Skip to content

Tag Archives: spotlight on

Spotlight on 8×8

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jake Miller (JM):  

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Q2  What experience shaped who you are?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q3  What is your favorite interview question?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

Q5  What makes the culture at your company special?

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

JM:  Leaders and managers value their people.

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

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

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

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

Q6  What question are you asked more than any other?

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

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

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

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

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

Q7  What drives you every day?

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

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

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

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

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

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

SW:  My team!

Q8  What book do you find most valuable?

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

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

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

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

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

 

Q9  What is a lesson you learned the hard way?

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

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

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

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

Q10  What defines a leader?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q11  What is your favorite quote?

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

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

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

SW:  What the F***?!?; Onward; 

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

SF:  “Work smarter, not harder.”

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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.

 

Spotlight on Greensea

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

Q2 What experience shaped who you are?

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

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

 

 

Q3 What is your favorite interview question?

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Q5 What makes the culture at your company special?

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

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

Q6 What question are you asked more than any other?

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

 

 

Q7 What drives you every day?

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

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

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

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

 

 

Q9 What book do you find most valuable?

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

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

Q10 What is a lesson you learned the hard way?

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

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

 

 

Q11 What defines a leader?

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

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

 

 

Q12 What is your favorite quote?

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

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

 

 

Spotlight On 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.

 

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.”

 

 

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.

Spotlight on nCino

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?

Mark George: This will be foreign, but as much as you can, take time to focus on yourself. Do nothing for a little while and get reacquainted with your family. When you can tell you are getting on your spouse/significant other’s nerves, then it is time to get back after it. Also, plan plenty of time for the VA. I am four months out and still trying to get everything straight. Be sure to grow and cultivate your network – when people tell you they will help (to make introductions), take them up on it.

nCino: We understand that those transitioning from military to civilian life are juggling many priorities, and we encourage those transitioning to be open and honest with their managers. It is important that they feel empowered to verbalize if they need time off or a more flexible work schedule as they adjust. We also encourage our veterans to stay connected, finding a coworker or group of coworkers who have a similar background and experience transitioning to the civilian work/life. Camaraderie is important. 

Q2  What is your favorite interview question?

MG: What sales experience do you have?

nCino: nCino’s culture is built on six core values, one of which is to “Always bring Your A-Game”.  In interviews, we love to hear how potential employees brought their A-game to a situation, or “Made someone’s Day” – another value that’s really important to our company culture. 

Q3  What similarities did you find between your role at nCino and your previous experience in the SOF community?

MG: Definitely still leading, but just in a different way.  My FID training/deployed experiences have been invaluable, especially in sales.  The ability to build rapport, cultivate relationships, and navigate the human terrain are essential skills and can’t be faked.  

Q4  What makes the culture at your company special?

MG: From my first day, everyone has bent over backwards to assist and ensure my success. The success of the individual means the success of the team and everyone bands together to make it happen.  From the top down there is a tremendous amount of transparency and communication.  In the military we talk often of “big boy/girl rules” and autonomy — nCino truly offers that.  Additionally, nCino is very philanthropically-driven, giving back non-profits and to the local community.  Each employee is encouraged use two paid days per year to volunteer and support a charity or organization of their choosing. 

nCino: We have an incredible culture at nCino, and that’s because we have incredible people who are committed to preserving it. We hire people who embody and add to our core values and who can bring something unique to the team. Our employees support and trust each other and because of that, everyone has the confidence to do their best work. 

Q5  What question are you asked more than any other?

MG: The question I get most often is “Do you miss the Marine Corps?” “Why sales?” is a close second.

Q6  What drives you everyday?

MG: I am hypercompetitive, so I try to bring my “A-game” and help the team.  This sounds cliché, but I really enjoy helping others. Particularly, those trying to help themselves – the hand-up versus the handout!

Q7  What unanticipated skills, talent, and/or competencies did you gain for employing Special Operators at your organization?

nCino: Each veteran hired to work at nCino brings a special skill set to our company. Many are outstanding leaders, they know how to manage complicated projects, can motivate other employees and have a competitive mindset that encourages their fellow coworkers to bring their A-game every day. 

Q8  What book do you find most valuable?

MG: Candide by Voltaire

Q9  What is a lesson you learned the hard way?

MG: Listen and think before you speak.

Q10  What defines a leader?

MG: One who knows who he/she is leading and tailors that leadership to the individual.  One in charge who learns individuals’ strengths and assesses the best way to maximize those strengths, task accordingly, and achieve the greatest results. 

Q11  What is your favorite quote?

MG: “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.”  — Abraham Lincoln