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Spotlight on 8×8

We’re excited to introduce another valued Employer Partner of The Honor Foundation and an Alumni who is now part of their family.

These are companies and organizations who have hired men and women from our program and/or who have generously given us their time, resources and connections in an effort to help build a stronger network for our Fellows after service — a community post community.

Matt Herber, THF Alumnus, 8×8 Equity and Payroll Operations Lead
Jake Miller, THF Alumnus, 8×8 Sr. Manager, Internal Audit and Sox Compliance

Sam Wilson – CFO
Galen Takamura – Sr Project Manager, QTC Transformation
Natalie BonDurant – Investor Relations
Sydney Fox – Talent Acquisition
Mike Weiner – Director, Global Financial Services

Q1  What advice do you have for those who are experiencing transition?

Matt Herber (MH):  Be patient.  You are leaving a career where you are the SME and potentially entering an industry that you will not understand.  Give yourself time to get adjusted and to begin a new learning process.

Jake Miller (JM):  

  1. Relax. You’ve earned this transition. You are marketable and you will find your job, your career, your purpose. Allow yourself time and latitude to explore the quality of life you’ve been preparing for for all these years. It took you several years to learn, practice, and gain proficiency in your military career. You should expect a similar learning curve going through and past transition. 
  2. Have frequent and candid conversations with your spouse about your goals, preferences, values, etc. Transition can feel very lonely so we have to take advantage of our fellows and mentors as well. The THF coaches are incredible and can be an excellent sounding board for you.

Mike Weiner (MW):  The transition will be one of the most challenging things you’ve done to date. Leaving a tight-knit community, having to learn something new, the stress of a job hunt, financial uncertainty, and a lack of being understood can leave anyone apprehensive. Just as you would on any deployment or operation, keep moving forward to better your position. Reach out to anyone willing to talk, network, ask questions, and above all, set manageable expectations – you likely won’t land your dream job on the first go! 

Galen Takamura (GT):  We are fortunate to leverage incredible Veteran Support Organizations like THF, providing immediate access to support systems to expedite learning through mentorship, insights, and an expanded network. Do everything you can to get around others supportive of your goal to transition. Identify and seek out those who have what you want and inspire you to grow. Also, work towards bypassing the standard resume submission process by networking and building meaningful relationships to gain direct access to recruiters and hiring managers – this is how I was afforded an opportunity at 8×8. Finally, you will be highly successful and be excited about paying it forward, as so many have done ahead of us. 

It’s normal to be unsure of your choice and yourself as you venture into the unknown. What you think you want today may not be what you want a year from now, and that’s ok. Remain open-minded and enjoy the experience of exploration. Most importantly, if you’re married, ensure you are in constant communication with your spouse, as the transition is a family effort. 

Sam Wilson (SW):  Treat it like a mission.  It has an objective, intelligence, supplies, operations, etc. 

 

 

Q2  What experience shaped who you are?

MH:  Deployments allowed me to see different parts of the world and create a new perspective on what things I find important in life. It expanded my horizons and helped me grow as a person.  My emotional intelligence definitely benefited from an increase in empathy.

JM:  Developing my WHY, finding my PURPOSE, and listing my PREFERENCES. They were all very different than what I had in mind before THF. I came to realize that my purpose and preferences prior to THF were only aligned with my “status quo”. I had not considered anything other than contracting and working overseas because that was my comfort zone and what I’ve known for 22 years. After discovering my WHY and listing preferences I found that I wanted something very different. Focusing on happiness and quality of life after transition became my priority. It led me to pursue career options closer to home and even working from home became an option.

MW:  I can’t say there is just one. Our individual experiences and perspectives make us who we are today, big and small. If I were to generalize, I would say the military was the biggest contributor to who I am today.

Sydney Fox (SF):  As Mike said, I don’t think that there is one experience that I could pinpoint and say that made me who I am.  But generally speaking, I think the military has heavily influenced my life and who I am today.  Growing up as a military brat, I was raised to face hard things head-on and with a go-get ‘em attitude.  I was surrounded by a diverse group of people and learned how to find common ground with anyone I talked to.  Now as an adult, I am a military spouse.  Between being thousands of miles away from family, training, and a deployment – I have learned how to be adaptable, strong, and have a positive outlook even when things are really just… shitty.

GT:  Having my first kid affected how I viewed my priorities and changed my perspective on life. After missing too many milestone events of my daughter’s first three years, the desire to be present drove my decision to depart a profession I enjoyed and respected. However, I have no regrets, as I work in a fully remote capacity today and cherish every moment with my wife and kids. 

SW:   grew up in a military household and happily took an ROTC scholarship. The military made me successful, and in particular, being Ranger qualified.  Small unit tactics are the most significant leadership lab in the world. It teaches mission accomplishment, no excuses, being a good teammate, being a leader, and so much more.  Being a Ranger teaches the ability to suck it up, get it done, plan, communicate, and most of all, leading the way.  Lastly, being in the military taught me to learn through experience. All the lessons I’ve had post-Army have been lesions because I was willing and able to do an AAR.    

Natalie BonDurant (NB):  LIFE! Finding a lesson or opportunity for growth in the toughest of situations. 

Q3  What is your favorite interview question?

MH:  Tell me about yourself….and not reciting your résumé but talking about where you come from and who you are as a person.

MW:  Please tell me about the most challenging situation you’ve had to overcome, either professionally or personally. I also really like Galen’s and will steal that from now on.

SF:  What are you really good at, but never want to do anymore?

GT:  Tell me about a time you failed. I like this question because I have many failure stories to choose from. I can’t say I’ve never enjoyed failing, but I value the lessons learned and the character developed through adversity.

NB:   +1 to Galen (great minds!) I love this question because it also allows for a follow up “so what did you do next?/ how did you fix it?” It allows the interviewee to elaborate on how they problem solve. 

SW:  What was your favorite job? I want to see if the job we are interviewing for fits.

 

 

Q4  What similarities did you find between your role at 8×8 and your previous experience in the SOF community?

MH:  Max flex!  As with any mission, your day to day tasks or projects can quickly change due to unforeseen consequences of actions that might not have been yours.  You have to quickly adapt to the new situation, learn via drinking from the fire hose, and finish the job.

JM:  Teamwork and camaraderie are valued at 8×8. Your ideas and experiences are welcomed. The team room may be virtual but team members take care of each other.

Q5  What makes the culture at your company special?

MH:  8×8 emphasizes the importance of work/life balance and promotes it.  They have also demonstrated the desire for more SOF personnel at the company because they understand the potential.

JM:  Leaders and managers value their people.

MW:  We’ve built a small, tight-knit community of SOF veterans who support each other on a weekly, even daily basis. Instead of having to interact with hundreds of people, we’ve built a small network across the company of truly valuable employees who can get things done behind the scenes. It helps break down the bureaucracy and red tape while keeping a positive, small team-like atmosphere.

GT:  From an organizational perspective, it is clear from the top down that people come first. From a team perspective, I am impressed with the intelligence and capability of teammates, with everyone willing to go beyond their scope to support the collective whole.

NB:  I’ve seen several roles at 8×8 shaped around the expertise of the SOF Veteran community. With the help of organizations like THF and with the support of leaders like Sam, 8×8 has been able to translate the experiences and expertise of the SOF community to achieve various business goals.

Also, the community of SOF veterans already at 8×8 are some of the best people/coworkers I’ve worked with throughout my career, they’re continuing efforts to support one another, and the broader community is really awesome to watch and inspires others to get involved. 

Q6  What question are you asked more than any other?

MH:  From transitioning veterans, “What lessons did I learn?”  Let’s have a virtual cup of coffee to answer this one.  To chime in on the above, I agree with Sam.  You shouldn’t grab a certification if it doesn’t interest you or you won’t use it.  It’s extra work for you, so make sure you are learning something you want to learn.

JM:  “What are you going to do next?” This question can be annoying and frustrating when you don’t have the answer! But it’s also a great opportunity to work on your pitch, discuss your WHY, and speak out loud your ideas about your future. You get to hear how they sound out loud and get feedback from anyone who will listen.

MW:   Should I get my PMP or MBA? The most important thing you can put on your resume is real job experience to help your resume look normal. Yes, certifications help, but they are not as good as experience (this is my opinion, so do what you think is best for you and your family!).

GT:  Same as Mike, so I’ll answer his question. Yes, get your PMP (project management certification) to help bridge the gap between military jargon and civilian terminology. It’s essential to effectively communicate your military accomplishments to business terminology during the interview process. Furthermore, the PMP will provide the institutional understanding of scope, schedule, and budget, providing value in any business environment. In addition to the PMP, I’d also recommend an Agile-based certification if interested in tech and Lean Six Sigma to build a solid foundation in continuous improvement and operational excellence. 

SW:   I think if project management interests you, yes, if not no.  Don’t do something because someone tells you to do it, do it because you want to.

Q7  What drives you every day?

MH:  Wanting to provide for my family while being present in their lives.

JM:  My values. Loyalty, Family, and Fun. Once I established and now live my own values, that drive grew and the desire to achieve my purpose became obtainable.

MW:  Getting to come to work and hang out with people that I actually enjoy. While my job may not be the most fun and is full of angry customers or sales reps, my small teams and strong mentors are the reason I don’t throw my computer in the blender.

SF:  Meeting new people and getting to learn new things.  My favorite part of my job is interacting with new hires and other people in the company that I don’t work with regularly.  Everybody has a story and some wisdom to share; I love making connections and learning from others.

GT:  The need to get sh*t done. I’m energized by the desire to work with proactive teams to address and solve challenging systemic issues.

NB:  The fact that no one day is the same, priorities shift, and you’re not always sure what to expect, but working with an incredible team of people makes anything possible. 

SW:  My team!

Q8  What book do you find most valuable?

MH:  I’m not a big reader.  However, I did enjoy Atomic Habits by: James Clear

JM:  The Filthy Thirteen by Jake McNiece. Not necessarily a book on leadership but it was for me for better or worse.

MW:   Colin Powell – It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership

GT:  This changes depending on what’s going on in my life. I read “Measure What Matter” by John Doerr in my transition. It was inspiring to learn how the most significant tech companies prioritize measurable goals, nested with higher, to advance the organization holistically. 

SW:  The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle or Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.  Culture Code is the best book on building teams and Boys in the Boat is the best book on teamwork.  Business is a team sport.

 

Q9  What is a lesson you learned the hard way?

MH:  Contrary to the many false statements made by SOF communities about how “easily” you will get a job upon separation from service, I learned that finding a good job was very difficult and time consuming.  After separation, it took me 6 months to land my first job.

MW:  You can’t talk like you’re in the military in corporate meeting settings…

GT:  Break down silos without breaking glass. Relationships are essential, and not all glass is fixable. As Mike said, there is a necessary shift in tact and approach from military to civilian environments.

SW:  If they don’t ask, they don’t want to know your opinion.

Q10  What defines a leader?

MH:  Someone who will lead with humility and integrity.  They will make decisions that are for the greater good versus ones that could be more beneficial for the few.

JM:  How they take care of their employees and quality of leaders they themselves produce.

MW:  This is based entirely on my opinion. For me, their ability to care for the well being of their team.

SF:  Someone who cares about their team members and their success.

GT:  The ability to influence others to row in the same direction and in unison to achieve challenging goals. All while keeping in mind what Mike and Sydney said above. 

NB:   Someone who trusts their team to make decisions and who communicates often, and as transparently as possible.

Q11  What is your favorite quote?

MH:  “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” – Albert Einstein

JM:  “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.” – Jack Handey

MW:  “Take care of your people, and your people will take care of you.”

SW:  What the F***?!?; Onward; 

“It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

SF:  “Work smarter, not harder.”

GT:  “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

NB:  “Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

 

 

Q12 (8×8 specific):  What unanticipated skills, talent, and/or competencies did you gain for employing Special Operators at your organization?

SW:  Special Operators bring unique and challenging-to-find skills into the business world. One truism of the business world seems to be: that if you wait for all the information, you will be last. The best business leaders deal with imperfect information and yet still move solutions forward. Special Operators can collect a mosaic of data, form an opinion, and then move forward. They are then willing to adjust as new evidence becomes available, demonstrating the flexibility it takes to be successful in an ever-changing business environment. They have a demonstrated record of success both in the military, passing both challenging schools with high standards and real-world actions. They work exceptionally well at solving complex problems under stressful conditions. In the business world, this may mean a tight deadline, demanding customer, or technology setback. These challenges do not stop from progressing forward. Special Operators generally have solid 360 leadership. They know when to step up and when to follow – they work well with peers. They have very high levels of integrity. When they say it will get done to a high standard, they mean it both in terms of delivering on time and with attention to detail. Lastly, there is an intangible that Special Operators bring to the table: grit. Sometimes in the business world, things do not go as planned. An individual is willing to continue with a focus on the project’s objectives. They use setbacks as learning moments and rally the organization to do its best.

 

Wounded Warrior Project Partners with THF for 2022

The Honor Foundation is thrilled to once again be named as community partner grant recipient of the Wounded Warrior Project to support the transitioning members of the Special Operations Forces community. This partnership plays a monumental role in the launch of our THF Eglin and THF Tampa Campuses this fall. 

“Wounded Warrior Project understands the needs of wounded veterans, service members, caregivers, and military families are growing, and that no single organization can meet these challenges alone,” said WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Michael Linnington. “By working together with others, we can create a truly integrated and collaborative ecosystem of support, ensuring the military and veteran community is able to thrive long term.”

Thank you Wounded Warrior Project for being an advocate of The Honor Foundation and our commitment to “serve others with honor, for life, so their next mission is clear and continues to impact the world.” We will go #furthertogether by combining our efforts to help military veterans succeed in their journey after active duty service.

Read the full list of 2022 community partner grant recipients here.  

Pints for Patriots

Patriotic craft breweries across the nation are banding together during this November to salute our Veterans and support the mission of The Honor Foundation.

If you would like to learn more about how you can participate in this campaign as a brewery or an individual, contact Renee Booth at renee@honor.org.

Matching opportunities are welcome!
Wrightsville Beach Brewery
Campaign Founders

THF’s J.P. Tuthill Featured on The Philanthropy United Podcast

Listen to THF’s Director of Impact, J.P. Tuthill, on The Philanthropy United Podcast share the mission of The Honor Foundation and how he found fulfillment after his own career as a U.S. Army Green Beret.

Thank you for sharing your time with us, The Philanthropy United! Visit the link below to listen to J.P.’s full episode.

 

https://www.philanthropyunited.com/podcast

Matt Stevens Featured on PJ Medcast

“Transition is like packing a parachute. No matter how you pack it, it’s probably going to open, and you’re going to land, and you’re going to survive. But if you pack it carefully and nicely, you’ll have a nice soft opening and a good landing. So treat your transition like that. Treat it like a job – prepare for it with the same mindset that got you into the community…”

Listen to THF CEO Matt Stevens speak about his career, his transition experience and about The Honor Foundation on the PJ Medcast podcast – a podcast to provide continuing education and on-demand reviews for the Pararescue community.

 

For the full episode, visit:   https://pjmed.libsyn.com/

Jessica Hunt Featured on Oracle’s MAVEN Podcast

“You can’t just go through this life waiting for the next thing that the military decides for your family. You really have to take what you have, in this moment, and make the best of it. Over and over and over again.”

Listen to our very own Jessica Hunt, THF Director of Impact and 17-year military spouse in the NSW community, share her story with Oracle‘s Chris Spencer.

\Thank you, Chris, for supporting THF, being a part of our Swim for SOF event, and for highlighting Jessica as we celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day this week.

Listen to the full podcast HERE.

Michael Halterman Featured on Oracle’s MAVEN Podcast

Oracle’s Chris Spencer sits down with THF VP of Operations, Michael Halterman, and covers Michael’s military experience, the choices that earned him a place within the Marine Special Operations Community, and eventually the current position he holds at THF. Michael unpacks detail that describes the mission of THF and how much immediate impact the meaningful work the professionals within the organization have on the veteran-affiliated community.

Listen to the podcast HERE.

SDVoyager Features THF Programs Director Michael Higgs

“My ego and pride always kept me over the course of my life from asking for help, although I was always quick to give it. Transition from the SEAL Teams, from having this huge, amazing team of dedicated people around you to just the opposite was a struggle, but it was a struggle that I created. As I look back, I have always been surrounded by those same people in all aspects of my life, I just hadn’t embraced it.”

Read his full story HERE!

Spotlight on Dataminr

We’re excited to introduce another valued Employer Partner of The Honor Foundation and an Alumni who is now part of their family.

These are companies and organizations who have hired men and women from our program and/or who have generously given us their time, resources and connections in an effort to help build a stronger network for our Fellows after service — a community post community. 

 

 

Q1:  What advice do you have for those who are experiencing transition?

Joe Levy (JL):  Whatever you jump into next likely won’t be the last job you take ––take a risk. It’s okay if your post-transition career five years from now looks very different from what you imagine today. That is just the next step in your journey!

Josh Morgan (JM):  Networking with people who have gone through the transition can provide helpful insights as you figure out what you want your next step to look like. Once you figure out what that step is and which voices to listen to, I recommend investing in those specific relationships. Oftentimes, you will find yourself with an exhaustive list of individuals that you want to speak with, but will start getting conflicting opinions that may cloud your judgment. So be mindful of who you talk to, and make sure those individuals are just as invested in your growth.

Christopher Blake (CB) Spend some time thinking about what you want to optimize for before you get into the interviewing process. Do you care most about making money? Having flexibility with your schedule? Loving who you work with? Loving what you do? No matter your answer, take a hard look at the organization’s culture, actions, and values and make sure there’s strong alignment between the organization and you. Ask questions about the company during your interview process – remember that interviewing is a two-way conversation! You’ll spend most of your waking hours on the job––make sure that the fit feels right for you.

Andrew Salonen (AS):  Start early. Apply the 3 L’s. Challenge Yourself.

Don’t wait until the last 3-6 months to figure out what your life will be like outside of the service. 12-18 months is what I gave myself, and I used every bit of that to evaluate priorities, set goals, explore opportunities, and take action.

Additionally, when evaluating your priorities, you must consider the “3 L’s”: 1. Love where you are 2. Love who you are 3. Love what you do. This simple concept was brought to my attention by Chris Gannon, Founder & CEO of Bolay Restaurant. I applied it throughout my transition as I filtered through the job market.

Lastly, don’t limit yourself by only exploring options within your comfort zone. Challenge yourself and go after opportunities that require you to learn new things. There is no limit to what you can achieve when combining your military experience, a thirst for knowledge, and a positive mental attitude!

Andrew Tiner (AT):  Network. I have talked to so many Vets who had transitioned without THF, and their approach to getting a job was to spam 1000 resumes to 1000 different jobs. While this may work in the end, what THF taught me is that there is a better way to find a job. Build your network, talk to people, and then use what you have built to strategically step your way into a job. I ended up in the interview pipeline with Dataminr based on only a few conversations I had with people in my network who were able to put me on a fast track to employment. The other aspect to networking is knowledge acquisition. I had hundreds if not thousands of conversations. Most of those did not and were never meant to necessarily turn into a job. I really enjoyed getting to know people, learning their unique professional experiences, and getting their feedback and advice on my personal employment journey. It helped me define what I wanted to do, and even more importantly what I didn’t want to do. Have conversations. Don’t just angle for jobs. You never know where that conversation might lead or what doors it will open. Maybe you’ll just make a friend, and those are good to have too.

Build a backup plan. Then build another. This is something that I struggled with a lot, but thanks to THF I was able to overcome. I would get a hot job lead and focus all my energy on it, putting all my eggs in that one basket. This left me high and dry a few times when the job opportunity fell through, and I had to start over from scratch. Always assume a job opportunity can fall through right up until they give you an offer. With that, having multiple leads to work on can help keep you moving through the dead space, whether that’s waiting for the next interview, waiting to hear what next steps are, or waiting to actually get the offer. Just having people who are happy to talk to you can greatly help your mental state while you are searching for your job. When it comes time to talk offers, having even just two to choose from will help empower your decision, and keep you from being desperate. The key really is to not get desperate. But if you do get in a bind, and here I speak from deep personal experience, fall back to point one: your network. On at least two occasions during my transition journey, I made the conscious choice to walk away from job offers I felt were not a good fit for me, even though that would mean staying unemployed. I had to trust that by working with my network I would be able to find the right job for me. Fortunately, thanks to THF, I had learned to build a network to be able to fall back on, and was able to pivot and begin new conversations and find new leads. Ultimately, this paid off when I found, interviewed, and was accepted for my new job with Dataminr. I am really happy I waited, even if at the time it was an extremely difficult decision.

Get a coach. I was assigned a coach through THF, and she has become a close friend, advisor, and mentor. It is very hard to go on this journey alone, and you need as many people on your side as you can get. Having a coach who isn’t a pre-existing friend, who has a wealth of professional knowledge, and who’s only skin in the game is your success is a powerful thing. It’s a fresh perspective and wealth of knowledge to help cut through your baggage, help you define your goals, and get you to ask the questions you didn’t know needed to be answered.

 

Q2:  What experience shaped who you are?

CB:  My experience with THF helped me to realize that I’m at my best when I’m helping others achieve something meaningful, especially when it involves turning insight into action. It’s what I loved about my time in Naval Intelligence and the SOF community, and it’s what steered me to Dataminr (that, and the incredible people here!). I know that the work I do here on Dataminr’s Public Sector team enables others in critically-important leadership positions to make better decisions and save lives, time, and money.

AS:  There are three experiences in my military career that shaped me professionally. The first was failing Navy SEAL training at 18 years of age. The second was failing Navy SEAL training at 21 years of age. The third was graduating at the top of my class in Navy SWCC school at 26. All three experiences drastically impacted how I matured, approached adversity, and led teams. Everything in between these three experiences was affected by the lessons I learned from them.

AT:  There are two primary experiences that have shaped me and my life over the past five years, and the first was becoming a father. Every parent you ever talk to says having kids changes how you think about everything, and until I had kids of my own, I always kind of wrote them off. But of course, they were right. Once we had our son, my entire perspective on life trajectory changed. I started asking hard questions about who I was, who I wanted to be, and where I wanted to be in 10 years. Ultimately, asking and answering these questions led to the decision to part ways with the Navy. I was grateful for the experiences, the perspectives, and the much needed structure that was key to my growth from teenager to manhood. At the same time, I was confident that the best path forward for me and my family lay in the freedom to chart my own course and balance my own priorities. Now, on the other side of this particular transition and starting my new career with Dataminr, I am still confident in my decision.

The second experience was serving in support of SOF. Starting off in the intel community, I was fairly isolated within the walls of my classified office spaces. After I screened and came to support SOF, I had the opportunity to engage with people from all across the DOD, IC, and government at large. I worked harder than I ever had before. I deployed several times to overseas locations. I met, worked with, and learned from some of the hardest working and highest caliber people on this planet. The experiences, perspectives, and insights I gained over these past almost five years could not be acquired anywhere else. I truly value these experiences, and know that who I am today—my goals, my perspective, and my drive, are a direct result of my time spent supporting the SOF community.

Q3:  What is your favorite interview question?

CB: ‘Tell me about a time when you failed, what you did to recover from it, and what you learned in the process.’

This question is my favorite because I think the way a person handles adversity is a great indicator of the type of teammate and contributor they will be.

AS:  My favorite interview question is “Why should we hire a Navy veteran for an Army focused position?”

AT:  “What is something that you are good at, that you never want to do again?” I think it’s important to be reflective, to understand where you’ve been, but also where you’re going. Just because you’ve spent a lot of time doing something doesn’t mean it’s who you are or who you have to be. This is one of the key areas of my transition success that I owe a great deal to THF. THF was instrumental in helping me reevaluate my assumptions about what I wanted to do in the civilian sector, what my motivators were, and what possible opportunities I should explore. I began my career looking for analytic jobs, since that was officially what I’d done in one shape or another for ten years. THF helped me realize that what really drove me was helping people solve hard problems, and this led me to start looking at more people focused jobs. I eventually decided that a customer success or client engagement style role would be the best initial fit for me, leading me to engage with and eventually be hired at Dataminr into their customer success team.

 

Q4:  THF Alumni: What similarities did you find between your role at Dataminr and your previous experience in the SOF community?

CB:  Above all else, the most impactful similarities are the dedication to mission and the focus on team success above individual accomplishments. The service-centric culture here at Dataminr is really motivating, and having such purpose-driven colleagues has made Dataminr an incredible place to land after transitioning out of the Navy.

AS:  Culture, focus and the service are a few of the standout similarities between the SOF community and Dataminr. Much like the SOF community, Dataminr is a large organization that operates as a small team. There is a family-like atmosphere that I quickly recognized and felt at home with the minute I came aboard.

In terms of focus, Dataminr is dedicated to their mission and, like a SOF element, communicates extremely well both internally and externally. At Dataminr, we share feedback and learn from each other in order to constantly improve our product and deliver excellent customer support. Everyone on the team is passionate about supporting our public sector customers which includes first responders. In many ways, for us veterans, our service to this country continues every day as employees of Dataminr.

AT:  The mutual trust between people. Everyone has each others’ backs, are willing to help out at a moment’s notice, and place mission and team above personal accolades. This was one of my primary criteria as I searched for a civilian job, and one of the primary reasons for choosing Dataminr. I have always preferred pulling as a team rather than alone and I am very happy to have joined a team that feels the same. The organization is also fairly flat with good working relationships and comradery across all levels. This is also a welcome, familiar dynamic.

Q5:  What makes the culture at your company special?

JL:  Dataminr is the first place I’ve worked where everyone genuinely wants to help each other. We are all marching in the same direction, and are bought into the mission we’re working towards.

JM:  The mission, our core values, and the people are what makes Dataminr’s culture standout.

CB:  There’s so much to love about Dataminr’s culture, but the singular focus on helping customers to ‘Know First and Act Faster’ really makes this place special. Everyone approaches their job with a sense of purpose and urgency, all with a focus on making the product and customer experience as good as it can be. Being a part of a purpose-focused, tech-centric, growing company is really exciting!

AS:  Dataminr places a premium on its people! Dataminr promotes a very positive working environment and encourages collaboration across all verticals. Employees are motivated to support each other to meet our goals from the company level down to the individual.

AT:  While I have only been on board a month, the biggest thing that stands out to me about Dataminr’s culture is the diversity of experience united behind a common cause. There is a large veteran community at Dataminr, and the ability to have immediate connection and common ground with my fellow vets has been fantastic especially as a new guy just starting off with the company. That being said, I have equally enjoyed engaging with all the people who do NOT come from a military background. It is so refreshing to work with people (for the first time in ten years) who have a completely different set of life experiences and perspectives from my own. And the fact that everyone works so well together united in their common motivation to support our customer as well as represent and advocate for our awesome product, is truly motivating. I am very happy to be a part of this team and to be able to lend my own experiences, skills, and perspectives to their fight.

 

 

Q6:  What question are you asked more than any other?

CB:  “How did you know about ‘fill-in-the-blank transition resource’???”

Military transition is a team sport, and it’s impossible for any one transitioning veteran to keep track of the tens of thousands of support programs and opportunities that are out there. During my time as a THF Fellow, I learned first-hand the value of keeping an open mind, sharing information and opportunities freely with others, and asking for help. Over the last 18+ months of transition preparation, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to benefit from and learn about a ton of transition resources out there – and I’m always glad to help others find a way to benefit from them all.

AS:  I’m still relatively new to Dataminr; however, one thing I’m frequently asked from my Dataminr colleagues is “How am I doing with the new position, and is there anything they can do to help set me up for success?”

AT:  In my case it’s more a question type rather than a specific question. I am constantly asked “in your experience…”, looking for my unique perspective gained through my time in the military. This is a new experience for me as I enter an entirely new field of work, being asked to weigh in based on a perspective not necessarily shared by my coworkers. It’s an asset that you, as a vet and a THF grad, bring to the table that you should absolutely lean into. One of the benefits of attending a THF cohort is that you learn how to articulate and express this as a value add to your new civilian company. You DO have a unique skill, that you spent years working on and developing. Don’t be afraid to maximize it.

Q7:  What drives you every day?

CB:  Having a sense of purpose beyond self and a team to share the experience with is what drives me. What I do and how I do it needs to be bigger than me for it to mean something, and I’m grateful that I have found that here at Dataminr.

AS:  I am driven each day by the dedication and positivity of my team!

AT:  Family first. I got out of the Navy because it was the right decision for my family and I’m happy that I have found a role with Dataminr that enables me to be home more with my family. I’m able to strike a better work/life balance and I have more emotional availability at the end of every day.

 

Q8:  What book do you find most valuable?

CB:  This is THE HARDEST question for me to answer because I read non-stop! I don’t know if I can narrow it down to one ‘most valuable’ of all time, so instead I’ll share one that’s been really valuable to me as I find my way as a leader and manager in the private sector: ‘What You Do Is Who You Are,’ by Ben Horowitz. Ben’s other book, ‘The Hard Thing About Hard Things’ is a VERY close second!

AS:  In terms of preparing for life outside the military, I found the book “Who: The A Method for Hiring” to be helpful. It helped me understand what companies are looking for in a new hire and how best to communicate that I was the team player that they were looking for.

AT:  This is a tough call but looking specifically at my transition journey, the book that had the single biggest impact on my mindset is, “Every Tool’s a Hammer” by Adam Savage. This may seem an odd choice but the book focuses on finding your creative passion, being true to yourself, and investing in the things that matter most and give you joy in life. As I weighed the security and familiarity of continuing to serve in the Navy versus moving into the unknown, prioritizing family and my own happiness, this book gave me an important push toward the latter. Whether it’s this book, or another that communicates this message to you, it’s important to know that there is more available to you than what you have been, or what you have done. Don’t be afraid to take a chance on yourself and work towards a future you actually want.

Q9:  What is a lesson you learned the hard way?

CB:  That I can do anything, but I can’t do everything. The excitement I have for all of the incredible opportunities out there for transitioning veterans led me to take on too much at once at times during my transition, which created stress rather than alleviating it. I learned that time spent focused on setting priorities and objectives trumps frantic effort invested in a ton of different things all at once. Don’t lose the ‘default yes’ mentality, but be prudent.

AS:  Preparation is paramount for any interview. The “fake it until you make it” technique is ill advised.

AT:  You may have to take an alternate route to achieve your goals. Don’t be too rigid in how you define “success.” When I began my transition journey, I had well-articulated ideas and plans for what success on the other side would look like. I had plans and back up plans. But for a long list of complicated and unrelated reasons, they all fell apart one after the other and I ended up out of the Navy and without work. I had to take a hard pause, start from the ground up, re-engage my network and THF, and most importantly, take a good hard look at what my goals were. Even though my big picture goals of getting out of the Navy and starting a new chapter in my life hadn’t changed, and at that point I was out of the Navy and therefore to a degree successful, I had to challenge many of my expectations about the type of job I was looking for or could actually land. Out of that pause and reassessment rose the opportunity with Dataminr and to this day I’m still a bit taken aback at what a good fit both the company culture and job description are for me. Even though I had used the product for a few years, it hadn’t been a company I had originally considered when I began my journey and I wasn’t sure the first phone call I had would lead anywhere. But only a few months later, I was onboarding and I couldn’t be happier. In short, always have a plan, but don’t be so locked on that you don’t hear opportunity when it knocks.

 

 

Q10:  What defines a leader?

JL:  A leader is someone who inspires others to dream more, do more, and be more.

JM:  A good leader does not require an advanced degree or an incredible amount of experience –– they require a people first mentality. A great leader is someone who has not only expertly adopted this mentality, but is also a master communicator. They are able to listen, process, and ask questions to drive meaningful conversations and limitless potential.

CB:  A leader is someone who drives action with clear intention, together with others, in support of a higher purpose.

AS:  I prescribe to the servant leadership mentality. I believe there must be a foundation of genuine trust within your team in order to be productive long term. A leader is an excellent listener, empathetic, and maintains an acute awareness of the internal and external factors that impact their team. A leader must also be persuasive but does so from a place of credibility and respect.

AT:  Honesty. Being honest with your people, calling a spade a spade, and not overindulging in the company kool-aid. Be passionate about what you do but also be real about your limitations, or the limitations of your organization. It’s easy to lead when the goings good, but it’s the tough times where good leaders truly shine. Towing the line of, “Yes, this sucks, but it’s what we have to do and we’re in this together” goes a lot further than trying to sugar-coat failed policy or bad direction.

The other side of this coin is trust. Trust your people and have their backs, even when they make mistakes or are in the wrong. This doesn’t mean to not be accountable or to not hold your people accountable. This means knowing that there will always be a crowd of people standing by to absolutely crush a person (in this case, your person) at the first misstep or screw up. It’s up to you to determine whether your person will have an ally in that crowd. It’s truly amazing what people will do for you, your team, and themselves if they know you have their back.

Q11:  What is your favorite quote?

JL:  ​​“Some men see things as they are and say, ‘why’; I dream things that never were and say, ‘why not’.” – J.F.K. (adopted from a character in a George Bernard Shaw play).

JM:  “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” – Gen Patton

CB:  “If you don’t know what you want, there’s no chance that you will get it.” Ben Horowitz, ‘What You Do Is Who You Are’

AS:  “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” -Theodore Roosevelt

AT:  It’s hard to pick just one, and I think my favorite quote changes as I move between phases of life. The one that’s motivated me in important ways lately has been, “That which cannot last, will end.” There’s two distinct ways that I approach this quote. The first is motivating myself through difficult and challenging times. Knowing that any transient, temporary problem or situation is not the “end” helps focus my energy, even if just to endure in the short run. Very little is forever and most things can change or end if need be. The second approach is to focus on investment. Viewing my life through the lens of what is permanent and what is not. The question, “What do I WANT to be permanent in my life?” helps focus my goals, determination, and investment. Choosing happiness over security, or family over material acquisition. My entire transition has been framed within this context. Making the decision to re-prioritize my life direction and then navigating the months or even years of work, change, and uncertainty that follow. It has been difficult, but so far it has been worth it.

 

THF Featured in Air Force Times

“While companies have their own programs for veterans and military spouses, there are also several organizations working to help veterans with post-service employment and education. FourBlock, Helping Our Heroes and the Honor Foundation (which works exclusively with former special operations forces personnel) offer training, resume help, career fairs and assessments and other key services to veterans and their spouses.

The Honor Foundation offers executive style cohort experiences focused on helping elite warriors transition to the corporate world. The three-phase program helps veterans find their passion, weaves in what they need for job interviews or graduate level study and then get real-world practice at networking events and company visits.

“‘We help them choose their next adventure,'” said Lindsay Cashin, vice president of people for the Honor Foundation.”

Read the full article HERE.

THF + Surefox North America 2022 Partnership

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release February 28, 2022

 

The Honor Foundation Partners with Surefox North America to Assist the Career Transition of U.S. Special Operators

Surefox North America to support our Nation’s warriors through The Honor Foundation

 

SAN DIEGO (Feb. 28, 2022) – The Honor Foundation (THF) is proud to announce an expanded partnership with Surefox North America, a security consulting firm founded in 2016 by combat veterans who saw an industry-wide need for the planning, skills, and support veterans could provide. The company blends military professionalism with its clients’ unique cultures to provide tailored security solutions with discretion, integrity, and professionalism.

The Surefox vision to be a company of choice for military veterans searching for a career and culture that values their skills and expertise aligns with the THF mission to support and serve our military community.

This partnership will help support the men and women of the Special Operations Forces (SOF) who participate in THF’s tailored transition program, which combines one-on-one executive coaching and industry mentoring, three months of class instruction, and access to a nationwide professional network.

“Surefox is proud to be a dedicated sponsor and, to partner with The Honor Foundation,” said Brian Sweigart, Chief Operating Officer, Surefox.  “After getting to know THF in 2021, we are beyond impressed by the work they do to support our transitioning military veterans, specifically the Special Operations community.  Their efforts to provide a meaningful transition platform to our veterans completely align with Surefox’s goals and values. We are incredibly excited about the partnership between our organizations coming up in 2022!”

“We are thrilled to be working alongside Josh, Brian, and the entire team at Surefox North America – a phenomenal organization that supports our nation’s veterans in a significant way,” said THF CEO Matt Stevens. “It’s an honor for The Honor Foundation to serve our Special Operations Forces in their transitions to civilian life and it’s humbling that Surefox sees the value of that mission. We’re grateful for their support and excited to grow our impact on the lives of transitioning Special Operators.”

To learn more about how The Honor Foundation supports the men and women of the U.S. Special Operations Forces community in the career transition after active-duty service, visit honor.org for more information.  

About The Honor Foundation

The Honor Foundation (THF) is a career transition program for U.S. Special Operations Forces that effectively translates their elite military service to the private sector and helps create the next generation of corporate and community leaders. It achieves this through a three-month program which provides tailored executive education, one-on-one coaching, and access to a nationwide professional network. This program was built by the desire to serve others with honor for life, so that their next mission is always clear and continues to impact the world. Every step is dedicated to preparing these outstanding men and women to continue to realize their maximum potential during and after their service career. The Honor Foundation has 1,300+ graduates to date and has campuses in San Diego, CA; Virginia Beach, VA; Camp Lejeune, NC; Fort Bragg, NC; and a virtual campus (THFv). The Navy SEAL Foundation is a Founding Partner of The Honor Foundation.

About Surefox North America

Surefox North America is a security consulting firm founded in 2016 by combat veterans who saw an industry-wide need for the planning, skills, and support veterans could provide. Our mission is to provide security solutions tailored to individual client needs with discretion, integrity, and professionalism. Our diverse team of professionals has built an inclusive community and culture that differentiates us from our competitors and has directly established Surefox’s personnel retention rate as one of the highest in the security industry.  Because of our tenured and skilled team, our clients receive the highest level of professionalism and attention they need to protect their most vulnerable assets.

 

For more information about this press release, please contact Kathy Leming, Sr. Director of Marketing & Communications at kathy@honor.org.

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The Honor Journal: Winter 2021

Read our 2021 Winter newsletter to see what THF has been up to these past few months! We’ve launched a campus at Ft. Bragg, completed our first-ever SOF for Swim event, graduated a THF record number of Fellows this fall, and much, much more.

Be sure to join our email list on honor.org/contact to receive the newsletter directly to your inbox. 

THF 2021 Winter Newsletter

Spotlight on Greensea

We’re excited to introduce another valued Employer Partner of The Honor Foundation and an Alumni who is now part of their family.

These are companies and organizations who have hired men and women from our program and/or who have generously given us their time, resources and connections in an effort to help build a stronger network for our Fellows after service — a community post community. 

 

 

 

Q1 What advice do you have for those who are experiencing transition?

Peter Kerson (PK): You can leave the military on your own timeline. If you’re not ready, it’s OKAY to stay a little longer. I extended by a year, which allowed me to do a six month SkillBridge internship at Greensea, setting me up for a full time position.

Luis Mejia (LM): Trust in the process as each step will support the next. Being scared of transitioning out of the military is natural and expected, but you must consider that the accomplishments that you achieved in the military are equally as achievable within the civilian sector. Do not fear the change, embrace it and have fun with it.

Q2 What experience shaped who you are?

PK: All of them! But picking work and communities where I was surrounded by people who I admired was the most important. That way, THOSE are your influences, helping shape you.

LM: The experience of being in the military and Special Operations helped shape who I am today as it laid the foundation for my personal and professional growth.

 

 

Q3 What is your favorite interview question?

PK: As an interviewee: What do you love about working here? What is the company struggling with? As an interviewer: What do you see as the most important qualities for someone joining a new team?

LM: My favorite interview question is: “Are you ok with your boss being a civilian, can you handle this?” Well of course, being in Special Operations I have worked with all kinds of individuals, the fact that you’re not in the military makes me want to work for you more.

Q4 What similarities did you find between your role at Greensea and your previous experience in the SOF community?

PK: It’s still all about creatively solving hard problems, taking care of the team, and delivering.

LM: Uniquely, I work hand in hand with all members of the SOF community as the PM to SOF Technologies therefore it seems as if nothing has changed. My customers are goal oriented people that want to be the best. I speak operator to the operator and translate that to engineers in order to give the end user what they want; they way that they need it.

 

 

Q5 What makes the culture at your company special?

PK: We’re very collaborative, and we focus on solutions: getting the customer what they need to be successful.

LM: The culture at Greensea, places the customer first. There is no cloak and dagger game that the company places over our products. If the operator is going to use the equipment, then they should tell us what he wants out of it and it should exceed his expectations. Greensea uses me as a connecter to active duty SOF members, therefore their culture is dynamic which makes it a pleasure to work here.

Q6 What question are you asked more than any other?

LM: The question I get asked nearly daily is, do I miss it? Generally, I reply with “of course I miss it, but I miss the people more.” In my role at Greensea I still get to connect with the same type “A” personalities that I retired from. This has made my transition so much easier; I love working with people that want to move the ball, regardless of the obstacle in front of them.

 

 

Q7 What drives you every day?

PK: Working with smart people to solve hard problems that matter. I figured that plan out during THF, when we were trying to identify our ideal job. This felt too broad at the time, but actually, it’s been a really good guide for me. I KNOW when something meets these criteria.

LM: The unique thing that drives me every day is that I still get to support the people that defend our freedom day in and day out. Nothing is better than helping make the operators’ jobs easier.

Q8 What unanticipated skills, talent, and/or competencies did you gain for employing Special Operators at your organization?

Greensea: We didn’t anticipate how well our THF hires would fit into our corporate culture which is one of open collaboration. We pride ourselves on being able to work together to remove blockages that might keep us from doing great work that meets our customer expectations. Both Pete and Luis jumped in ready to work and quickly adapted to our culture. It’s a great fit for all of us.

 

 

Q9 What book do you find most valuable?

PK: The Anatomy of Peace and Leadership and Self Deception (they’re by the same people)

LM: Amongst the many books out there, I find myself repeatedly immersed in one book, which is the Holy Bible. Where else can you find stories, trials, and tribulations and how they were overcome. Numerous life lessons can be taken from scripture, the answers you want in life are in every chapter.

Q10 What is a lesson you learned the hard way?

PK: Ask for help! Any time I’m banging my head against a wall, or struggling to get something done, if I just ask for help, there’s someone who knows the answer, or can help me get unstuck.

LM: A lesson that I learned the hard way was that the civilian populace is not as responsive as the military in terms of customer to service provider. Everything is a lot slower and service providers do not seem as eager to push the limits as they work for the clock.

 

 

Q11 What defines a leader?

PK: Someone who can facilitate building a shared vision and a team, and then remove obstacles on the path to victory.

LM: A leader is someone who helps, mentors, and shapes others so that everyone can be better. A leader places his personal agenda to the side for the team. Without a team you can have no leader. Leaders are supposed to retain outside criticism but disseminate outside praise while still working to be better.

 

 

Q12 What is your favorite quote?

PK: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” This is especially true these days, but any time you ask, there’s usually something happening under the surface that you’re not aware of.

LM: Something must be said about an old man in a profession where people die young…

 

 

Spotlight on National Speed

We’re excited to introduce another valued Employer Partner of The Honor Foundation and an Alumni who is now part of their family.

These are companies and organizations who have hired men and women from our program and/or who have generously given us their time, resources and connections in an effort to help build a stronger network for our Fellows after service — a community post community. 

 

 

Q1 What advice do you have for those who are experiencing transition?

Will Martin (WM): First and foremost, be PATIENT with yourself throughout the transition process – easier said than done, I know. Think about things you ARE and ARE NOT looking for in terms of “fit” in your next company/organization (Do you want to lead or be led? Are you seeking a Team or singleton organization? Do you want pre-existing structure or do you want more autonomy and the opportunity to build from scratch? Where do you want to live? Do you want to travel? Are you seeking variety in daily schedule and problem-sets, or do you want predictability?). Thinking through these questions helped to bring clarity to the unknowns and ambiguity of the transition process. If the compensation structure/salary is in the ballpark to support you and your family, I would focus on your “WHY” and growth potential in prospective companies. With that said, you need to make sure that you aren’t looking past the role for which you are interviewing.

Separately, my biggest takeaway from the interview process is that it will ultimately fall on YOU to connect the dots between the prospective company’s challenges/needs. Nine times out of ten, the person interviewing you will not have the common background or experiences to bridge the private sector and military worlds. Think hard about and come prepared to articulate how your past experiences and skill sets make you a qualified candidate and a valuable addition to the prospective company. Do your research beforehand and ask questions during the interview process to understand how you can best help that company succeed. For example, most interviewers are not going to be able to extrapolate the parallels between managing difficult Partner Force leadership/personalities and dealing with dissatisfied Customers in a retail environment. I think it is a great approach at the end of an interview to ask the Interviewer, what concerns they have about you as a candidate and/or what they see will be your biggest challenge with stepping into that position. What that gives you, is a last window of opportunity 1) to illustrate how you have dealt with a similar situation, quelling their remaining concerns or 2) to own your professional/technical gaps (that is perfectly OK), while providing them with past scenarios where you have been thrown into and had to navigate unfamiliar situations/tasks. This affords you the opening to demonstrate your ability to adapt, problem-solve, and overcome to successfully meet a defined end-state. You have all the tools; you just need to understand how to translate them to illustrate your true value.

Jason Hadaway (JH): Be humble, be professional at all times, be PATIENT, and be genuine. The workforce is starving for people with the soft skills that are beaten into us as service members. Bringing those skills to the table puts you ahead of your competition from the start of the interview process. EVERYONE is learning when they are starting a new position or even the same position, but with a new company. These people have to learn new systems, new processes, and new people. So, RELAX when thinking your skills do not apply to a new industry or career choice. Most importantly do not get discouraged when you fail to acquire the role or exact company you hope for. The right opportunity and Team will present themselves and it will feel natural. The most important characteristic of the right “fit” was the connections I was making during the process.

 

 

Q2 What experience shaped who you are?

WM: While my collective military experiences influenced much of who I am today, there was one major inflection point that sticks out and is what ultimately led me to pursue a career in the military. Following a High-School football game in Alexandria, VA on November 3rd, 2001, I visited the Pentagon with my parents to see firsthand the crash site of the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77. Speechless and overlooking the destruction from September 11th, 2001 from the west side hill, that moment served as the catalyst that propelled me to a career of military service in the SEAL Teams, for which I am forever grateful. I took away from that experience and my time in service the importance and power of PURPOSE and PERSPECTIVE. My biggest concern with making the transition was finding a comparable sense of purpose outside of the military, but I made that one of priorities in navigating the job search process. Consequently, I’m happy to say that it’s served me well.

JH: As a Veteran and prior Marine Raider, the many experiences that shaped me were all probably similar experiences to the audience. Exposure to strong leaders and timeless mentors. Shared struggles and successes with my peers, and losses that are still difficult to justify have shaped my understanding of people and the importance of my investment to our Team. Since transition, my exposure to excellent mentors continues to increase as I strive to surround myself and learn from those with new ideas and differing perspectives. The civilian workforce is diverse and unique from the military due to a higher risk of failure, but also higher risk for reward. Should you fail, you look for a new team and work elsewhere. Should you work hard and apply the skills and experiences you have shared in the military, you will experience more growth and promotions at a rate your company chooses. Time in grade has no value on the outside!

Q3 What is your favorite interview question?

WM: “What concerns or qualification gaps do you think you would have with stepping into this position?” This gives me insight into the candidate’s understanding of the position and their level of self-awareness. Hiring Managers are often fine with qualification gaps (I had a handful of my own when I was interviewing), but more importantly, they are looking at whether the candidate has the humility and grit to autonomously self-assess and self-correct. You are both thinking it, so own it! Use that opportunity to illustrate other scenarios where you’ve volunteered or been required to step into uncharted territory (outside of your comfort zone) and how you addressed perceived capability gaps to achieve success.

JH: My favorite interview question to ask aspiring National Speed team members completely revolves around their ability to work well with others. “Do you think you will fit in with our team, and how do you plan to ensure that happens?” I care 100x more about a person’s ability to work closely and under stress with the rest of the Team than I do about their skill level in comparison with each individual on the Team. I want to know if the individual can take a difficult situation on the chin and continue to be optimistic and think clearly. When working on close Teams, the same rules apply as in the military. Your demeanor and professionalism impact everyone around you and their ability to have a joyful and productive day.

 

 

Q4 What similarities did you find between your role at National Speed and your previous experience in the SOF community?

WM: The core tenets that I’ve found transcend and drive success across both experiences are cross-organizational communication, accountability, adaptability, divergent thinking, and collaborative problem-solving. Much of my deployment experience was in leadership positions in underdeveloped areas of operational responsibility and resource constrained environments. While the severity of consequences and jargon may be different in a private sector startup/small business, there are more similarities than differences between the two worlds. As a SEAL Platoon Commander, I often applied organization, structure, course of action analysis and development, and decisive action to bring calm to chaos. My role as National Speed’s VP of Operations is no different, as I’m heavily focused on driving solutions and improvements pertaining to People, Processes, Systems, Planning, and Execution. SOF personnel are well postured to pursue post-military careers in startups and smaller companies like National Speed, because where others see obstacles, we see opportunity. We love the challenge of complex problems, we seek to understand the tactical and strategic implications of potential solutions, and we tackle it head-on to make things better for the mission and our teammates.

JH: Soft skills matter. Every interaction holds weight. You are being considered and judged for your ability for promotion and future responsibilities of the company. Your network and those who you continue to surround yourself with in a workspace is vital to your personal growth and success in a career.

Q5 What makes the culture at your company special?

WM: Like many other organizations, our culture is founded around a set of Core Values and is ultimately our “true north” that we lean on to screen, select, and measure performance of National Speed teammates – Believer, Driven, Professional, Trustworthy, and Winner. To change the automotive performance industry for the better, National Speed is focused on addressing many of the stigmas that have historically plagued the industry. Consequently, National Speed has fostered a culture founded on PROFESSIONAL and transparent communication amongst our team and with our customers, uncompromising integrity (TRUSTWORTHY) – doing the right thing no matter what, and a genuine care for our team members and customers inside and outside of work. We BELIEVE that every problem has a solution, and we seek innovation across our entire organization because there is always a better way. Our Team is comprised of professionals who are DRIVEN by the opportunity to solve problems that others deem insurmountable. Our leadership makes it a point to frequently engage with our team members on the front lines to gain a ground-truth perspective on the daily challenges that they face, so we can make tomorrow better than yesterday. We make a concerted effort to ensure every team member has a voice to provide constructive feedback and drive innovation across the entire organization. When we miss the mark, we own it, and aggressively address the issue to make it right. In summary, what makes our culture special is that we maintain an offensive posture to self-assess and drive improvements to make work and life better for our people – teammates and customers alike.

 

 

JH: Communication is also a vital characteristic in a well running firm. As Leaders, our ability to communicate up and down, while also keeping the Team communicating clearly and professionally on a daily basis is an enduring task that requires constant effort. Doing this effectively allows our employees to understand their working environment, and give them confidence that their leadership and supporting assets are delivering on their tasks. It forms a bond between all stakeholders that produces an environment of trust and confidence. At National speed we focus on delivering a clear mission and end state, a thorough understanding of the lateral limitations, and a deep rooted “why”..An equal focus which is the primary driver in any successful Team culture are the people. Taking care of your team members by focusing on their ability to not only do their job well, but to actually ENJOY their job and everyday life. When people are happy, they work harder PERIOD. National Speed continues to push a focus on all key areas of the company by taking direct feedback and putting new plans in place that will help solve issues faster and create the least amount of stress possible on our employees. A company’s success will never be felt unless it is felt by every member of the Team.

Q6 What question are you asked more than any other?

WM: “How did you end up at National Speed?” Networking is what opened the door to the opportunity but making the decision to pursue the VP of Operations position for National Speed was driven by my priorities – location, team culture, variety of problem-sets and daily schedule (fear of “The Groundhog Day” effect), leadership scope of responsibilities, and autonomy. It took about 30 minutes in National Speed’s Wilmington, NC Shop for me to feel confident that I found the Team and professional opportunity that was the right “fit.”

JH: The question I hear most often from Veterans transitioning into the civilian market is “How did you decide which role and industry you would seek after getting out of the military?” I learned two very important things during my active-duty service. Enjoying what I am doing and who I am doing it with are more important than any of the other characteristics of a job such as “working from home.” I spend more time with my work Team than I do with my own children. So, it is highly important I find what I am doing as interesting. Being in an environment that is conducive for personal growth is also a key factor in fending off complacency after being with a company long term. A company that doesn’t conduct performance reviews to give you credible feedback should be a key indicator that they main focus is your job being done well, and less about creating an individual who will not only perform their job well but grow into a person who will impact future innovation and growth within the company.

 

 

Q7 What drives you every day?

WM: The excitement and challenge of doing something in an industry that’s never been done before – making the automotive performance experience accessible to all. My goal every day is to make my teammates’ jobs more enjoyable and easier to execute, while improving the service, product, and experience that we strive to deliver to our customers. The level of autonomy, creativity, and ability to affect meaningful change has instilled within me a sense of purpose that I was concerned I’d have trouble finding outside of the military.

JH: The success of everyone around me. Not only my wife and children, but the Team I work with every day. Seeing those around me grow professionally and create more opportunities for themselves and their families keeps my striving to provide them my maximum effort each and every day. Being looked to for guidance and assistance from my tribe keeps me hungry to grow myself and provide value to them. Being successful at positively influencing those around you and leaving people remembering you as positive force will consequently result in a successful career for yourself.

Q8 What book do you find most valuable?

WM: I love “Legacy” by James Kerr and have had all my assigned team members and new hires read it. It does an incredible job articulating how the fundamentals of healthy team culture and leadership principles transcend industries and organizations. In support of our Core Values, I’ve tried to develop a foundation, specifically within the Operations Department, that promotes humility, work ethic, professionalism, innovation, and care for each other.

JH: As I get older, I find myself more and more susceptible to forming bad habits that impede my ability to achieve my goals. Therefore, I always fall back on one book I continue to reference for myself and recommend to others for the impact it has had on me. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg breaks down the biological and psychological nature of decision making and habit forming. It scientifically explains why habits are formed and how we can change them. The book will give you a fresh understanding of human nature and how we can trick ourselves into forming habits that will positively influence our everyday lives. As I continue to grow as a father, professional, and a friend, I find that it is the finer details of my day that can be tweaked in order to optimize my performance. Whether its waking up at a certain time, making it to the gym, or remembering to have a positive attitude throughout the day. This book helps with getting you there.

Q9 What is a lesson you learned the hard way?

WM: Within my first 3 weeks of working at National Speed, I had a stern conversation with one of my Direct Reports, which ended up not being as productive as intended and resulted in him in tears. I’m not going to go into the details, but my takeaway from that experience was that the transition continues well after you accept a job outside of the military. I’ve had some adjustments to make on my end regarding how I communicated with and managed team members that aren’t Navy SEALs. Personal and professional growth is perpetual.

JH: We are a product of our environment. We form habits and ideas from our exposure to different people and places. Therefore, to continue to grow and be successful it is vitally important that I continue to work hard, surround myself with people that genuinely care for my well-being, and to value my families and my own happiness. Above all else. In short, love what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with, and the rest will fall into place!

 

 

Q10 What defines a leader?

WM: Your Team’s morale, drive, and success in the face of adversity is what ultimately defines your efficacy as a Leader. Furthermore, I firmly believe that it is critical for a leader to actively seek feedback and opportunities to clear the brush for their teammates to make the job easier and more enjoyable, while fostering a healthy work life balance for all – simplified, sustainable, predictable, and easy replicate operations. People don’t know you care, until you show you care.

JH: A Leader is someone who can effectively communicate a task or mission to other people and instill confidence that there is an effective way to accomplish said task, while also convincing those of the value in succeeding. A great Leader is someone that can effectively perform that function and personally guide their Team through the entire process. This is done by focusing on each individual within the Team. Also having a thorough understanding of the necessary knowledge and processes, and having a real passion for delivering a product or service that will strengthen your Team or companies’ reputation.

 

 

Q11 What is your favorite quote?

WM: “Get busy living or get busy dying.” -Andy Dufresne

JH: My favorite quote is something my grandmother has said to me throughout every difficult task I have taken on in life. When I used to complain about schoolwork in college, her response “This to shall pass” always irritated me in its simplistic and obvious nature. When I spoke with her during basic infantry training and told her of my blistered feet, she again told me “This to shall pass.” I was able to hear my Grandmother repeat this during ITC when becoming a Marine Raider, during long deployments where only coming home was my greatest desire, and lastly when I was transitioning out of the military and experiencing the crippling stress and anxiety of figuring out my “why” and what adventure I would take next. Ever greater achievement the more weight those words continue to have for me. She passed on last year, and her words will continue to resonate for me during each difficult thing I choose to pursue next.

Q12 National Speed, what unanticipated skills, talent, and/or competencies did you gain for employing Special Operators at your organization?

National Speed: Brilliance in the basics. Never feeling overconfident that I have everything right, or fully understand everything. These characteristics keep me humble and always looking to grow. As a Leader, I have others that rely on me to guide them when things are tough. To drive clear communication and help come up with new ideas to solve fresh problems. So, my most important lesson from all the of successes and many failures as a Special Operator; Never think you have it all figured out. Continue to prepare and plan for as many unknowns as possible, and always put your best efforts into anything you choose to pursue.

 

THF Featured on SOFcast Podcast

“Transition is a layered approach and it certainly depends on all the factors like your job, your deployments — things like that. Whatever you do, you have to make sure you have an offramp and not a cliff. You don’t want to come to the cliff and fall off. You want to walk down the ramp and have a smooth landing…” — Matt Stevens

Listen to THF CEO Matt Stevens, SEAL (ret.), and VP of Operations, Michael Halterman, Marine Raider (ret.), share their challenges of transitioning from the world of Special Operations to the civilian sector on the official USSOCOM podcast, SOFcast.

Click to listen to the full interview HERE.

Michael Halterman Featured on Combat Leadership Podcast

LISTEN NOW:

The Honor Foundation’s VP of Operations, Michael G Halterman, was recently featured on the Combat Leadership Podcast with Mike Ettore to share his experiences and insights after spending 20+ years in the U.S. Marine Corps.

“In the times that we have right now, are the times when we need to maximize the opportunities to get repetition.”

Listen to the full interview by visiting the link HERE!

 

The Honor Journal: Summer 2021

The first half of our 2021 has been off to a strong start! We’re growing our team, launching a new campus, creating new partnerships, planning fun events and collaborating more than ever before. Read what we’ve been up to in our THF June 2021 summer newsletter!

THF Summer Newsletter 2021_Digital

Matt Stevens Featured on the Everyday Coach Podcast

THF CEO Matt Stevens was recently a guest on the Everyday Coach Podcast, hosted by Harrison Bernstein, Founder of Soldiers to Sidelines.

 

 

Listen NOW:

Harrison is the Founder/Executive Director of Soldiers To Sidelines. The organization educates and certifies veterans and service members of every branch to become expert coaches. Then helps them earn coaching positions within their community.
Prior to his work with STS, Harrison has coached in the NFL with the Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns, a football coach for High School and NCAA, an adjunct teacher of Exercise Science at George Washington University, and an entrepreneur in fitness/wellness/human performance.
Soldiers To Sidelines provides training and opportunities for military members to be excellent coaches in various sports so they will inspire, motivate, and encourage athletes.