Life Lessons of a Military Brat

battleshipIt’s interesting how one’s family situation while growing up can shape who they are, what they become, and how they lead. Last time, I shared a bit of the profound influence my mother had on me, and as I sat here thinking, “What do I want to share with you today?” I found myself thinking that beyond the specific guiding questions that I learned from my mother, there are lessons derived from the very fabric of my family structure that I unknowingly brought into my life as a business owner. For example,

  • Accepting change
  • Being resilient
  • Valuing relationships
  • Remaining open to possibilities

Without these four qualities I would be a very different person, and I have no idea where ExecuNet would be.

You see, my father was in the Navy, Captain of a Destroyer, so we moved around – a lot. Pretty much every three years until I was in 10th grade and my mother told him it was time for the moving to stop. Then he managed port operations of Pearl Harbor Naval base and later left the Navy to manage port operations in New Haven and Houston. I am a product of that environment, and it taught me so much.

Every move was a new opportunity in so many different ways. There were new experiences and people at every location. I learned to be open and accepting to what I could find, learn, and experience. Leaving behind people I’d come to care about was not easy, but I quickly learned how to make new friends and how to maintain friendships over time and distance, which before social media was more challenging.

These skills serve me well as President of ExecuNet, as we’ve had to be resilient in the face of the pandemic and the move to remote work and embrace change with the retirement of our Founder and CEO. And that’s just recently; there have been many more challenges and changes along our 34-year journey.

As for relationships… that’s the very fabric of what we do! We are all about making and maintaining connections and helping people find the right professional relationship for them. We counsel executives to be open to the possibilities, to seek out what is meaningful to them and how to go for their Next Great Next, unlocking the path to having a meaningful career.

Little did I know when I was bouncing from Naval base to Naval base that I was picking up the very skills which would become foundational to my future business. I suppose I helped shape ExecuNet’s core belief in relationship-building because of how important it was for me to be able to build relationships while growing up. I had to work hard to maintain the relationships I’d built with people who mattered with me, all the while it was necessary for me to become comfortable meeting new people and developing new relationships, repeatedly. My eyes were always on making friends and seeing possibilities… and that’s really what ExecuNet does.

How has your upbringing shaped your career path in unexpected ways?



Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson is ExecuNet's president and chief economist. An Arjay Miller Scholar, Mark received his MBA from Stanford University and a BA in economics from Yale University. He joined ExecuNet in 1993, with extensive marketing and new product and business development experience, having served as president and founder of A&M Associates, an investment management firm. Mark's corporate leadership experience includes several senior marketing and financial positions with RCA Global Communications (a GE subsidiary) and American Can Company.

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