Subscribe to Veteran Led


Episode 71:Veteran 2.0: Building Your A-Team with Freddie Kim

Episode 71: Veteran 2.0: Building Your A-Team with Freddie Kim


Discover the power of leadership skills and Veteran 2.0 concepts in this episode with Freddie Kim, a U.S. Army Veteran, Airborne Ranger, and Special Forces Commander who is now the CEO of a successful military Veteran recruiting company, MilSpec Talent. Hear about Freddie’s combat experience, ownership mindset, and team success strategies, like supporting frontline managers and strategic decision-making. Freddie shares insights on transitioning from the military to entrepreneurship, the significance of an ownership mindset, and the concept of Veteran 2.0 in the corporate world. 

Connect with Freddie on – LinkedIn

Build your A-Team with MilSpec by clicking this link.


Freddie Kim: Commander’s intent, you know, make sure you give a clear commander’s intent. What’s the purpose of the training? What’s the desired end state? What do you want everyone to leave with? And maybe some key tasks inside of it. But that’s I mean, the Army has such a beautiful way of making sure plans get rehearsed and executed, and people are on the same page.

John Berry: Welcome to the Veteran Led podcast, where we talk with leaders who use their military experiences to develop great organizations and continue to serve their communities. Today’s guest is US Army veteran, Airborne Ranger, Special Forces commander and CEO of MilSpec Talent, Freddie Kim. Welcome to the show, Freddie.

Freddie Kim: Hey, John, thank you so much for having me.

John Berry: It’s an honor to have you. I love your mission. I love what you do with veterans. But more importantly, I love what you’re doing for the private sector, bringing in the real talent. So let me hit you with question number one. After 14 years in the military, you go to Northwestern University. My dad went there for law school. You go there, but you go to the Kellogg School of Management. You get out. You could go into the corporate world, but instead you go to the entrepreneurial side. Why?

Freddie Kim: Well. One because. I had just been let go of my job while I was in the program, so I was terminated on my job. We’re coming in hot, I love it. Uh, I got hot LC, hot LC. I was doing my MBA at Kellogg, and then I was working at a manufacturing plant. And at that year, Mark, I was terminated. And that was one of those kind of life altering points for me. And it was because the it was because it was like a union shop. My my president who hired me, he was let go like three months before. I didn’t put two and two together as like a newbie in the corporate world. A new guy came in and was like, hey, you’re running this all wrong. I don’t want you to run it like this. And it was it was like a heartbreak for me because I had up, up to that point I had really, like never failed at anything. I mean, I say that with humility now, but I had put my mind to two things and I had gotten it done. Um, whether it was Ranger school, you know, a bunch of Special forces, a bunch of other.

John Berry: West Point, I mean, you had very successful, very successful early on.

Freddie Kim: Yes, yes. Yet that moment I realized, man, I cannot continue to to chase climbing a corporate ladder. Right? I cannot continue where my future was. Question mark. It was based on who was in the, in the, in those seats at the moment. And I had I knew I had, if you will, the safety net of a Kellogg MBA when I graduated. So I said, hey, now is the time. This is maybe a sign from God saying, try your own thing, you know, do. I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and I’ve always wanted to give back and serve on my mission. And, uh, I found recruiting. And that’s actually that’s another long story. But I found recruiting eventually and, uh, decided to re to have that, uh, impact again, so.

John Berry: Well, yeah. And I want to go there, but first I want to talk about, you know, your military experience because that’s such a to me. I understand the pain there because you’ve served for 14 years. You were commissioned. What in 2000 is that? Right.

Freddie Kim: So I did two. I count those four years at West Point.

John Berry: Okay, okay. Oh I see okay okay.

Freddie Kim: That’s it. Yeah.

John Berry: But still I mean, you are leading combat patrols at the height of it, right, 2004 to 2014. And I said, you’re a platoon leader. You go Special Forces, you’re a commander. You’ve led America’s best on the ground, and now you’ve got some guy telling you, oh, we’ve terminated your program, you’re doing things wrong. And you take that with a dose of humility. Where did that come from?

Freddie Kim: Oh, man. So it was okay. So you’re right. I after graduation, I served in the 82nd. I was an Infantry platoon. Uh, and we deployed Afghanistan 15 months. That was a huge kind of ability to test myself in combat. Uh, and then I said, hey, I want to I want to join kind of the best of the best. I want to I want to test myself to the extreme. So I, I chose to go and try for to be a Green Beret. Uh, and then I was fortunate enough again to go back and we deployed to the Philippines. We deployed to, uh, other other Nepal. Uh, we even did some at Korea. But Afghanistan was that big, uh, mission for us. And, and yes, we we did some really tough things together and I could not do it myself, of course. And this is all kind of my, my, my premise is you need to do it as an A team. You need to do it with other people that you can trust your life with. Uh, and then after all of that, I kind of came out of the military thinking I was just too, too cool for school, right? I thought I was God’s gift to the corporate world, and I felt like I could do anything put in front of me. Um, and, and as I was put into that role when I, when I joined the year prior, I it was a union shop.

Freddie Kim: The president who, who had hired me wanted things to be cleaned up, and he wanted my kind of my strategy on how to do that and build, build rapport with people. And then that for the new guy after he was terminated or after he was, uh, let go, the the new guy came and said, hey, I want to slow things down. I want to build relationships. And that way that was a that was a, a conflict with my, my strategy and my, my, my, uh, my, my marching orders. And I couldn’t, you know, I really didn’t. Think that was the appropriate strategy, and I ended up getting myself fired. Yeah. First time and it was. It was for months, John. I was like, I am a failure. I cannot do anything. I’ve been imposter. All of that going through. And and that’s where I think the silver lining was, hey, I’m still in this program. I’m still, um, I’m given I have a great network, and I’m. I really want to give back. I believe in the veteran attributes, the capabilities. I believe in what we can bring to the table, and we can really fill that void of a lack of leadership in the corporate world. So I pursued, um, MilSpec and and built a small little business.

John Berry: Fair enough. But, but but you did build some other businesses along the way. MilSpec was not your first venture, and you gained some experience, um, doing some other things in a different industry. So tell us a little bit about that.

Freddie Kim: I so it’s funny, I think I look back and I, and I chuckle, I, I started experimenting with e-commerce. I started thinking about how do I, you know, build like a fulfillment. Um, started a a eventually I went came back to, hey, I want to I want to bring I want to I want to live a life of purpose. Right. And that’s I think all veterans have that common, common attribute that we want to make impact. We want to live a life of purpose. So I thought going back, I was an All-American boxer at West Point. Um, and, and that was something that really shaped me. So I said, hey, I want to teach people how to fight, right? Not to not to just do boxing as a, as a, uh, physical exercise. But I wanted to teach people how to fight to develop resiliency and courage. Right. And in, in the most, um, you know, genuine kind of one on one mano a mano type environment. And that’s what I started with, right? I started with that. I remembered having classes with my MBA classmates and teaching them, and people liked the workout. People liked how they were developing. But I just realized that wasn’t very scalable. Unless you have a technology aspect to it, like like Rumble or some of these other new up and coming businesses. At the time, I tried to model it after SoulCycle, but that takes years and that takes a cult like following, um, and a lot of just my time specifically.

Freddie Kim: So I saw the world of of recruiting, of executive search. And at that time, John, it was two things. One was I, I, I saw that there was nobody playing in this space where I believe there’s the cream of the crop, you know, not transitioning veterans, but people who have transitioned already. They understand their value. How do they continue to give to the world in a different setting? Um, and they know how to deal with employees and everyday people and not just soldiers and really put them in positions to make impact. Again, there’s really no headhunt at the time, there really wasn’t any headhunter, uh, for that space. And I was like, why not? Let’s let’s make, uh, you know, let’s, let’s put this together and make a beautiful match here. Uh, so I started MilSpec. The second reason was, um, again, another dose of humility. I was really bad at recruiting. I was really bad at interviewing. I was really bad at hiring. I was leading businesses up to that point. And if you think about it. Where in our military journey where we taught to recruit. Unless you were a recruiter, right? Really? Nowhere. I mean, in Ranger school. I know you went to Ranger school to John. Were you recruiting for your best Ranger squad and best Ranger Platoon? No, it was given to you. And then we.

John Berry: Just peered out the Shitbags.

Freddie Kim: You peer out the shitbags. Correct. But it was just given to you and said, hey, make this happen. So we were never really taught that to scout. And I think because of that, I really wanted to hone this because I knew it would it would be a lifelong skill to have. Wow.

John Berry: And that’s, you know, I got the worst advice I received was from a battalion sergeant major. I went from being line platoon to infantry platoon leader to being the support platoon leader. Right. Because my company commander became the HHC commander. So he’s like, hey, this is my job. I’m going to pull in my team. So he pulled me in and I’m like, well, well, I want to pull in my people. But as luck would have it, if you’re the support platoon, you get all the dirt bags, you put your ammo section. The sergeant major was giving me. Every soldier that was flagged was in trouble. And I said, Sergeant major, like, you know, I need good soldiers. We’re going to NTC, right? This is the late 90s. That was the big deployment, National Training Center. And he’s like, hey, Lieutenant, they scored high enough on the ASVAB. They passed a physical fitness test. They’re mentally stable. It’s a leadership problem. You’re just failing to lead them. And I took that into the civilian world. And that was crushing for years because I would hire somebody who wasn’t a good fit. And I’d believe it was all my fault. I’m a terrible leader because if they’ve got, you know, a heartbeat and a pulse, then I should be able to lead them. And that’s just that’s not the truth. And the Army throws people on your team, and sometimes you can you can politic a little bit. As you get higher up in rank, you have a little bit more say, but reality is you don’t. But I carry that for a long time and made a lot of bad retention decisions, because I believe that I, as the leader, had absolutely failed. So I’m same boat with you.

Freddie Kim: I hear you and you’re you’re given that that you know, that second, second string of folks to win the championship. Right. And what do veterans do, John? I’ve heard countless stories of folks taking teams like that and through actual leadership, turning it around. Right? People caring, showing, showing empathy, showing what right looks like give, setting standards and forcing and living living selflessly and that it works. So veterans I, I see these types of achievements that vets have done and can continue to contribute. And yet the corporate world typically they don’t understand, they don’t they don’t understand just the value that that immense value a veteran can bring with those experiences, with the team building, with the mission focus, uh, and living those values as a leader. So yeah, I yeah, we can talk about this all day. Recruiting is not taught and we, we many of us go by gut. You know that’s the that’s that’s the problem. We go by gut. We go ah this guy is good. But then you know, oh I can fire him later. But that’s time energy, money. And I was like, you know what? I need to be really good at this. If I’m going to build something for me and I want to help other veteran businesses do the same. Yeah.

John Berry: And I think when you’re searching for that greatness, you realize real quick that what’s going to happen to your team if you really want to be an excellent team with your existing team, you’re either going to break, you can break the people you have, you’re going to build them, or you’re going to have to go out and buy one. You have to contact MilSpec and say, I can’t build this, I need this, you know, already prefabricated. I need a leader on the ground who can do this. And what I love about your company is the veteran 2.0 concept. Tell us about that.

Freddie Kim: The veteran 2.0. Typically our clients, uh, range from private equity companies, funds, portfolio companies to small businesses with owner operators. And they’re looking for that person to be in charge. Right. And to place a transitioning veteran into into this role is is unfair. I mean, yes, you want to challenge them. You’re going to you want to give them resources. You want to see what they can do, but they’re just things that you don’t know about business yet. And not to mention, I like me, I had to I don’t know about you, but I had to demilitarize for several years from that mindset of leading soldiers. So we we target candidates and veterans that are beyond that stage that understand that, uh, that capability of serving again and leading in a corporate setting and making sure that they can jive and they can share that culture with the the leadership, the management, the owner, etc.. So that’s our expertise. And, uh, there’s some roles that, um, hell, even with you. Right? There’s some roles that that you’re looking for, very, very specific roles. We want to make sure that not only capability wise they’re there, but technically, you know, the competence in that field. Can they make those calls? Can they understand jargon? Do they have to learn from scratch? We don’t want that. We want somebody who is able to hit the ground running with that solid leadership foundation.

John Berry: Yeah. And I think it’s important to understand that that the leadership skills do need to evolve. And if they don’t, then sometimes that person won’t be a good fit on our team. And like we’re like 30% veterans, right? So but even then not everybody is a great fit. But I’ve learned like some simple communication things with, you know, cut the mill speak, you know, stop with the acronyms. Everybody doesn’t understand. Be a little bit more kind in your speech. And then instead of the knife hand really simply instead of knife hand, do it like I do in a jury trial. Right. Bring the open palm. When you talk to somebody, see, it’s like I’m giving you something as opposed to I’m taking your head off, you know? And, you know, sometimes you got to bring out the knife hand. You got to keep it ready just in case. But, uh, but it really is, uh, how your gestures, how you communicate with the team. Uh, but it is nice to have veterans on the team when you say we’re doing this and we’re doing it now. And the only response is yes, sir.

Freddie Kim: Yes. Yeah. You know, someone someone said, I mean, every business, every tribe has a culture, right? And culture is there whether you are intentional about building it or not. So there is a culture on your team. And if you build one that is one sided or that’s that’s like I mean, I hate to say not inclusive of everyone who can share their strengths to achieve that mission or achieve those goals. You’re just setting yourself self up for more difficulties, right? People are not going to feel involved. They’re not going to feel feel recognized. They’re not going to feel like they’re they’re being appreciated. So yeah, all of that I mean, I love the knifehand to the, the the service hand, I like that. That’s good.

John Berry: Yeah. So I mean so much to learn. And the one thing I have learned though, that I took away from the military was if there was a meeting, let’s say company commanders got a meeting, imagine it’s it’s Freddie Kim, Lieutenant Freddie Kim. And you’re getting the worst mission for your platoon right now. And you’re fighting a sir. You know, maybe maybe second platoon should have that mission. But in the. Andy says, no, Freddie, it’s yours. You walk out of that meeting and you understand that the leadership team is the top team in the company, and that you’re going to support that commander and his decision, and you’re not going to tell your team, oh, guys, we got screwed. This is a terrible mission. You say, guys, we got a great mission. Here’s what we’re going to do. And I think that’s, you know, that’s something we learn in the military is that we, you know, things go up the chain of command and down the chain of command, but you don’t complain down the chain of command to your soldiers. You don’t, you know, you don’t belittle, uh, your boss, you support the chain because the chain has to be strong, because we have to believe in our mission. And if we don’t believe in our mission, we stop believing in our leaders. And we all know that our leaders are going to make mistakes. And, you know, as leaders, the burden of command is heavy. Now, you like to hire officers and former commanders. Do you give them advice when you’re when you’re when you’re trying to place them? Hey, this is what I think is needed here. Or do you let them figure it out when you place them.

Freddie Kim: Yeah I, I absolutely so we do in our role we make sure that we are vetting to the best possible you know match. So we want to make sure we’re not wasting people’s time especially client’s time. Our time we don’t want to waste time. So we we weed that out. We make sure you know that they understand and have expectations for what the process looks like. Make sure communication is flowing. I do want to I do want to just to, um, to touch base on one thing. You mentioned this whole ownership mindset. That is one of the key kind of attributes. I think of a veteran, you know, to to have ownership that that nests into the mission. Right. We were all taught task and purpose, you know, in our mission statement. But what’s more important that purpose. Right. So, um, I feel like, um, military veterans, they you get that’s, that’s that’s so hard to train in somebody. I mean, the whole concepts of not bitching up, I mean, yeah, not bitching down bitch up, right? That, kind of that kind of concept. Those those that’s ingrained and people who can own that mission and say, this is my mission. I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you a quick story on that. It was when I was a West Point plebe. Uh, it was a new cadet, right? That summer before West Point. Um, and I was we were in a final phase of our beast summer where we were all like, high school kids, and we got turned into cadets, you know, within within two months of beast. I remember one of my my squad leader at the time, he was kind of, you know, I was a problem child, uh, at as a new cadet or as a plebe in general.

Freddie Kim: But he was like, hey, Kim, come here. It’s getting dark. I need you to find chem light batteries so that we can find our way around this. And we can mark our tents and whatnot. And, I mean, back in 2000, there were no such thing as chem light batteries[BA1] . Now we have chem light batteries because their chem lights operated by batteries. But back then, it’s all you break it and you shake. Right. So I didn’t know what that was. So I’m running around asking anybody like where can I get chem light batteries? And eventually he was like, hey, ask that guy. And this guy turned out to be the top ranking person in the whole, uh, exercise. And I went up there and I was like, sir, you know, shaking like, I need chem light batteries. And he said something like, who? Why are you looking for chem light battery? He’s like, I was told to, he said. And he said, no, that’s where you’re wrong, Kim. You weren’t told to get it. You set it out as yourself. You set out for yourself to accomplish a mission. And this should be your mission. You should own this. It’s not because somebody else told you to do it. It’s because you want to execute what you were given. And then what? Daddy turned around and kind of sent me back. But that’s something that’s kind of, uh, in my in my mind all the time about ownership and that different mindset of vets.

John Berry: I thought you were going to say you called it a glow stick. And then you said, well, we’re going to a rave, Kim. And then you got smoked. But okay, you got a leadership lesson on this. Okay, I got you.

Freddie Kim: That probably happened too.

John Berry: All right. So in one of your articles, you you show the org chart flipped upside down. You really get into the servant leadership. The CEO is really at the bottom making sure that the team can do their job. So so walk us through that.

Freddie Kim: Yes. So as a as a as the, as the guy. Right. As the, as the decision maker, as the owner, as the business leader. You can’t do everything yourself. We all know that. So hence you need a team that can support that mission and your role. Once you build that team and it has the right people, it’s to allow them to execute. So everyone sees it, sees a typical org chart where you know the CEO is coming down and everything else kind of reports to them, reports up. But the mindset, I think it’s not very uncommon in the military to see this flipped upside down org charts where you as the commander, you’re supporting everyone else to accomplish the mission. Because even if you’re at a factory, if that Billy at the front line, he doesn’t show up for work. Somebody needs to make sure that that that coal is being shoveled or that steel’s being formed or whatever the case is. So, so to support your frontline, support your front line managers with what they need. That’s just the whole concept that I think you’re very familiar with as well. Yeah.

John Berry: I was hoping you’d make a triangle, make it a patrol base and show the officer in the middle. Right. It’s you know, if the company commander is and I know you’re you’re a you’re a Special Forces A-Team guy, so. But but the company commander is in the patrol base. The company commander should not be firing a weapon, but he needs everybody else to be firing their weapons to protect the perimeter. And that’s the whole idea that if you, as the leader, are firing the weapon, you’re wrong. Why do you have 130 soldiers with all sorts of, you know, you got your crew-served weapons and all these things that could do much more damage than your little nine mil. What are you doing? Right.

Freddie Kim: Yeah. And you should be stepping back, right, to see the whole situation so that you can make that decision at the top and lead, but not not head down. Machine gunning right next to your, uh, your, uh, your M60 guy. Uh, actually 240 guy now.

John Berry: That’s right. Well, that’s a great example. And in that same blog, you talk about having an honorable business, and in that honorable business is in building great leaders. My where I have failed is because when it comes to live ammo, this is where I fail, right? So for instance, if it’s a case and I’ve got a lawyer, I’m not going to let that lawyer screw up. I’m going to have him buy their lbv and say, oh no, no you don’t. And it’s just like when I was, uh, the officer and warrant officer, school battalion commander, I’d get to see these little tents. Hey. And I’d just get to walk up, you know, they’d be a little nervous on the battalion. Hey, Lieutenant, what’s your plan? They tell me, sir, are you sure you want to do that? Yes, sir. Okay, but if we’re in country, I’m saying no way. We’re not doing that. That’s not safe. That’s stupid. Uh, you know, let’s start using some doctrinal terms here and figure out what we’re doing. Get on the same page. But in the training environment, I want the leaders. I want to develop those leaders. So I have to let them lead. But what’s your advice to the business owners who know that we’re playing with real money here? Or if we’re attorneys, right. Real people’s cases that we can’t afford to let someone train on. So how do you develop those leaders when you are training in a live fire environment?

Freddie Kim: So I would not like I would not be a coder and code something and just kind of let it go live on your platform right immediately because that’s, that’s suicide. Having somebody untrained and unequipped to handle what they’re supposed to be doing, uh, and into the live environment, that’s probably that’s stupid. I mean, that’s not common sense. So it’s, um, actually, I learned this when I was in the Special Forces. I was doing some mission planning, and I was taking too long to plan this dang mission, right? Whatever it was, I was, and it was taking too long. It was in a training environment, and I was trying to get all like, oh, this guy is supposed to stand here and he’s supposed to pull security here. And, you know, everything needs to be 360 security and, you know, support, support by fire, etc. Um, my sergeant major at the time, he was like, hey, hey, sir, come here real quick. It’s about it’s about kickoff time. Have you done any rehearsals? I’m like, no, I’ve been planning this and training this and and I’ve been I’ve been trying to create this clear, transparent, you know, quote unquote simple plan And he’s like, hey, the plan. rehearse. Go rehearse. And I think that’s my answer to this. I we’re going to have new people, right? We’re going to have we’re going to have constant, you know, folks joining the team. They’re not going to know what they’re doing. But I think that rehearsal element is so critical whether and that could be behind the scenes. It could be role playing, it could be with another kind of senior coach, but just continue to rehearse and then get feedback to learn so that when they are. Ready. They can slowly, you know, go into the line of fire. So, uh, I would say, you know, that rehearsal piece, which we do as well and it just rehearsing how to how to talk to clients, how to talk to candidates, you know, taking training. I mean, that training piece is, is very important. Well, first.

John Berry: Of all, major minus for violating the one third, two thirds rule. But yes, you cannot refine the plan without rehearsing. I’ve learned that like, you waste so much time thinking it through in your head and it all makes sense to you. But unless you’re walking through it with a team and rehearsing, you’re not getting the feedback, which is going to help you refine the plan. But also it’s all just in your head. And even if you put it on paper, right, you write it out. It doesn’t matter. People aren’t going to unless you’re physically walking through it and talking through the plan. It’s just so hard to get everyone on the same page. So that is that is great advice. So let’s talk about that in the corporate environment or in the entrepreneurial environment where we have even fewer resources. Where do we carve out the time and the resources to train in a way that we can actually rehearse before we do it?

Freddie Kim: So I’ve seen businesses. It’s like, um, you’ve heard if you’re working in your business, you’re not working on your business. I’ve, I’ve seen business. Just make the time and I’ve seen great leaders make the time to rehearse. And it’s it’s like, um, I just heard from a crew chief, uh, a a NASCAR pit stop crew chief. Right. And he was like. He was like, hey, for every pit stop is just a temporary rest. It’s a brief, brief, uh, moment to recollect where on a long journey. So. So, um. So you have to build those in before you get burnt out. So I my my suggestion like build time for meditation, build time for journaling, build time for getting your eight hours of sleep like you have to do that so that you can function as a leader. It’s to build time. It’s to force it.

John Berry: Put it on your calendar, put it on the you know, the training schedule was awesome. You know what? And like I said, I understand Special forces units. You guys got your own thing. But you know, going through the line units of having a training schedule and understanding, like, okay, if it’s not on the schedule, it’s probably not going to happen. And I’ve that is one great lesson I’ve learned. Put it on the calendar, put it on the company’s calendar. If you’re going to train or rehearse, put it there. And I could tell you some stories about launching technology where we did it wrong. The project management was flawed, and we didn’t do a rehearsal. And it ended up it was, let’s just put it this way, one of the most painful experiences of my life. And if it had, we just rehearsed, had we just walked through it with the key leaders?

Freddie Kim: Exactly. And and if you’re going to delegate that training or rehearsal, I mean, it’s it. I’m sure you’ve heard this in your previous podcasts or, or whatnot, but commander’s intent, you know, make sure you give a clear commander’s intent. What’s the purpose of the training? What’s the desired end state? What do you want everyone to leave with? And maybe some key tasks inside of it. But that’s I mean, the Army has such a beautiful way of making sure plans get rehearsed and executed, and people are on the same page.

John Berry: And you brought up something really important, one of your blogs. And by the way, go to the MilSpec website, read the blogs. They are amazing. Look, I was an English major in college. I got the Cowley Award for Advanced Legal Writing, which had the highest grade. I’m a good writer and I don’t have time to write a lot now, but I know what bad writing looks like and your writing is phenomenal and it’s to the point. It’s just great writing. But what I really liked about, uh, and I’m going to skip over, but, you know, the, the redundancy problem. I said, I always treat it like Noah’s Ark where you’ve got if you’ve got one of anything, you should have two because someone’s going to be sick. But if you’re scaling an organization, you’re growing fast. You just you need two of the capability, or at least you need someone who’s the backup, right? You can’t just have one person in it. Right. You got to have if you’re going to have we have a CIO, a developer, a couple help desk people, but you can’t just have one IT person and sometimes you can’t afford it. And you got to figure out how you’re going to switch from the vendor to that.

John Berry: But you brought up, you know, you got to keep developing those, those, those junior leaders. Now, what I liked was the XO. This is who my platoon sergeant called the extra officer. You know, if you think about a company commander and a line company, you’ve got the company commander, the first sergeant and the XO, the big three and the XO. You know. What’s he really doing? Uh, what the commander doesn’t want to do. And some logistics that the first sergeant doesn’t want to do, or, you know, that he has to do by the battalion. But the whole point is you have the XO. And my first, uh, when I was a platoon leader, brand new platoon leader, the company commander broke his leg playing tackle football. And so the XO became the commander. So the extra officer stepped in and it was seamless. He knew what he had to do. And we were getting ready to deploy to Bosnia. This is in 99 and the XO got us ready. I mean, seamless, flawless did as good of a job as the commander. And I think unfortunately we don’t have the extra officer in our it costs too much money. It’s a line item that most of us can’t, can’t afford. Uh, but but tell us how you, you work on on those redundancy problems in smaller organizations.

Freddie Kim: Yeah. It’s, um, the I mean, you nailed it, like, in the military, as a leader, we never had to worry about sales revenue. We never had to worry about extra costs. We we budgeted and planned to spend every single cent the Uncle Sam Uncle Sam gave us. So yes, you’re right, it’s a different problem set. Um, but I would say that, uh, you know, again, Noah’s Ark, you mentioned redundancy problem. Well, you also need a male and female Noah’s ark, right? But, um, but nonetheless, yeah, I, I, I think that. Somebody who, if you’re capable of bringing somebody in and that you’re able to, you know, hire on as a, as a number two, which you should be as a business owner, you should have you cannot you need to have that gatekeeper that you had, John, uh, who’s able to say, hey, don’t bother the commander with that, you know, don’t bother the boss with that because he needs to focus on x, y, and z. So and and if you, if you if you know EOS, it’s called the integrator. Right? EOS the entrepreneurial operating system. So every organization should have that. And I feel like, um, I feel like, you know, for all of us, we are all building towards that.

Freddie Kim: A lot of us are building towards that. We may not have that perfect, perfect template or perfect organization because we’re continually trying to improve upon that and uh, and build. So yeah, I redundancy is I mean, if you can do it, I what I referenced in that article was, you know, as a Special forces team, we had an 1818 Bravo senior and a junior. We had, uh, Charlie senior and due to Bravo being the weapons sergeant, Charlie being the demo guy, you know, Delta being the, uh, the med sergeant, you know, you had a senior and a junior, and not only did you have two, you had one training the other. So if you can build your organization with the resources you’re allotted and that you have to, to have those and do cross training so that people can understand, uh, what the roles are, so that if that number one guy gets shot. That second guy can pick up, that would be the ideal state. Unfortunately, not many of us can live in that ideal state because of constraints in running a business.

John Berry: Yeah, and now we’re vulnerable, right. And we know we’re vulnerable. Yeah. And and if it happens and we’ve got to react, we’ve got to somehow improvise and fill the gap until we can fill or just, you know, get on Freddie’s cell phone and say who you got anybody. And, you know, and if you’re if you need to hire, it’s always too late, right? It’s always I try to hire 2 or 3 quarters ahead. A great book I read when we thought we had outgrown EOS is called Three Hag by Michelle Suskind. And it basically we built out like our swim lanes for three years. So we have 12 quarters worth of hires that we plan to hire. And if I’m if it’s if I’m two quarters early, three quarters early, I’m probably going to hire the person because I don’t want to get to that quarter and be like, I need this skill set. And oh, gee, I guess I’ll take who’s ever available. No. By then it’s too late and, you know, some of my I think my greatest wins have been my hires and some of my greatest losses have also been my hires. So, you know, you look at it both ways, but I, you.

Freddie Kim: Know, just on that real quick, John, you know, I, I, I again emphasize the importance of recruiting. Right. And hiring again that’s something a lot of veterans haven’t been taught. Um, but as a owner and have you heard, you should always be recruiting most.

John Berry: Yes. One of the most important things. Yep. Always.

Freddie Kim: You should always be networking. Always be thinking two steps, three steps, potentially down the line to say, hey, could this person play a part or how could I help this person, etc. always be looking at that because that is, I think, your top. You know, aside from keeping the business running, that’s like your next goal building that team to be competent to to to do that, to achieve that mission. Yeah.

John Berry: Protect the brand, don’t run out of cash and always recruit. And I like what you said about show where you can be a value to someone else. That is how you recruit because you know, I used to think it was like, well, I just go to all the functions that all the people that I might want are at. And here’s the deal. Like when you grow up and you remember this probably when I was in law school, you’re in a business school. If there’s free food and free booze, like you’re going to town, right? So, so but now what happens is, is a professional. You got all these events and there’s always free booze and free food. So it’s hard to stay in shape. But then it’s everybody who’s going there. I don’t want people who are going there for free booze and free food, right. Like, right. You know, I would I want to make sure that I can be a value to someone. And then down the road you got to play the long game and if you can be a value to them, and I think you got to get in their head early because at some point they will have a moment. I don’t want to say a moment of weakness, but a moment where they are not happy with with their life. And and if you can check in with them regularly, you’re going to find an opportunity.

John Berry: And when that opportunity shows itself, you’ve got a very small window. But if you’ve been talking to them, you know everything about them. You can. You still got to go through the hiring funnel and all that. But man, you can reach out and grab and I agree. And and you know, if I were a better leader, I wouldn’t need to call Freddie Kim. But the truth is we’re scaling fast. We’re growing fast. And, uh, I haven’t been able to recruit the way I’d want to. And quite frankly, I don’t. I’m not. I can recruit lawyers, I can recruit paralegals. But I don’t know how to find all these IT people. Marketing people, sales people. That’s not I don’t I don’t even know who’s good. Right. So I have to rely on, uh, experts like your team. And I love in your article about SERE school, because I want to take you to the other side of the table that answering those questions listen, think, pause and respond. And I’d heard that before. But give us your example from I really like the way you talk about make sure it’s the right song. So talk us through someone who’s interviewing for a position that they really want. They want to nail it.

Freddie Kim: So in SERE school SERE school is Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape for the audience. Uh, it’s it’s a it’s a survival school for a lot of, um, there’s different levels as well for Special Forces guys. Um, pilots, it’s in case you get captured or you get, uh, behind enemy lines and, and, you know, or you get captured, then it’s how to survive that and how to have that mindset of escaping. Resisting. Uh, and they teach you some techniques on how to go deal interrogation and potentially torture. Right. And in that, in that moment of weakness, of hunger, lack of sleep, of continual pain, uh, you’re apt. You can be apt to just reveal everything or just, you know, say everything. But what SERE teaches you is to just pause a little bit. So listen to the question. Just just pause a little bit. Collect your thoughts, think about what the strategy is for you to survive, which is um, it’s going back to the circle, which we can talk about later, but it’s going back to that point that you want to continue to, um, to to emphasize. Right. And to many people, I think candidates, they, they hear the question, but they’re not listening. And then they start talking and talking and rambling and rambling. And I’m a huge advocate of being concise. Right. Think about what is being asked of you. Come up with that, um, that great, um, situation, uh, you know, we call it the star situation, task actions you took and results that were achieved. Use that star method to say this story will highlight this. Uh, it will answer the question and yet also strengthen and show some of my strengths, uh, to for the, for the team. So listen think, pause respond. I think that’s a beautiful little four letter acronym.

John Berry: Yeah, great great great advice. And I like that you also put in there that like set expectations that not all veterans are the same. What what do you mean by that?

Freddie Kim: Um many vets they we’ve all served we all, uh, took an oath. We all many of us went into harm’s way. But there there are lots of, you know, there’s just varying types of people. And the way, you know, one person sees it and takes things away from an experience could probably not match the other. So just because they’re a vet. Yes. Thank for thank you. Thank them for their service. Thank them for that period of time when when they they wanted to contribute to something bigger. Uh, but we cannot assume like, like everyone, you know, how many, uh, you know, star athletes where who are driven and who are, uh, who are successful, who no longer play sports? How many of them could be driven and successful in a job? You know, it’s going to depend on that person. So I think, yes, interviewing people because they can provide value is key. If they’re a veteran. Yes. Understand that they could have that mindset. But it’s not like an immediate like gimme, right? It’s not an immediate, oh, this guy can solve everything because you were a SEAL. You were a, uh, you were some type of, uh, Ranger. And I think you can solve everything. You can build leadership. That’s not true. Because every one of us, we take different experiences away and different, you know, um, takeaways from, from our, our, our past. So that that’s all. That’s all I meant. I mean, a lot of people feel that, um, a veteran is a veteran is a veteran. And that is very untrue as some people have been super successful at, uh, the the, uh, I mean, a number of folk, like, have you heard of Johnny Kim?

Multiple People: Yes. Yup.

Freddie Kim: That that SEAL astronaut Kim. Yeah. He is, he was, uh, he was a Silver Star awardee. Seal. He was a, uh, a Harvard medical student, Harvard medical grad. And then he’s now an astronaut, and and he’s very open about this. But he he had a troubled past, right? Childhood. He had an abusive father. So, you know, can people take away the same things and keep them driven like him or or not? Right. So not all of us are built that way. So, um, yeah.

John Berry: I was hoping I was going to go the direction of, uh, that you were the guest speaker, and everybody thought they were getting Johnny Kim. They got Freddie Kim, and. Wait a minute.

Freddie Kim: You suck. Yeah. He’s a brother from another mother, I. Yeah, yeah.

Multiple People: Yeah, but everyone.

Freddie Kim: Wants to aspire to.

John Berry: Yeah, yeah. And you know, but yeah, you hear, you hear the name. And everybody knows who Johnny Kim is and and what he’s done. But. Yeah, but if you don’t know, you don’t. You don’t know the story. You don’t know the back story. But that being said, we’ve also heard that people are good. Peace time presidents are good, war time presidents. Or that person’s a really good combat commander or no, but they’re a good garrison commander. And have you experienced that with military talent where someone might be a really good garrison commander, but you put him in a combat environment, they’re not a good combat leader and vice versa. This is a combat leader that fires up the troops. But you put him back in garrison. And this guy, the motor pool is jacked up. The arms room’s unsecured. You know what I’m talking about.

Freddie Kim: Yes, I’ve seen folks who on paper, um, that were phenomenal, that look great, that can fit the answer, all the questions. But then when they get to the job, they cannot handle it. Right. And it’s for a variety of reasons. Um, but yeah, it’s it’s common. It’s, it’s I’ve seen garrison versus combat leaders. And, you know, I think the big takeaway in recruiting and hiring is that you never know. You never know till you till, you know, I mean, that’s a common saying, but you don’t you don’t know how someone works until you actually work with them. So I recommend when I, when I do these, uh, working with clients and whatnot, uh, people just asking for advice. Hey, can you think of, um, can you think of a, like, a trial run? A test run of some sort where you can ask that candidate to to, uh, just provide some type of result, right, whether it’s a project or just a briefing or whatever, but it’s not. necessarily about that briefing. It’s about the interactions between that. Right. How do they how do they respond to you? How do how much direction do they how much guidance are they seeking? You know, they’re all jacked up.

Freddie Kim: You know, that kind of interaction. Um, in your cases, John, for your jobs, they’re very specific and there’s a reputation behind these folks. But I would recommend, hey, you don’t really work with somebody til you work with somebody, right? Even pay them for that time. But go, go do a test run and and a test drive and just check out how they do things. How do they interact with people in a meeting I love, by the way, the way you do your interviews, because it is not only do you do yourself and you and you make sure you screen them properly, but you get the buy in of the whole team. And that’s what leaders. That’s what business leaders should have. It’s not just your perspective, it’s what the other guy, people that that candidate may be leading. What kind of feedback, what kind of impression do they get? It is all about that as well. So you know, you have a very intense schedule, intensive schedule. You bring all the major people involved and you kind of put the guy through the wringer. I love that, I love that that’s a great way to kind of see what how they’re how they’re built. Can they handle it? Can they can they actually, you know, everyone’s going to get tired and angry on the job. How do they react? You know, that’s that’s a way to test it out.

John Berry: Well, the question becomes it’s a two way interview. Right. Because on one hand the question is do they really want to lead this team? And does the team really want them to be in charge? And you can’t tell that from initial interviews. But I can get a sense of it because the goal is that they’re not coming to me. Right at the end of the day, you’re the visionary, you’re the founder. I mean, I’m in the same position. I, I have things I want to do, and I don’t want to get bogged down in the in the day to day. So I am looking for that leader. And so if my team has a say in who that leader is, I think it’s going to help a lot down the road. And it’s one of those things, as a leader, you realize, like there are things that you do well and things that you shouldn’t do and to get where you want to go, there are things that you will have to stop doing. And there are just things that I have to stop doing as a leader to get the organization to the next level. And so it’s it’s, you know, it’s it’s tough because some of the things you love to do, but you realize once you pull yourself out, the team members will step up. And if they don’t step up, then they’re either in the wrong position or that next hire needs to have that skill so that they can mentor that person in that in that role. And so it’s yeah, it’s it’s it’s tough. But one thing I love.

Freddie Kim: Your your process though. I mean I wanted to just again comment comment on it. It is you are a regimented person and you got like timetables and it is bam bam bam bam. So super like thought you thought this through. You know, it’s not just hey, come on down, let’s meet you. That’s not how people should hire. You need to I mean, have a structured interview process, right? Where that, you know, one person can ask at a certain type of question, another, uh, you know, culture fit question. And then you should all be asking the same kind of questions for the same for the for every candidate. So you can kind of measure like, how did this guy respond to this guy versus this guy? And I mean that that’s like the A level answer. But uh, it’s everyone should have a structured process and not and to eliminate bias as much as possible.

John Berry: Yeah, absolutely. And you got to eliminate the bias you want because otherwise it’s it’s tough to have the data points and to score it and really figure out, you know what. Who’s who’s the best candidate.

One of the things that you’ve done really well, um, and. And this is kind of gives me a lot of courage. Is that you high impact, low ego. And that’s your saying. And that is something that is how you live. I can remember when I met you at that table, we were having dinner and, uh, I had my jacket. I had my Ranger tab. Because when people know you like I’m Army, but I didn’t want to know where the airborne went, you know, so. And I’m like, oh, yeah. So then and then you’re like, oh, that’s that’s great.

John Berry: Oh, you’re a lawyer too. That’s great. Great. You didn’t say, oh that’s funny bitch. Let me tell you something. Special Forces, Northwestern, uh, Kellogg School of Management. Now, I got this company. You know, you were very humble, but also just, uh, uh, you know, no ego in that conversation whatsoever, right? It just you were just very honest up front and having a conversation.

You have always, uh, come across as the person who doesn’t have to have the right answer, but you’re going to get to the right answer. You’re going to make sure your team gets to the right answer. A lot of hard work, a lot of hard working people on your team. And I’ve worked with them. So I know. But how do you foster that in an entrepreneurial company where you guys have a ton of stuff going on? How do you keep things running when you’ve got a small elite team and Freddie’s out there conquering the world for the for the team? I mean, you’re not even involved in the day to day, are you.

Freddie Kim: No, the answer is, uh, no, I am not. I cannot be, and I have built a team to help me execute. Right. And some really amazing people on the team. Um, um, so one of which is just hit three years with me, which is amazing. So, um, yeah, the high impact, low ego. Just real quick disclaimer on that. That isn’t mine saying that’s something I just stole from Kellogg because Kellogg School of Management, they were like they had the high impact, low ego and the people there. It was truly a different it was a it was a sight to see because all of these great, um, accomplished business leaders, they come in there with a just a mindset of learning and being open and being, you know, shown their blind spots and, and, and being transparent so that, that that recruiting team fosters such a great environment and, and military leaders, I think we also exemplify that. So I said, hey, let’s just let’s just borrow it. Could that borrow it from from them and then apply it because that is just the principle of it. Now, I must say, however, if you’re a veteran looking for a job and interviewing, yes, you want to be you. Naturally, we all are more humble. We all, we all don’t really talk about ourselves, but you need to.

Freddie Kim: That’s the trick here in the business world. You need to show what you personally, personally have accomplished or are able to lead to accomplish. And you need to be specific in those situations. You cannot just say, oh yeah, we did it as a team because, you know, we had some great guys on the team. Yeah, but what was your role? So I learned that, you know, in business school, one of my professors, he was like super. He was just he was a very accomplished business person. Right. Private equity. He ran a multi-billion dollar company in the past. And he he was he was so, um, true and authentic and transparent. Yet he told you up front. Yeah, I ran a, you know, $15 billion company, and I was responsible for X amount of heads. And I did this for he he told you, but he said it in a matter of fact way and not not as a braggadocious way, but it was just, hey, this is kind of my background. This is how it’s relevant to this conversation. So. I’m trying to learn that more. Uh, but you pointed out that out to me, John. I’m. I’m very grateful for you saying that.

John Berry: Well, like I said, it’s it’s just something I observed. And it’s a quality that sometimes I wish I had. But on the other side of the coin, I figured that out as well. That’s why if you listen to some of my initial podcast episodes, a solo one, it’s like, you know, it helped me go from the Inc. 500 seven years in a row and all these great things. Because why should I listen to this guy, right? Who cares? Yeah. Why should I listen to John Berry? Well, because these are some of our accomplishments and we did it with a veteran team. That’s why. That’s why I believe in the mission. That’s why I believe in veterans running businesses. But if I don’t tell you that I have no proof of concept now, I’m just making stuff up. So I do think you need to get it out there. And if you can do it humbly, great. But you know, no one else is going to is going to toot your horn. No one else is going to say how great you are. Now, sometimes you do have people that do that, but for the most part, if you, you know, if you’re being interviewed, like I want to know, and I’ve had candidates just be way too humble. And then I’m like, well, oh yeah, I didn’t want to say that. And then there’s like a great story or a great lesson there. I’ve had podcasts go like that. Well, my stories aren’t and the stories are amazing, right. And I hear another podcast like, why didn’t you tell that story? Well, you know, I didn’t want to brag.

John Berry: And, you know, I’m like, are you kidding me like that? But I do think that, yeah, we we’re humble. We know that. We don’t say I, we say we. It’s not about us. It’s about the team succeeding. And so it becomes difficult sometimes to talk about our accomplishments. But, um, if you don’t talk about them, who’s going to know about them if you don’t put them on your resume, if you don’t get them out there. And more importantly, it’s not so much that I’ve learned. It’s not just even you telling me that I need the team to see that they’ve got a real hero here, right? Someone who has gone above and beyond. So I can share that example, because too often, you know, the team especially. Look, when you’re in a fast growing company, people get beat down, right. There’s a lot of failure stories that we love as entrepreneurs. We love to share the stories, but the success stories are what keep us going. And sometimes when someone can say, hey, I’ve been here before and this is how we fixed it. I mean, it’s, you know, it brings just an air of confidence to the room. So as much as we like to be humble, uh, sometimes in the team setting where we can tell a story, it can be inspirational, uh, to someone who says, wow, I want to do that. I could do.

Multiple People: That, that.

Freddie Kim: That that man that is so relevant. Uh, because, you know, you get you get told. I got told I did. I did ten years active in the Army. And then just going into the corporate world, they’re like, hey, keep your mind open and, you know, be receptive and learn. Yes, yes, to a point. If you are a leader, if you are a decision maker, people don’t follow you just because you’re a good guy. They follow you because they can trust you. You have competence, right? So, um, a lot of these transitioning guys who are like, yeah, I could do a general manager role. Yeah, I can, I can run, I could run, president, I hear you, I got you. But you may want to kind of give yourself a little bit of a, you know, room for error. Right. And allow yourself to learn a little bit and kind of roll into the, into the role because it is a lot of pressure. You have to make the decisions. People are looking at you, their lives, their livelihoods, their families are on the line. If you’re screwing up. I mean, that’s just, uh, that’s a disaster, you know, in our world now. So, um, yeah, it’s unique to be competent first, right?

John Berry: Right. And I think, yes, as a veteran, go in with an open mind, but not so open, your brains fall out. And actually, there’s a guy in our cohort named Andy, and he’s got an I med tech company, and he was talking about a guy from your alma mater, Kellogg School of Management, comes in and says, I want to be your chief strategy officer. And I want to, you know, get in there and and run the strategy for your company. It’s like, well, what have you done? Well, you know, I got I got my I went to a University of Chicago undergrad and I got my MBA. Yeah. You haven’t done anything. If you don’t understand tactics, how are you going to create the strategy for my organization. And so I think with veterans we understand that. We understand that there are there’s, you know, the tactical the operations strategic level. And if you don’t understand tactics, you really can’t understand strategy. And, you know, go back to Vietnam. The tactics drove the strategy because the strategy wasn’t working. And so if you I think there’s something to be said for that experience really matters. So don’t be quiet about it. I mean, I don’t think you need to tell the employer that in my last job, I closed with and destroyed the enemy. You know, that might not help, but but some of the teamwork skills and some of the major challenges you accomplished. Absolutely necessary. This brings us to the After Action Review. Freddie, give me 1 to 3 examples of the best leadership you’ve seen or experienced, and then 1 to 3 of the worst. And you don’t have to name names, but just experiences examples that veterans and listeners can learn from.

Freddie Kim: Yeah, the After Action Review. I love how you conclude, uh, these this segment for all your sessions. Um, great leaders. There are so many, but I have a few that I do want to mention. Um, one was in the CEO circle with me. Um, not in my group, but Marley Anders. Um, I don’t know if you’re listening. You better be. She is a freaking. She is. She’s like, what, five foot? Nothing. But she is a ball of energy. And she has she is so intentional about building culture. Right. So part of building a team is to build that, that, that rock solid foundation and culture and, and her empathy. I think just in her teammates and building and allowing people to know that they’re recognized. She has like pizza parties with folks on a one on one basis as a CEO. And she’s building up like a she has. I last I heard was about 100 million or so in backlog from government contracting. I mean, she is freaking crushing it. Uh, my my other he was a West Point classmate of mine. Jed. Richard. He. Man, he has no business background, right? Aside from kind of working in construction and general contracting. But he has built such an intentional. Company culture. You know, not only for, you know, 500 just fastest growing. But he is winning major awards and he is he is so intentional about giving back and setting standards and being meticulous with recruiting and training and allowing his team to to grow. Uh, and to live individual, uh, growth and experiences. Um, so, I mean, he comes to mind as a super, um, driver and very admirable. Um, a couple of other guys there. Um, were you there with Jamie Dimon was speaking to us.

John Berry: I was not.

Freddie Kim: You weren’t there?

John Berry: No, I wasn’t there yet.

Freddie Kim: We were. Yeah, we were, I guess crossing. Um, yeah, we crossed paths there, but at the CEO circle, we had Jamie Dimon talk to us. I was super impressed with how with for a man of his stature. Right. How open and transparent he was and he he’s not like a pretentious like, oh, I’m an uppity guy leading a multi-billion dollar business. He was just real. He was authentic. And when he was, and he was unafraid to speak his mind, you know, even politics in a in a room, he was unafraid to speak his mind. And I was just so blown away with how, like, you know, real he can get and how he, he can be relatable. He’s not just like echelons above us in, in, in, uh, running things. Um, so yeah. And finally, Mike’s my buddy Mike Syverson. He’s, uh, he’s a second battalion commander in, um, third group right now. He’s right here at Fort Liberty. Um, and he’s a current. He’s a current commander, battalion commander. And he is just the amount of empathy that he has for his team, despite being seasoned hard core warfighters, he he truly cares for them and the family. So, I mean, those people just, like, pop off and there’s dozens more, but really good leadership. Um, on the flip side, bad leadership. I’ll talk about that real quick. Um, I had a company commander, uh, who was in the army, but just the empathy piece. It’s funny, I was my empathy level was pretty low, but I wasn’t, uh, I but I wasn’t aware that that was a bad thing, and but I had kind of judged other leaders about, oh, this guy doesn’t care about me.

Freddie Kim: He doesn’t care about what I’m going through. So I guess I was discovering what that word really meant. I wasn’t really grown up with that. Uh, but they’re your company commanders, people who are kind of in the grind. They’re going out there to accomplish the mission. So focused and intentional about that, where they kind of forget what it is to lead and what it is to build relationships and what it is to really inspire and train and show caring in your people. Uh, I think there were some examples there that I, that I’ve seen. Uh, and again, I think another bad leadership quality comes from me, you know, where back back then I was, I was a piss poor kind of team builder. I didn’t have the competence. I was the president of a manufacturing company, like a year or two out of the military, which is a huge responsibility. And I was very fortunate to get it. But I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. And if you don’t have that competence, then you need to you need to learn it. And and not only that, I didn’t know how to build a team around me. I didn’t know how to recruit. So that was just looking in retrospect, in hindsight, man, I wish I could have just slowed down, figure it out. Like how to care for my people, how to build that culture so that we can we can actually be on the same page about that mission. But, um, yeah, those examples come to mind, I appreciate it.

John Berry: Well, thanks so much. And where can our listeners learn more about MilSpec, whether it’s a military or veteran business owner or someone who is in the military thinking about getting out, or a veteran who is out and wants to know what opportunities are available to them.

Multiple People: Yeah.

Freddie Kim: Uh, so I am like most of us, I would imagine we’re on we’re on LinkedIn. I’m on LinkedIn. Uh, Freddie, Freddie, Kim and I also, uh, like you, John. I’m inspired to develop a podcast and tell stories, write good stories, and of how entrepreneurs are building their own businesses and their techniques. So I am, uh, launching I’ve launched a, a podcast called Build Your A team. Uh, to to go into those stories. Um, and then I would just say, uh, connect.  LinkedIn. You can email me as well and then I would love people to reach out. We have a ten x goal in our company. It’s like that aspirational wild goal. But it’s I mean it’s to have a dent make a dent on veteran suicide that is so near and dear to me. Um, we lost too many friends to suicide. Uh, people I’ve served with, people that I was close with, and we the. And that’s partially why I’m doing what I’m doing. I mean, that’s a lot of why I’m doing what I’m doing, because I believe we are all very just type A, and we feel like our careers define us and we have purpose. But once you transition, you lose that. And and I want to connect them to what I think veterans do best, which is to lead and serve and make impact. So that’s that’s why this, uh, the human human capital, uh, role took place. So. Yeah, please reach out to me on that. How do how do we do better with that? I mean, that’s always something I’m, I’m thinking about.

John Berry: Well, and you’re solving the problem because I’ve noticed having helped thousands of veterans with PTSD, I can tell you there’s two issues that keep recurring. Number one is there’s no longer a team. And number two, there’s no longer a mission. You get a team of warriors back by your side. It’s real easy to stay back up when you’re all working toward a mission. If you think about when a lot of those suicides happened, it wasn’t in the thick of things. It was one thing slowed down and the team wasn’t there and the mission wasn’t there. Um, or there was a lull. And so, you know, thinking back to, you know, just my own experience, everybody’s had their own. But in my mind, it, it, you know, when I can put the pieces together of of the veteran suicides that I’m familiar with that the, the, the veterans under my command. And I look back and I think, how did this happen? Uh, lack of mission, lack of a team that supports them and not just, oh, you know, I mean, a team that is doing the mission where you get engaged, get engaged, and be back in the fight again with your with your team members. Because the problem is we’ve had the highest of highs. We’ve been there with great teams, done amazing things. And you take that away from somebody and there’s a gaping void that is there until you fill it again with another team.

Multiple People: That.

Freddie Kim: Is absolutely like, I think the essence. It’s that team. It’s your purpose. Um, and, and that mission of, of what we all thought to lead. Right. And to really contribute to something. Um, I we’ve lost too many. I mean, my West Point class, we’ve lost the last six casualties of a class of 950 or so, uh, to suicide. Right. And my my, um, I had a teammate on in the Special Forces. Great, phenomenal guy that, you know, unbeknownst to us, why he died by suicide. So, I mean, it’s such a it’s such a near and dear, uh, thing. We should continue to talk about it if you are. If you are in that boat, don’t fucking hesitate. Just talk to somebody like I. I am a huge proponent for therapy. Like it’s it was a stigma back when you and I served. But it is necessary now. I mean, go see and talk to somebody and realize that you’re not alone. You don’t have to be a hermit. You’re not you’re not being exposed or vulnerable because you’re sharing this. You deserve a chance. Your family deserves a chance to be with you and your friends. The impact you’ve made, you can do again.

John Berry: Thank you for joining us today on Veteran Led, where we pursue our mission of promoting veteran leadership in business, strengthening the veteran community, and getting veterans all of the benefits that they earn. If you know a leader who should be on the Veteran Led podcast, report to our online community by searching @veteranled on your favorite social channels and posting in the comments, we want to hear how your military challenges prepared you to lead your industry or community, and we will let the world know. And of course, hit subscribe and join me next time on Veteran Led.

Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

Subscribe to our newsletter

The Service Connection

Our monthly newsletter features about important and up-to-date veterans' law news, keeping you informed about the changes that matter.

Skip to content