“Please let me know if you would have an interest in dropping into a room of Navy SEALs and coaching them.” That was the message I received on July 21, 2016, from someone named Philip Dana through a LinkedIn request to connect.
“Hi Phil,” I replied, “You certainly know how to get my attention. Let’s meet for coffee.” That was the beginning of my journey this year into the world of The Honor Foundation. THF is a non-profit organization headquartered in San Diego that helps former Navy SEALs and other elite U.S. Special Operations Forces transition out of military service and into the corporate world.
THF is a world-class, 120-hour program started by CEO Joe Musselman out of a combination of desperation and drive to serve others. In 2012, Joe was faced with the most difficult transition of his life. He had enlisted in the Navy with a dream to become a Navy SEAL. While in training one day, Joe sustained a serious injury. By nightfall, he was medically discharged. The next 12 months led Joe through rehabilitation and the discovery of dozens of other members of the SEAL community who were in serious need of help to transition out of military service and into the civilian world.
As he dug further into the issue, Joe found that just 13% of SEALs had job offers when they got out of the service. He compared this to the 98% of Wharton MBA graduates who received 2-3 job offers upon graduation. Even those SEALs who did find employment often moved from job to job in the first five years after transitioning. That was the injustice that Joe set out to correct in 2013.
Last week, THF graduated its 9th group of Special Operations Forces in a ceremony at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium. 32 men and 1 woman who have served our country with honor now have the tools they need to confidently enter the workforce with pride and a sure-footing. They are prepared to take the leap of faith that the civilian world will honor their service, embrace their elite training, and place them in positions worthy of their talents.
It is my honor to introduce you to ten members of the Group 9 graduating class, and to invite you to learn more about how you can employ, mentor, coach or donate to this amazing organization.
1. Phil Gilreath, “Seeking new challenges in the San Diego area.”
Experience: From leading small units to leading an operations department and the strategic long term planning for an organization of over 750 people, I have had the opportunity to work with amazingly talented performers at multiple organizational levels.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree, History
Availability: Phil transitions from the Marine Corps in December of 2016
2. Bob Howell, “I want to create a better environment for my kids through environmental overhaul.”
Experience: Responsible for task management and primary assignments of a 3500-person work force with direct oversight of 8 global subordinate units. Chairman of the “Issue Resolution Board” to establish priority and tracking of operations initiatives. Negotiated or approved contracts with suppliers, distributors, federal and state agencies. Approved all out of budget and discretionary funding.
Education: The Honor Foundation
Availability: Bob transitions from the Navy in January of 2017
3. Anthony Alessi, “Thrives in competitive environments with high stakes.”
Areas of Interest: Technology as a solution to environmental change. Renewable energy, emerging technologies, automation in vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles, wireless charging, and a people-centric corporate culture.
Experience: Collaborated effectively to integrate tactics within a team in order to maximize unit cohesion, standardize operating procedures and expand capabilities.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Economics
Availability: Anthony transitions from the Navy in March 2017
4. Blake Campbell, “I love to win, but love winning with my teammates even more.”
Experience: Unsurpassed focus and motivation. Ability to lead, mentor, and continuously learn. Proven management of million dollar + assets with zero discrepancies.
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Business Strategies (2017)
Availability: Blake transitions from the Navy in March of 2017
5. Louis Godeaux, “Cross-Functional Team Leader, Senior Program Manager”
Experience: Senior technical program leader responsible for integration management across multiple cross-functional teams. Analytical activator with demonstrated ability to solve complex problems in high-stakes environments.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Information Technology-Security
Availability: Louis transitions from the Navy in March of 2017
6. Nate Lampert, “Proven operational leader, who motivates, empowers, and develops teams to achieve in difficult environments.”
Experience: Senior operational advisor to executive leadership in formulation of plans, personnel requirements, and procedural guidance covering a personnel network over 12 Pacific nations from Sri Lanka to Indonesia. Managed security and human resource operations for a 100-man unit; established training plans and directed the operational activities for information gathering and employment of new technologies.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Intelligence Studies
Availability: Nate transitions from the Marines in the summer of 2017
7. Kelsy Holle, “Determined to create positive changes in the educational opportunities of students with autism.”
Experience: As a strategist I have synthesized data to create tangible, actionable information and increase operational capabilities. As a personnel manager I identified each person’s strengths to allow each member of the team to perform at their highest level.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Psychology
Availability: Kelsy transitions from the Navy in October of 2017
8. Floyd McClendon, Jr., “Experienced, inspirational public speaker with a purpose to positively affect peoples’ lives. Passionate about initiatives that will develop those who are struggling socially, mentally, and/or physically.”
Experience: Director of Operations responsible to plan, coordinate, command, control, and conduct operations in support of operations, strategic initiatives, and contingencies.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Liberal Arts
Availability: Floyd transitions from the Navy in the fall of 2017
9. Mark Mason, “A proven leader who loves to network and inspire teams toward shared goals. Excited about the opportunity of solving enterprise-wide problems. High-performance organizational experience building a mastery of a diverse range of technical, tactical, and strategic skills, which transfer seamlessly to private sector needs.”
Experience: 26 years of Team Building, Organizational Leadership, Servant Leadership, Public Speaking, Curriculum Design, Conflict Resolution, Leadership Development, Risk Management, Operational Management, and Data Analysis
Education: Master’s Degree, Organizational Leadership
Availability: Mark plans to transition from the Navy in December of 2017
10. Ray Jobi, “I am a passionate learner who adds the extra to ordinary.”
Experience: Repeated success guiding sizeable, cross-functional teams in the design and development of critical projects in a dynamic environment. The ability to forge solid relationships with strategic partners and build consensus across multiple organizational levels.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Organizational Leadership (2017)
Availability: Ray transitions from the Navy in October of 2018
If you feel inspired to employ, mentor, or coach a member of this elite group, or be a THF sponsor, please fill out this online form directly on their website. Someone will be in touch with you soon. Thank you for your support!
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