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Life and Leadership Lessons I Learned In The Military: “The Marine Corps instilled in me an aggressive, and uncompromising basic daily routine–mindset and work ethic.” with Sergeant Major Micheal P. Barrett and Marco Dehry

The Marine Corps instilled in me an aggressive, and uncompromising basic daily routine–mindset and work ethic. From the second you are a recruit or officer candidate, your routine is basically to be up at zero dark thirty, make a head call, shave and brush your teeth, barracks clean up, march to chow, PT, hygiene, accomplish […]


The Marine Corps instilled in me an aggressive, and uncompromising basic daily routine–mindset and work ethic. From the second you are a recruit or officer candidate, your routine is basically to be up at zero dark thirty, make a head call, shave and brush your teeth, barracks clean up, march to chow, PT, hygiene, accomplish the training schedule, evening formation to pass the word (next day’s schedule), get your gear squared away for tomorrow, eat evening chow and go on liberty … repeat. The day is over when the job is done. Head down, ass up and drive forward, nothing is difficult if you do it as a team! So yes, I think it did. I was an active duty Marine for 34 years.

“As a part of my series about “Life and Leadership Lessons Learned In The Military”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sgt. Major Micheal P. Barrett. Sergeant Major Barrett held a number of leadership positions during his 34 years in the United States Marine Corps. He first enlisted in March 1981 and on June 9, 2011, Sergeant Major Barrett was selected and assumed his post as the 17th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James F. Amos. Sergeant Major Barrett retired on June 1, 2015. Sergeant Major Barrett continues to serve in many roles: Military Advisor, Veterans United Home Loans, the nation’s №1 VA lender; Board of Directors, Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation-Chairman, Scholarship Committee; Advisor/Coach/Mentor, Young Marines Program; Leadership coach and mentor, Summit Six LLC; Member [Legionnaire], American Legion Sergeant Major Barrett is married to the former Susan M. DeLaVega of Los Angeles, CA and they have two sons, Michael and Jonathan. Sergeant Major Barrett’s personal awards include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with combat “V” [Valor] and gold star, Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat “V” and three gold stars, Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two gold stars, Combat Action with gold star and the Presidential Service Badge.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a bit about your childhood “backstory”?

I am number 7 of 12 in the litter. The Barrett’s and Trabucco’s are kind of like the Brady Bunch. The only difference being that my mom and dad divorced and both were remarried. So, I have brothers and sisters–both step and half, but no Alice to clean up after us. Everyone earned their keep and we all had different personalities and attitudes. I loved to play sports–all of them. If it had a bat, stick, club, puck or ball and required hand-eye-foot coordination, I was in. I hated to lose so I would stay at the park and practice for hours. I participated in summer travel leagues at the junior and senior high school level. Oh yeah, the hole under my nose always got me special attention. I left home at 17 and joined the U.S. Marine Corps.

And what are you doing today? Can you share a story that exemplifies the unique work that you are doing?

I am privileged to work at Veterans United Home Loans, the nation’s №1 VA lender, as a Military Advisor along with Ken Preston (13th Sergeant Major of the Army), Rick West (12th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy), Jim Roy (16th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force), Denise Jelinski-Hall (Senior Enlisted Leader to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau) and Skip Bowen (10th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard). As Military Advisors, we make recommendations to increase brand awareness across the nation. Additionally, we are responsible for supporting and promoting Veterans United at events and through advertisements. Our unique skill sets allow us to serve in a wide variety of duties: strong interpersonal written and verbal communication skills; public speaking experience; exemplary customer service skills; and the ability to excel in a fast-paced, results-oriented environment.

Additionally, I serve on the Board of Directors, (Chairman, Scholarship Committee) for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. It’s the nation’s oldest and largest provider of need-based scholarships to military children. The Scholarship Committee is primarily responsible for the administration and management of the Foundation’s mission to Honor Marines by Educating Their Children.

I also coach, mentor and teach our youth [I support and serve on-call] in the Young Marine Program. The Young Marines is a national non-profit youth education and service program for boys and girls, ages eight through the completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral and physical development of its Young Marine members.

Also, I, along with my counterparts mentioned earlier, make up Summit Six Consulting. Our mission is to provide world class transformational leadership, coaching, organizational change management, workforce development and alignment, and motivational speaking solutions. We focus on improving workforce leadership abilities by utilizing skills, techniques and knowledge gained through military experience, post-military corporate experience, hard work, commitment, integrity and respect for others.

Lengthy response, and I know didn’t share a story… I suppose the description of what I am doing now tells its own story — I may have taken off the cloth of an active duty Marine, but I am not done serving or sharing life experiences and lessons learned. I still feel compelled to give to my country and my community.

Can you tell us a bit about your military background?

After recruit training, I started off as an infantryman and served where directed and in every capacity as ordered to. I never set out to be “successful.” I was raised, and always thought it was normal, to give it everything you’ve got. I wasn’t the smartest Marine to ever patrol or stalk across the battlefield, but I was trainable, and knew to surround myself with smart people. I learned and mastered the basics, intensely studied Marine Corps philosophy, memorized the creeds and the codes and applied them, always. I used checklists to make sure I didn’t overlook anything. I observed my leaders carefully and relied on the examples and character of my fellow Marines. And at every opportunity, I shared what I learned.

Can you share the most interesting story that you experienced during your military career? What “take away” did you learn from that story?

There are literally thousands. Narrowing it down to the “most, or the one” would be a herculean task. Instead, most “seminal” experience(s) were when I was in the entry-level training pipeline (a time period from recruit training through completion of military occupational specialty training). You are required to master the training standards before you can graduate the school/training. Never once did I achieve mastery of the standards alone. WE, endured together, studied together, broke our backs together, carried each other — together, as a team. From day one, it’s ingrained into us, “Don’t worry about yourself. Support that Marine on your left and right. Their life is in your hands!” TEAMWORK. You never have to worry about being alone in a fighting hole during a firefight. You may be the only one physically standing there, but I assure you that you are not alone.

I’m interested in fleshing out what a hero is. Did you experience or hear about a story of heroism, during your military experience? Can you share that story with us? Feel free to be as elaborate as you’d like.

Bob Dylan, a very talented music icon, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, a Nobel Prize winner in Literature, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom is noted as stating, “I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.” Bob, I agree with you brother.

A hero is a man or woman who decides to stand tall, at the position of attention with their right hand held high, fingers extended and joined, surrounded by our services’ battle colors and our National Ensign reciting the oath of office or enlistment. Ready to serve and if called upon ready to sacrifice for free people–our freedom.

Andrew “Ace” Nowacki was killed in Iraq on February 26, 2005. Andy’s legacy, his verve for life, his love for family and friends, his humor and wit, his selfless giving way, his character — his example. He was a role model. It made sense to me that Andy, and only he, rode in the turret of the lead vehicle manning the 50-caliber machine gun every time a convoy was dispatched outside the wire. Not that he didn’t trust anyone else, but because he was fearless. Andy was a police officer in Ohio- a first responder. He was a Marine- a warrior gentleman and a peacemaker. He changed lives. He saved lives. I believe if he were physically standing beside me, he would say, “I was just doing my job. My duty.” Intimating that he was ordinary. I submit he was so much more — that he was extraordinary.

Andy was always setting the example of professional steadiness. Always demonstrating his love and commitment to, and for, his brothers-and sisters-in-arms. Selflessly relieving them of the possibility that something could (would) go wrong.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends–

John 15:13.

Today, each of us enjoys the gift of freedom. Freedom preserved by men and women whose courage to serve presented them with defining moments of their own. Those stalwart warriors, whose sacrifice we admire and memorialize every day, laid down their lives or faced a life-altering threat, not to uphold one moment, but one nation.

Heroes are also the first responders that serve in our communities. Ready to run into a burning house, blow the life back into an unconscious victim, or stop a violent crime.

A hero to me is that person who chooses service above self.

Based on that story, how would you define what a “hero” is? Can you explain?

A hero is someone who intuitively knows the joy and sense of purpose that only comes through great challenges and subordination to a calling greater than self. Someone who knows what it means to keep company with the finest men and women in a world under the toughest conditions. They truly know what it means to be living their lives right and to the fullest.

Our nation called for individuals to serve and an elite class of Americans emerged. They continue to emerge, knowing full well what they are getting themselves into –marching toward the sounds of thunder, the cannons, the guns or screams for help.

When our soil was attacked, soldiers strapped on their gear and got in the fight, determined to stay the course until the nations objective was met. Our Veterans, regardless of their uniform, served, sacrificed and are not to be forgotten. They faithfully continue to serve in some form or capacity across the country within our communities.

350 million Americans — and less than one percent of our nation wears the uniform of any branch of service. That’s profound, because we are doing it with an all-volunteer force. No other time in our nation’s young 243-year history have we been directly engaged with our nation’s enemies, on multiple fronts, for this long. They all could be doing anything they wanted in their lives, but they chose a life of sacrifice and service — to be defenders of the Constitution and servants to our nation. There’s nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer!

As a Marine, I am proud that I have been privileged to serve with, and stand shoulder to shoulder with, the strongest Army that has ever marched, with the most powerful Naval and Coast Guard forces that have ever sailed, and an Air Force that provides the full spectrum of air supremacy and lethality.

Does a person need to be facing a life and death situation to do something heroic or to be called a hero?

No. There is moral and ethical courage (heroism).

Based on your military experience, can you share with our readers 5 Leadership or Life Lessons that you learned from your experience”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

1. Always be taking and making assessments. I never visited a unit with the intent of finding something wrong, just the opposite actually. I always searched for Marines doing great things.

2. Understand (able to identify and act on deficiencies) the indicators of effective leadership. You can, in a short amount of time, assess how well a unit (organization) is doing based on the people’s morale, proficiency, esprit de corps, discipline and motivation. If there is a gap in any, or some, it will be noticeable in the way they walk, talk, dress, present themselves, their production, etc. I would walk into a command’s area of responsibility and within a few hours tell who is best and who needs the most attention. I would walk the living and working spaces, common areas and surrounding parking lots and get a sense of the unit’s appearance, pride and upkeep. In the motor pool, armory, chow hall and supply, I got an understanding of their level of organization, effort and teamwork. After reviewing the legal report, training report, binnacle report, career retention report, I could determine discipline, motivation, health and proficiency. I did all of this before going to the field (training scenario) to observe their skill set and level.

3. Possess and demonstrate enduring trust qualities –always. I assess and build my team around the following qualities: competency, commitment, passion, dependability, morality, character and teamwork. More specifically, does the individual deliver results with integrity? Are they self-motivated? See a mission to the end? Are they reliable in keeping their word? Do their actions bring the team together?

4. Demonstrate and demand proper conduct –always. If what you’re about to do is immoral, unethical, unprofessional, unsafe, unjust or illegal — then don’t do it. Your brain can assimilate these factors in a Nanosecond. If you have to pause, for even a second, that should tell you it’s probably going to get you in trouble.

5. Be optimally combat fit/ready –always. This includes physical, cognitive, moral, emotional and family readiness.

Physically fit. Goes without saying. It induces self-reliance, boldness, confidence healthy habits, endurance, strength, cardio, flexibility and toughness.

Cognitively fit. Being mentally tough and mentally agile. Having martial spirit and equanimity. Able to do multiple tasks in a chaotic environment and make critical decisions at critical times.

I remember the quick-thinking actions of Staff Sgt. Khris DeCapua, whose squad was ambushed in Zaidon, Iraq, as they crossed a large, open danger area. One Marine was immediately wounded. With the potential for chaos all around him, DeCapua immediately started barking out orders: direction, description, range, fire assignments and fire control. He started maneuvering his reinforced rifle squad and got his radio operator on the hook with the rear sending reports on casualty evacuation and Troops in Contact.

They were uncovered and in the open. A Marine was down and receiving aid. Through it all, Sgt DeCapua was controlling the Marines fire and maneuver, sending in critical reports, and maintaining geometry of fire to prevent collateral damage to innocent farmers in the area.

Sergeant DeCapua directed a two-man 60mm mortar team, Lance Corporals Peffer and Guzman to fire on the building where the enemy machine gun fire was coming from. Exposed to enemy fire in the open, Peffer and Guzman flawlessly delivered timely and accurate suppressive fires from their 60mm mortars in a handheld position, disrupting and displacing the enemy and forcing them to abandon fortified positions as the maneuver element assaulted forward. Sergeant DeCapua, at the ripe old age of 23, led and carried the day.

Morally and Emotionally fit. The Rifleman’s Creed that we recited daily in boot camp included this principle: “I must master (my rifle) as I must master my life … I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready.”

Moral fitness is an imperative for an effective leader. “Treat your body like a shrine, not an amusement park,” I would counsel my Marines. “I want you to live your life aggressively, not recklessly. A night of passion could end up a lifetime of pain.”

Spiritual well-being is imperative for moral fitness. When I say “spiritual,” I’m referring to what’s in your heart, not necessarily religion. “Spiritual wholeness” means all parts of you are well and working together. Mind, body, and spirit make up the whole Marine.

Without emotional resilience, you cannot focus on a mission in the midst of a catastrophe. On December 1, 2005, the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines suffered a gut- wrenching tragedy when 10 Marines in Company F were killed by an IED outside Fallujah, Iraq. Eleven more Marines from the same platoon were wounded.

The next 72 to 96 hours were enormously demanding for us. We were all grieving, but Company F still had a mission to complete. We needed the remaining 170+ Marines and Navy Corpsmen in the fight — not just their bodies, but also their cognitive abilities. We needed everyone alert, in control, focused and agile. There would be a time for grieving and memorializing our brothers, but this was not the time or place.

Battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Joe L’Etoile and I spent the next three days preparing for a high value target (HVT) takedown. Of course, we still needed to make time to eat, rest, patrol, and even do some physical training with the Marines of Company F (including an intense “combat” dodgeball tournament, which means physical contact was not only anticipated, but required).

In the coming weeks, we memorialized our brothers, told stories, showed pictures, shared non-alcoholic beer, toasted, laughed until it hurt, shed a tear, and took it to the enemy. Every sergeant, corporal, lance corporal, and private first class stepped up and were baptized in combat under the worst of circumstances. These Marines were mentally and emotionally resilient.

Have knowledge and skills required to perform any task.

Joe L’Etoile taught me how focus, effort, and teamwork are essential to readiness. In the third year of the 18-year war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Lt. Col. L’Etoile became battalion commander and I became the battalion sergeant major.

On night before deployment, we came up with a list of things that could happen every time our Marines walked outside the wire and grouped them into 11 categories: weapons, vehicles, first aid, Sensitive Sight Exploitation, communications, language skills, cultural knowledge, tactical SOPs, hasty/fixed positions, Rules of Engagement and Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices. We needed to accomplish more than a thousand infantry training standards, missions, and mission-essential tasks and exercises, during our 6-month work-up, but these were the 11 things we needed to focus on to bring everyone safely home. We developed a master’s degree program and focused on those skill sets.

We had great success on our mission and were motivated solely because we knew this master’s program would save lives. Joe L’Etoile taught me that readiness requires all your focus and effort. Keep your head on a swivel, take care of that Marine on your left and right, and when it’s time, shoot straight. Prepare as a team.

Lt. Col. L’Etoile and I did two back-to-back deployments to Iraq as a team, and we went on more than 300 combat patrols together. Today, he serves the Secretary of Defense in training and readiness across the Department of Defense.

Personal and Family fit. Are your personal affairs in order? Are your bills paid, living will current, shots up to date, direct deposit squared away, and your car running the way it’s supposed to? Are your annual requirements current? Are you a rifle and pistol expert? Are you exceeding your professional education requirements? Are you a black belt in martial arts? YOU CANNOT BE EXPECTED OR ENTRUSTED TO TAKE CARE OF OTHERS IF YOU’RE NOT TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF.

Does your family know your duty, field, and deployment schedules? If you have little children, have you made books on tapes or videos, enough to get through the deployment? It’s important for them to hear you and see your face. Is your family socially fit- connected to all the family support groups and programs to assist while you’re away? Is your family spiritually fit? Are their hearts happy? Are their minds in a good place? Are they resilient? Are they engaged in activities that allow them to grow and develop?

Personal and family fitness are an absolute necessity. A Marine whose head is not 100 percent in the moment, on the task or mission at hand, can be a liability. A Marine on patrol in the most dangerous place on the planet, or a mechanic turning a wrench on an aircraft or MRAP, cannot perform as needed if things back home are not right. If their thoughts and concerns are on the broken car at home, or the wife who isn’t getting the money she needs, they won’t be looking for the IED two steps away.

Do you think your experience in the military helped prepare you for business? Can you explain?

I am 56 years old and I am up every day at zero dark thirty. I work out, clean up, read, think about what I just read, catch up on world events, eat breakfast, then I attack my calendar, and it’s not even 9 a.m., yet.

Growing up the first thing we Barrett’s/Trabucco’s heard was our mom sounding reveille, “Wake up, get up, get dressed. Eat breakfast and go blow the stink off you.” Basically, she was saying get out and be home by dinner. However, the Marine Corps instilled in me an aggressive, and uncompromising basic daily routine–mindset and work ethic. From the second you are a recruit or officer candidate, your routine is basically to be up at zero dark thirty, make a head call, shave and brush your teeth, barracks clean up, march to chow, PT, hygiene, accomplish the training schedule, evening formation to pass the word (next day’s schedule), get your gear squared away for tomorrow, eat evening chow and go on liberty … repeat. The day is over when the job is done. Head down, ass up and drive forward, nothing is difficult if you do it as a team! So yes, I think it did. I was an active duty Marine for 34 years.

As you know, some people are scarred for life by their experience in the military. Did you struggle after your deployment was over? What have you done to adjust and thrive in civilian life that others may want to emulate?

This conversation is thorny and to many, is a sensitive subject. Good thing I’m not sensitive. I’m glad you didn’t try to avoid asking me. So, thank you. It has been explained to me that everyone who deploys forward to a combat zone comes home different, in some way. My wife has said many times after many deployments, “You are different. Not a bad different. Just different.” A crucial step in the process is in preparing to deploy. Going to combat is intense and the training prepares you for everything that you might encounter or experience. I’m not going to get into the weeds on this, it would take up ten pages, but you’re training for life and death. One minute you may be digging a ditch, then standing guard at a remote forward operating base alone and unafraid from midnight to 4 a.m. From walking an atmospherics patrol to a full-on firefight. The work-up (pre-deployment training program) takes six months. That’s six months you are rarely home and away from your loved ones — wife, children, girlfriend/boyfriend. Then, you deploy for 7–12 months depending on your unit, mission and position. All this time, in a hyper-alert state of mind and exposed to the possibility …

I couldn’t sleep when I came home. It was hard to focus on any one thing. My brain raced, consumed by hundreds of things all the time. I couldn’t sit still. I was hyper-vigilant. I ATTACKED THESE ISSUES HEAD ON. I talked it out with my wife, friends, family and experts. I read the Greek philosopher Epictetus and he taught me it’s not the thing itself, but the view we take of it that disturbs us. I changed how I recalled my experiences and thoughts. I learned that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. It was my choice, so I decided not to let it bother me. You can either accept them as traumatizing events, or transform them into learning, or even empowering, experiences. I am in control, I have the power to determine how I react to the things that I experienced. IT’S IN MY NATURE TO FIGHT. I like to enjoy a scotch, bourbon, whiskey, gin or beer on a Friday or Saturday as a week’s end victory celebration. I smoke cigars once in a while when I am with friends. I like to shoot my pistols and fling flights of arrows (archery). I am not afraid to tell anyone I have Post-Traumatic Growth. If you expect to suffer, you will. I don’t, so I flourish.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Our team at Summit Six, whom I listed previously, recently collaborated in writing a leadership anthology called Breaching the Summit. Tell your friends!

Outside of my regular duties of helping veterans achieve dream of homeownership at Veterans United Home Loans; providing financial assistance and sending the children of Marines, Navy Corpsmen, Chaplains and Religious Personnel to college with my responsibilities with Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and sharing my time with the Young Marine Program in developing character in America’s youth; I am working on a very exciting project with the American Legion. I’ll leave it there, as there are many irons in the fire and I don’t want to get out ahead of the messaging and chain of command and executive steering committees decision making process!

What advice would you give to other leaders to help their team to thrive?

Focus on the three pillars of leadership:

1. Set the example.

2. Care for those in your charge. Be careful not to coddle them or solve their problems. If you do, they won’t grow.

3. Develop yourself and your team in mind, body and spirit. Always be mindful and on the alert for deficiencies. Know and teach the indicators of effective leadership. And if you, or they see a gap, know how to act on it/them. Demonstrate the enduring trust qualities — always. Ensure you and your team are optimally fit and ready. Demonstrate and demand what right conduct looks like.

What advice would you give to other leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

See above response and multiply it by the number of people you serve-lead, and only be at your desk when you absolutely need to be. Your team needs to see you out in the trenches, getting your hands dirty, sharing in the gritty day-to-day grind. Don’t ever forget who is looking back at you! To achieve your vision (where you want to be) you must give your time, your efforts and all your focus to those who will help you get there.

An axiom I have always followed is: after every ride, focus and care (in this order) goes to your horse first, then your saddle, and last you– the rider. Take care of those that got you there, ensure your equipment, infrastructure (work spaces) are the very best you can provide, and your needs and wants must ALWAYS be subordinate to the team.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There are too many to count. My mom(s) and dad(s) and siblings loved me and put a foot in my ass when I deserved it. I got to where I am today because a Marine Recruiter named Gunnery Sergeant Ron Swan took a chance on me. I am where I am because Senior Drill Instructor Staff Sergeant Honeycutt was tough and demanding and ensured I was worthy of the Eagle, Globe and Anchor. I am where I am today because Colonel Mike Smith and LtCol. Joe L’Etoile put their trust and confidence in my abilities to patrol and stalk the battlefield — to be their eyes, ears and trigger finger. I could go on and on.

But there is only one person that has kept me grounded and has stood by me through all life’s trials. Susan, my partner for life and mother to our boys. We’ve moved 16 times. And that doesn’t count the four times I moved alone, so as not to take our boys out of school. For three plus decades we’ve been together through multiple overseas and combat deployments, field exercises, combined arms exercises, pre-deployment training packages, temporary additional duty orders, duty days and lost weekends.

I knew that being inconvenienced and uncomfortable would come with being a Marine. My family knew it too, and they were up to the challenge. We are stronger for it. I made as many graduations, baseball and soccer games, and wrestling tournaments I could for my boys. I was home for most holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. The ones I missed were because I was deployed, in the field, training or otherwise assigned elsewhere –doing my job. My family will always take priority when they absolutely need me. If things at home were tracking in a forward direction and Susan was taking lead and all was well, then the Marine Corps had my attention.

Susan almost single-handedly raised our children. She led our home with integrity and order, and it’s because she has a natural gift for leadership. She made sure our family was fit emotionally, socially, financially and spiritually. She was the shoulder I could lean on, the voice of reason I could listen to, and the foot in the rear I needed.

She is still all of those things today. Michael, Jonathan and I praise her for all she has sacrificed for our family. Truly, she’s the epitome of the virtuous woman described in Proverbs: “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness . . . Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

She allowed me to be a Marine, as she promised. And I was always there when she needed me, as I promised. The single most important decision a person will make in their lifetime is the person they chose to be their mate. When I talk to young Marines, this is what I tell them, “The most important thing you’ll ever do in your life is being a Marine. The most important thing you’ll ever have in your life is your family.”

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

You’ll have to ask those whom I have served and lead.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The VA bringing all our Veteran Service Organizations, the best and brightest, and our very best mental health professionals together and solving our gut wrenching and heartbreaking veteran suicide crisis.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

You’re never going to get to where you want to be by remaining where you are.

I never settle. People who quip, “Just good enough or that will work fine.” My senses and experiences tell me they deal with or have dealt with disappointment more than they would have liked to. But much worse, they incite that mediocrity is an acceptable standard –it’s not!

Additionally, I don’t accept “no” or “I can’t” as an appropriate response to a reasonable request or support needed. Find every reason to say “yes” or “let’s figure this out.” Always be growing yourself and building your bench. You have a dugout full of potential MVP’s. Put them in the game, take a step back and enjoy their efforts.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Marcus Aurelius. However, due to his untimely passing, I’d enjoy sharing a table with all my friends and brothers and sisters-in-arms that I have served and stood shoulder-to- shoulder with over the past four decades. They inspire me most. I have stood and sat with Presidents of the United States, members of Congress, Ambassadors, Presidents and CEO’s of Industry, and stars of stage and screen. Remarkable and tremendously gifted in their own rights and accomplishments, however, none of them impress me more than the men and women who has chosen service and sacrifice to their nation. Home of the free, because of the brave.

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