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Salute to SOF

Save the date!

November 16, 2022 in Washington, D.C.

Join The Honor Foundation in our Nation’s capital for the first-ever Salute to Special Operations Forces Gala — a special evening to honor and commemorate SOF warriors who have dedicated their lives to protecting the USA.

For more details on the event, please contact Renee Booth at .

 

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

THF Dallas

Join us in Dallas for a special cocktail event featuring cocktails, cigar rolling, bourbon tasting, and a silent auction in support of a good cause.Honored guests of the evening – local businesses and military supporters – will join graduates of The Honor Foundation program for an evening of networking. These THF Alumni will share their experience of the program with potential future Fellows who are planning for their end of service.

For sponsorships or questions regarding the event, please contact Jessica Hunt at jessica@honor.org

 

Presenting Sponsor:

 

Patriot Sponsor:

THF Dallas Event Featured in Bubble Life

Plano Fundraiser Connects Local Veterans with National Military Transition Organization

Michelle Buckalew – Guest Contributor

The Honor Foundation, a military career transition organization that serves U.S. Special Operations Forces, and Surefox North America, a local veteran-owned and operated security consulting firm, were proud to host local veterans and Plano City Council Member Rick Grady for an exclusive fundraiser and networking event at Haywire Plano on May 12.

Honored guests of the evening also included graduates of The Honor Foundation’s transition program which helps special operations veterans translate their military service to careers in the private sector. Its nationally recognized curriculum combines one-on-one executive coaching and industry mentoring as well as access to an elite, nationwide professional network.

The event was sponsored by Surefox.  About 80% of the company’s employees are veterans.

“The Honor Foundation and Surefox North America share the same values and the same vision to help our veterans transition to civilian life,” said Brian Sweigart, Surefox Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer. “We both provide veterans a safe place to learn and grow alongside other veterans who understand the challenges, and we empower them to succeed by placing them in positions where their unique skills and expertise are valued.”

“The Honor Foundation helps our Special Ops Forces transition through one of the most difficult times of their lives and find fulfillment after the military,” said Matt Stevens, THF Chief Executive Officer. “We are grateful to have a partner like Surefox support us so we can continue to help veterans. Our goal is to make sure their next mission is always clear.”

91% of Special Operators feel transition out of the military is more difficult than combat deployment and being separated from family. Vietnam veteran and Plano City Council Member Rick Grady says it’s important that veterans receive support and training to help them integrate back into civilian life.

“Military transition programs like this are critical to our veteran community. For many veterans, returning to civilian life can be like going to a foreign country. They don’t know where they are going to live, how to build a resume, or how to find a job.  That’s why so many veterans end up homeless,” said Grady. “I hope that more corporations will see the incredible value and skillset our veterans offer and welcome them into their organizations.”

Since 2014, more than 1,500 veterans have graduated from The Honor Foundation’s career transition program.

 

Find the full article HERE as featured on:

Plano Bubble Life

Preston Hollow Bubble Life

Addison Bubble Life

Garland Bubble Lie

Lakewood/East Dallas Bubble Life

 

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.

Houston Welcomes The Honor Foundation

On October 14, Houston, “The City With No Limits,” welcomed The Honor Foundation and esteemed guests at its first benefit dinner to support the U.S. Special Operations Forces community. H. Malcolm Stewart, the evening’s presenting sponsor; along with Surefox, Quanta, Evolution Well Services, and other sponsors; joined Houston’s finest for an evening of stories about patriotism, service and hope for the future. Guests were honored and privileged to hear from special guest speakers Greg Vogle (Professor of Practice, Texas A&M University, Bush School of Public Service; Former Director of the National Clandestine Service; CIA), Congressman Dan Crenshaw, and Alumni of the THF Program.

To Houston and all in attendance — thank you for your hospitality, friendship and support. 

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.

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

Spotlight On STIHL

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?

Nate Chundrlek: Pursue what you are passionate about and do not allow doors to close on you. If doors are closed, breach them with the tools THF gives you throughout the process.

Ted Handler: Focus on introspection and commit to the time that it takes to figure out what really makes you tick – what makes you happy. Why did you enjoy working with the people you did? The mission? The culture? The people? Once you know this – your why – you can then seek out opportunities that are complimentary to your values, interests and strengths and then work doesn’t even seem like work! Additionally – don’t expect offers to appear when you are six months out from retirement…we are used to that in the military. Offers will come, but they come much closer to when you are getting out than will be comfortable. Finally, have confidence in your experiences and know you will not see any leadership challenges in the civilian or corporate world that you cannot draw an analogous example from your military experience. The situation is likely different but the leadership skills to navigate the challenge are certainly in your tool kit.

Q2 What experience shaped who you are?

NC:  Dig deeply into your soul and be honest as to what makes you happy. Embrace the cups of coffee with those outside your comfort zone and discover new things. Try to determine what you do not want to do and then narrow down on those things you would like to do.

TH: I think all our collective experiences shape who we are, but obviously some more than others. Ice hockey has always been a big part of my life and a number of coaches, teams, experiences in that realm definitely shaped me. Same is true for surfing and snowboarding and outdoor activities. Obviously, the military shaped who I am today as well, different leaders I worked both for and with, (both good and bad) as well as teammates. In particular, there were a number of teachers that shaped me as well. One in particular had a tremendous impact on my life and he just recently passed away. Never forget to let those that shaped you know about the positive impact they had on you. Take the time to just say thank you and let them know.

 

 

Q3 What is your favorite interview question?

NC:  What are the most important things you would like to see someone accomplish in the first 30, 60, 90, 365 days on the job. This lays out the expectations to you, on what you can expect to be doing during the on onboarding process. It will allow you to make goals to yourself and determine if you and the company are on the same page.

TH:  What do you think makes you qualified for this position? This question is actually much more complex than first glance. It opens the door to not only just talk about professional qualification, but you have an opportunity to talk about your own personal leadership philosophy and how you would apply it to the position and demonstrate a good fit for the organization such as common values etc.

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

NC:  #1 thing is team work from the bottom up everyone is focused on the same goal

TH: People and places change but leadership challenges are everywhere, even in the greatest of organizations, but with the good ones, the desire to continuously improve exists. I find that to exist here at STIHL and in the SOF community. Better every day.

Q5 What makes the culture at your company special?

NC:  STIHL is the global leader in the Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) market, and this brings a great sense of pride to every employee. We are also a privately held company, and this brings a sense closeness throughout the organization.

TH:  Long term outlook. People have the freedom to experiment, analyze, dialogue and deliberate about work because we are not concerned about “next quarters earnings numbers”. We are more focused on how can we best position ourselves to remain the market leader for the next ten, twenty, fifty years. The attitude improves and people have fun at work as a result.

 

Q6 What question are you asked more than any other?

NC: Can you help me get a job at STIHL? This is where Networking plays a big role in the civilian life. Getting to know people from various organizations who might be able to recommend you for an open position.

TH:  I had to think about that a bit – but because I work on a particular long-term project that will change the way in which we conduct many of our daily activities, I am frequently being asked “when”.

Q7 What drives you every day?

NC:  To be a part of a global organization with a humble beginning, which almost 100 years later is still growing. The pride in knowing we have the best brand of OPE in the world makes it enjoyable to say I am a part of it.

TH:  To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield in my quest to serve. Long story there…it’s my “why” developed while I was in THF cohort 12…hit me up for a cup of coffee and find out more…lol

Q8 What book do you find most valuable?

NC:  History books are my favorite. I think it is important to know where we came from. The good as well as the bad, so that we can remember the impactful things we did as well as the mistakes, so that they are not repeated. When we analyze the past, we can better understand where we are going.

TH:  Neuro-Ledarskap co-authored by my THF Coach, now friend and mentor Stefan Falk.

 

 

Q9 What is a lesson you learned the hard way?

NC:  Sometimes it’s best to keep quiet and listen to the surrounding conversation before injecting an opinion.

TH:  Some battles aren’t worth fighting. Lot’s to unpack there and again – to the THF fellows…hit me up for a cup of coffee – LOL.

Q10 What defines a leader?

NC:  A leader is only defined by the people who work for them.

TH:  Wow. There’s volumes on that one…but for me it comes down mostly to having a solid base of values and then the courage and discipline to stick to them – the exercise of being the example for the practice of integrity.

Q11 What is your favorite quote?

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

TH:  I have a lot of favorite quotations, but based on having just thought about your last question, this one comes to mind: “Leadership is not about being in charge, Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.” (Simon Sinek)

 

 

Q12 *STIHL specific: What unanticipated skills, talent, and/or competencies did you gain for employing Special Operators at your organization?
SOF Operators bring a confident can do attitude, critical thinking/questioning and an inquisitive, innovative, objective approach to solving business problems the same way they achieved mission success in the military.

 

Dave Pouleris Featured on Signal Fire Radio

LISTEN NOW!

Episode 2: Ribbons and Medals with Dave Pouleris, is out on Signal Fire Radio now! Listen to THF’s Director of Programs at the Camp Lejeune Campus share his thoughts on leadership, emotional intelligence and the value that skills learned in the military can bring to the workforce.

 

About Signal Fire Media Company:

Signal Fire Radio is a show about ambitious leadership for ambitious leaders. Each day we battle the villain of self doubt with encouraging conversations designed to feed the mind, strengthen the body, enrich the soul and nurture relationships.

Rob Rens, Marine Corps Veteran and Entrepreneur, and his Combat Veteran friends Matt and Evan share their transition stories and chat with experts to explore and maneuver the change from military life to a career in the private sector. Listen to all episodes HERE.

THF Participates in Harvard Business School Case

This November, Harvard Business School published “The Honor Foundation: Accessing Special Operations Talent,” an extensive case study focusing on the THF organization and highlighting the unique skill sets of individuals from the Special Operations Forces community. Though not readily available to the public, it was reflective on the significance of integrating men and women from SOF into the workforce and the value they bring to the private sector, especially in times of crises.

“Amid a pandemic, executives are finally realizing the importance of bringing outsiders who are comfortable dealing with the unexpected onto their teams. As these crises wear on, the singular and eminently portable skills of our country’s highest-trained servicepeople are becoming more and more valuable…”

Read the summary article from Harvard Business Review, “Lessons on Leading Through Chaos from U.S. Special Operations,” for insights from several THF Alumni on how their knowledge gained from their SOF training and experiences greatly play a role in their career outside of the Teams.

 

Spotlight on Millennium Health

We’re excited to introduce another valued Employer Partner of The Honor Foundation.

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. 

Read below to hear from Millennium Health CEO, Andrew Lukowiak, on career transition, company culture and more.

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

Without question, the military training received by Honor Foundation Fellows is an asset to any private company.  Thriving in uncertain environments, dealing with ambiguity, placing “Team” ahead of “Self”, and understanding what it means to be mission oriented has already prepared each of you to be incredibly successful in the private sector. The best advice I can provide is that learning how to effectively communicate these accomplishments in ways that the private sector can understand and value is essential. Finding corporate sponsors, workshops, or other venues to help you translate your military capabilities into meaningful corporate vocabulary can be all the difference in landing that first job in the private sector.

Q2 What is your favorite interview question? 

“Tell me about a time that you failed and what did you learn from it?”  All too often hiring managers are focused on a candidate’s successes in an interview.  How an individual responds to failure, to criticism, to feedback and uses these opportunities to improve themselves will tell you a lot about their ability to grow through adversity, a key factor to success in any corporate environment.   

Q3 What makes the culture at your company special? 

We operate on a principle of decentralized leadership, that is, we empower our team members from all levels within our organization to make change, initiate improvements and own our success. This environment of collaboration makes the entire company stronger and more effective. 

Q4 What drives you every day?

Making a difference in the lives of our customers and their patients. Over the past two years, we have researched and developed trend reports utilizing real-time urine drug testing data to identify and alert clinicians about emerging developments in the drug use landscape, resulting in multiple, peer-reviewed, open-access publications and scientific reports. These publications have been widely accessed by the healthcare community and provide resources that professionals can use to help better identify and treat patients coping with the devastating disease of addiction. As a result of this work, in January of 2020, we announced that we had joined forces with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to donate this data to help combat our country’s ongoing drug overdose epidemic.  Every day we get to come to work and ask “Ok, now what else can we do better to help save lives?” 

Q5 What book do you find most valuable?

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Lief Babin describes how leadership―at every level―is the most important factor in whether a team succeeds or fails. With topics including Decentralized Command, Cover and Move, and Leading Up the Chain, the former SEALs (and authors) use their experiences in Iraq as examples of how individuals can improve leadership in any environment. According to Babin, “There are no bad teams – only bad leaders.”  There’s considerable truth to that statement.

Q6 What is a lesson you learned the hard way?

A lesson I learned the hard way is often quoted, “you deserve what you tolerate”. It is up to us as leaders to recognize when changes need to be made for the good of the organization, even when those decisions are difficult to make. 

Q7 What defines a leader?

A leader is defined by their ability to create a vision for a given purpose and identify the individuals whose specialized talents, when aligned as a team, can successfully execute on the vision to achieve the desired outcome.

Q8 What is your favorite quote?

Hard to pick just one but the quote that I reflect on the most often is hanging in my office from the Theodore Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena; “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

 

 

GovX Raises Over $6,400 for THF

GovX Community Raises Over $6,400 for THE HONOR FOUNDATION

The nonprofit is a career transition program for U.S. Special Operations Forces

San Diego, CA – GovX, the online shopping site exclusively for current and former military and first responders, donated $6,424 to The Honor Foundation, the nonprofit dedicated to helping members of US Armed Forces special operations transition their talents and skills to the professional workforce after their military service commitments end.

Sales of the special forces-inspired “Ghost Ops” entry in GovX’s Patch of the Month series fueled the total donations.

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. The program provides a clear process for professional development and a diverse ecosystem of world class support and technology. Every step is dedicated to preparing outstanding men and women continue to realize their maximum potential during and after their service career.

“With their well-established brand and popularity amongst the military, law enforcement, first responder and civilian communities, it was a no-brainer for THF to partner with GovX for their “Patch of the Month” series,” said Matt Stevens, CEO of The Honor Foundation. “We are grateful for their efforts and contributions to our mission and are looking forward to working with their team again in the future.”

The Honor Foundation offers executive style education, professional development, and career coaching, all tuned to the same competitive, professional standard to which Special Forces operators hold themselves. To get accepted into the program, applicants must demonstrate a commitment to the effort. Only those with strong backgrounds of professional achievement and personal accountability are accepted into the program.

“The Honor Foundation was built for the best of the best of our nation’s Armed Forces,” said Alan Cole, GovX CEO. “Making sure these elite operators get to continue to use their skills and talents in the American workplace is absolutely crucial, and we’re pleased to see the GovX community supporting this mission.”

 

Read their special feature on THF Alumni Kevin Seiff HERE.

THF + GovX November Patch of the Month

The Honor Foundation is so excited to partner with GovX for the November Patch of the Month! Check out the link to purchase yours today and help transitioning members of the SOF community in their next mission in life. 

Thank you for your support in this partnership, GovX!

THF Mentioned in Military Times

“It’s very tribal and team-oriented,” said Matt Stevens, a former SEAL and CEO of The Honor Foundation. “A lot of times people are really tied into what they did. It becomes everything about them. And stepping away from that to kind of figure out where you’re going to fit in, what your purpose on the planet is because all of the sudden you have choices, is daunting.”

Read the full article in Military Times by visiting this link.

If you are a member of the Special Operations Forces community, please take part in the SOF for Life Survey from our valued partner, Global SOF Foundation. 

 

THF + Q3 Raider Patch: “Transition: The Next Ridgeline”

The Honor Foundation is excited to be part of a quarterly series in the Raider Patch titled, Transition:  The Next Ridgeline, sharing takeaways and advice from the THF Alumni in the Raider community. The first feature in the Q3 issue focused on “Networking Virtually” with Jason Hadaway. Flip to page 22 to read his full article.

Another THF Alumni, Garret Harrell, is also profiled in this issue. Turn to page 29 to learn more about his transition experience, resources that he found useful, advice to future transitioning Raiders, and what he does today.

Thank you to the Marine Raider Association, one of our valued Community Partners, for this great opportunity to contribute to your publication each quarter.

Patch 3rdQ20 148

THF Veteran’s Day Tribute Workout

Roughly 2,500 Special Operators transition out of service annually. Often underutilized in the private sector of business and entrepreneurship, our programs allow the industry to effectively recruit and deploy this talent pool. The Honor Foundation, a career transition institute for U.S. Special Operations Forces, exists to serve these men and women through their transition, and assist in finding a purpose-filled and mission-driven career post their unique military service.

Please join The Honor Foundation and Crossfit for a fun workout to pay tribute to all U.S. Veteran’s. This event can be done virtually or at your local Crossfit gym.

Workout details will be posted the day of the event.

Join the workout and support THF by visiting this link!

         

 

THF Featured in Ranch & Coast

The Honor Foundation was recently featured in the October 2020 issue of Ranch & Coast magazine in San Diego. The article includes THF Founder Joe Musselman, VP of Programs Joe Lara, VP of People Tori Campbell and THF Alumni John Goodson.

Read the full article and publication here.

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Spotlight on Arclight

 

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?

James Green:  You must take advantage of every resource available to you and your family during this time in your life.  I encourage you all to make networking your new hobby and spend 99.9% of your time networking outside the military. 

Andrew Murphy:  If you don’t already have one, get a degree now!  Talk to as many people as possible from as many different industries as possible.  Decide what is important to you (location, role, industry, company, etc) and prioritize.  Deciding what you want to do can be more difficult than landing a job.  Utilize the resources available.  THF was the first and most impactful resource I took advantage of, but there are many more and you are only limited by the amount of time that you can devote to each.  Finally, I would say get ahead of it early.  Transition is not typically something that sneaks up on you.  Prioritize your transition during the last 6-12 months of service time and be aggressive about it.

Jeff Eaton, Arclight:  List out what you enjoy and what excites you.  Research types of companies, roles, industries that fit that.  If you can do what you love it is not work.

Q2 What experience shaped who you are?

JG:  The military and especially my time in special operations played a major part in shaping who I am today. Every leader I have had plays a part in who I am and who I will become. I strive to take a little from every leader I have served with and under. 

AM:  I don’t know if there was any one experience that shaped who I am.  The culmination of experiences shaped who I am.  Although becoming a Marine and a Raider had definite impacts, I would say my family and the ongoing experience of being a father to two boys drives many of my actions.

JE:  The last 25 years.  I learned the value of hard work starting in college with working to pay for it.  After college I started at the bottom and had to work hard to advance and took every opportunity given to me no matter how much work it was going to be.  I took risks with changing careers, joining a startup, and the biggest of all being leaving a stable job to start ArcLight.   Through all this hard work was and is the key. 

Q3 What is your favorite interview question?

JG: Tell me about yourself. I like to use this time to tell my story. It is such a broad question that everyone should capitalize on the opportunity to make a connection with your interviewer. 

AM: My favorite interview question is “do you have any questions for me?”  Only because this means the interviewer is finished asking me anything and I can relax a little and learn more about the role and company.

JE: I have 2 depending on the role I’m interviewing for.  I like to have someone pick something they are an inexpert in and tell me everything they know about it; I’m looking to see how they can explain it to me if I’m not an expert.  I also like to know the last new thing the person learned; I’m looking to see the desire to learn new things.

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

JG:  As a Project Manager at ArcLight, you are constantly juggling multiple projects, clients, resources, and critical timelines. Just like in the SOF community, you need to be able to achieve the desired effects ranging from tactical to strategic. You are dealing with numerous complex issues daily that could have devastating effects internally and externally.  The leadership team is looking at you, the PM, to have the ability to understand the issue, decide, act on that decision, and ensure that a holistic approach was taken. You are the face of ArcLight to many of these big companies, just like when you are down range on a team. You have to get the job done while keeping the population happy, on the client side and internally, and continue to put food not only on your table but for everyone on the team. 

AM:  The role is completely different.  However, the teamwork that is embedded in the culture here at ArcLight is the first thing that comes to mind.  From my first day, I truly felt part of a team and consistently had people reaching out to offer any assistance I could use.

Q5 What makes the culture at your company special?

JG:  There are a couple of factors that make the culture at ArcLight special, one being the people. Everyone here has a passion and drive for their specific craft. Everyone continues to sharpen their skills and improve in areas they may have a deficit in. Second, is the support offered at every level within the company. Anyone and everyone is willing to support and help in every way, no matter what they might have going on in their personal lives. Having these key attributes within our company culture makes every day better no matter the situation around you. 

AM:  ArcLight’s culture is special because the company is full of high performing individuals that have perfected a way to work together remotely.  Everyone from a new hire to the partners is willing and able to go the extra mile to help each other out or accomplish a task.  

JE:  Collaboration.  Everyone is willing to help each other and put others first.

Q6 What question are you asked more than any other?

JG:  As a PM the one question that I get asked multiple times a week is “Am I sure this timeline is correct?”

JE:  What would you do?

Q7 What drives you every day?

JG:  The want to constantly improve myself and to give back to those around me. I strive to help someone daily through a hard time or a situation they may be stuck on or going through. Unless you live in a silo alone, the chances of you encountering someone in need of support or maybe just guidance is extremely high. Whether that is someone you have contact with daily or maybe someone you only interact with for a brief moment. I want to make that person’s day just a little easier and support them in any way I can. 

AM:  My family drives me every day.  Outside of the necessity to provide for them, my aim is to instill an attitude of always trying to achieve more and work harder.  I cannot do that by working 9-5 and then sitting on the couch for the rest of the day.

JE:  To deliver our best to our customers.

Q8 What book do you find most valuable?

JG:  Well, first, would be Start With Why by Simon Sinek. This book was introduced to me during my cohort at The Honor Foundation. The ability to understand the “why” first has changed the way I view almost everything I do now. The other two books that I find extremely valuable are Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin and Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. These are books for everyone, no matter where you are in life or your career. 

AM:  There are many books out there for determining a career path or industry, but once I had an idea of what I wanted to do, I found The 2-Hour Job Search by Steve Dalton to be extremely beneficial.  The book breaks down an extremely efficient method of tracking companies of interest, who and how to reach out to people, what to talk about, etc.  It is a very quick read and would be my recommendation for a book every transitioning service member should pick up.

JE:  Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.  In the early startup years of ArcLight I read this and was inspired that success does not happen overnight and it is a messy chaotic journey to embrace.

Q9 What is a lesson you learned the hard way?

JG:  That not all leaders are true leaders. I have seen a lot of “leaders” holding a title that put them into that position. This is especially true in the military where a rank is what makes you a leader in many ways. Trusting that those leaders have the team’s best interest in mind even when you watch them daily make decisions that only benefit that individual down the line and continues to segregate the team members. The lesson I learned is that a title, rank, birth, or anything such as that does not make you a leader. There are “leaders” out there who are only looking out for themselves and are only looking out for the team enough to get them to the next level. 

JE:  Success does not come easy or overnight.

Q10 What defines a leader?

JG:  A leader is someone who spends their day doing whatever is necessary to make the team successful. They spend the time understanding their team members so that they can always support them to the utmost. Leadership is not a 9 to 5 or a switch that gets turned on when you go to work. A true leader practices the art of leadership constantly with no breaks and continues to refine the craft. Leadership is not something that can be mastered. It is an ever-evolving art that changes from day to day, year to year, and person to person. No one approach to leadership will fit every whole. The way a person leads daily must also evolve with each meeting, encounter, and issue.  

AM:  A leader is willing to put everything on the line for their people.  They provide top cover while giving others the opportunity to strive.  They articulate a goal or vision and can motivate others toward that goal.  Finally, a leader holds others accountable while also showing empathy and looking at situations from a different angle.

JE:  A leader is someone that can inspire and provide guidance to those around them to meet business objectives.

Q11 What is your favorite quote?

JG:  “You can either experience the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The choice is yours.” — Unknown 

JE:  Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” — Henry Ford

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

JE:  Learn the job quickly for the team’s and companies benefit, can be counted on in good and hard times to get the job done, and understands team above self. 

Julie Bowers, Arclight:  With having both James and Andrew on board now, I knew that I could expect teamwork from both of them.  I was not prepared for how quickly they adapted to the ArcLight way of going about things and understanding the product they are supporting.  They are quick to get up to speed, not afraid to ask for help or guidance, are always giving 100% and looking for ways to improve what they are doing.