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General Ann E. Dunwoody Four Star Role Model

How does a little girl grow up to be a four-star general?  In fact, the very first female four-star general in American history? So often we think there is a ‘proven formula,’ one that typically includes growing up in the proper environment, having a dream and vision, and then following a well-planned strategy. Well, interesting enough, even though General Ann Dunwoody grew up in a military family with four generations of West Pointers (brother, father, grandfather and great-grandfather), she had no intention of ever joining the Army. As far back as Dunwoody can remember, all she wanted was to major in physical education and coach.  The Proven Formula Gone Awry Ann E. Dunwoody was born an ‘army brat’ in Northern Virginia in the triumphant glow of post-World War II America. Her father, a career army officer, soon moved the family to Germany and Belgium where they participated in the post-war reconstruction of the largely decimated European continent. That’s when the ‘proven formula’ went a little awry. In her formative years, Dunwoody wanted nothing to do with the military, instead moving

Major Lisa A. Jaster: Army Ranger

For many of us, the psyche of the ultra-high achiever, the elevated standard of discipline which frames their lives, is nearly impossible to fathom. We may be impressively credentialed ourselves with successful careers, we stay relatively fit and take care of our health, and at times we rise above difficult challenges. But that’s not what we’re discussing here. This is a whole other level of commitment, something so rare that we more common folk are traversing foreign territory. Why is a person this driven, this willing to push her body and mind well beyond what common willpower and human endurance typically allows? Why would any person voluntarily experience what the majority of us consider severe punishment akin to hell on earth? What motivates such a person’s actions and behaviors?We recently had the opportunity to meet one of these most extraordinary people, to dig in below the surface and find her core. Following is our briefing: The Engineer & The Soldier Some people are competitive, others are hyper-competitive, and then there’s Lisa Jaster. She is an engineer and a soldier. That’s

Patriot PAWS: Service Dogs for Disabled Veterans

Highly trained, four-legged friends do more than just provide companionship —they serve our heroes. Man’s Best Friend Turned Helper Ever since she was a child, Lori Stevens has loved dogs for their unconditional love, loyalty, devotion, and friendship. Her love for dogs grew into a career and she became a certified professional dog trainer. In 2005, her son joined the military following in his grandfather’s footsteps which further solidified her admiration for those who serve our country. That same year, several disabled veterans contacted her for help to train their dogs. “After working with these veterans and visiting the VA Hospital in Dallas, I realized just how many of our disabled veterans are in desperate need of assistance dogs and I knew I had to help,” recalls Stevens. Watch this short video of Stevens on the importance of the work they do… It started in 2006 in a small storefront in Rockwall, Texas, where Stevens and a few friends opened up Patriot PAWS Service Dogs, a privately funded non-profit organization. They had the capacity to train only eight dogs at

Emma Sky: Advisor and Confidant to Military Leaders

Despite her anti-war stance, her journey takes her to the frontlines in the shifting sands of the Middle East. It was a “Time of Monsters” in the Middle East, when Emma Sky navigated through the region’s conflicts and complexities during the Arab Spring. She bore witness to how and why dreams of new orders based on rights and justice were shattered in wars and weak states – and demons unleashed upon the world. Now a professor at Yale, she is heralded as a regional expert, helping to bridge gaps between Arab and Western worlds while elevating humanity in the region. Sky chose to live in a world unlike any other. In the swirling of desert sands, she found the land to be magical, ever-changing yet always a tinderbox for war. She tread softly alongside top military leaders and traversed the desert terrain finding it riddled with politics and diplomatic figures of great power and influence. Her journey has intrigue, politics, and edge-of-your seat harrowing tales. Not one to let her morals and ideals take a back seat, her opposition to

Eric B. Maddox: Interrogator-in-Chief

As we dig deep into the lives of the highest echelon of entrepreneurial spirits, whatever be their pursuit, certain consistent characteristics emerge to explain their success. Early influences, work ethic, grit, positivity and a never-say-die mindset are all part of their recipe, no doubt. However, another less-appreciated “learned skill” is making an appearance time-and-again. In our noisy world that never stops talking, it is the art of patient, empathetic listening. Eric Maddox is famously known as the man whose investigatory techniques were most responsible for the 2003 capture of Saddam Hussein in war-torn Iraq. But he is much more than that. Let’s dig beneath the surface to discover the core of this warrior’s incomparable life-force. An Empathetic Warrior in Service When most young people are a few months away from graduating college, they are busy studying for finals, getting their cap and gown ordered, securing tickets to the ceremony, attending various celebrations across campus (i.e. keg parties), and planning for life beyond the safe campus confines, also called “the real world.” These may all describe Maddox, with one minor nuance.

Peter W. Singer: Definitive, Essential, Required Reading

A History of Conflict  From the beginning of time, man has been in violent and oft-times protracted conflict with man. Whether the dispute is rooted in religion, ideology, tribalism, nationalism, or something else, man has tended to engage in warring. Usually, one party is claiming ownership of the earth’s scarce resources, with or without legitimacy. It’s the never-ending story of the ‘haves’ versus the ‘have-nots.’ Some are seeking to accumulate even more power and wealth, others are seeking their freedom from oppression, and others, due to corrupt and incompetent leadership, are simply starving to death. At its origin, combat was hand-to-hand, then sword-to-sword, in open fields with the only apparent strategy being a man’s cunning and bravery, or foolhardiness. As the centuries marched forward, so too did the technologies, tools and strategies of war, and the battlefields on which the conflicts played out shifted as well. In the 18th and 19th centuries, gunpowder was adapted to make pistols, rifles and cannons the deadly weapons we’re familiar with today. New modes of transportation, including horseback and maritime, allowed the richest nations to dominate