Well, normally on the show I interview military veterans about their civilian career, what they do, how they got there, and advice for other veterans seeking to do the same. Today, however, is a skills episode, where I meet with a world-class expert on a topic relevant to our listeners, regardless of your career path. And the topic may surprise you, because today is all about storytelling. We talk about why storytelling may make or break your success as a leader, interviewer, and even parent. We talk about how storytelling is one of the most efficient and lasting ways to influence people and organizations.
Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts in business storytelling, one of Inc. Magazine’s Top 100 Leadership Speakers of 2018, a storytelling coach, and bestselling author of the books The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell, Lead with a Story, Sell with a Story, Parenting with a Story, and Four Days with Kenny Tedford.
His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Forbes, Fast Company, The Washington Post, PR News, CIO Magazine, Investors Business Daily, Marketing Research Magazine, the American Banking Journal, and London’s Edge Magazine, among others.
In his 20 years with Procter & Gamble, Paul held leadership positions in both research and finance functions, and most recently served as director of consumer and communications research. Prior to P&G, Paul was a consultant for Arthur Andersen & Company.
His keynote speaking and training clients include international giants like Google, Hewlett Packard, Bayer Medical, Walmart, Kaiser Permanente, Ford Motor Company, Luxottica, and Procter & Gamble among dozens of others.
Paul holds a bachelors degree in economics, and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He lives with his wife and two sons in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason, Ohio.
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:
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.
Well, you know you're enjoying a conversation when midway through, you're already planning the next interview. Tyler is awesome. I just really appreciated so much about this interview. The thing that stands out to me most is his mastery in sales. He talks about his career, which is a variety of different experiences in the functional role of sales while also having most of that in the industry of energy. What I appreciated about his story is hearing about how throughout his career he's picked up different tools, different tricks, different skills that over time have allowed him to really have a mastery of this field in sales. I also appreciated his ability to communicate extremely effectively why veterans are well suited to sales, why this may be an appealing career path, even if you think it's the least likely career path that you would want to pursue. We talk about executive MBA, why he chose to pursue it, which is pretty unique for most guests that I have on the show, and a whole lot more.
Tyler Johnston is a Sales Director @ Black & Veatch. He is responsible for managing global relationships in the technology sector and helping his clients build critical infrastructure and distributed energy solutions. He started out at the Naval Academy, served as an Infantry Officer in the US Marine Corps for 5 years, and has held positions at NRG Energy, General Electric, and Shift.org. He earned his MBA at Columbia Business School.
You can reach out to him through www.greentechvet.com.
What I appreciate most about my conversation with Tom is his authenticity. After 30 years in the Army, it took Tom a while to find his new home in the civilian workforce. While he was able to land incredible opportunities - General Manager at Mercedes Benz USA, Senior Manager at Amazon, Academic Dean at St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy - each of these proved to be a poor fit for him. I respect Tom’s willingness to talk about what this process was like - the frustrations, the disappointments, the uncertainty - these are all challenges I’ve faced in my own career, and challenges other guests have experienced as well. Yet, Tom brings an openness to this conversation that I found refreshing. More importantly, the new home that he has found is incredible. Tom’s career journey has led him to work as the Financial Wellness Vice President at Wounded Warrior Project. I have to say, I was extremely fired up about learning more about the work that Wounded Warrior Project is doing. Not only are they providing an incredible support to the military community, but they’re also supporting other organizations in a way that is broadening their impact. Every Veteran would benefit from learning about Wounded Warrior Project and their mission, and I hope you check them out.
Tom Kastner is the Financial Wellness Vice President at Wounded Warrior Project. He started out at West Point and served for 30 years in the Army, including serving as the Director of the Dean’s Staff at West Point. His career since the Army has included time at Mercedes Benz USA, where he worked as the General Manager for Learning and Performance, Amazon, and St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy among others. He holds a Master of Arts in National Security Studies at the Naval War College, a PhD in Industrial Engineering at Georgia Tech, an MS in statistics from Georgia Tech and an MS in applied mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Why Listen: Coming to Beyond the Uniform this October, 2019, we have three, free, live webinars - the first we’ve done in a long while, as well as brand new episodes every Monday and Thursday, including:
BTU #312 - The Wounded Warrior Project (Tom Kastner)
BTU #313 - Mastering Sales (Tyler Johnston)
BTU #315 - How to be a better storyteller (Paul Smith)
BTU #316 - Navy to Nebraska State Government (Jason Jackson)
BTU #317 - Army to EVP @ Hornets Sports & Entertainment (James Jordan)
BTU #318 - Navy to Clean Tech & the DOE (Dan Misch)
Plus -stories from a serial entrepreneur in Southeast Asia, an instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School, and an expert who’s going to teach us the ins and outs of emotional intelligence.
If you’re not on our newsletter - get on it - today - there are about 3 new programs we’re launching in the next 30 days and you do not want to miss out. Also, stay tuned for our informal, Saturday episodes - Behind BTU - where I answer your questions, provide takeaways from upcoming episodes, and share personal thoughts about life, love, leadership, and more. We’ve got a killer line up for October - don’t miss out.
SemperK9.org is an incredible organization helping the Veteran community. We talk about how they are helping Veterans with both physical and emotional needs, and how you can support them. We also talk about the path to starting a non-profit.
Chris is the Co-Founder & Executive Director of Semper K9 Assistance Dogs. He served in the USMC as a 5812- Military Working Dog Handler, and Specialized Search Dog Team Leader for over 7 years, including 3 combat tours in Iraq with explosive detection dogs. After his military service, he spent 1 year doing government contract work in Afghanistan and 3 years doing contract work with a detection dog in and around Washington DC. He also complete a 9 month internship with a national nonprofit to create a program training 'rescue' dogs to be service dogs.
Baity was awarded Washingtonian of the Year for 2017 by Washingtonian Magazine and selected as Evan Williams American-Made Hero
Why Listen: In this episode, I answer two listener questions that I believe are relevant to our audience: one about following one’s passion and one about podcasts. I also share about an area in my life where I’ve felt out of integrity with Beyond the Uniform. In this episode, I reference two different podcasts I believe listeners would enjoy:
I love how Arron has formed a company that is directly aligned with his values and his personal interests. While this is a story of a Veteran who founded a company, there is something for everyone in this story. First of all, I appreciate Arron’s example of someone who is always learning - from audio books, from YouTube videos, from peer groups - and using that to get better. I also admire how Arron is constantly walking the fine line between listening to customer feedback while also trusting his own vision and intuition.
Aaron is the Chief Grinder at Keto Butta, which isn’t about being part of a diet craze of just seeing a regular almond butter - it’s a fun, delicious and healthy way of living. He served in the US Army as a Telecommunications System Operator for over 9 years, and currently serves as the City Leader for Bunker Labs in Portland Oregon.