Tell us about what you do at your job?
I am a Navy Captain and the Chief of Staff for Carrier Strike Group Nine in Everett, WA. My job has three facets:
(i) First, I carry out the Admiral's vision & mission for the Strike Group (the Strike Group is composed of the aircraft carrier, the 70-aircraft airwing, 3 destroyers, 3 frigates, a cruiser and the 6,500 people who make it all happen). I like to say that the Admiral writes the music and I conduct the orchestra!!
(ii) Second, I am the commander (CEO-like) for an 80-person staff.
(iii) Third, I am a peer, confidant, friend and advisor to the Admiral's four commanders (all Captains’). I spend most of my time team-building, making relationships happen, listening to everyone's perspectives in a resource/time/people-limited environment, advising the Admiral and making time-critical operational decisions. We are getting ready for (yet) another deployment on the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
Tell us about yourself?
I have a wonderful wife, Beth and two teenage boys (Sean, 17 and Liam, 15). Beth is an IT expert, mainly in IT security, but also in programming languages. She teaches at Charter College in Bellingham. Sean is a High School senior and is in the Running Start program, which means he's taking community college courses as a High School student. Liam is a freshman. I am very proud of all of them, especially as they have had to put up with a husband and father who is deployed for long periods. They are the true Veterans on this recent Veterans Day, as their sacrifice is way harder than any I've made!!
When will you be leaving the Navy?
I am in the process of transitioning out of the Navy after 26 years and will complete my time in Spring 2012. I am now looking for a meaningful, challenging job in the Pacific Northwest (I currently live in Anacortes, WA). Although I'm looking for work, I'm not under pressure to "just find something," as I'd like to do something that I really enjoy, that is fulfilling and makes an impact. http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinmeenaghan.
What are your best memories about studying at SLPA?
Two things: first, the people I met and learned with, including the students and instructors. Second, I very much enjoyed our Capstone course and the city sustainment project. I learned a lot about my colleagues, how our diverse backgrounds and experiences came together to form a phenomenally successful end state and also learned about community/public leadership & sustainability.
What is your leadership philosophy?
What is your leadership philosophy?
One of my great Duquesne University instructors taught me about the Strengthsfinder. I now find myself constantly referring back to my top 5 strengths (which I still keep posted above my desk). One of those strengths is "Maximizer" which means I get the most out of my people, which I try to do every day. I also keep a small note above my desk that states, "It's not about me!" It's easy for any of us to become selfishly focused on what's in our own best interest, but we have to keep our perspective on the "bigger picture," a higher ethical plane.
Which book have you read or are reading right now that you would recommend?
I am just finishing The Family by Jeff Sharlet, about how a very conservative, fundamentalist group leads the decisions of many high-level, political decision-makers and government officials. I also frequently re-read sections of Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. This book reminds me that my first instinct - my gut feel - is usually right. And lastly, I very much enjoy the book, The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey (son of the famous Stephen Covey). And for those like myself who are job-hunting, there's Brag, the Art of Tooting Your Horn Without Blowing It by Peggy Klaus and What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles.