Many guests on my show in the past have advised those on Active Duty to take care of their finances so that they have the time they need to find their ideal career. Well, today’s guest, as a financial advisor, has made it his profession to help people take control of their finances. He talks about financial advising as a career path, as well as what it has been like to start his own company.
For those interested in a career in Management Consulting, Kristen does a fantastic job of breaking down what the projects and day-to-day life are like, as well as very tactical steps to prepare for your interview. But even if you're not interested in consulting, Kristen has great advice on how to explain your skills and make a connection with the person interviewing you for whatever job you pursue.
(1) Franchises - we continue our deep dive into a career as a franchise owner - why this may be appealing to veterans and how to succeed at it. (2) Honesty about skill set - Eric talks about how vital it is - in franchising and in any career - to be exceptionally honest and reflective about your strengths and weaknesses. (3) Long-term investment - Eric talks about viewing a franchise investment as a 5-15 commitment (which, coin end tally is a great asset of veterans who often have approached the military as a long-term commitment). He talks about doing your homework - especially around culture, and making sure the business won’t be uprooted by technology in the long-term (4) Market Research - Eric’s career has been in market research and he provides some insight into what this sort of career is like.
For those that listened to Episode #129 with John Francis, you know that I’ve been thinking about how veterans that are interested in entrepreneurship should really consider a franchise. It seems to be a business with training wheels. It helps bridge the gap between someone’s military strengths and what’s necessary to grow and run a successful company. My guest today is Marlon Terrell, who went straight from the Navy into owning a Chick-Fil-A franchise. I really enjoyed this conversation. Marlon provides just the right amount of detail. I walked away feeling like I understood what it’s like to be in a franchise owner’s shoes in terms of pay, career progression, and hours. He really painted a vivid picture of what life in a franchise looks like. I also think it’s helpful because Marlon was really articulate in discussing exactly how what he learned in the military was applicable to his work as a franchise owner as well as how he went about selecting a franchise. He also talks about why a franchise may or may not be suited for you as a veteran.
In this interview we discuss a variety of topics relevant to veterans in any industry. Nick has great advice for veterans about checking one's ego at the door, rolling up one's sleeves and doing whatever it takes to improve whatever task you're given. He shows how a willingness to learn has allowed him to transition - and be successful in - wildly different industries. And how a mindset of happiness, learning and humility can make all the difference.
Tim Patterson started off at the Naval Academy as part of the mighty class of 2002. He served as an officer onboard nuclear submarines for 8 years. After his transition from the military, Tim spent over four years traveling the world. Two of these years were done by BMW motorcycle, where he rode over 28,000 miles along the Pan-American highway, from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina. Studied Spanish in Guatemala. Survived Arctic weather, flat tires, and Colombian soldiers.
Garrett Cathcart is the Southeast Regional Director at Team Red, White & Blue - an organization that enriches the lives of America's veterans by connecting them to their communities through physical and social activities. He is also the Chief Community Engagement Officer at VETLANTA. He started out at West Point, after which he served in the Army for 8.5 years, with two years in Baghdad as a Recon Scout Platoon Leader and then as an Aide-de-Camp to Commanding General. After his transition from the Army he worked at NuVasive as an Associate Spine Representative before joining team RWB.
“There are people who have - in their head - ideas that they think are ridiculous; dreams that they're afraid to pursue because of failure; because we're all afraid to fail. But while you have that safety net, go ahead an investigate it - dig into it deep, and then make a plan. Work backwards: this is the goal, assess what you have, and what do you need. And sometimes with plans you have to go back and course correct. Be OK with that. It's not a bad thing sometimes. We often beat ourselves up because we made a plan and it didn't go the way we thought it would - but that's OK. Always look back, reflect and see how you can grow from this." - Dr. Felicia Haecker
Dr. Felicia Haecker is the President of Haecker Associates Consulting, CEO of Dog Tag Divas, and Adjunct Professor at Brandman University, where she also received her Doctor of Education and Organizational Leadership. She started out in the Air Force, where she served for 12 years along with her husband, who served in the Air Force for 15 years. She faced many challenges after her separation from the military, and ultimately chose to pursue her Ed.D on female veterans transitions into post secondary education. Using this understanding of transitions, she now seeks to help other veterans diagnose where they are and construct a plan to reach their goals.
She has made herself available to the Beyond the Uniform community by email at shaecker@yahoo [dot] com
The top 2 reasons to listen to this episode is:
- A road of discovery - Felicia articulates so well what I - and so many of my guests - have experienced about a meandering road from the military to finding our career. She talks about taking leaps of faith, making mistakes along the way, but learning and being ok with those mistakes. Felicia and her husband left the Air Force after 12 & 15 years of service, respectively. They purchased an RV, and with their newborn daughter spent a year traveling the United States. This was the starting point of a journey that would lead Felicia to pursue her doctorate.
- Advice on transitions - Felicia did her doctorate work on the female veteran transition into post secondary education. She has also advised and mentored many veterans about this process, and has fantastic advice about how to avoid common mistakes in this transition.
- Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at BeyondTheUniform.io/books
- Roadmap: The Get-It-Together Guide for Figuring Out What to Do with Your Life - a great book to help you figure out what to do with your career
Note: I've typed these notes during my interview with Josh, so they may not completely represent his words, and may contain spelling and grammar errors. My intention is to provide veterans with a quick reference to see the gist of our conversation, along with timestamps to hear Josh's actual advice in his own words within the interview.
- 3:10 - Felicia's bio
- 4:03 - How would you explain what you do
- Every veteran makes a transition
- Her and her husband realized they transitioned out of a community that was safe and comfortable. After their transition, a lot of people didn't understand their background and they were definitely out of their comfort zone.
- This applies to the families as well - they have to deal with their significant other
- 6:15 - How she divides her time
- HCC & Dog Tag Divas are both emerging. She was diagnosed with PTSD and ADHD, and is learning there are things she needs to do to stay on task. Must do / should do / could do "To do lists" dominate her schedule on bright orange post its.
- She has two kids, and it's a matter of taking advantage of time when she has it - time in line at Starbucks, at piano practice. Sometimes she
- 8:12 - How did you decide to leave the military?
- It wasn't an easy decision; she was an Army brat, with both parents in the military. She followed her dad all over Europe as an Army kid.
- She recognized on her own she wasn't ready for college, and didn't want to waste her parents money
- Decided to join the military - originally the Marine Corps - but wasn't treated seriously during the process and saw the Air Force recruiter on her way out. The military was safe and something she understood.
- She was a photographer, and wanted to try something else out - she loved the military but wanted to try something new
- When she found out she was going to have a mother, she wanted to be the mother she didn't have. It would be tough to do both the military and a mom, so her and her husband decided she would transition. Her husband had a similar background, so they both decided - at 12 & 15 years - to get out of the military.
- They made the goal of each of them finishing their master's degree prior to leaving the military, which lead for a rushed schedule leading up to departure
- They purchased a 35' RV, and spent a year traveling the United States.
- 11:46 - Advice for figuring out when to leave the military
- Investigate the feeling - if you feel like you need to move on, give that room. See if you can switch jobs within the military, but if you can't find it start figuring out how to make it happen.
- She recently worked with someone who decided to open a catering business. But you need to do EVERYTHING you can to investigate this right now - intern, or find a temporary job. This person learned it wasn't what they wanted to do it. So investigate every avenue you can. Call people who do that job (better yet a veteran who does it) and get a feel for what it is like.
- Harness your power - my power right now is I have a paycheck and roof over my head. This is what I have - what is it I need. Capitalize on your opportunities for growth. I want to have this much money in the bank, this much education, talk to them and get buy-in with the family. Sometimes you need to go back and course correct
- The Hack Process:
- H - Harness your power. You have SOME power in the situation
- A - Assess your resources. What do you have on hand that will propel you forward, and what do you need to gather to get to that goal
- I - Identify them. The people and resources that will help you and you need to get in your corner to get there
- C - Capitalize on the opportunity
- You may be more comfortable right now than you realize - any stress you can take
- Give yourself permission to recognize how difficult the transition is, but don't wallow in it.
- 22:59 - How would you describe your path from the military to deciding to pursue a PhD?
- They were stationed in Missouri. They got in their RV and didn't know what to do next. They decided to visit her parents in Oklahoma. They piecemeal the first part of the trip together, visiting diners and different sites.
- They noticed in their journey there was a subculture of veterans everywhere they went. She noticed many experienced difficulty, and many were on the verge of homelessness. She realized that she wasn't the only one who felt challenged in the transition - there were many other veterans like this.
- Along the journey she became pregnant with their second child. As they were unpacking their house in Georgia, her husband received a job offer in Sacramento. So they packed up their house and moved cross country with their two kids
- After five days as a stay-at-home mom, she realized she couldn't do it. It was more difficult than her three deployments. She saw a commercial for a doctoral degree, and wanted to give it a try. Her children were 9 months and 3 when she started - it was crazy but she did it. And her husband just received his degree from the same program. He saw the growth and self discovery journey she went through and that motivated him to do it as well
- What was the PhD process like for you?
- She views herself as very lucky. Her program was very creative, and she was able to chart what she was interested in - which was transition in veterans. She was able to research, write papers, and do whatever she wanted. It became addicting, because she kept finding more and more information, but didn't find the readily available resources she wanted for veterans. It felt like a well-kept secret and she didn't want it to be like that.
- She kept getting assignments that kept her digging and before she knew it she stood back and realized what she wanted to go after
- When she left, her resume was good, professionally she was ready to transition. No one spoke to her heart and mind transition, that you never receive when leaving the military.
- 37:40 - In your work with veterans, what are common problems you see them facing in their civilian career?
- She teaches a masters class on Leadership. One thing she has her students do (and she does as well) is Morning Pages. You put the pen on paper for 20 minutes and you just write non-stop. She didn't think it would work and the first two weeks were random song lyrics, shopping lists, and babble, but at the end of two weeks the cob webs went away and certain things came into focus.
- She kept doing it and started to get clarity on different items - things she hadn't thought about in years. It's completely free and is an easy way to make progress in thinking through issues. Just write about whatever comes to mind - no matter how random. Keep with it and you'll find clarity. Supposed to do it first thing in the morning, as soon as she wakes up.
- There's a book called Road Map. There was a PBS show called Road Trip Nation and they actually wrote a book "the get it together guide for what to do with your life" - it will inspire you but also give you a roadmap.
- A mentor would be a GREAT addition for veterans. Help you navigate the new waters and identify what is important to you.
- Common mistakes that veterans face
- The adage that "the grass is greener" is definitely true. Without someone telling you what to do, there is also a challenge of autonomy and having to do everything on your own.
- She encourages people to imagine that you were dropped into the center of England. Yes - they speak English, but there are different words, customs, and norms. You still need to learn a lot - and it's like this with a military transition
- Some people may not understand your life and may ask you offensive questions like, "Have you ever killed someone." Try to remember it's out of ignorance and curiosity and not malice.
- She has found in Mommy Groups that things that are earth shattering to other people are not so for her... she has to remember that "my journey is different." It may take time to find your time. Observe how they interact with other people.
- Emotional Intelligence will be key too and this was something she had to learn
- 44:50 - What can we do to help veterans who are struggling in their transition
- Her local VA has a special office to help veterans who are homeless and she is looking at how to help with this
- Sometimes they just need someone to listen to them
- The TAPs programs send a LOT of information towards veterans, and going and talking and sharing there could help a lot
- She was surprised that she was diagnosed with PTSD, even though she had taken many disturbing photos as a photographer on active duty.
- 49:20 - Final words of wisdom?
- If you've been listening to this and thinking of an idea and not sure if you should do it - give yourself permission to try. It's ok to be afraid to fail - that's ok. If you think about it - the times you succeed you probably didn't think about how you got there... you didn't think about how you got there. It's only when you fail that you do. But this is when we learn - from this failure. It may work, it may not, but it's ok. Have more than an A-D plan - there are 26 letters in teh alphabet. At the end of the day, try to do what makes you happy.
Christopher Perkins is the Managing Director and Global Head of OTC Clearing at Citi and founder of Citi’s Military Veterans Networks. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he earned a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. He then served as an officer in the Marine Corps for over nine years. After the Marine Corps, Christopher worked at Lehman Brothers as their US Head of Derivatives Intermediation. He is also the co-founder of Veterans On Wall Street - an initiative dedicated to honoring former and currently military personnel by facilitating career and business opportunities in the financial services industry.
Joshua Jabin is the Chief Operations Officer (COO) at Travis Manion Foundation. He started out at the Naval Academy, after which he served in the Marine Corps for 12 years, first as a Aviation Supply Logistics Officer, obtaining his MS in Operations Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School, and teaching Mathematics at the Naval Academy. After his transition to the civilian sector, Joshua worked as a Senior Management Consultant at the ReefPoint Group, before joining the Travis Mountain Foundation about 2.5 years ago.
Jared Wymer is a Program Manager for Global Talent Management at Amazon. Jared started out by enlisting in the Marine Corps, where he served for eight years in logistics, supply chain management, and intelligence, while also pursuing and receiving an undergraduate degree and MBA. Jared transitioned from the Marines into a PhD program, working concurrently in finance and as a Fellow for the Department of State. Since that time Jared started his own consulting company, Wymer & Associates, and joined Amazon. Jared is currently one year away from obtaining his PhD.
Andrew Watts is the author of three books, The War Planners, The War Stage (The War Planners) (Volume 2), and Pawns of the Pacific. Andrew started out at the Naval Academy in 2003 and served as a naval officer and helicopter pilot until 2013. He started his civilian career at Proctor & Gamble for nearly four years, first as an Assistant Brand Manager and then as an Initiative Operations Leader. He published his first two books while at P&G before making the transition to full-time author in 2017.
Seth Jordan is the Founder & Chairman of Dog Tag Brewing Foundation, a brewery that provides the highest quality crafted beers that deliver a message of gratitude for the selfless sacrifice of our nation’s military. Dog Tag Brewing donates 100% of profits to benefit charities created or selected by Gold Star Families,the families of fallen warriors.
Dan is the Manager of Sourcing for all the hourly roles at Marriott in the US. He has worked in a variety of recruiting capacities at Amazon, KPMG, Hewlett-Packard, and Booz Allen Hamilton to include leading and launching many of the veteran recruiting pipelines and initiatives. Dan started out as a Corporal in the Marine Corps, before going to the Naval Academy and then serving as a Surface Warfare Officer. His last tour in the Navy was as an Officer Programs Recruiter stationed at Penn State that got him hooked on recruiting.
Mike is the President of the Health Physics Division at Mirion Technologies, a provider of radiation detection & monitoring products and services to the nuclear power, medical, military and homeland security markets. He started out at Northwestern University, after which he as an officer in the Navy for ten years, serving on submarines and on the Chief of Naval Operations personal staff. After the Navy he received his MBA from the Darden School of Business, after which he worked at Bain & Company for nearly six years as a Principal.
John Lee Dumas is the founder and host of EOFire, a daily podcast that interview entrepreneurs 7 days a week, where, as reported by Forbes, he has generated #2M in sales by his second year in the business. He started out at Providence College where he did Army ROTC, after which he served in the Army as an Armor Platoon Leader for eight years. After his time in the Army, John enrolled in Law School, but left after his first semester. He then worked in corporate finance at John Hancock in Boston, and later at a tech startup in New York. In 2009 he moved to San Diego to work in real estate. During his long drives, he started listening to podcasts, until he decided to start his own podcast, which launched in September of 2012. He is the author of Podcast Launch, the creator of Podcasters’ Paradise, and has been named the Best of iTunes in 2013, with over 7.4 Million downloads. and subscribers in 145 countries. John is very open about his financials - they’re available on his website - it’s worth checking out because the numbers are staggering.
Matt Miller is the President and Founder of School Spirit Vending, a Hassle-Free, Year-Round Fundraising company for Schools that he started over nine years ago. He is also the Host of the School Zone Podcast, a podcast resource for educators, school volunteers and the fundraising companies that serve them and their schools. And he is also the Owner of Sticker Swarm Media, a publishing company for children’s books. And also the President & Co-Founder of School News Guru - a newsletter program. He started out at the Air Force Academy, after which he served as a pilot in the Air Force for nearly nine years. After the Air Force he served in a variety of sales roles, first at the Hospital & Health Care industry with Abbott, and then with the Marketing & Advertising space with Valassis.
Kate Kranz is the Director of Women's Initiative at Veterans Campaign, a non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage, mentor and prepare veterans, transitioning service members, and other members of the military community for a "Second Service" in civic and political leadership. She started out at the Naval Academy, and served as a Naval Flight Officer for 11 years. She is finishing up a Masters of Law and Diplomacy from Tufts University, and a Master’s of Administrative Leadership from Oklahoma University.
Anthony Garcia is CEO and co-founder at GuideOn -a military veteran talent acquisition platform. He started out at St. Mary's University, after which he served in the Army for eight years as a Medical Service Corps Officer and Medical Evacuation Pilot. After transitioning out of the Army, he received his MBA at Cornell University. Since then he has worked as a General Manager at SRI International and the CEO and co-founder of Adjacent Applications. He started GuideOn in late 2014, and has raised funding from Mike Maple’s VC firm - Floodgate, one of the most respected investors in Silicon Valley.
“The autonomy is incredible. I think back to my time in the military and the best times I had was when I was flying around the mountains of Afghanistan, and we had a lot of flexibility in the mission we were running. When I think about being an entrepreneur, it's very similar to that in a lot of ways. I love that I can set my own hours and create my own success. That is really exciting and gets my adrelanine going. The bad part is that you don't have a paycheck. If you make a sale and get cash you can take a small salary from there, but there's a lot of unpredictability there. Going into this I didn't expect that aspect of this to wear on me emotionally as much as it does. But it does, and it's real - you just need to understand that that's part of the deal." – Chris Shaw
Chris Shaw is the Founder of CORE Leader, the Director of the NY Office of Bunker Labs at the NYU Tandon Engineering School. He graduated from NYU Stern School of Business in May 2016. He started out at Cornell University, where he earned his BA in history, after which he served in the US Army as an Aviation Officer for 8 years flying the Kiowa Warrior armed reconnaissance helicopter. He deployed twice to combat in Afghanistan, most recently as the head of his squadron’s intelligence department in the 82nd Airborne Division.
In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:
- How Chris decided to go to business school rather than industry after the military
- An overview of Bunker Labs, and why every aspiring entrepreneur should consider applying
- Advice on finding a co-founder... and how to make sure you get it right. Chris talks about the biggest mistake he made when starting his company
- The experiences that best help Chris prepare for his life as an entrepreneur
- And much, much more…
QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
- NYU Stern School of Business
- Chris' second company - CORE Leader
- Bunker Labs - their entrepreneurial program is EPIC
- Leaders Reaction Course
- Tough Mudder - a visit here was one of the catalysts for Chris starting his company, CORE Leader
- 1:50 - Chris' background
- 2:30 - How Chris decided to leave the Army
- 3:12 - How Chris thought about joining the Reserves and why he chose not to
- 3:48 - The most surprising aspect of Chris' transition to civilian life
- 5:20 - A few bad habits Chris had to break when he left the military
- 6:30 - How Chris decided to go to business school rather than industry after the military
- 9:28 - Chris' experience at Stern School of Business and his advice on how to apply and why to go
- 11:10 - An overview of Bunker Labs, and why every aspiring entrepreneur should consider applying
- 15:20 - What Chris' day-to-day life looks like as a Director at Bunker Labs
- 17:40 - An overview of Chris' second company - CORE Leader
- 20:13 - Advice on finding a co-founder... and how to make sure you get it right. Chris talks about the biggest mistake he made when starting his company
- 24:17 - The experiences that best help Chris prepare for his life as an entrepreneur
- 25:38 - What Chris' day-to-day life looks like as an entrepreneur
- 27:44 - What Chris like most and least about his life as an entrepreneur
- 29:30 - Chris' advice for other veterans considering entrepreneurship
- 32:45 - How Chris felt ahead and behind his civilian counterparts
- 36:37 - Final words of wisdom from Chris for all veterans