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Tag Archives: military

THF Launches Program in Eglin!

On Wednesday, August 24, The Honor Foundation officially launched our presence in Eglin to serve the transitioning Special Operators of the Eglin Air Force Base. With the help of our valued partner, Wounded Warrior Project, the opening of our fifth physical location became a reality — an adventure to expand our reach to all members of the Special Operations Enterprise in the area.

Thank you to all those who attended this monumental event:  Kevin Rasch of Wounded Warrior Project; Trisha, Angela and Ashley of the Niceville/Valparasio Chamber of Commerce; Lacy Cole of the Care Coalition; John and Becky Darby of VFW Post 12204; THF Alumni; and all honored guests who were part of today and the establishment of THF Eglin. We could not have done this without you and we look forward to serving thousands of transitioning special operators in the years to come!

And a special shout out to 3rd Planet Brewing for hosting our celebration!

 

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.  

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 Alumnus Jason Goyanko Featured on Transition Drill Podcast

THF Alumnus Jason Goyanko, recently appeared on the Transition Drill podcast to chat about his military career, transition, and his current passions including fundraising for The Honor Foundation through the Swim for SOF event.

DIRECT LINK FOR PODCAST EPISODE 41: https://transitiondrillpodcast.libsyn…

PODCAST – LISTEN, WATCH, AND SUBSCRIBE https://linktr.ee/TransitionDrillPodcast

THF Nashville Dinner + Writers’ Round

You are invited to an exclusive dinner featuring stories behind the men in uniform, followed by a Nashville Writers’ Round.

Live Music Entertainment by Jo Smith

Writers’ Round will feature hit songs performed by the original songwriters:

Brice Long

Mark Nesler

Wynn Varble

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact renee@honor.org.

 

Live Entertainment:

Jo Smith:

“Named one of Rolling Stone’s 10 New Artists You Need To Know in 2017 and CMT’s Next Women of Country 2018— is a soulful and gritty songwriter from south Georgia, and she makes music that is an extension of herself. A passionate storyteller, Jo remains inspired by the countless hours she spent spinning her dad’s vast collection of vinyl records as a child growing up on her family’s cattle farm.”

 

Writers’ Round:  Biographies 

Brice Long:

Brice Long, a Hopkinsville native now singing and songwriting in Nashville, is also a philanthropist himself! His Back2Back concert series helps provide the essentials to those in need in the community he was raised in. His music portfolio includes cuts with Garth Brooks, Chris Stapleton, Jon Pardi, Hank Williams Jr, George Strait, Randy Houser, Josh Turner, Reba McEntire, Gary Allan, Chris Young, Tracy Byrd, Randy Travis, Cody Johnson, Gretchen Wilson, John Michael Montgomery and more.

Mark Nesler:

Mark Nesler has had his share of #1 hits, including Tim McGraw’s “Just to See You Smile”, George Strait’s “Go On” and “Living and Living Well”, Darryll Worley’s “I Miss My Friend” to name a few. Mark continues to write every day and is one of Nashville’s most successful and respected songwriters and artists.

Wynn Varble:

Wynn Varble, 2009’s Nashville Songwriters Association’s Songwriter of the Year Award, is also no stranger to #1 songs. All three of his #1 songs were nominated for “Song of the Year” by the CMA/ACM. He has written for and with Garth Brooks, Cody Johnson, Trace Adkins, Willie Nelson, Mark Chesnutt, Kellie Pickler, Lee Ann Womack, and many others.

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:

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/

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

 

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.

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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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…

 

 

The Honor Foundation Selected for Second Phase of 2021 WWP Partnerships

Wounded Warrior Project Announces Second Phase of 2021 Veterans Service Organization Partnerships

WASHINGTONOct. 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — As part of its ongoing investments in best-in-class partner organizations, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) announced community partnership grants to 32 veteran and military service organizations. Among the organizations receiving grants, eight are first-time recipients. WWP’s support helps ensure that injured veterans and their families have access to a network of life-changing resources and support and thrive long term after their transition to civilian life and throughout their lives.

Learn more about WWP’s community partnerships.

“Our partnerships with other organizations are vital to building strong, resilient veteran families and communities,” said WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington. “We are stronger together, capable of doing more to support those we serve.”

WWP’s investment of more than $6.6 million will complement WWP’s programs and services by supporting:

  • brain and mental health
  • suicide prevention
  • specialized resources for women veterans
  • whole health and wellness programs
  • financial wellness resources
  • connection opportunities for warriors and their families

The organizations receiving grants are:

Since 2012, WWP has partnered with and helped fund 208 organizations that assist wounded veterans and families at the local and national level, connecting them with the resources they need to thrive in civilian life.

About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.

SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project

For further information: Mattison Brooks — Communications Specialist, mbrooks@woundedwarriorproject.org, 202.969.1120
Announcement can be found HERE.

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.

The Honor Foundation Testifies During House Veterans’ Affairs Hearing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2021                                                                                                          

The Honor Foundation Shares Military Pandemic Transition Outlook During House Veterans’ Affairs Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Honor Foundation (THF) CEO Matt Stevens appeared before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee today, providing testimony during a congressional hearing on military transition amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the existing challenges and stressors presented to transitioning service members and increased the difficulty of executing a [transition assistance] program,” said Stevens during his opening statement to the committee. “A service member’s last act of service to our country while in uniform should be to have an exceptionally positive transition. [They] should set the example for all of those in the next generation, as this will reinforce the idea to all who follow that the military as an institution ‘has their backs.’ This concept is ideal for recruiting, great for retention, and even better for the morale of those remaining in uniform.”

Stevens, a former Navy SEAL, fielded questions from members of the panel on the unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic on Special Operations Forces seeking to transition out of the military. Most specifically, he highlighted two critical factors most veterans face during transition: “Figuring out what they want to do next, how to talk about themselves, and develop their value proposition and personal narrative.”

The hearing, convened by the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, featured testimony from several other nonprofits and organizations, administration officials from the Department of Defense and Department of Labor, and others, in addition to Stevens.

The virtual hearing, along with Stevens’ full written testimony, can be found here.

About The Honor Foundation

The Honor Foundation (THF) is a career transition program for the U.S. Special Operations Forces community 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 1000+ graduates to-date and has campuses in San Diego, CA; Virginia Beach, VA; Camp Lejeune, NC; a virtual campus (THFv); and its fifth campus launching Fort Bragg, NC in the fall of 2021. The Navy SEAL Foundation is a Founding Partner of The Honor Foundation.

For more information about this press release, please contact Kathy Leming at kathy@honor.org.

Event Recap: The Next Course – Tampa

PRESS RELEASE

25 March 2021

The Honor Foundation, along with the Global SOF Foundation, Gathered Tampa Bay Business Leaders and U.S. Special Operators for Unique Networking Event 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021Tampa Bay, FL — The Honor Foundation (THF), a unique transition institute that serves the U.S. Special Operations community, hosted an exclusive networking event, The Next Course, with Event Sponsor Metis Solutions – A PAE Company, to connect members of the U.S. Special Operations community with business executives in Tampa. The event, held on St. Patrick’s Day at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, wrapped up the Global SOF Symposium and offered an opportunity for attendees to mingle over food and wine pairings and a silent auction in support of a good cause. 

The event kicked off numerous appetizer and cocktail stations, live music from Kaitlyn + Zach Duo, and a welcome from THF CEO Matt Stevens who introduced the special guest of the evening, RADM Mitch Bradley, Commanding Officer at Special Operations Command Central. 

Touching on how critical the Special Operations Forces is to the country, RADM Bradley spoke about leadership, the balance of risk to force versus risk to mission, and how the business and military communities symbiotically support the economic engine of our great nation.

“The SOF community provides a unique proving ground that tests the character and competency of its members; those with the strongest character and the highest competency rise through the ranks to become SOF leaders. Standing before many of you today who have made that journey is at the same time an honor and humbling. I wish you all the success and happiness that is your new mission as you pursue new challenges in the private sector. For all the reasons I described today, I know that this group is uniquely equipped to realize those goals. In short, it is good business for the business folks in the room to hire transitioning members of the SOF community.”

Rhett Jeppson, Director of External Military and Veterans Affairs at JP Morgan Chase & Co, followed with words of encouragement to the transitioning individuals in attendance and emphasized why The Honor Foundation is a veteran program of choice for JP Morgan to prepare transitioning military for success in the private sector.

The Next Course welcomed attendees of the GSOF Symposium as well as Tampa businesses and military supporters for an evening of networking and discussing career transition. Several THF Alumni were in attendance to share their experience of the program with potential future Fellows who are planning for their end of service. A silent auction with items including a limited edition bottle of Horse Soldier bourbon, a signed Tampa Bay Lightning jersey, and a custom, one-of-kind Blast Box from Valhalla’s Forge. 

Proceeds from the event benefited The Honor Foundation’s program to help veterans transition out of uniform and apply their skills, work ethic, and leadership to the private sector. 

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For more information about this press release, please contact Kathy Leming at kathy@honor.org

About The Honor Foundation

The Honor Foundation (THF) has developed a world-class transition institute for the U.S. Special Operations Forces community that, through a three-month program, 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. We do this by providing the tools that maximize our fellows’ potential and prepares them to succeed on their own. The Honor Foundation has campuses in San Diego, CA, Virginia Beach, VA, Camp Lejeune, NC (serving the Marine Raider community), and a virtual campus. The Navy SEAL Foundation is a Founding Partner of The Honor Foundation.

 

Harry J. Leonhardt, Esq. Elected Chairman of the Board of THF in 2021

For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Kathy Leming
kathy@honor.org
661.755.6984

THE HONOR FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES NEW CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Harry J. Leonhardt, Esq. Elected Chairman of the Board of the Foundation Starting in 2021

January 21, 2021 – (San Diego, CA) The Honor Foundation [THF], a unique nonprofit transition institute created for transitioning members of the U.S. Special Operations Forces community has just announced that Harry Leonhardt will assume the role of the Chairman of THF’s Board of Directors, effective immediately. For the last six and a half years, THF has successfully developed and implemented a nationally recognized transition program for elite members of the Special Operations Forces [SOF] Enterprise, helping them to navigate the complicated career transformation from military to civilian life. It accomplishes this via an executive education-style curriculum that combines world class one-on-one executive coaching and industry mentoring, three months of intensive class instruction, and access to an elite nationwide professional network. Leonhardt, who has served as Chairman of the Nominating and Governance Committee of THF’s Board for the last two years, has been a long-time supporter of The Honor Foundation and other military causes.

Leonhardt brings an extensive legal and executive management background as well as a history of philanthropic contributions to his new role. He currently serves as Chief Legal Officer, Chief Compliance Officer & Corporate Secretary at Poseida Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company specializing in the next wave of cellular and gene therapies, including CAR-T. He received his B. Sc. degree from The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and his Juris Doctorate from the USC School of Law.

Leonhardt is also a Patron and Sustaining Member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and is a member of the National Security Committee of that organization. He also serves as a member of the GTMO Task Force, whose mission is to monitor the GTMO proceedings to ensure compliance with the Military Commissions Act and to impact policy to assist in expediting and bringing greater visibility to the GTMO proceedings. He has served as a legal observer at Camp Justice in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba at the ongoing 9/11 terrorist trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammad and five other high-value 9/11 detainees.

Mr. Leonhardt has been an avid supporter of The Honor Foundation for several years serving as a THF Ambassador, in fundraising activities and as an industry mentor to numerous THF Fellows.

“As incoming Chairman, I’m privileged to work with my fellow board members, advisors and the dedicated THF Staff to build on the tangible success, and expand the reach, of this compelling organization. I would like to thank J. Scott Adams, our outgoing Chairman, for his outstanding contributions and commitment over the past two years. I will continue to rely on Scott as he will remain an active member on the THF Board moving forward.

The transformational THF transition program, which has already benefited 900+ Alumni, provides Special Operations personnel from four branches of the armed services (Navy SEALs, Army Rangers/Green Berets, Marine Raiders/MARSOC and Air Force SOF) with a comprehensive set of tools, backed by world class coaching and networking, to translate their considerable skills, talents and expertise into fulfilling and impactful leadership positions in the civilian workforce. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve and support these American heroes who, along with their families, have sacrificed so much for our security and welfare. This is especially so during these unusually challenging times. We firmly believe that the very characteristics that distinguish them as elite members of the Special Operations Forces will serve to benefit our nation’s workforce immeasurably — from entry level to the board room — for generations to come.”

Leonhardt is assuming the role of Chairman of the Board at an exciting time for THF as the organization continues to steadily expand its scale and impact while maintaining a high-touch, high-value experience and curriculum. To date, over 1200 individuals and families have benefitted from THF, either through the full transition program or through specially tailored workshops, to assist those in the SOF community who are looking to jumpstart their own transition journey. 

Matt Stevens, CEO of The Honor Foundation, who also serves on the THF Board of Directors prior to his current position, is excited to welcome Leonhardt as Chairman.

“Having worked with Harry over the past several years on the THF Board, I can think of no one better to lead the organization into the next phase of growth.  He has a demonstrated history of passionate support for military and veterans causes and specifically for the Special Operations Community. He has been a complete professional in every regard, and persistent beyond measure to improve our position every single day.  I am looking forward to working closely with him to positively impact the lives of even more service members throughout their transition.”

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About The Honor Foundation

The Honor Foundation (THF) is a career transition program for the U.S. Special Operations Forces community that effectively translates their elite military service to the private sector and helps create the next generation of corporate and community leaders. It provides a clear process for professional development and a diverse ecosystem of world class support and technology, and a program 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 over 900 graduates to date and has three physical campuses in San Diego, CA, Virginia Beach, VA, Camp Lejeune, NC, and a virtual campus (THFv). The Navy SEAL Foundation is the Founding Partner of The Honor Foundation.

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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.