It’s less than 2 months until the end of 2019… some people might see the start of the holiday season as an excuse to relax, but at the GSF that means it “Go Time!” 

In the next 7 weeks of the year, we have a Huddle in Orlando, our Joint Holiday Social in Tampa, the completion of the SOF Imperatives Survey, and of course Modern Warfare Week in the Ft. Bragg area.

This week launched the flurry of end-of-year activities… here’s a quick blog on what we did.

Our New King of the ‘Gram

GSF President Stu Bradin flew to DC on Monday to join up with our “Beltway Branch”… aka Steve Jones, our Director of Partner Relations.

We try to visit DC often–since it’s a hub of so many of our Partners and of course, U.S. policymakers. But it doesn’t always happen as much as we like, so we have to make each trip count.

So, Stu and Steve had a packed agenda. They made sure to visit with some of the key parts of our defense network: Corporate Partners. They went to the offices of Valorous on Monday, a professional services company that provides mission critical support services to the Federal Government including the DoD and the U.S. Intelligence Community.

They also went to visit System High Corp, a long-time GSF Partner based in Virginia. Little did they know, Stu had just (finally) joined Instagram… and he used the backdrop of their office trophy wall for one of his first posts! 

Swords, Spartans, and a New King of the ‘Gram [Our Week in Review]
Stu is officially on Instagram! Follow him @StuBradin

SIDE NOTE: Stu has actually been killing the Instagram game, so if you’re a ‘Grammer follow him at @stubradin

They also had the opportunity to meet with some potential new Partners, have some meetings on The Hill, and attend the SPY Museum William Webster Award Dinner, which this year honored General Michael Hayden (Ret.) with their prestigious award. 

Swords, Spartans, and a New King of the ‘Gram [Our Week in Review]
SOURCE: Stu’s Instagram! His photo of the Webster Award Dinner.

The Huddle “Photo-Off” 

We also had a GSF Huddle in DC on 5 NOV that Stu and Steve attended. It took place at the Headquarters of one of our newest partners, Navigators Global. Navigators Global is a full-service issues management, government relations and strategic communications firm that has advised Fortune 500 companies, governmental agencies, political candidates and some of the nation’s most prominent elected officials.

Swords, Spartans, and a New King of the ‘Gram [Our Week in Review]

We have them on the team specifically to support our education of Congressmen and Staffers on The Hill, and to support the development and distribution of our annual SOF Imperatives platform documents.

SIDE NOTE: The SOF Imperatives survey is currently open! We need current and recently active duty military to respond to a 10-minute survey to inform the content of the Imperatives document.

Anyways, what better way to bring Navigators Global into the fold than to host a Huddle at their HQ? GSF Huddles are informal networking opportunities that bring our people together to connect and talk about issues and ways to work together.

Now, Stu and Steve are not typically the “dream team” when it comes to photo ops… so Chelsea, our Director of Marketing, saw the opportunity for a challenge. The 5 NOV Huddle in DC was just Huddle 1 for the week…. The next night, on 6 NOV, we had a second Huddle planned in Tampa that the rest of the team was going to…. So we challenged the team to a “Photo-Off.”

Swords, Spartans, and a New King of the ‘Gram [Our Week in Review]
Steve & Stu’s entry to the “Huddle Photo-Off”

Stu and Steve did better than usual–less blur, more faces, items of interest in the frame. Their best picture featured award-winning journalist Catherine Herridge of CBS News, who was kind enough to attend the event!

But in Tampa there were SWORDS

The challengers in Tampa were a little worried that Stu and Steve managed a real photo… but with three women under 40 we still felt pretty good about our chances.

The Tampa Huddle took place on 6 NOV, and was centered around USSOCOM’s SOF Warrior Operational Requirements Discussion Symposium… better known as SWORDS. When we see an opportunity like that happening, especially in our GSF HQ Backyard, it makes sense to have an informal gathering to bring people together afterward.

Hence the Huddle, which we hosted at the local World of Beer. We had at least 40 people show, and it was, as one attendee said, “a great event… as always.” 

But what you really care about is our responding photo to the challenge. Chelsea and Meaghan, GSF COO, naturally decided to bring their own swords [not real] to the event. Which of course, made the photo.

Swords, Spartans, and a New King of the ‘Gram [Our Week in Review]
Chelsea, Meaghan, Catlyn, and Rick are part of this cool-kids crew… and remember the swords!

Our team cannot remotely agree on who won… and it’s becoming contentious. So help us out by voting in the poll below:

Coming Soon Swords, Spartans, and a New King of the ‘Gram [Our Week in Review]
Who won the "Photo-Off"?!
Who won the "Photo-Off"?!
Who won the "Photo-Off"?!

Did we mention that the prize is a playable guitar t-shirt? Yeah, so it’s a big deal.

Rick Lamb: Spartan Sage

To solidify our conquering of the East Coast this week, our Director of Government Relations CSM (Ret) Rick Lamb headed up to Boston for some adventures with the Spartan Race team. We have some good connections in that organization, and they’re focusing a lot on stories of perseverance and leadership. 

Swords, Spartans, and a New King of the ‘Gram [Our Week in Review]
Rick after recording an episode of the Spartan-X podcast!

Rick participated in a Spartan Up podcast, talking about the importance of military teams and a sense of “family” that is especially strong in SOF. He’s also participating in a Spartan-X Leadership Challenge panel during the event, and in a quick phone call he was already so impressed by the stories he had heard. From a Kenyan man who lost both legs in Alaska and now runs marathons to Leah Tinari, a woman who paints female trailblazers in American history, he said that it was amazing to listen to what they had to say.

And before you ask, no, Rick is not running in the Spartan Race… he said he’s happy to support as the “old sage”… but also he probably doesn’t want to make the kids feel bad when he beats them. 😉

Looking to Modern Warfare Week

Another huge focus of the week was preparing for Modern Warfare… an event that will include 1.5 days of capabilities demos, a SOF for Life Seminar, two expos, two networking receptions, and another 1.5 days of Symposium sessions (which are co-sponsored by USASOC).

Swords, Spartans, and a New King of the ‘Gram [Our Week in Review]
Confirmed speakers for the Symposium

It’s going to be a crazy/awesome week, and we’re working really hard to make sure everything goes off well. If you’re not registered yet, now is the time to get onboard. It’s free for Active Duty Military and Government, and other prices vary by session and attendee type.

Get more info here, and we hope to see you there from 19-22 NOV (the week BEFORE Thanksgiving).

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