How to find a job you love after the military – Veterans Panel | Fireside Chat at WeWork D.C.

How to find a job you love after the military – Veterans Panel | Fireside Chat at WeWork D.C.


>>Thank you so much for
everybody coming out. I’d like to just quickly
do a little introduction about this event because it was
three years ago around this time that I moved to DC and within
that first month of being here, I talked to a lot of people that
I want to do some type of effort or panel or event for veterans. And then a year ago at this time
we did our first fireside chat three floors down
with about 15 people. And tonight we have close to 30,
35 people so I’m really excited to see this vision come true. The people, the panelists
and the veterans that we have for you come very, very
highly recommended. Some of you were
here because of that. And I can’t wait to sit
down and interview them. What I really like
to start out talking about is the reason
was born to begin with is you know for
about eight years I worked with college students
and I was very frustrated to see thriving student
leaders go from successful student leaders
to then hating their life and not figuring out what
they want to do in their 20s. Not taking risks and not
figuring out what to do. And a lot of that rests
because we only get a chance to tell our story on a one or
two page black-and-white resume. It’s very tough to figure
out how do we sell ourselves. There’s a lot of jobs out there
especially here in a major city. But a lot of those jobs
are uninspiring, right? It’s like what are
we applying to? What did we get ourselves into? And so my hope with the
Niche Movement as well as with this event in the
panelists that I selected is to inspire and empower a lot of
you to take risks, take action, figure out there’s a new way
out there to find your calling. To find not only a job
or a career that you love but a company that not only
appreciates your background but you feel inspired
that you want to go to and make a difference in. And that’s what we’re
going to do tonight and so for the next 20, 30,
40 minutes we’re going to interview the four panelists
and I really want to turn it over to you guys because I
think some of you have a lot of great questions that can
be answered here tonight. And we will leave here with
a little more mingling, drinking, and eating food. So thank you again
for coming out. And for those of you that were
in the military or veterans, thank you so much
for your service. So without further ado we will
get going here and our first one up here is Lourdes Tiglao,
and she is part of– she was from the Air Force. She currently works for
Team Rubicon global. So give it up for Lourdes– [applause] you can
sit right here. Our next panelist,
that again, through a friend of a friend and through a
recommendation I got connected to through LinkedIn I met him
at GW a couple of weeks ago and he just blew my mind how
open, honest, and willing he was to help out is Scott Cooper,
and he was in the Marine Corps and he currently works for
Human Rights First, thanks Scott. [applause]>>Thank you.>>This other gentleman,
he was in the Army, and I can’t give you his– a
sure title because he’s doing so many different
things here in DC. He’s calling himself
a politician, but I know he’s written a couple
of books that are published. He’s also got his own LLC. So without further ado
we have Terrin Sims. [applause] He’s coming up. And last but not least, this
is a good friend of mine. My wife and I moved down here
three years ago not knowing any people, and through another
couple we met a few people and one of them was
Johanna Ciezczek and she is from the Marine Corps
and currently works for The Mission Continues,
which is a great organization and we will talk about tonight. Joanna thank you so
much for being here. [ Applause ] All right, so technical
difficulties aside, we have my camera, my wife is
helping me out with the camera. We had a little technical
difficulty. with my videographer, which
I’m not going to get into. And then we worked– this is
the first time we are holding a traditional panel and so
I have to turn my mic off to get theirs to talk. So if we trip up with this the
first five minutes just bear with us. All right. So, what I would like to do
is– just like any panel– is we will start
with you, Johanna. Feel free to share anything
about your background. Where you’re from, what,
when and where you got into the military, why
you got into the military and just a little taste
of what you’re doing now and then we can move
down the line. You are good to go.>>All right. Thank you, everybody for
coming out this evening to come here to speak. Hopefully we will be able to
share some interesting tidbits about our transition not
only from the military but to our civilian sector. As Kevin said, my name
is Johanna Ciezczek I’m from Chicago originally. I did ROTC at Purdue University so that’s the Reserves
Officer Training Corps. I did that for four years
and then commissioned to the Marine Corps in 2008. What drove me to go into the
Marine Corps was my parents are born in Poland and they came to
America like most immigrants do for the American dream
and just being so grateful for the opportunities that they
had kind of drove me to serve and I’ve always had
this inherent desire to serve not only my
community through a bunch of community service
projects through junior high and ultimately high school,
so when it came time to look at colleges I knew one of the ways I would get
it paid is through ROTC. So I applied for a
scholarship ended up getting Marine
scholarship through Navy ROTC. Did my four years at Purdue,
commissioned 2008 like I said, as a Marine Corps
military police officer. From there I went to Okinawa,
Japan as my first duty station. So 21 years old, showing
up in Okinawa, Japan. Quite a transition for me. I traveled a little bit
never internationally away from my family like that. Spent two years in
Okinawa, Japan. Did traditional military
police stuff. I was the officer in charge
of military police district and then transitioned over to
our companies and did a lot of force protection stuff. So being in Japan we have
exercises in different countries and going before
them making sure that the threat vulnerability
security assessments are done so when we have folks
go overseas we know that they are going to be safe. And so I did that for about
two years then moved back to Southern California. I was lucky enough to
get back to camp Miramar. So I spent some time at MCAS
Miramar as the company commander for a military police company and we provided airfield
security for a lot of the squadrons
going on deployment. And I was lucky enough
to transition from there to a Marine expeditionary unit. So we sent out 2500 Marines
and sailors amongst three ships to the Middle East and I was
the force protection officer so I got to travel a lot within nine months doing all the
threat vulnerability security assessments working with
NCIS, State Department, other intelligence agencies
to make sure once again where our Marines and
sailors were going was safe and if not coming up
with contingency plans to actually get them out of that
area of something did happen. Did that for about three
years and then transitioned from the Marine Corps
in 2015 and was able to get a job with Oracle. So one of the world’s
largest tech companies. So I can explain a little bit
later why we are on this panel about how I went
from having degrees in criminal justice working for the world’s largest
tech company. I did that as a project
portfolio management consultant for about two years
and now I work at The Mission Continues
a veterans service organization nonprofit. And our mission is
to inspire veterans to continue serving once
they get off active duty. And we do that within their
communities and ultimately want to inspire future
generations to serve. So I’ve been in my current role
as a sales force administrator for about three months now. So relatively new but
I’ve been volunteering with the organization
for about two years.>>Very cool. Thank you. Go ahead, Terrin>>I need to step
up my storytelling. So, um, I am a
fourth-generation veteran. My great-grandfather,
Papa John kicked it off in our family in World War I. Both my grandfather served one
in the Army Air Corps but he was like the light middleweight
boxing champion so he just ran around Army bases and getting
into boxing exhibitions. On the other grandfather
was a Korean War vet. He used his Montgomery G.I. Bill to take college
Brandon University. All my grandmother’s brothers–
or both my grandmothers, all of their brothers
either served in World War II,
Korea, or Vietnam. My dad is a Marine
Corps veteran. Retired Marine. Mustang 06. A couple of his brothers are
also veterans. And the my mom’s little
brother is a vet. So for us it’s the
family business. I went between, during my
childhood, wanting to be Marine between wanting to be an
architect, between wanting to be Marine back to architect.>>What happened, man?>>God blessed me graduated
from the world’s greatest school on the planet, the United States
military Academy at West Point. I can get into that
story another day. But so I grew up in this area. As I just stated
graduated from West Point. Not as good as Okinawa but
I spent my first six months on the Jersey shore as a deputy
assistant basketball coach at our prep school. That was West Point’s way of
thanking me for a job well done. And then went on to the actual
regular Army, because God knows that was not the regular
Army, but it was good. Ended up deploying
with first squad just like in ACR to Iraq in May 2003. It would’ve been April
but the Army liked to save money is
much as they can. So instead of deploying on
April 28 I deployed May 2. I spent most of– so I was a
platoon leader at the time. So I got my tune over the burr and
my claim to fame with respect to why and how I do what
I do now, June 28 of 2003 until April 6 or so of 2004, I was the squadron
fire support officer and primary civil military
officer for my squadron, first squadron second ACR
and in that capacity I served
as– well let me back up. I stood up– our District
Council counsel and two neighborhood councils
district in Baghdad so those who aren’t familiar with
Baghdad or Iraq in general, [Kis a de sans] second
largest district in Baghdad 1.25 million people
as of November 2003 census 186 square kilometers. So I have that entire
government stood up its municipality,
liaised on their behalf to the CPA Iraqi federal
government once it got stood up the UN when it
was still there, Baghdad City Hall all the NGOs and whoever else
wanted to do whatever. Not to stretch this out
longer, because I could, I have written a book about it, Baghdad was the greatest
time of my life. We will probably get into this
later with the conversation but I found my passion
during that period. And as I stated earlier,
I was going back and forth on things I wanted to do
because I liked a lot of things. Like all kids, right? But at the time of deployment
I didn’t know what I was going to do you know. I was creeping on my
five year commitment and you know I didn’t know
I wanted to stay in the Army or if I wanted to get out
and get an MBA and go work on Wall Street or if I
wanted to go get an MBA and go play college football
at an Ivy League school since you know, no one on
their team was going to go pro. So who’s the spot was
I really taking, right? Or go out and be an
actor or something. Seriously. Those were like the
options in my head. But because of the work
I was doing in Iraq, really building this democracy
government for the people by the people and working every
day with the Iraqi people I fell in love with civic activism. And the core aspects of what
makes community function. And I said I want to continue
doing this for the rest of my life but I looked
at the Army and I was like this is a flash in the pan. Right, this is like one of
these like best dream scenarios that we wake up from and want
to go back to bed and live that dream again but I knew I
could never do this and continue to do this in the Army
because at the end of the day I was a war fighter. Feel like the serving officer, you know
like captain and so I had to make the hard decision because how our Constitution
is structured, I had to get out of the Army and I haven’t
regretted that day since. I miss the Army every
day, love the Army, but not one day do
I regret decision to leave the Army
to do what I do now.>>Great. Thanks. Set that down.>>Well, good evening. I am the old man of the
crowd as you can tell. And so I will try to give a
little perspective to all of you on what you are going to
do in the next chapter. I grew up in Wyoming
and had the good fortune to escape that place. [laughter] I still
can’t wait to get back. I miss it, but I
wanted to see the world because I knew how
small Wyoming was. And so by a good
fortune I got to go to the powerhouse football team that beats West Point every
year– the Naval Academy. [laughter]
West Point every year that I was there.>>No you didn’t,
because I was there too. [laughter]>>But I was convinced
to get into the Marines. I chose to do the Marine
Corps because of my roommate. I didn’t know anything
about the military. Unlike Keith. My family was never
in the military. I didn’t know anything
about the military. I just knew about
the service academies because the Air Force always
beat Wyoming every year in football. And my roommate’s father had
been killed in Beirut in 1983 when they built the barracks. And I saw the way that his
dad’s friends came around and took care of him
and I thought I want to be part of that club. And so, I spent 20 years
in the Marine Corps, and I fortunately
got to fly jets and air controller
and spent a lot of time in the Middle East and such. You are most interested
in the transition and so I will talk a little
bit about my transition. I spent my entire career in the
fleet in the operating forces. I got to command a squadron,
take them into combat and bring them home and then
no good deed goes unpunished and I got sent to the Pentagon. So I was speechwriter to the
deputy commandant for aviation and then realized that the
colonels were not having fun. And I thought I’m
not going to do that. And so I thought
thinking quite highly of myself you know
I’m going to punch at 20 and change the world. And I failed miserably in that. I charged my rent the
first month I got out and stubbornly did not
send the resume to any of the defense contractors. I was not going to do that. But over the course of
about a year and 1/2 I kind of had an interim
jump where I randomly worked for an aerospace company. A friend of a friend of a friend in those information
coffees introduced me to a lady named Alisa Masamino
[phonetic] who is the CEO of Human Rights First and she
kept calling about every three or four months and saying
please come talk to me again. And then about a year
and half later she called and said why don’t you apply
for this job we just posted for which is job I’ve been
in for the last 3 1/2 years. I worked kind of at the
intersection of human rights and national security. Who has heard of
Human Rights First? Anyone? Okay. Well that’s more than average. [laughter] Most of the
time we get confused with human rights watch. I keep telling them
we should have branded as human rights second
or human rights last. People would know who we are. But my work is what I like
to call connected tissue between the two worlds that
speak the same language but don’t oftentimes
understand each other. And that’s the national
security world and the human rights world. We work with a group of generals
and admirals that have advocated against torture for
a number of years and then we also have
a project a movement if you will call veterans
for American ideals that I like to think of as a close
cousin to the mission continues. There is a lot of really great
veteran organizations out there that advocate for veterans. But there’s very
few team Rubicon like the mission continues and
like what we are trying to do with veterans for American
ideals where veterans get to advocate for others. That’s uncomfortable work. I work with Amnesty
International and human rights watch and all
those others and they assume that the military is acting
in bad faith in most cases. And I have to explain know
they’re not there actually quite patriotic and fair-minded
people. And so that’s where I get
to play during those days. But I would tell you and we
will talk a little bit more about your transition
is have a good sense of what you want to do. And then go chase it. If you just talk to somebody
and say one not sure what I want to do what I’ve got
all these skills, that’s not going to help. But if you decide
now I’m going to work at the mission continues I
used to tell my daughters who are now grown, the sixth
time you come around to apply for that job they
will give you a job. They will say get an apron. That’s part of the
transition as well. But you also have to figure
out what it is you want to do before you do it. It could be making money. I was talking Scott Cooper in the back. I made more money on active duty that I do today including
my retirement. I’m perfectly fine with that. You have to think about what
you want with your life. And so that’s not to say
anything other than I know a lot of my friends that
are working for some of the big defense contractors
and it’s quite lucrative. It’s also soul crushing. [laughter] And so that
only food for thought. That is not being critical. I’m– I just say that and
especially that’s why I was so enamored with
what Kevin is doing. Because at the end
of the day, I have– I hope another 30 good years
of contributing something. And besides the two young ladies
that I brought into this world, my legacy is hopefully that I will have contributed
something whatever it is. And so that’s what enamors me
and why I get up every morning. If you have that perspective
I think you can’t go wrong.>>Thanks. I really got to step
up the storytelling. All right. So my name is Lourdes Tiglao. And how many are immigrants
here to the United States? I’m just going to ask that. None. Me. [laughter] All right, anyone that’s ever
like lived in another country? Okay. Quite a few, right? So my story is a little bit of
a conglomeration of everyone’s. I was actually an immigrant
here to United States back when I was 10 years old is
when I came here to the US and I didn’t even speak English. I understood it,
couldn’t speak it. So my first year of life
here was kind of rough. A lot of hand gestures. But as most Asian families would
be you know my father basically took us over here to
have a better life. But as most Asian families would
be, they have your life set up by the time you’re
10 years old. So, for my family, I was
supposed to become a lawyer. And that was the path that
was set up for me starting from when I was 10
until I was supposed to graduate from college. So my entire life was set up
to be successful in that path. Which I did. I got a scholarship for
undergrad, got a scholarship for law school, all I had to do
was go walk through the steps. I will get to your soul
crushing thing in a second. So, I get to about the second
year of college and the more that I learned about
becoming an attorney, sorry for the attorneys here,
but I figured if I was going to be a successful lawyer,
and this is just my own– maybe my naïve perspective
at the time, if I was going to become a lawyer, I have– and a successful lawyer–
I have to win cases. To win cases, I might have to compromise my
principles depending on who I am representing. And so, for me, I wasn’t
necessarily prepared to do that. Again, my own naïve
perhaps perception of what the profession is. So, I said there’s got
to be something else. This was my first
crisis of conscience was 21 years old. So I pivoted from having a full
ride scholarship for undergrad and for law school to
looking at the Peace Corps, looking at the military,
joining the Air Force. My view know in my family has
ever been in the military. Immigrant and so when I
told my dad that I was going to join the military, he was like you are
throwing your life away. And I said no, no, no. This is just something that
I think you know I want to serve a higher purpose. So even back then I kind
of knew that I wanted to be part of something bigger. So I joined the military. Got into the Air Force, and I think I’m the only
enlisted person from this panel. So, I joined as an
enlisted person. And I spent 12 years
doing medical evacuations. There’s the medical evacuations
where you know I broke my leg I like to go home, and then
there’s the I got shot I’d like to live. I’m on the latter side of that. So I did a couple of rounds
in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, etc. etc. also lived in
Okinawa, actually 3 1/2 years and so it was the military
was probably the best times of my life at the time. Until I got to are at now. And so I felt that every
time I woke up I had purpose, I had something to go to and that I knew exactly
what I needed to do whenever the
phone call comes up. And so that clarity of
purpose is a great driver of your passion. Knowing what you are aiming for
gets you through the bad days. Now, mind you not
everything was rosy in the military is the most
people can probably tell. But the– as far
as many deployments so I said I was in for 12 years. I was overseas for
seven of those 12 years. Which is unheard of by
the way the Air Force. There’s like a long running joke in the Air Force no
one leaves their base. So, for me it was the
deployments for as many as they were the
things it actually– the deployments were actually
what kept me in the military. I absolutely loved the life. I loved what I was doing and
I absolutely believed in it. But at the time by
the time 12 years came up I had to make a decision. Continue on to graduate work
or continue in the military. And at the time, education one. So I got out of the military. I’ve been warned several
times by other friends of mine that had already gotten out
that you know transition is kind of tough you’ve got to make sure
that you have everything set up right before you leave and
so I figured I will start all of my paperwork and
everything a year in advance. So I’m thinking I’m not
going to be a statistic. I’m going to have everything
set before I get out. I’d everything done. Get out, guess what? Best laid plans, right? So, paperwork is not done,
medical is somehow lost, so it was a little bit of a
rough transition at that point. But I’m thinking okay,
it’s still in good shape. It will get sorted out. And then when I got out I
went to school trying to– I was on a path now to become
a physician since I pivoted from being in law
to now medicine. So I’m thinking I’m going
to be a physician to be able to provide
services for veterans. So I’m going on that
path and then I find out that I haven’t found
that spark that really I had when I was in the military. And day in and day
out I was going to the motions people
thought I was like having everything
together but it was really a lot of mental willpower to
just go to the next day. So, by the time I got–
I found team Rubicon through my friend Clay Hunt. It was a lifesaver for me. It was really discovering team
Rubicon that I found that spark of having that higher purpose
having a new sense of mission. And so one thing that I
will impart to you guys is that purpose and
passion is not the same. They are not– it’s
not interchangeable. You can have passion
and not have purpose. You can have purpose but
maybe not have passion. And so, to find that balance
between the two, is kind of like that magic mixer that a
lot of times what you’ll find is that when you find that clarity of purpose it drives
that passion. And that’s was going to feel you
to the rest of that transition. So, I will leave you
with that little nugget because I’m sure
they got questions that they are going
to get to us. Thanks.>>So clearly, the four
panelist, I couldn’t have picked a better panel but like
very commendable experience and what you are doing now
is even more inspiring. I’m very curious if you
could kind of in a little bit of shorter time, and paraphrase,
we don’t have to go in order, but I’m very curious your
decision to go into the military and the experience there how
did that weather is three years, five years, 12 years,
how did that shape to what you’re currently
doing today?>>You’ve got the mic. Whoever wants to go first.>>So as I stated earlier,
I will keep it short, I didn’t really know what I
wanted to do after my five if I was going to
stay in or transition to do something cool, right? The politics thing, the civic
activism working with the Iraqis to and helping them achieve a
better life based upon their own vision was what I
fell in love with. And so that’s what I
wanted to continue to do. How that’s helped me now
especially being a politician when I say that, I
work on both activism and policy writing side. I’ve done that for presidential,
gubernatorial, senatorial, Congressional candidates
and so forth. Is that a lot of the melee and
the reason why people don’t like politics is
why I’m involved. Right? I hate politics. That’s why involved in politics. Because change begins
with someone. It has to begin with someone. And I said to myself I may be–
I may as well be that someone. One of the primary lessons
I’ve learned over in Baghdad which I didn’t really realize
I had learned until 2014 is that every action and in action that I took had a
life changing effect on over a million people, right? Anything I did or did not do
meant people’s lives literally. Right? If I made
the wrong decision, if I befriended the wrong
person and if I did this or did that, people
could’ve died. Right? And so I take that
aspect of what I do seriously. Realizing that life changing
aspects occur on some of the things that we all
do that I do with effect to writing policy and crafting
an advising policy towards our leaders. And sadly, our leaders here
don’t understand that peace and that’s an aspect of– a major aspect of what I
bring, towards what I do.>>As I mentioned in my intro,
my parents were born in Poland and came here for a better
life so that’s what drove me to join the military
and my sense of service so after my service was
done in the Marine Corps and I moved here from San Diego
I looked at ways to get involved in the first way
I got involved was with team red white and blue. So I actually heard about that
through Kevin and Courtney. And so I got involved with
that and that’s I heard about the mission continues and once I heard what
their mission was and what they were doing
it going to these areas and serving these communities
where they need the most help. Southeast DC here for example
and just having another sense of purpose and seeing the work that I was doing was
having an effect not only on me personally
but other veterans. So having that drive
that desire to serve but also the impact I
was having a communities. Seeing some of these
kids who come from single-family homes
whose parent may be in jail or whatever the case may be,
spending an afternoon with them and teaching them how to use
a hammer, how to use a drill, just to build the garden. That’s how we got started at this one school is
a garden of dreams. Just seeing the impact it
had in that mentoring aspect that I missed from the Marine
Corps just had such an impact on me that I continued
to volunteer at the mission continues
which ultimately led to having a job at
mission continues.>>How many in the crowd
our veterans or active duty? I figured most are. I think I joined probably for the same reasons
that many of you did. We want to think
well of ourselves. There is a Henry Fleming
I think in all of us. He was the main character in
Red Badge of Courage, you know that wants to prove to himself
worthy and brave. I think that underlines
a lot of the reasons that we join the military. After I joined, probably the
biggest thing I took away is that it’s not about you. We’ve heard about the person
that works his own bolt, you know that expression? That rings true. And it’s not always the case in
the civilian world I found out. But that’s not okay. And that’s probably the
biggest thing that I took with me especially in this town. Where there’s a lot of people
that are working their own bolt. You know, I mean Alex P Keaton, I know I’m dating myself
now him from Family Ties. Like all those guys
that were Alex P Keaton in your high school class? They all came here. And I guess the one thing that
I’ve learned since I’ve gotten out is that that ethos that I
mean truly the drill instructor that some staff NCOs taught
me is what carries through.>>Yeah. So for me, it
was it was a little bit of a different I think
perspective being in the medical side
from in the military. So everyone seems to have
been more on the spear tip and I was more on the
receiving end a lot of times whenever
we were deployed. And I think that one of the
things that I really appreciated in my military career is
understanding that fine line of knowing what our mission is
but also knowing what’s right which I appreciate what
you guys do in human rights on that note as when I got out
of the military, I remember– I always went back and reflected
on that passion and drive that I had for what I was
doing, that absolute belief in what I was doing was right because my job was
to save lives. Period. And so for me, I wanted to
find whatever job that was, whatever position that was
that was going to give me that absolute passion and belief and I definitely tried
several different jobs. I went straight into
hospital jobs just because it was an
easy transition being in the medical field. I learned to do consultancy. Yeah. I was not so good at that. This specifically on
government writing. So I literally I had to ask
someone actually how to write that and he said you know take
out your soul and start writing. So– [ Laughter ] But going back to the point. It’s more of just knowing that
whatever job it was I was going to look for it had
to be something that I absolutely believed in because otherwise I
would just be either A, following the money or
B, following aimlessly until I hopefully
stumbled onto something. So for me I think it’s having
that clarity of purpose which actually wasn’t even
the military it was earlier on in my life that I
learned that clarity of purpose really helped drive
me and focus me to the kind of job that I probably should
have which the unifying thread with in my life is
actually a life of service. Even before I went
into the military. I would say that that’s probably
one of the big nuggets that I will give to you
guys look back on your life, look at the things that
you enjoyed doing even when it’s not your job
and find a unified thread because that’s really
where you’re going to find some of your passions.>>So, I’m going
to go a little– I have about eight questions. We are not going to get
through all of them but I want emphasize what
you just said, Lourdes, so find something
you believe in. So let’s say in a perfect
world you are transitioning out of the military, you’re
like I know what I want to do I have three
or four options. How about conversing a bit– I’m looking for some kind
of tactical tangible advice. How do you– saying you
know what you want to do, but how do you know if
you are going to believe in that company that’s
about to hire you? Like are there– I
am a big component of like here are questions you
should ask them here are red flags you should look for and you have all clearly
hopped around a little bit. This is it this isn’t it I like
this boss I’m– soul crushing. So how do you know if this
is something you’re going to believe in because
it’s a marriage. It’s a two-way street. They are interviewing you
you are interviewing them. So any advice or questions you
would ask or red flags look for?>>I got one. Best piece of advice I
got it was while I was in the Marine Corps
I was a captain. And Lieut. Col. John Wisler who went on
to be a three-star I asked him for advice for my next
assignment I didn’t want to go back to the
squadron initially. I wanted to experience
something else. And he said go work for Paul
LeFavor who was a colonel at the time and he
was the commander of the 22nd unit and
then retired as a two star. He was the head of
Marine special operations. He said I don’t care what you
do if you are digging ditches, he is the Vince Lombardi
of the Marine Corps, go find somebody you
want to work for. That’s the guy you
want to work for. And so if you find 70
that you want to work for, jump on their ship and if it
means pouring coffee for them, a little known story
that you guys might know, Roger Goodell again, I know he
is a controversial figure today, but do you guys know
how he got where he is? He was Pete Roselle’s driver. And wrote him a letter
every year and said I want to
work for the NFL. And when he was retired
from the NFL he pulled out of his drawer
every single letter that Roger Goodell wrote to him. A good story. Now I’m not sure
that the subject of the story necessarily
blends but I would say you know go
find somebody want to work for.>>Another anecdote or
one other piece of advice?>>No. First I would say
everyone’s path is different. Right? Me being in politics
people always ask read that person’s book that
person’s book and no I haven’t. I read one book. But because how we achieve
our goals is different for everyone else. When I say for example you have
to ask yourself is the means of you making money does
that equate to your passion? If it does, then right then you
need to be a little tactical about where you are
looking to work. Because you want to wake
up every morning happy. All right? When I move back home back
in 2005 I dove headfirst into politics but I
wasn’t getting paid to do what I was doing. But I went and got myself
a defense contracting job because I wanted to still be
in touch with the community and I was doing the right
things but as time went on and transitioning in the
job it got to a point to where I was waking
up and I was not happy that I was going
to work every day. Pissed. Right? I mean I was loving what I was
doing that wasn’t paying me but I was mad every day going
to work for what was paying me to stare at the clock to when I
got to 3 o’clock so I can rush out to get out of there
and God blessed me to get laid off in 2013. That’s the best thing
that ever happened. Second best thing
that ever happened. Maybe third. But anyway, so right. So if your salary in
your passion equate with one another they
correlate then yeah, I like the you know find who
you want to work for or if it’s that field because there’s going
to be a lot of trial and error. Right? Not many people get a
touchdown [background sound] exactly. Not everyone gets a
touchdown the first go, right? You’re going to get hit a lot. You’re going to get tackled but
eventually you keep persevering and stay true to yourself. Stay true to yourself. Because I could’ve
given up a long time ago and be doing something
in whatever but I said no I’ve
got to stay true. I’d rather be poor and happy
that have a whole lot of money and be miserable
every friggin’ day.>>So I will go back to what
I said just a little bit ago which is you know looked back
first figure out the kind of job it is or what
kind of profession or career you should be
having which is you know a lot of that is actually
from within your past because you’re usually
drawn to be doing activities that coincides with what
aligns with your character. And then I definitely echo
what they’re saying of working for someone that you admire. But in my case, I didn’t start
off team Rubicon you know right off the bat on a staff member. I was actually a
volunteer for six years. So I was volunteering in
disaster response for six years and putting in at least
20 hours of my time a week as a volunteer leader. And this was over six years
and I felt just as strongly after the six years as I did
the first year I was there. And so when you think about
those six years and the amount of energy, passion, emotion,
and tears and sometimes blood– they were disasters– when
you find yourself believing in that company at
the same level as when you did the first time, that’s a company
want to work for. So when there was an opportunity
to actually be able to be part of that organization I
absolute jumped on it. Now a quick little point. I applied for a particular
position and I got turned down. I got turned down
because they wanted me to apply for another position. So, never think that just
because you got turned down doesn’t mean
they don’t want you. They probably think they
see you in another position. But even if you do get turned
down make sure to always say in your letter, tactical
point number two, say in your letter
I would absolutely– especially if you really want
to work for this company, I would be absolutely happy
to lend my services volunteer and still be part of
the organization even as not a staff number. And this gives them an inkling
of you’re not just your loyalty but your passion for
that organization. And it will stick.>>So some threads that
I’m hearing from all of you is I think it’s
relationships and people. And it makes a little bit of
tenacity and whether it’s taking that lower level job because you
found somebody or being polite and pleasant continuing with
your connections so I’m curious in this 2017 world of the phone and even the way I pretty much
met all of you aside from you, Johanna, what are some
ways whether it’s veterans college students, because
you know I see it all. College students get
stuck in what I talked about earlier is they get
stuck on just a two-page resume and that’s the only way they
know how to communicate. So what are some ways that you
found to build connections? Off-line, online and– because
I feel like everybody is up here because you knew somebody
and use made connections and you paid it forward. So could you speak
to that a little bit?>>So for me the realization
of like oh my gosh, I could do anything I
want to do when I got out of the Marine
Corps was great, but it was also terrifying
at the same time because it’s like how do you figure
this out, right? So I was fortunate enough
to go through a program at Deloitte and it has you list
out what’s most important to you as you kind of adjust is
it money, is a flexibility, is a job satisfaction,
what is it? So after I listed some of
those out, I was able to kind of look back all right this
is what’s important to me. So, making a difference, right? And once I realized
that the first job I got out of the military
probably wasn’t going to be the job I was going
to stay with and once I shifted my mindset of not
doing that as failure but using that as a steppingstone
to get to where I wanted, then like it was like a
light bulb went off and I was like wow I could do kind of
anything I really want to do. So that’s how I used my
experience at Oracle, right? I was fortunate enough to stand
up our veteran employee network at work and got some
connections through there and through knowing
people and just talking about my passions I was able to
volunteer at mission continues, like I said which
ultimately gave me a job at mission continues. So I would say if you
don’t know what you want to do find what your passion is
as we all have kind of address and just start volunteering. And you never know who
you are going to meet through the network
of just volunteering if we have corporate sponsors
for a lot of our platoons from like Boeing, BAE,
Carmax etc. and a lot of them come out to our events. And you may not know who
you are working next to. It could be the VP of
HR which has happened. I’ve seen people that like
at the end of the day be like all right, here’s
my card if you’re looking for a job let me
know type thing. So it’s– use your network. And if you don’t
know look up somebody on LinkedIn you think
has your dream job and send them a message or
see if you know somebody who knows somebody
just make that effort and say hey I noticed
you’ve done this. Can you help me connect? This is what I want to do. And don’t be afraid to ask. Put yourself out there. Be vulnerable I mean it’s
scary but that’s the only way that you’re going to grow as a
person but then ultimately grow and hopefully get
the job that you want or make those connections
to get you the job you want.>>To caveat on that, one
of the lessons I learned but it took me a long time
to learn because those in the military we are
accustomed to getting promoted because of our ability
to perform or to excel at the next level. Right? Or potential. And so we in our mind were
like okay I worked hard and therefore I should
get to the next step. Right? That used always
been obstacle for me in the civilian world
because the civilian world if you don’t speak
up and advocate for yourself you going to get pommeled
and you will see people lesser than you rising and you sit
there and ask yourself why is that knucklehead now
a step or two above me when I’m the one doing all
the real work and I’m the one with all the great ideas? Well it’s because you didn’t
allow the people making those decisions for the
knuckleheads that get above you to let them know that you
actually wrote the brain trust or the muscle behind
all these cool things that they think it’s cool. Right? So one of the lessons
that I had to learn and one of the lessons that a lot of former you know I
guess veterans, right? Veterans need to do is
advocate for yourself. You know you’re doing good work. You know, there are
humble ways that you can go up to you know the VP or the
senior VP, the CEO depending on how big the company is
like you know sir, ma’am, my name is X I’ve been doing
this for X number of years. I love it here blah blah I’m
looking for some challenges or can we grab coffee? A lot of these folks
because it’s almost like the supermodel
syndrome they are so– they are deemed to be so
big and powerful that folks like in our generation
are little timid to go approach them. Right? So we are always
standing alone and only talking to their actual peers which at that level is not
that larger group. And so they love when people from our generation
and millennials too– [ Laughter ] They love it when
we approach them because mentor ship is a
direct action and they want to see a surprise
because just like it. There like okay, that is my
legacy I can groom that person. So, you know be able to step out of your comfort
zone and make the ask. Again, like I said, that was
something it was hard for me. I have been in that position
to where you know I did a lot of work did a lot of really
good work and didn’t– wasn’t able to reap
the rewards for it. I’m learning that lesson
I think that’s what every that needs to do.>>I will just make
one caveat to that. It’s hard to ask. The approach is really
important. It’s not transactional. And so I think if the approach
is could I get your advice it’s well received. If it’s could you help me, then
that’s kind of off-putting. Are they the same thing? Just about. But if you were just to say
can I get your advice on this? Even the most selfish
person would tend to say wow,
he wants my advice.>>Yeah.>>Yeah.>>Definitely echoing
the mentorship aspect but the mentorship aspect
as well as putting yourself out there as far as volunteering
for different organizations that you might want to
be part of in the future. One other thing to just
kind of remember too, is that there are certain
aspects probably of yourself that you might not
have even discovered. So, don’t ever think
that the culmination of who you are is just
what you’ve experienced in your military career. A lot of times, there
are certain– the reason that you
are successful in your military career is not
because of the tactical skills that you have, but
it’s the soft skills. The thing that’s
not in your resume. And so I would say spend time
in your self-discovery first in order to figure out
those other skill sets and other attributes of yourself that probably would be well
suited for a particular career. And then start reaching
out to those organizations and those people for mentorship. Now one side note on that when
you do that self-reflection, don’t do it just by yourself
because you are biased. Make sure to include people
you trust including one that you would want to mentor because they will give you an
objective opinion hopefully.>>I think it’s– one of
the phrases in the book that I wrote is you can’t
figure out what you like to do and so you– who
is playing music? You can’t figure out what you
like to do and so you figure out what you don’t like to do. And I often challenge people
to do a 30 day yes challenge. Say yes to everything and within
30 days you will start to figure out who you like, who you don’t
like, the volunteer things you like and you don’t like
the assignments you take in or the projects you
are taking on and I think it’s whatever he
said it’s just self-discovery and constant kind of
pushing your comfort zone. I want you guys to kinda
start taking a few questions that you may have
for the panelists. And the last thing
that I will turn over to you guys I have two
questions I want to ask. I’m trying to think what
would be the best one. I’m going to go with this
because this is the one that I always use again
in my fireside chats is if you could go back to let’s
say you’re 22, 21-year-old self, what would you go tell them?>>That’s a great question.>>Well the real
answer has nothing to do with this conversation.>>I don’t think you know,
I’m looking at my 21, 22-year-old self I’m
at West Point still. It says on.>>It’s on.>>You know, if I’m
looking at my 21, 22-year-old self I’m still at West Point I am
a sophomore/junior. I don’t think I would
tell myself anything. Because– and I say this only
because I like where I am now.>>You should live
in the moment.>>Right. Because we are
the product of all the good and the bad that occurred
in our life, right? So yeah. I like to
say to myself yeah, go hit the weight room real hard
put on you know and eat protein like it’s your life and then
go see a football coach. Right? But then that
would change my life. Right? Or I’d like
to say you know study because I did not study
except for major tests. God bless being really,
really smart. Right? But then that
would change my class rank and then I wouldn’t have gotten
forced into field artillery and I would’ve got only have
three choices of installations to go to which would’ve
change my whole life and I wouldn’t have had
the cool Iraq experience. Right? So no. You know, professionally,
not a thing. Fun things, yeah, yeah. But not I mean no. Nothing. I love it.>>I would actually cheer
my 21-year-old self on. More than anything because
changing your entire pivoting your– literally your entire
career from one path to another, number one is life-changing, but number two it
takes some courage. Pardon my language but it
takes some balls, really. Because when you have been
working you know seven, eight, 10 years towards a particular
goal– back then I was a kid– and then you ultimately
make that conscious decision to say this is not for me even
though I would have spent seven eight years of my life trying
to get here, that takes courage to change after you’ve invested this much time and effort
and money etc. to get to to a particular point. I would say be bold
in your decisions and don’t be afraid
to change your path. I literally have taken
like every crucial point in time my life I literally
changed like 180° from law to medicine, from medicine
to what I’m doing now. Totally polar opposites
of each other. To anyone else looking at my
resume they are probably going to think you have no idea
what the hell you are doing because you are all
over the place. However, an executive coach, by the
way, if you’re able to be in a program that provides
it get an executive coach. They are great. An executive coach
actually told me that– because that was my fear. It is like I had no idea
what the heck I was doing. And this was what
I was doing my MBA. So what she told me was that
every part and everything that I did in my life was just
a step to accumulate the tools and skill sets to get to the
career that I should have. And that has been probably one
of the most profound things that I have ever heard which
made me feel a bit better about all the decisions good
or bad throughout my life.>>I’ll be quick. Has anyone read Roger Corman book on John Voight?>>I’m friends with his friends.>>And so he used to constantly
tell his young officers seek to do something. Don’t seek to be something. That’s good advice.>>For me, I look back
at where I was at 21, I knew what I wanted to
do, I just commissioned in the Marine Corps I
was ready to go so I tend to go a few more years ahead,
I guess when I was getting out. Don’t be afraid of the unknown. I mean it’s scary and that’s– I
guess that was the biggest thing for me is like you can do
anything that you want to do and it’s so terrifying but
like just trust your gut and trusted you are where
you are supposed to be in that moment and use your
past experiences to kind of move you forward to
what you want to do. That would be my advice.>>All great stuff. And I know we need to get a
chance to really deep dive and what each of you are doing because you are all doing
very incredible work and I would really encourage
you to after we are done here with the Q&A to connect with
them and I wish we had more time to talk about it but I like
to turn it over to you guys. What would you like to
ask any of the panelists?>>Okay thanks. Justin Goldman, you had a nice line the talked about knowing your mission
but also knowing what’s right. Could you talk about if you had. Three struggled with that and
you had to wrestle with that? Kind of what was your mindset
and how you approach that?>>So depending on which
mission we are talking about, right there is the
organizational mission and then there’s your
personal mission.. So, I would say that your
mission should always be what’s right. You’re hoping that your personal
moral compass is driving you to do the right things
behaviorally but if you’re talking about– so I have to parse
that out a little bit. Sorry, maybe some of that
legal things actually stuck with me. But, if you are talking
about organizational mission, that actually is
really important because there are
some organizations that may be more focused
to a certain thing that is not aligned with
your own moral compass. And so when I say do what’s
right despite what the organization– maybe they
don’t know that it’s not right. Maybe no one has brought
that up because it’s so like below the level that
they are making decisions on it or they don’t see the
ramifications second, third order effects
of certain decisions. So I would say one, have a moral
compass no matter what it is that you’re doing. Because that’s going to keep
pointing you and making sure that you are able to
sleep at night and wake up in the morning being glad that you’re doing
what you’re doing. But then make sure that you are
emulating that and representing that in your work and so when I say you know your
organizational mission has to be aligned with you
or vice versa I guess, make sure that it is your
responsibility as well to make sure that you are
making your organization as good as they can be by
pointing out what’s right. Now, also be humble if
you are actually wrong. But you think you’re right. But just make sure that your
moral compass is always pointing true north.>>Other questions?>>Let me ask the
audience something. Who is in transition now? All right.
Who’s got a burning question about their particular
specific instance right now? Like you are literally
struggling with it. Go.>>My name is Corey.>>There’s a question.>>I have one week left
on active duty in the Army and I’m going back to school. So what was the biggest
unforeseen challenge that you had when you were
coming out of the military and going into the
civilian world?>>I don’t know if
it was unforeseen, but for me given my background,
right, so I have a Masters and a bachelors in
criminal justice. I was a military police officer. So looking forward the next
step would’ve been join law enforcement. So that’s issue I done,
of the State Department, NCIS, FBI, OPM, all these agencies and
got offers from most of them. And it took me a little
bit to understand I got out of the Marine
Corps for these reasons and if I had jumped into a job like this it is exactly
the reasons why I got out of the military. So for me it was figuring out what the heck I
wanted to do with my life. And then just being like I said
vulnerable and taking that chance and I just was at
a job conference and an Oracle recruiter
came up to me and said hey, we have your resume can you
spare some your time and I was like I don’t know anything about
computers or tech which are. So like I gave it a shot and
I’m like after talking with one of the guys he had
been a reservist but also had been an Oracle
any kind of outline some of the stuff I’ve done in the
military and how it would equate to what I would be doing at
Oracle and that’s also another like aha moment I had
where I was like oh yeah like I did investigations, getting to the root of whatever
happened, a right, I’d be doing that Oracle working
with customers figuring out why they want to
move to a new platform or a new project management
thing I’d be demonstrating a product. I did that with general officers etc. and so just being
able to translate some of my experiences I
think those harder for me than I thought it was going to
be I thought I had a good grasp on it but I really didn’t. And then also like I said not
viewing the first job I had as failure but just being
willing to kind of take that chance and be vulnerable
I thought I was ready for that but I wasn’t and it wasn’t until
a few key people kind of pointed that out to me and gave
me some sound advice and I was like oh okay, yeah. I could totally do this thing, it gave me the confidence to make that leap to Oracle. Yeah.>>Yeah, it was weird for me. I was slightly scared. Not really, really scared, but
slightly scared because I grew up in the Marine
Corps so I didn’t– I had no idea what the
civilian life was really like. I mean I had lived in
the suburbs from middle school and high school I still had my
ID card if I played basketball at Quantico right, and I went
to the commissary and the PX. You know so that was my world. And all of a sudden when I
got to you know my ETS leave like the day after my ETS
leave I was like this is real. Because you know how I function? You know? I’m used to–
if I was sick, right? Going down to the
clinic you know and hollering my homeboy was the
PA you know toss me some Motrin and I keep on walking. You can’t do that in
the civilian world. You know fortunately my parents
were around and so when it came to me like buying my condo they
helped make sure I didn’t get bamboozled while those
real estate people and other nonsense, but you know I think about
six or seven years ago more to your point I really
realized that I was never going to fully activate into
the civilian world. And that’s okay. Right? You’re going to hear a lot of
people tell you that you know that Army life that was your
other life and now you are– it’s like no because
you are a whole. Right? All the parts that make up you
preschool, elementary school, middle, high school,
college if you went to college whatever you did your
job and your military service that all makes who you
are and you can’t take that off and away from you. Yeah, you put the uniform
in the closet or give it to the store outside the
front gate like I did and get a little cash but you
can’t take know she can’t take that away from yourself
because part of who you are. Right? Hopefully everyone had at least
51% positive experience during their service. Right? And so that helps make
you great as to who you are. And so I say embrace it.. Right? That doesn’t
mean that you go around touting it everywhere
you go oh I’m Army guy but when people ask like yeah. I loved it it made me who I am. It made me grateful for
who I am because eventually when it comes– eventually
they’re going to be a leader. Right? And that’s when you’re
going to be able to step up whether it’s directly or
indirectly and people are going to look at you like
you know yeah. That guy is a leader. Oh. He was in the Army. That makes sense. And then positive
things are happening. But yeah don’t– yeah. Don’t worry. It’s going to be a little scary
but hey, that’s life, right? We’ve been scared before.>>I don’t know if I’d say
it’s an unforeseen challenge but maybe it’s something that
I kind of realized even early on when I was in the military
I always had a part-time job working in a civilian hospital. And the reason for that was
I didn’t believe that the military knew everything
and so I think I felt that if I knew little bit
about the civilian hospital too and with the military I could
take best practices from both and then be a better clinician. And so I did that for my entire
career maybe a little crazy doing it.
But I did. So, and that aspect, I
kind of kept one part of my civilian self always
in tow and so I would say that for people who
are still in make sure that you don’t lose sight of who
you were before the military. You were not born
in the military. You were whatever your name is
before you raise your right hand and so make sure you
don’t lose sight of that. Because that is you
at your core. The military just helps
to elevate you to give out those best characteristics
and behaviors and actions and bring that out and making
a better version of you but you you were not
born a military person and never lose sight of that. I think a lot of people do
when they get indoctrinated for so many years and that
they don’t know how to work on the outside because
they totally lose track of who they were as a civilian. And I think that that
is sometimes a mistake. I’m absolutely proud and
I felt it was a privilege to actually serve
in the military. But I also know that the
world doesn’t revolve just within the military. And I think remembering
that while you’re serving it after you serve is
an important point.>>Any other questions tonight? Okay, on that note, I’d like
to thank Lourdes, Scott, Terrin, Johanna,
thank you guys so much. Everybody, thanks for coming out and all the veterans
and active military. Thank you so much
for your service. [ Silence ]

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