061 – Leading People with Jonathan Silk

061 – Leading People with Jonathan Silk

Jonathan Silk- Podcast

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[In This Episode][Guest Bio][Additional Notes][Text Transcript]

In This Episode

What does it feel like to patrol the DMZ near North Korea?  What does it feel like to take a projectile to the chest in Iraq?  Is leadership really the same across all organizational structures?  Join us today to hear from an excellent leader retired from active military service in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, and most recently West Point.

This is the podcast where we discuss leadership and innovation for teenagers.  I can’t wait to introduce today’s guest!  We’ve been counting the days until Jonathan retired from his position at West Point so we could interview him for the show.  While in active military service, he wasn’t allowed to speak publicly about his experiences, and having previous experience as a researcher in civil service with the Navy, I understand why the military has such strict policies.

Why should we be interested in the opinions of a retired military officer?  I have asked myself that question having been in the bureaucracy of the Navy, and eventually left because my free entrepreneurial spirit could not be reconciled to long term service as a civil servant.  So why would I interview a retired military officer for our podcast?  To be honest, there are still aspects of the military that call to my heart such as the Navy Seals training in San Diego.  The discipline and serving for a higher cause still calls to the heart of every red-blooded, patriotic American–regardless of your beliefs about the current politics.

The US is still the leader in innovation world-wide, specifically because we are so free thinking, but free-thinking requires solid, robust protection.  Many brave Americans pledge their lives and relinquish some of their freedom of choice to protect the ideals upon which our free-thinking is built.

I also believe that strong innovators must believe in the future and their innovation with the same discipline that a soldier holds to the commands and structures put into place by an honor-bound military.  So I had to interview Jonathan Silk to learn more about his philosophy of leadership.  You’ll find Jonathan’s story and perspectives irresistible.  Join me today as I interview an American hero.

About Jonathan

Jonathan SilkJonathan Silk recently transitioned out of the Army in the rank of Major. His last assignment an Assistant Professor and the Operations Officer for the Center for the Advancement of Leader Development and Organizational Learning (CALDOL) at the United States Army Military Academy, West Point, NY. In addition to his teaching duties he worked on leader development curriculum that was used as part of the leader
development system at West Point and throughout the Army.

Jonathan is a proven warrior, combat leader, and expert trainer with over 25 years of leadership experience and has led soldiers in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq he served as a Cavalry Scout Platoon Leader conducting combat operations in Baghdad, Karbala, Al Kut, Diwaniyah, Najaf, and Kufah.

In Korea, Jonathan commanded C Company, 1st Battalion, 72nd Armor Regiment, a tank company stationed south of the border with North Korea. His command consisted of American and South Korean soldiers. He was responsible for planning and executing realistic, combat focused training and was recognized for excellence in the use of tank
simulators to train his company for combat with North Korean armor forces.

Decorated for leadership under fire, his military awards include the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart. Jonathan is a recipient of the calendar year 2009 General Douglas MacArthur Leadership award from the Army Chief of Staff, General George Casey in May 2010. He is a published author, writing about his experiences in Iraq: “Light Cavalry Platoon-Armor Team Integration Procedures”, Armor Magazine, pp 6-7, July/August 2005.

He is a native of Newton, MA. He was commissioned as an Armor Lieutenant in January 2003 upon graduation from Officer Candidate School (OCS) as a Distinguished Military Graduate. His civilian education includes the Columbia Coaching Program at Columbia University, an M.B.A. from the University of Texas at Dallas, and an M.A. in Learning Technologies from Pepperdine University. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Louisiana State University (Alexandria Campus).

Jonathan is an endurance athlete and an advocate for veterans and wounded veterans. He frequently competes in triathlons as a member of Team, Red, White, and Blue to raise money for wounded veterans. To date he has raised over $10, 400. He resides near Fort Worth, TX with his family.

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What is the Purpose of an Education?

“The purpose of an education is to equip learners with the tools they need for self discovery so they can go out there and think critically and analyze things, think for themselves, know how to think, and learn and be inspired by that and become life long learners.”  —Jonathan Silk

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Jonathan‘s Favorite Quote

“Leaders are responsible for the level of energy in their organizations”
The Leadership Challenge

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Additional Notes



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Full Text Transcript – Coming Soon!

“One time (during a briefing) they showed us this video shot from the southern boarder of a North Korea guard post and they released a Siberian tiger.  It was a real tiger and we still had to go out there.  We were like holy cow!  We didn’t encounter it.  It was really surreal.”
–Jonathan Silk

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