Tag: veterans

Relive some of the sights and sounds from the Olin Veterans Association Dining Out event on March 29, 2018, with this quick video summary. Here are a few details about the event from our earlier blog post about it, written by Sontaya Sherrell, MBA ’18, and an Olin veteran herself.

Among the traditional rituals at the Dining Out, guests were invited to answer for violations of the written rules of the evening by paying a fine—all of which supports the Olin Veterans Scholarship Fund—or having a drink from the dreaded “grog bowl,” which features a hodgepodge of questionable ingredients mixed into one punch.

A few of the lighthearted rules guests could potentially be punished for include wearing a clip-on bow tie at an obvious angle, using excessive military slang or jargon, or wearing clip-on suspenders.

Guests were expected to adhere to an honor system in recognizing their own infractions or could be reported for an infraction by another attendee. Balancing out these more amusing aspects of the event were more solemn traditions, one of which included the recognition of those who could not be with us that evening.




Leonard Adreon, BSBA ’50, is a Korean War veteran, a corpsman who chronicled his experiences in a recently released memoir, Hilltop Doc: A Marine Corpsman Fighting Through the Mud and Blood of the Korean War. The memoir marked the first time in 60 years he had confronted and told the stories of the gruesome experiences he faced in war.

He recently returned to campus for a public conversation about his book, moderated by Olin Dean Mark Taylor.

“I didn’t say a word to anybody,” Adreon told the St. Louis Jewish Light. “A lot of us decided that the smartest thing to do was to go on with our lives and put it behind us. What we experienced and endured was horrendous. It was better forgotten.”

After the war, Adreon returned to St. Louis and spent 36 years as the executive vice president of The Siteman Organization. a real estate management and development company. He was an active advocate for the building and real estate industry throughout his career, serving in advocacy roles around the world and in Washington, DC.

Adreon has also been a leader at a variety of charities focused on child welfare and volunteers as a facilitator for writing classes in Washington University’s Lifelong Learning Institute.

He offered this poem to Dean Taylor in late April as a tribute to fallen US soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines.

Remember Forever

I am alone
among the silent stones
It’s early morning
The sun creeps through
sparsely scattered clouds
chases the night away
A cool gentle breeze
tingles my skin

Row after row
marble stones
on a carpet of green
Each curved at the top
standing proud over the grave
a small religious symbol
above the etched name of one who served
and the dates of a shortened shattered life

I’m here to visit my son
resting quietly with other soldiers
Today is his 40th birthday
If he could talk to me
what would he say
What is the message I should carry home

I sit on the small bench
close my eyes and listen

Dad, you’re here, that’s what counts
When I went away I knew the score
Danger lurked with every step
Most guys made it and came home
Some of us ran out of luck

I tried to do my best
for you and Mom
for Jamie and Helen
I longed to hear your voice
Feel the warm hug of your love

try to remember me Dad
and all who lie beside me
Remember me forever
Remember them forever




OVA

Sontaya Sherrell, MBA ’18 and vice president for communications for the Olin Veterans Association, provided this blog post on behalf of the organization.

The Olin Veterans Association had the great pleasure of hosting its Fifth Annual Dining Out ceremony at the Bellerive Country Club. This traditional black-tie event on March 29 consisted of military rituals, lighthearted banter, and words of wisdom imparted from our admirable guest of honor, Maj. Gen. David Bellon, commander, US Marine Corps Forces, South.

How does the OVA improve student veterans’ experience at Olin?

Maj. Gen. David G. Bellon, US Marine Corps

Maj. Gen. David G. Bellon, US Marine Corps

The OVA is an invaluable element of the veteran student experience at Olin Business School. The ability to offer and receive support and advice from those who share unique, yet similar experiences with you—from military service, to the transition from service member to student, to navigating the rigors of a challenging MBA program—is greatly appreciated and valued by OVA’s members.

The OVA provides a fellowship of individuals with shared perspective and the ability to understand the unique challenges encountered during and after this transition. In addition to this support that is so valued, OVA members benefit from the excellent array of resources and financial support available to veteran students.

Access to key business leaders offering mentorship, advice, and professional development opportunities provides an unmatched experience for OVA members.

What are some of the traditions of OVA Dining Out, for those less familiar with military rituals?

Among the traditional rituals at the Dining Out, guests were invited to answer for violations of the written rules of the evening by paying a fine—all of which supports the Olin Veterans Scholarship Fund—or having a drink from the dreaded “grog bowl,” which features a hodgepodge of questionable ingredients mixed into one punch.

A few of the lighthearted rules guests could potentially be punished for include wearing a clip-on bow tie at an obvious angle, using excessive military slang or jargon, or wearing clip-on suspenders.

Guests were expected to adhere to an honor system in recognizing their own infractions or could be reported for an infraction by another attendee. Balancing out these more amusing aspects of the event were more solemn traditions, one of which included the recognition of those who could not be with us that evening.

OVA members and guests honored our nation’s prisoners of war and missing in action (POW/MIA) service members with a moment of silence, a toast, and a speech honoring their contributions and sacrifice.

What was your favorite part of this year’s event?

My favorite part of the evening was listening to Maj. Gen. Bellon recount elements of his experience during his 28-year career in the US Marine Corps.

With all the dignity and poise of an esteemed military leader, Bellon recounted lessons on the intersection and divergence of the concepts of leadership and management that he’s accumulated over his years of service, effortlessly commanding the attention of everyone in the room with his powerful and heartfelt remarks. It was a true honor to host him at this year’s event as our guest of honor.




Eric Maddox, EMBA graduate, 2016.

Eric Maddox has been a four-times-decorated US Army interrogator, known for bringing in the intelligence that led to the capture of Saddam Hussein. He’s an author, who detailed the five-month hunt for the former Iraqi leader in his 2008 book Mission: Black List #1. He’s a motivational speaker, consultant, and negotiator. He’s an Olin alumnus who earned his Executive MBA in 2016.

And he’s recently added a new item to his long list of credentials: He’s now a podcaster.

Maddox launched the first episode of his online show “Creating Influence” on January 4 with a nearly five-minute introduction that explains how he has moved from a military interrogator to a professional negotiator.

“I was taught to use interrogation techniques that were zero sum game—they were intimidating, they were harsh—but I quickly realized they didn’t work at all,” Maddox says in his introduction. “What I learned to do was to connect, collaborate, negotiate, understand, and work with my prisoners.”

Now, he says, after 15 years of negotiating and interrogating, talking and attempting to influence people, he’s learned a few lessons that he says will apply to anyone—not just military prisoners.

“The bottom line is that when you talk to somebody, your goal is to connect with them, get to understand them, build trust with them, in order that they make a decision to follow you, to believe in you, to partner with you,” he said. “But all of that, that decision they make, that comes from the influence that you give to them.”

Maddox explains that the weekly podcast takes a deep dive into the psychology of influence and how to hone skills that will serve individuals in their businesses and daily lives.

Episodes focus on themes such as “the single most effective behavioral characteristic a person can have to maximize influence” and, in his most recent episode today, “what helps fuel hope, which aids in perseverance.”




Photo, above: Harry Schmidt, Passavant President and CEO. Photo credit: Passavant Area Hospital

We’re always excited to see Olin alumni in the news, and this interview with Harry Schmidt, EMBA 44, caught our attention in particular.

Harry came to Olin’s Executive MBA program with a full military career under his belt, having served as a pilot in the Navy for 20 years. He is currently the President and CEO of Passavant Area Hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois, overseeing 960 employees and a $120 million budget.

Harry was recently a guest on Beyond the Uniform, a podcast that showcases veterans and their transitions into new careers. Harry spoke with Beyond the Uniform Founder and Host Justin Nassiri about planning his transition to a new career, the leadership advantages veterans bring to employment, and his choice to pursue an Executive MBA degree at Olin. Check out highlights from the podcast, or listen to the full interview below:


When you were on active duty, how did you start to prepare for your transition?

It’s a great question because there’s a ton of uncertainty and ambiguity regardless if you’re leaving after one tour or after a full career. I started the process late, probably about six months before retiring which is not a lot of time. I was very fortunate that I had a neighbor who was able to help me through the process. This ultimately ended up being the tie that got me into healthcare.

When a service member is transitioning, I think it’s important to set boundaries and parameters for what kind of a job or career you want afterward. Otherwise, you could end up chasing something that’s someone else’s dream. It could be a fit for someone else but not for you. My family and I wanted to come back to the mid-west. That was the fit for us.

What the civilian sector is looking for is leadership skills—the leadership skills we have learned through getting a lot of responsibility early in our careers, dealing with volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. People in the civilian sector are looking for people that can handle these situations and make great decisions within volatility and uncertainty. That’s the skillset that’s transferrable regardless of your warfare specialty.

At what point did you decide to pursue an Executive MBA at Washington University?

It’s been one of the pivotal points in my short civilian career, and I don’t think I would have this role as CEO of a hospital without that education. As veterans, we learn a lot just through on-the-job experience. We learn about finance and budgeting through the money our team or department is allocated each year. But in a lot of ways, we miss out on the revenue side of the operating statement. Taxpayers are giving us our revenue when we’re in the military so it’s a little different.

Regardless of your specialty in the military, the MBA can be a good way to round out your skillset and learn about terminology. I initially looked at a school and started a traditional MBA program, taking classes at night. But it was a little bit disjointed. I didn’t feel like I was being challenged in a way that I wanted to be. So I started looking at different opportunities and found the Washington University EMBA program. In the Executive MBA format, we met once a month for 2-3 days and then worked on projects together in between those meetings. The format set me towards what I wanted to do. I moved through the 20-month program with the same group of people in a cohort fashion. We were able to challenge each other because we had similar levels of experience.

I would also add that sometimes people think it’s just about the letters behind your name. But that mentality will only get you so far. More than the degree itself, I want to know where the person got that degree from. I want to know that they had meaningful conversations about business with others in the program, that they had negotiations and debate. Work gets done in business through relationships, so I want to know that a person developed these skills during their degree program.

What advice would you give to a transitioning military member that feels intimidated by the thought of “starting over” in the civilian sector?

Be a life-long learner. Don’t be afraid to learn something new or take advantage of a new opportunity. Most people would be happy to sit down with you if you wanted to learn more about their industry or what they are doing. Use LinkedIn, make a meaningful connection. I would also recommend various veterans networks. I’m working right now with a group called Elite Meet. It’s a group that looks to connect former special forces and fighter pilots with private sector opportunities. There was also a really strong veterans network at Washington University. I’m sure this is the same at many other schools as well. There’s so many people out there that are willing to help and want you to be successful.


We love to share updates on our alumni with the Olin community. If you have news to share, let us know at blog@olin.wustl.edu.