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Tag Archives: transitioning 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!

 

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.

Spotlight on Dataminr

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Q2:  What experience shaped who you are?

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

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

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

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

Q3:  What is your favorite interview question?

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Q5:  What makes the culture at your company special?

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Q7:  What drives you every day?

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

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

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

 

Q8:  What book do you find most valuable?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Q10:  What defines a leader?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q11:  What is your favorite quote?

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

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

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

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

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

 

THF Featured in Air Force Times

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

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

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

Read the full article HERE.

THF + Surefox North America 2022 Partnership

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release February 28, 2022

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

About The Honor Foundation

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

About Surefox North America

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

 

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

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The Honor Journal: Winter 2021

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

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

THF 2021 Winter Newsletter

Spotlight on Greensea

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

Q2 What experience shaped who you are?

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

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

 

 

Q3 What is your favorite interview question?

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Q5 What makes the culture at your company special?

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

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

Q6 What question are you asked more than any other?

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

 

 

Q7 What drives you every day?

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

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

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

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

 

 

Q9 What book do you find most valuable?

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

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

Q10 What is a lesson you learned the hard way?

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

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

 

 

Q11 What defines a leader?

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

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

 

 

Q12 What is your favorite quote?

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

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

 

 

Spotlight on National Speed

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

Q2 What experience shaped who you are?

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

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

Q3 What is your favorite interview question?

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

Q5 What makes the culture at your company special?

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

 

 

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

Q6 What question are you asked more than any other?

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

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

 

 

Q7 What drives you every day?

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

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

Q8 What book do you find most valuable?

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

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

Q9 What is a lesson you learned the hard way?

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

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

 

 

Q10 What defines a leader?

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

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

 

 

Q11 What is your favorite quote?

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

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

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

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

 

THF Featured on SOFcast Podcast

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

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

Click to listen to the full interview HERE.

The Honor Journal: Summer 2021

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

THF Summer Newsletter 2021_Digital

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.

Matt Stevens Featured on the Everyday Coach Podcast

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

 

 

Listen NOW:

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

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.

 

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.

 

THF Partners with Big Sky Bravery

The Honor Foundation (THF) is excited to partner with Big Sky Bravery (BSB) — a civilian-based organization dedicated to providing members of the Special Operations Forces with post-deployment decompression programs in Montana’s restorative surroundings. Their programs are tailored to meet the unique needs of these elite military members by building trust, brotherhood, and friendships at this critical time in their lives as a means to improve their psychological and emotional well-being.

As both THF and BSB focus on The Special Operations Community, this partnership will highlight the strength of world-class nonprofits providing unique services throughout the Operators’ entire career.

Matt Stevens, THF CEO, on the partnership:

“We’re excited to work with Josh and the team at Big Sky Bravery to provide the SOF participants in their program with the transition assistance they need.  We’ll be prepared to serve every single one of them when the time is right for them and set them up for success as they transition out of uniform and into their next great adventure in life.”

Big Sky Bravery was founded on the belief that a debt of gratitude is owed to the members of our military’s active duty Special Operations Forces. Josh McCain, Founder and President of the nonprofit, expressed his excitement for the collaboration between the organizations.

“We are thrilled to partner with and incorporate The Honor Foundation into our programs.  We can always give more to the SOF community, and after being a witness over the past six years to the great struggles they face with transitioning, I have no doubt this partnership will move mountains for them.”

To learn more about Big Sky Bravery, please visit their website at bigskybravery.org.

THF + Q4 Raider Patch: “Transition: The Next Ridgeline”

The Honor Foundation is part of a quarterly series in the Raider Patch titled, Transition:  The Next Ridgeline, sharing takeaways and advice from the THF Alumni in the Raider community.

Our second feature in the Q4 2020 issue focused on “The Networking Power of LinkedIn ” with John Logan. Flip to page 17 to read his full article.

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

 

Patch 4thQ20 print

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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