#10: John Zimmermann’s Journey from Senior Master Sergeant to COO and Philanthropist

John Zimmermann, retired Senior Master Sergeant U.S. Air Force, shares his career journey from the military to COO of a software company and being on the board of directors for Healing Paws for Warriors.


John Zimmermann, retired Senior Master Sergeant U.S. Air Force, moved into the defense industry and is now the COO for Beast Code, a software company in Florida. John shares things he learned and limitations he’s had to work through that many of us can relate to, as we identify what we should be doing in post-military jobs and what will provide for fulfilment. John shares very openly about his philanthropy work in order to give back to those veterans who have given so much.

Episode Highlights

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02:55: John details his active-duty experience and the different tours he served

04:33: Reasons why John left his military career

06:08: John describes the transitions in his career

08:50: The part that fear and apprehension plays when deciding to leave active duty

09:25: Unexpected upside of the transition experience

10:26: Over 50% of the people leaving the military undervalue themselves

11:10: John thought he had the world figured out when he left the military, but soon into his first new job, he realized how much more he had to learn

13:19: Fun things that John was able to do that led him into his present position

16:52: John paired up his two passions—military veterans and dogs—with a non-profit called Healing Paws for Warriors

19:33: John shares what he learned about not boxing yourself into a job and what to do instead    

20:20: Gene’s business tip: Learn more about leadership. Our understanding of leadership in the military tends to be narrow and it’s not necessary in alignment with how the corporate or entrepreneurship world defines leadership.

Your Move

Show Resources: The Make Your Move podcast came as a result of the book Make Your Move: Charting Your Post-Military Career. Order your copy today:

Connect with Gene on LinkedIn for more useful tips and proven strategies to maximize your post-military career success.

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Gene Moran

Gene spent nearly 25 years in uniform, serving in six ships and more than ten duty stations, and visiting over 50 countries serving as a US Navy Surface Warfare Officer and retiring as a Captain. In corporate, he led legislative affairs for a large international defense company from the Washington, DC office. In doing so, Gene gained a detailed understanding of the defense industrial base and supply chains of myriad platforms, systems and capabilities. Then in 2013, he took the leap to start his own business, Capitol Integration. Since then Gene has helped scores of companies improve their federal positions.

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