028 - Dwayne Paro welcomes Blayne Smith to today’s podcast. Blayne is the Executive Director of Team Red, White, and Blue. As Team RWB’s first employee, he has played a key role the development, growth, and operation of what has become America’s fastest growing Veteran-serving nonprofit organization. With chapters in over 200 cities, Team RWB now serves more than 120,000 members and enriches their lives by connecting them to their community through fitness, service, and leadership.
He is a West Point graduate and former Special Forces officer with combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was the distinguished honor graduate of the Army’s Ranger School and has earned numerous military awards including three Bronze Stars, one with “V” device for valor.
Blayne grew up on southwest Florida, earned his MBA from the University of Florida, and now lives in Tampa with his wife and children. He is a fitness enthusiast and avid athlete, and regular competes in running, triathlon, and CrossFit.
Serving our Great Nation (2:58)
Blayne went to West Point in 1997 but didn’t necessarily have military aspirations. He wanted to get a great education and be on a path a successful life. He deployed Iraq in 2004 and worked with special forces members. He went to special forces selection and was chosen. He was a special forces commander and did a tour in Afghanistan. In 2010 he decided to separate from the military.
Transitioning to Entrepreneurship (6:45)
As he transitioned out he did the basic things you should and started looking about 6 months out what was available.
“I didn’t have a clear vision or burning passion.”
He did various interviews through recruiting services. Was able to land a sales job which was extremely different from his military career. It was a big change but all part of the process.
In retrospect he knew the job he had in sales wasn’t his long term ideal plan. It did buy him time to learn the business side of what he would need to know as an entrepreneur. He was feeling a loss of missing the higher purpose he had.
Mike Irwin, fellow service member, realized the culture was different and felt the same disconnect. He felt like the wounded veterans needed a way to feel connected again. It was this spark of inspiration that started Team Red White and Blue. Blayne joined forces with Mike and helped to get the program started. Blane was asked to be the Executive Director for the organization. He transitioned into the organization to get it started.
You can’t do a business all by yourself. You have to build a solid team around you and execute against the mission.
“Figure out ways to be successful with limited resources.”
The lack of structure can be intimidating but transitioning veterans are in a better position than before. Being willing to adapt is critical.
How to Contact Blayne (32:45)
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