• On Veterans Day, Lessons From a Life of Service

    By November 11th, 2015
    Category: 

At NJVC, appreciation of our veterans is much more than a day on the calendar.

Support for our military and intelligence community is the defining strand of our corporate DNA. We are privileged to count among our ranks hundreds of those who served our country. We are proud to serve the missions of military and intelligence personnel around the globe, as we have done continuously since 2000.

But we are more than a company supporting veterans, we are a company shaped by, and led by, veterans.

On Veterans Day, we asked several of our veterans to share the most important lesson learned in the military that helped them become top executives and leaders.

Success is a team activity. Lead from within and leave no one behind.

Chris Andersen, President, NJVC
Veteran, United States Marine Corps

Teamwork, leadership and composure, these are three most valuable traits learned and continually refined in the Marines.

You must face challenges and overcome obstacles as a team. You are not only building your own confidence and character, but the confidence and character in the members of your team as well. When a team learns to act as one, it becomes much more effective than the sum of its individuals. You learn to “improvise, adapt and overcome,” as Marines say, not only as an individual but as a team. If you and your team persist, you can and achieve any goal or objective. This strong sense of team leads to the motto of “leave no one behind.”

While there are many areas of leadership any Marine can reference from experience, those that stand out to me are leading by example.

Never ask anything of others you are not prepared to do yourself. There have been many times since leaving the Corps that I have led teams and accomplished a difficult goal by standing side- by-side with those that worked for me. When you talk to others about doing whatever it takes to get the job done, it means so much more when you are right there with them, working together. You learn as a team to work under pressure and keep a level head, but even more importantly you learn from each other, even while leading. 

Semper Fi to all those who have and are serving in every branch of service.  It is because of all of you, this country has been able to achieve so much.

Trust and rely on the skills and experience of those around you.

Kevin Carrow, Program Manager, Intelligence Agency
Veteran, United States Air Force

I served in the United States Air Force for 23 years and I learned many lessons along the way. Some made me a better follower, some made me a better leader and some just made me a better person. Looking back over my assignments, I realize that the lessons in teamwork prepared me for success today. In the military, you learn to rely on the skills and experience of those around you. You learn that the diversity of the team members' backgrounds is a treasure of knowledge. You learn that the best answer is often the one you arrive at together. You learn that through teamwork amazing things can happen.  

 

Exercise flexibility in planning and execution.

Charles Barker, Senior DoD Account Manager
Veteran, United States Coast Guard

Charlie Barker

The Coast Guard is continuously called upon to respond to every maritime emergency imaginable—hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, cruise ship emergencies and oil spills, as well as terror attacks, drug patrols and combat missions. 

These events almost always defy your best planning, so you must embrace the fact that adaptation to surrounding conditions is always the key to success.

In business there are always risks and setbacks, and the winner is usually the most adaptable and agile company, not necessarily the biggest or strongest.

 

You have the power to influence outcomes. Use it to achieve team objectives. 

Torie Williams, Enterprise Management & Monitoring Practice Lead
Veteran, United States Army

Signing up for the military was the first important decision I made in life as a 17-year-old from Newport News, Va. One year later, I began a journey of growth which was fueled by my exposure to different people from different cultures and experiences. This is the single most beneficial thing for me as an adult and as a professional. I learned the strength of differences and teamwork. I learned that one is too small a number to do anything great.

The most important lesson I learned, though, came from my first supervisor at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He taught me about the "Circle of Influence." He shaped my mind to understand the power of influence and how influence should be used to help people. I still share this Circle of Influence discussion with my children and the teams I have the opportunity to be a part of in my professional career. I appreciated the opportunity to be a part of the military and serve my country, and although I am no longer in it, these lessons are still a part of me.

 

Work with urgency and dedication.

Tara Newman, Director, Talent Management
Veteran, United States Air Force

Years of supporting intelligence-focused missions in the active duty Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard reinforces in you a strong work ethic, particularly from a team mentality: working with a sense of urgency; dedication to, and pride in, the mission supported. In addition, as a member of the military you learn first and foremost, respect for leadership, respect for diversity (military duty is definitely the most diverse workforce that you will ever encounter), and professional discipline, which have all certainly translated well into the civilian workplace.