023 - Dwayne Paro welcomes Ken Robbins to today’s podcast. He is the Co-Founder and CEO of MILLIE. He is a former Army officer with twenty years of experience serving in tactical, operational and strategic level assignments. While in the Army, he deployed to numerous theaters, including service in Iraq in 2008-2009. His final assignments included battalion command in Europe and as a special assistant to the Chief of Staff of the Army. In 2009, Ken was appointed
as one of fifteen White House Fellows by President Obama. He served as a special assistant to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management and worked
closely with career civil servants and political appointees at OPM in the drafting of Executive Order 13518, Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government, which established the Veterans Employment Initiative. After his White House Fellowship, Ken served as an Army Fellow at the Department of State. His educational background includes a B.S. in American Politics from the United States Military Academy and a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. Ken and his wife, Heidi, who is a top performing real estate agent in Northern Virginia, have lived in 12 homes during 20 years of Army moves. They purchased their first home in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1998 and their current home in Arlington, VA in 2015. They have two daughters, one is a freshman at the University of Alabama and one who is an 8th grader in Arlington public schools.
Serving our Great Nation (3:38)
Ken’s military career was diverse and atypical in the type of assignments he performed. He started at West Point as a cadet and then entered into typical tactical duties as an officer. He had the opportunity to go to grad school and then teach at West Point. Then he was back to the tactical side for a few years. He was then able to do the strategic type duties as a White House fellow and Army fellow. He was able to see the interfaces of the government at different levels and angles. Ken was deployed to Iraq towards the end of his career.
Transitioning to Entrepreneurship (6:24)
The duties that Ken performed in the military he feels are directly transferrable to being an entrepreneur. He believes risk management at both tactical and strategic level are very important at all levels.
“Understanding and managing risk is one of the most important and yet most challenging things for entrepreneurs…”
This allows you to be able to operate with imperfect information and make the best decision you can at the time. The role of being a commander provided some very key skills. Being responsible of the organization he was setting the vision and driving where the group would be going.
“You got to have the vision and be able to articulate it as well.”
Understanding the importance of systems to do routine tasks. You have to be able to do those tasks over and over at the same level.
“Being the positive leader of your organization and really encouraging your employees to thrive and do well in their positions.”
Ken was able to step out as an entrepreneur with establishing a partnership with an individual he knew from his military career. He also attended the various training offered for veterans looking to start a business.
Branding is very important to an organization to get recognized and have it tied to your company values.
How to Contact Ken (29:21)
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