he was serving in the military.In this interview we talk about cultivating a mindset of excellence - even though serving as a Surface Warfare Officer didn’t directly relate to his aspirations as a golfer - he focused on it 100% and did the best job he could. We talk about making sacrifices and how to balance that with being present with one’s family. We talk about what life is like on the PGA Tour and more.
Billy Hurley III was a member of the victorious American team in the 2005 Walker Cup and served as captain of the 2004 Palmer Cup Team. He won seven collegiate golf titles at the Naval Academy, was named 2004 Patriot League Player of the Year and was ranked the #6 best amateur in the world. Billy was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy, serving as a Surface Warfare Officer for five years. After his Naval service, Billy turned his focus to golf. He earned his place on the Web.com Tour in 2011, finishing the season in 25th place and becoming the first Naval Academy graduate to earn a PGA TOUR Card. He has continued to be a strong competitor on the TOUR, winning the 2016 Quicken Loans National – a Tiger Woods-hosted tribute to military personnel. With the win, Billy qualified for his first PGA and Masters Championships.
Natalie helps military personnel realize their potential and define their professional goals. She partners with companies that are ready to hire Veterans, and acts as a broker to make sure that both the Veteran and the company are happy. In this interview, she shares an immense amount of wisdom she’s learned in helping Veterans. We talk about mentorship, mindset, and a variety of topics applicable to any Veteran career path.
Natalie Oliverio is the Founder + CEO of Military Talent Partners, which provides mentorship, coaching, and career discovery to help military talent realize their potential and define their professional goals. She served in the Navy for 4 years as a journalist and spent 10 years in Corporate recruiting and 3 years volunteering in professional mentorship among the military community.