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Beyond the Uniform
43 minutes | Sep 20, 2021
BTU #407 - True Made Foods (Abe Kamarck)
Why Listen: I enjoyed this conversation; Abe's honesty, his directness in revealing the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, as well as the many pivots that he's experienced in his own life. He started True Made Foods seven years ago when he was 38. He had four kids. It was not necessarily in line with what he did in his background. They are growing rapidly. They were named one of the top 10 most innovative food companies of 2021. In this interview, I appreciated how he talked about how most people get jobs through their network, not the front door. And when you leave the military, you're almost starting with an empty network. He talks about how big-name degrees at big schools don't solve everything. He talks about going to Bulgaria and taking over a plastics company to do turnaround work. He also talks about how his four kids were eating ketchup and he couldn't get them to stop. So he wanted to address a problem around his table. I love what he shares about saying no to growth and being honest about when you're ready to grow. About Abe: Abe is the CEO and Founder at True Made Foods. Prior to True Made Foods he had an eight-year career as a Naval Aviator, where he deployed around the world and for OIF. Post Navy, Abe lived and worked as an entrepreneur in emerging and frontier markets, including China, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Ghana, Uganda and Lebanon. He launched multiple businesses in difficult environments and helped raise debt and equity capital for SMEs in Africa and China.
56 minutes | Sep 13, 2021
BTU #406 - A Well Designed Financial Plan (Imperium Capital)
Why Listen: Normally on the show, I have a military veteran as my guest. We talk about what they do, how they got there, and advice to others seeking to do the same. Today I am doing that, but with three guests, two Army and West Point grads, one Naval Academy and fellow Submariner, who joined forces to found Imperium Capital. There's a lot that I love about this interview. It is a blend of talking about financial planning and tips that anyone listening can apply to their career to get themselves more financial freedom and stability, as well as a lot about entrepreneurship and building up the skill sets. Here are a couple of things that stood out to me. First of all, I love the story of how they met and decided to start this company. And you're going to get three different perspectives on what drew these people to the finance industry and also to entrepreneurship. They are three different versions with some overlap, which was cool to see. What I love, as well, is that they each had clarity and what they were wanting in their career. And that plays a role in financial planning; they talked about the clarity you need when it comes to finances. But you can also see that clarity applied in each of their career journeys. One thing that I learned in this interview was how you can take risks in your career outside of the military in a way that you might not be able to in the military, and how it's a way to get insights around what you like and dislike, and how it gives you room to explore. We talk about the advantages of working within a big company and learning a trade skill set before going on to entrepreneurship. We talked about interviewing companies rather than being interviewed by them. We talk a lot about finances, and just a lot of things that are top of mind for me, as I grow my family. And I know you will benefit from that as well. About Imperium Capital’s team: Christopher Rojewski started out at West Point in 2011. He served in the Army for eight years. And then he spent two and a half years between New York Life Insurance and Northwestern Mutual. Then he co-founded a company called Imperium Capital, which we're going to talk about today. Brandon Stevenson was at West Point in 2007, ten years in the Army, and then four years at Northwestern Mutual. Nicholas Birger was at the Naval Academy, the oddball of the group. He went to Harvard Kennedy School, close to nine years on submarines, and then at Northwestern Mutual.
9 minutes | Sep 11, 2021
Reflections on September 11th
Janell Hanf sent me an email yesterday morning asking about my experience at the Naval Academy on September 11th. Here is a quick episode sharing more about that experience and my hope this day to honor those who lost their lives that day, those who served that day, and those drawn to service thereafter.
42 minutes | Sep 6, 2021
BTU #405 - Taking a Company Public During a Pandemic (Bruce Cleveland)
Why Listen: As an entrepreneur focused on marketing, it was an extreme honor to interview today's guest, Bruce Cleveland. Bruce is an absolute Silicon Valley legend, having worked in operational roles at companies including Oracle, Apple, and Siebel Systems. In addition to that, he has worked in venture capital for 15 years, where he has personally generated over a billion dollars in returns. This includes his work at InterWest Partners, one of the most respected VCs in the world, but also as the founder of Wildcat Venture Partners where he worked for five years. He is now the Chief Marketing Officer of a company called C3.ai. He just took that company public. It was founded by Tom Siebel of Siebel Systems, who has now created three different billion-dollar ventures. We talk about marketing, the CMO role, artificial intelligence, venture capital, and more. As always, at beyondtheuniform.org you'll find show notes with links to everything we discuss, as well as a lot of books and great resources that Bruce recommended. About Bruce: Bruce Cleveland is the Chief Marketing Officer at C3.ai, a leading enterprise AI software provider for accelerating digital transformation with nearly 700 employees listed on LinkedIn. C3.ai raised over $228 million before going public in December of 2020. Bruce started out at West Point with the class of 1980. He left early to pursue a career in technology including time at Oracle, Apple, Siebel Systems, nine years as a General Partner at investment firm InterWest Partners and more.
52 minutes | Aug 30, 2021
BTU #404 - Leading at the Highest Level (LTG Robert Caslen)
Why Listen: It is always intimidating speaking with a flag officer. And that all said General Caslen made that so easy. He's such a gracious man. He served for over 43 years in the military, including being Superintendent at West Point. He was at the Pentagon on 911. He snuck back in to assist with fighting fires and ensuring that his colleagues were safe. He has no shortage of unbelievable experiences in the military. After the military, he went on to become the president at the University of South Carolina, so continued leading at the highest level in a civilian capacity. We cover a lot of ground. We talked about mistakes he made in his transition out of the army. You've heard them before, but it's reassuring to hear them from someone at his level. We talk about the differences and similarities between military leadership, academic leadership. We talked about what it was like leading the University of South Carolina through COVID-19, and I appreciate the General's candor. We talked about his recent resignation from the school and just learning about that situation. There are some great takeaways there for anyone aspiring to lead at a high level. Then we talk about comfort zone, and I appreciate, in contrast, a lot of things we talked about previously, this sense of really being out of your comfort zone and being willing to fail, make mistakes, and to recover. About Robert: Robert Caslen is the former President of the University of South Carolina and the President of the University of South Carolina system, as well as the 59th Superintendent of the US Military Academy at West Point. He also serves as HigherEchelon Special Advisor on Executive Leadership and Character Development in his 43 years of military service in the United States Army. He has done far too much to ever encompass in a brief bio and we're going to touch on those things, including an unbelievable role in 911 and many other situations.
27 minutes | Aug 23, 2021
BTU #403 - Buying and Growing a Healthcare Company (Daniel Reese)
Why Listen: My guest today is an entrepreneur, but not the type that you usually think about. We've had a couple of guests on the show who have done what is called a search fund, which is what I thought I was doing most of my time at Business School. Rather than coming up with an idea, which many people struggle to do and starting your own company, a search fund enables you to raise money, to go out and find a company, usually a mom and pop type shops, something that's doing well that could use a new owner, new management, you purchase that company, and then grow it from there, which is what my guest today did. He purchased a company with 20 employees, and he's grown it to many more than that 20 employees. We talk a lot about that, his advice on search funds and advice on entrepreneurship, what it's like managing outside of the military versus inside of the military. Just really a lot of great advice for those of you considering entrepreneurship. About Nic: Daniel Reese is the CEO of IntellaTriage, the number one provider of tailored nurse triage solutions. After graduating from the Naval Academy, he served on nuclear submarines and then attended Harvard Business School. Daniel acquired IntellaTriage through an entrepreneurial vehicle called a search fund.
17 minutes | Aug 19, 2021
Inadvertent Viral Post (Paul David)
Why Listen: This is a quick short episode in between our normal format of Beyond the Uniform, which is me interviewing military veterans about their civilian career, what they did, how they got there, and advice for how you can do the same. So today’s guest is someone who is not a military veteran, but I love this story. It's something that I did for my company Captivate.ai., and I wanted to share it here as well. I put together a three-minute video that's worth checking out if you like Paul's story. So here's the backstory. I spent a lot of time on LinkedIn, and my company Captivate.ai does a lot with marketing technology. Last week, when I was on LinkedIn, I saw a post by a man called Paul David, who had gotten 200,000 likes on his post, which roughly translates to at least 6 million people who saw this post. So immediately, it caught my eye, and I reached out to Paul. First, I did a little bit of digging to see what he had been doing on social media, and what led to this literally overnight success. He will talk about this in the interview; he posted this at night, went to bed, and woke up, and he had 1000s of people who had messaged him, so I wanted to also reach out to him and learn more about his story. I think this was a great story especially for those of you who are interested in marketing and promoting yourself, your business, your product, whatever it is. It's just interesting for me to hear the stories of how people have managed to get attention. But I also think it's a great reminder of the power of knowing who you are in being authentic and courageously vulnerable. And Paul exhibits all of those things.
44 minutes | Aug 16, 2021
BTU #402 - Find Your Mission (Nic McKinley)
Why Listen: This is one of the more energizing conversations I've had on the show. In addition to serving in the Air Force, working in the State Department, serving in the CIA, and now running two different companies - one of them designed to fight human trafficking - Nic is needless to say, an amazing human being. As a founder of two companies, his biggest advice to entrepreneurs is to not start a company. We talk about how success is opportunity meeting preparation, and how oftentimes we focus on motivation when we should be focused on preparedness and the reasons why we are doing things. We talk a lot about mission and some of the best tactical advice I've heard from a guest about how to specifically and tactically uncover your next mission. We talk about the choices that we make every single day and how we have limited opportunities and being precise in what we say yes to, and better and more important, what we say no to. We talk about not just having compassion and empathy lead the tears, but having that lead to motivation. We talk about so much on this show. And I think it's one of the few episodes I would say is worthy of three or four listens. About Nic: Nic McKinley is the Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of VERAFĪ, a private intelligence and due diligence firm specializing in collecting, analyzing, and presenting intelligence so you can make confident decisions about key hires and investments. He is also the Founder and CEO of DeliverFund, a nonprofit private intelligence firm that disrupts human trafficking markets by providing intelligence and delivering specialized analytics about human trafficking activities to law enforcement authorities. He is a 10-year veteran of the US Air Force, where he served as both pararescuemen and as a pararescue instructor and a pararescue team leader. He has also worked for both the US Department of State as well as the Central Intelligence Agency.
48 minutes | Aug 9, 2021
BTU #401 - Taking Care of Your People (Trier Bryant)
Why Listen: For those of you who smoke cigars, and you know the phrase knuckle burner - this is a knuckle burner of an episode. I went in trying to keep this to 30 minutes, but we used 58 minutes for this conversation. It's because Trier has so many great points about so many different topics. You'll learn about her career. She's the co-founder and CEO of a company called Just Work. She has a tremendous amount of experience at Goldman Sachs, Twitter, other great organizations around people management, and she has so much great advice about taking care of your people, which is something our audience knows well. But doing that outside of the military blind spots, you may have to talk about empathy in very tactical ways and share stories that I found compelling. She talked about language-specific language to use to create openers within the civilian workforce of getting to know your team and making it an inclusive environment. We talk about entrepreneurship. Despite starting two different organizations, Trier talks about how she doesn't consider herself an entrepreneur, how she's much more interested in scaling something than building it. We talk about how you may not be unique in the military, but you are a unicorn when you get out of the military - the concept of followership again. About Trier: Trier Bryant is the co-Founder and CEO of Just Work, which works with leaders and teams of all sizes across a range of industries creating more effective organizations where respect and collaboration combine to produce just workplaces yielding exceptional results. She started out at the Air Force Academy, served in the Air Force for 7 years, and has held roles at Goldman Sachs, Twitter, SigFig, Astra, and more.
40 minutes | Aug 2, 2021
BTU #400 - Up Your Influence (Josh Elledge)
Why Listen: I think it's amazing this conversation I had with Josh because most of it is about adding value and - what he calls - leveraging generosity for marketing and sales. And what's crazy for me is that the way that I met Josh a couple of months ago was through a connection, and I even forget how I met him. I run a company Captivate.ai that works all in marketing, and Josh is such an expert in sales systems and marketing. I think that this is a little bit different from a typical episode. We don't talk a lot about career transition. But we talk about getting attention, using marketing and sales in a way that's authentic and genuine and doesn't feel icky, is probably the best word I can use. One thing you'll take away from this episode is just a lot of great ideas about an authentic way to get attention, to market, to do sales, to get your message across, whether that's personal or professional. Second of all, I think that Josh is an incredible entrepreneur, and I admire him. I've been doing podcasting for four years, and I often feel like an old hat at this. Josh has been doing it for 14 years, a full decade longer than I have. His thoughts on entrepreneurship, on media, PR, all of these different things; there's just a goldmine here. About Josh: Josh is the founder and CEO of Up My Influence, which provides step-by-step tools, coaching, and public relation hacks for entrepreneurs to dramatically increase their sales by attracting their perfect audience, all at a fraction of the cost of traditional PR services. Since serving in the Navy as a broadcast journalist, he has founded and led multiple companies including SavingsAngel, and the Josh Elledge Consulting Company. Josh has been podcasting for 14 years - most people don't even know that podcasting has been around for that long - and he has had over 2000 media appearances.
48 minutes | Jul 26, 2021
BTU #399 - Consumer Packaged Goods (Kurt Schmidt)
Why Listen: Well, my guest today is an absolute Rockstar. There's a couple of reasons to listen. First of all, he started his career in marketing. He has been at the helm of very senior companies, including Kraft Foods, Wrigley, Novartis, Nestle, The Blue Buffalo Company. He's on the board of Campbell Soup. He took Blue Buffalo public. He was the head of Gerber when it was acquired by Nestle. He has an incredible history, and part of his advice is just focusing on the job in front of you, not having a sense of where you want to go. But not planning out every step and just knocking out of the park whatever job you're working on, tons to learn from his description of his previous jobs. His current role is at the Chronos Group, which is in the cannabis space, they do 50 million in sales, 1.2 billion in cash. It really speaks to the credibility of this as an industry, why veterans may consider it as a career path. And just hearing what it's like after decades of being at the helm of very large companies. What it's like to take a more entrepreneurial twist and be at the helm of a very, very, relatively small company. About Kurt: Kurt is now the CEO of the Cronos Group, which is an innovative global cannabinoid company with international production and distribution across five different continents. Since graduating from the Naval Academy, he has held senior positions at Kraft Foods, Wrigley, Novartis, Nestle, The Blue Buffalo Company, and Campbell Soup Company. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago, and Kurt spent 14 years working internationally in Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, and Australia.
38 minutes | Jul 19, 2021
BTU #398 - A Future Built on Trust (Leemon Baird)
50 minutes | Jun 14, 2021
BTU #397 - Depression to Expression (Scott Ste Marie)
43 minutes | Jun 7, 2021
BTU #396 - Approaching Networking From a Generous Standpoint (Shawn Olds)
Why Listen: I just wrapped up my conversation with Shawn, and it was so enjoyable. There were a couple of things that stood out to me. One was his great quote about always being ready for opportunities and embracing the right thing. His story is so incredible, from this perspective, starting with his unexpected medical discharge from the military, to a winding road through consulting and startups, and ultimately back to startups and starting his own company. It just really shows you the power of resilience, but also the power of being open to unexpected deviations in your career, which will inevitably happen. Second of all, we talk a lot about networking. He gives a couple of really poignant examples where 10 to 20 years after meeting someone, he and people in his network, reconnect in a way that alters their career. It really gets away from this transactional thought of networking and moves toward something that veterans excel at, which is genuinely meeting people, enjoying them, and being generous. To that point, immediately after recording, Shawn asked me, “How can I help you with your company Captivate.ai?” It was just so powerful to see him immediately and genuinely putting to use his principle - approaching networking from a generous and giving standpoint. We talk about grad school, he gives an example of a friend who sold his company for $240 million and then went to business school. He underscores this thought by showing that there is no “one right size fits all” approach to education and your career journey. It's about learning and serendipity. Finally, we talk about his own startup journey and the milestones achieved along the way as he created and continues to build his company. I did something for the first time in this interview, which is a kind of live mentorship where I asked him a specific question about my company Captivate.ai. I think his answer will benefit anyone interested in entrepreneurship. As always at BeyondTheUniform.org. You'll find a lot of great resources all for free, over 395 episodes, just like this one, and we've got episodes lined up for every single week going forward. So I'm really excited about that. So with that, let's dive into my conversation with Shawn Olds at boodleAI. About Shawn: Shawn Olds is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at boodleAI, which specializes in Enriched Analytics for sales, marketing and fundraising teams. boodleAI is on a mission to democratize data, making it faster and easier for ALL organizations to locate their best leads and prospects in any contact list. By using advanced data enrichment and predictive insight analytics, boodleAI clients have already experienced significant lifts in conversion, engagement, and retention rates. boodleAI has over 30 employees, has raised $3M in funding, and is located in Tysons, VA. Shawn holds a B.S. from West Point, an MBA from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, and a JD from Northwestern's Pritzker School of Law.
42 minutes | May 31, 2021
BTU #395 - Purpose Driven Entrepreneurship (Joe Ross @ HigherEchelon)
Why Listen: I just wrapped up recording this episode, and it will cost me about $60 in books, or maybe $5 in late fees from the library because there were so many great books that Joe recommended. Here are a couple things that stood out to me from this interview. And first of all, make sure you check out the show notes for this episode at BeyondTheUniform.org. In addition to a link to Joe's company, HigherEchelon, there are also links to all of the books he describes, as well as an interview we did with Taylor justice years ago, who you'll learn was one of the founding members of the HigherEchelon team and has gone on to found UniteUS, which has exploded, absolutely exploded as a company. So a couple of things that I really liked from this interview, the first one is that Joe has a great perspective on entrepreneurship. And he and his other two co-founders started by only investing $1,000 into this company, and they made the commitment that they would not join the company full time until it could pay their salary, you know, at a competitive rate. And it took three or four years to get there. And I feel like this is so contrary to what I would call bad advice I so often see of "burning bridges", "jumping off", Carpe Diem, seize the moment to start the company, all of these things that I think are potentially really harmful for aspiring entrepreneurs. That's one thing that I think is great. The second though, is that HigherEchelon is a company that is all about enhancing company and individual performance. And Joe gives a lot of great frameworks that are applicable to your career in life, no matter what that lifestyle is, whatever that career path is. He talks about things like people process and technology, and constantly learning about which one to focus on in your life or organization. He talks about the values that drive his companies, which I'm going to start borrowing, which is learn grow, adapt, and lead and why that's so important. He does a lot of work with transition assistance and talks about mindsets that he sees in military veterans. And I found that really helpful as well. There's a lot of goodness here. And so be sure to to check out this episode. As always at beyond the uniform.org. You'll find a lot of great resources all for free, over 394 episodes, just like this one, and we've got episodes lined up for every single week going forward. So really excited about that. So with that, let's dive in to my conversation with Joe Ross at HigherEchelon About Joe: Dr. Joe Ross is the President and Co-Founder of HigherEchelon, a service-disabled veteran-owned, human and organizational performance consulting firm that works with both public and private sector clients to enhance performance. HigherEchelon has over 150 employees in 25 different states with the corporate office in Arlington, VA, but Headquarters in Huntsville, AL. Joe started HigherEchelon over 10 years ago with his business partner, Paul Maggiano. Joe holds a B.S. from West Point, a Masters of Education in Psychology and Athletic Consulting from Springfield College, and a Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Walden University. Amidst all of this, he also found the time to serv as the Assistant Football Coach at West Point from 2009-2012.
50 minutes | May 17, 2021
How to Create a Clear Brand Message (Ryan Rhoten)
47 minutes | May 10, 2021
You Deserve It (Brian Reese)
Brian Reese is a leading expert on and advocate for U.S. veterans’ benefits. A former active-duty Air Force officer, he deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. He is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy and earned his MBA as a National Honor Scholar from the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University. Brian is the Founder & CEO of VA Claims Insider, a Coaching and Consulting company whose mission is to educate and empower veterans to get the VA disability benefits they’ve earned for their honorable service.
44 minutes | May 3, 2021
391 - Deliberate Discomfort - Jason Van Camp
Jason Van Camp is the author of the book, Deliberate Discomfort, which is both a Wall Street Journal and 2x #1 Amazon Best Selling book. For the last 10+ years, he has run the consulting firm, Mission Six Zero, which dramatically improve sales performance, reduces costs, and wins by providing their client's teams with a new way of solving organizational problems. He is also the Executive Director of the 501-3c organization, Warrior Rising. He is a graduate of West Point, as well as Brigham Young University's Business School, and is a 14-year Veteran of the US Army, where he served in the Green Beret. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jason-van-camp-076a5339/ https://www.amazon.com/Deliberate-Discomfort-Operations-Comfortable-Uncomfortable/dp/1733428011 https://missionsixzero.com/ https://www.warriorrising.org/
4 minutes | Apr 8, 2021
April 2021 fan mail
Thanks for your support, BTU community! I got two emails this week I wanted to share with all of you.
48 minutes | Apr 5, 2021
BTU #390 - Special - Justin, Steve, Jeff B. and Jeff M. riff (The Agile Wire)
Today's episode is entirely different than our other 390 episodes. A while back, Jeff Maleski and Jeff Bubulz reached out to us and asked to have me and Steve Bane on their podcast - The Agile Wire - where they discuss adventures and misadventures on their continuing journey towards Agility. Steve and I both had a blast being on the other side of the microphone, as we both shared our perspectives on what we've learned from Beyond the Uniform, why Veterans are more flexible in the workplace than you'd think, and more.
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