You probably haven’t heard of Donovan Haggas, but you should definitely hear from him. His professional journey has taken him from Air Force Special Operations (CCT), to corporate America, and finally back to the military community as a DOD contractor. However, his personal journey is even more interesting.
Through years of ups, downs, and hard choices, Donovan has emerged as one of the calmest and most balanced people I know. And, it hasn’t happened by accident. On this week’s episode, we cover a ton of important topics, including:
You may walk away from this episode with a few answers, but you’ll definitely walk away with some questions.
Thomas Meyer is the Director of Veteran’s services at The Philanthropy Roundtable, and one of the foremost experts in the country on Veteran Service Organizations (VSO’s) and Veteran philanthropy in general. He’s highly qualified (studied at Cambridge and Yale) and has been conducting military-focused research for years. He also grew up in a military family, and has a very personal connection to Veterans and Military Families.
We have a very important conversation, where we get into some challenging topics, to include:
Nick Koumalatsos is Marine (MARSOC) Veteran, the Director of The Raider Project, and an entrepreneur. In this week’s episode, we have an inspiring conversation about life, transition, fitness, and how Ben Bunn and I (Blayne Smith) beat him at Rush Club 009.
A true renaissance man, Nick is involved in all kinds of cool projects. He’s got an important perspective on life after the military and we’re really excited to share his story with Eagle Nation.
Marty Skovlund joins us as another man of many talents. He’s a former Army Ranger turned author, TV show host, and entrepreneur. He’s focused on telling the stories of our generation of veterans, and is doing an incredible job.
He’s also a hilarious guy, and really fun to talk to, as well.
We have a wide-ranging conversation conversation that includes the following:
Colin Baden is the former President and CEO of Oakley and currently serves as the Chairman of the Infinite Hero Foundation, a nonprofit that is committed to finding, funding, and supporting the most innovative approaches to healing the wounds of war.
We have a great conversation about leadership, culture, and values. Colin and his team have built an incredibly strong and distinct brand at Oakley, and it hasn’t happened by accident. We cover some really important topics like:
This is a truly insightful talk with a very unique leader. We know that you’ll get a lot out of it.
Vincent (Rocco) Vargas is a man of many talents, to include being a part owner of Article 15 Clothing, Black Rifle Coffee Company, Leadslingers Whiskey, Warfighter Tobacco, and various other pursuits. He’s also a Youtube Star, public speaker, author, cooking show host and musician among other things - in short, he’s a renaissance man.
We have a open and honest conversation about various topics, to include:
Give An Hour is a national network of mental health professionals that have pledged to provide free, confidential support to military veterans and their families. Over the past 10 years, they have provided thousands of hours of care to our community and are working to change the way that we think about mental health.
On this week’s podcast, we have the privilege of speaking with Nancy St. Claire and Rebecca Morrison, two incredible ladies and are working hard at Give An Hour’s mission.
Nancy is a licensed therapist and currently serves as Give An Hour’s COO. She began her journey as a cultural anthropologist serving alongside soldiers in Iraq. After seeing war first-hand, she ultimately decided to study psychology and practice in a clinical setting.
Rebecca is a program specialist at Give An Hour and works closely with organizations like Team RWB, Team Rubicon, and The Mission Continues to provide peer support and suicide prevention programs. She is a Gold Star spouse and has also worked with families and survivors at TAPS.
We have a very honest and sometimes raw conversation that covers:
Team RWB really appreciates Give An Hour’s work and their partnership. Nancy and Rebecca are making a difference and we know you’ll appreciate their perspective on this very important topic.
Paul Szoldra is a journalist at Business Insider, and the founder of the wildly popular military satire site The Duffel Blog, an online magazine with a vast military readership (The Secretary of Defense, James Mattis is known to be a reader).
In this week’s episode, we talk about the origin story of The Duffel Blog, as well how he creates and cultivates the irreverent, biting, relevant content that The Duffel Blog is famous for. In addition, here are some topics we cover:
Connect with Paul via Social
David Oclander is a retired Army officer, who felt moved to dedicate his post-military life to inner city education. He’s been a teacher and administrator in both Chicago and Detroit, and is working hard to shape our education system in America.
In this week’s episode, we talk about his experiences, as well as some of his views on the American education system, as well as:
David is an amazing person, and incredibly inspirational! We’re excited to bring you this episode!
It is hard to find a story, or a person, more inspiring than Lisa Hallett. In 2009, her late husband John was killed during combat operations in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, John’s unit suffered numerous casualties during that deployment, leaving the entire community stunned and hurting. With three very small children and a heavy heart, Lisa knew that she had to find a way to move forward.
Lisa and some of the family members around Joint Base Lewis-McCord used running as a way of dealing with grief and supporting each other. In 2010, Lisa and her co-founder, Erin O’Connor, started wear blue: run to remember. The organization aims to create a support network for military members and their families and to provide a living memorial for our country’s fallen.
We have a great conversation covers the founding story of wear blue, the importance of honoring and remembering, and so much more. Lisa is brave woman that is doing her part to make the world a better place, and we’re proud to call her a friend.
Jake Wood is the co-founder and CEO of Team Rubicon. This amazing organization harnesses the skills of military veterans to respond to disasters across the country and the globe. Their mission started in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that devastated the country. Jake and his co-founder, William McNulty, led a small team into the heart of the rubble and did what veterans do – help.
In this week’s episode, Jake shares the founding story of TR and talks about how the organization has grown over the past 7 years. We dive into:
Jake is a great friend and Team RWB is proud to work closely with Team Rubicon. His journey from Division I football, to the Marine Corps, to TR is an amazing story and we’re pumped to share it with you!
Carolyn Furdek is a former Army officer who recently published a book that describes her decade long journey as she fights a lingering battle with mental illness over the course of a decade that leaves the medical community and her family struggling for answers.
In this raw and powerful podcast we discuss her battle, and also the ways in which she’s trying to change the system from the inside to help America better handle treatment of mental health.
Steve Shenbaum is the founder and president of game on NATION and has become a nationally recognized expert in leadership, communication, and character development. He actually started his career as a working actor in Hollywood and appeared in a number of popular commercials, television shows, and movies. Later, Steve began working with top-level performers to improve their communication, teamwork, and mental game.
Since 2012, Steve and his team at game on NATION have brought effective, engaging, and memorable training seminars to world-class clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies, to professional sports teams, to star athletes...even Team RWB.
Steve and I have a really rich discussion that covers:
As a friend, mentor, and supporter Steve has done a lot for Team RWB and we are thrilled to share his knowledge with all of you!
Carl Forsling is a senior columnist for Task & Purpose. He is a Marine MV-22B pilot and former CH-46E pilot who is retired from the military after 20 years of service. He is the father of two children and a graduate of Boston University and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Carl is a prolific writer on Veteran’s issues, and has tackled some thorny topics in his work, to include writing about entitlement in the veteran community. We don’t shy away from this in the podcast, and have a very raw conversation about this topic.
Adam Grant is Wharton’s top-rated professor and a leading expert on how we can find motivation and meaning, and live more generous and creative lives. He has been recognized as one of the world's 25 most influential management thinkers and Fortune's 40 under 40, and is a New York Times best-selling author.
He’s worked with the Military for years, and we spend some time discussing his experiences and some of the following:
Joe Quinn is Team RWB’s Director of Leadership Development and in many ways, the organization’s emotional heartbeat. His story, and his willingness to tell it, has inspired thousands of people to engage with their community and take up the mantle of leadership.
Joe and I have had countless conversations, ranging in topics from sports to defense policy to changing diapers. In this episode, we dive into our philosophies on leadership and why we think Team RWB is playing a game-changing role in how Americans work together to build a better future.
We cover some great nuggets, including:
This is a good look into how we view and value leadership, and we hope that you’ll take the time to listen, digest, and explore your own views on this critical topic.
The need for leadership in our country has never been greater. That is why we created the Eagle Leader Fellow Program.
This week is a very special episode as we talk with three of Team RWB’s Eagle Leader Fellows. These leaders have spent the past several months on a mission to make their communities stronger.
You’ll hear from Dennis Volpe (Jacksonville, FL), Marissa May (Omaha, NE), and Kris Lord (San Francisco, CA). They share their experiences of taking up the mantle of leadership and how they’ve grown as individuals through the process.
The Eagle Leader Fellowship is a 12-month leadership development experience with a focus on leadership education, mentorship, and experiential learning. Our first full class of fellows have done and absolutely amazing job (we’ve hired 5 of them to the full-time staff). Applications are opening soon for the next class of fellows. If you have a heart for service, a desire to lead, and think you have what it takes to make your community stronger…please follow this link to learn more.
In preparation for our first ever Team RWB national Yoga event, Eagle Namasday on December 3, we’ve got a great show this week with 2 unique individuals - Barry Peterson, and Ed Stancombe.
Yoga, plays a huge part in both of their lives, and we’re excited to share it with you. We cover some great topics, to include:
No matter if you’ve ever been in a Yoga studio or not, there’s a ton to gleam from this podcast. We hope you enjoy it!
Babe Kwasniak is not only a Army veteran, but he’s a nationally recognized basketball coach who has moved back to his hometown to coach and lead in his community. He’s been incredibly successful, both on the court and in developing his players into productive members of society. In this episode, we have an engaging conversation about a wide range to topics to include:
Jenifer Smith's military career has been a winding path and has taken many shapes. From an injury at Marine Corps bootcamp, to college at Norwich University, to the National Guard, Active Duty, Reserves, and Contractor - she has experienced the military from almost every angle.
In this week's podcast, we have a great conversation around the challenges and opportunities in taking a non-traditional route. During the second half of the podcast, we get into some really good stuff like:
Dr. Jason Dempsey is a lot of things:
But, luckily, he’s an expert in military demographics and politics, as well. In this episode, we have a thrilling, and somewhat controversial conversation about politics, and the upcoming election. We cover topics like:
Jason is brilliant, an original thinker, and brave enough to say things that most people won’t - don’t miss this episode.
Todd Connor is a Navy veteran and the CEO of Bunker Labs, an incredible nonprofit organization that helps veterans to achieve their dreams through entrepreneurship. Over the past couple of years, Bunker Labs has grown from their original location in Chicago, to having chapters in over 10 cities across the country. They provide support through mentorship, training, education, peer support, and even funding.
Through an innovative online platform at www.BunkerInABox.org, veteran entrepreneurs can embark on a 14 mission journey that takes them through the necessarily steps to start their business.
Recently, Team RWB has partnered with Bunker Labs in the development of our very own e-learning platform, EagleLeader.org (coming soon).
Todd and I have a great conversation about transitioning from the military and how starting a business may be a great option. We cover topics like:
Todd is an extremely engaging and inspiring guy, and we hope you enjoy our conversation.
The first six months of the Eagle Nation Podcast have flown by. We are 30 episodes into this journey and it has been a blast so far. We have had some amazing guests and have covered a lot of really interesting topics. This week, we thought it would be cool to pause and take a look back at what we've learned so far.
In this episode, JJ and I talk about:
A bunch of listeners have asked us for a consolidated list of some of our favorite books and podcasts that we've mentioned on the show. Here to go!
Our favorite podcasts:
Our favorite books:
Doug McCormick is a lot of things - an Army Veteran (Infantry), a small business owner, a skilled investment banker, a Veteran advocate, and financial author, just to name a few. In this podcast, we talk about economic empowerment for the military community, and why the traditional model of investing and asset allocation is imperfect.
We cover a ton of great content, including:
In this podcast, we talk to the COO of one of the world’s premier shopping center companies, the Westfield Corporation - Bill Hecht. We discuss what it takes to bring the community together in a physical space, being part of rebuilding their World Trade Center location after 9/11, why supporting veterans is important to Westfield (and him personally), and the Old Glory Relay.
We cover a ton of content in this podcast, to include: