If Leonardo Da Vinci invented the phrase “renaissance man” this guy defined it. Currently occupied as a Strategic Planning Officer for the U.S. Army, an entrepreneur, innovator, educator, veteran, husband, father and more, meet Jeremy Boeh!
360: Thanks so much for giving us your time this morning! So how long have you been working with the U.S. Army and how did you end up at your current position?
Jeremy: Thirteen years. So in 2005, I joined the Army and became an infantry soldier stationed in Hawaii. During my time there I was deployed twice to Iraq, and was selected to attend program that sends you to school to become an officer. Once I did that, I graduated from Wofford and ended up in here! Since then I have been attached to Army units here in Greenville.
360: And what attracted you to work for the military?
Jeremy: I think the military is a job that always provides something new and different; every day something is always changing. I’m a person who loves structure and it provides that too. It’s one of the few jobs that I’ve done that gives me an incredible sense of pride every morning. When I wake up and put on my uniform, I know that there is a larger purpose to what I am doing.
360: So you mentioned you love structure and I’m sure our readers want to know who Jeremy is and what makes him tick. If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be?
Jeremy: The best.
360: That’s two words.
Jeremy: Best. No, just kidding. I would say a learner.
360: And what motivates you to do what you do? That sense of pride you were talking about?
Jeremy: Yeah, you know, I’ve been doing this for a really long time, and I think the military is not unlike any other organization where if there is a good mixture of leadership, culture, goals and strategy, they can truly make an impact. See everybody gets so confused about the Army and thinks all we do is go to war everyday, but that’s not the case. I spent a lot of time in Iraq, but we do so much more. Being able to come and be apart of that is what really draws me to it.
360: So tell me a little bit about your family, where are you originally from?
Jeremy: I’m originally from Ohio. I grew up with two brothers and my parents who all still live in Cincinnati. When I moved to Hawaii I met my wife Kristin; we got married and she’s from Greenville so that’s how we ended up back here. We’ve been married for 11 years, and we have three children, all girls, and a dog (he’s a boy.)
360: Did you have a mentor or influencer who helped you navigate that or made an impact in your life?
Jeremy: There are a lot of people who I look at as mentors, both on the civilian side and the military side. I have always been an advocate for having your own personal board of directors. I had a math teacher and social studies teacher in highschool, and they really laid some major foundations in what expectations you should set for yourself to be successful. Of course on the family side my grandfather and grandparents were a huge influence. When you look at mentorship on the military side, we have an interesting professional development here. You get monthly counseling and coaches assigned to you, which is something I’ve actually been working on through a blog post. I’m working on leadership in the military and what’s a coach versus what’s a mentor. Mentoring is mutual, while coaching is more of “I’m an expert, soak up what I have to say.” But anyways on the military side there is a literal laundry list of people who have been major influences.
360: So that is actually a great segway into my next question, which is what projects are you working on now? You mentioned a blog?
Jeremy: Yeah so one of the big projects I work on is the ReCon Network with Jordana Megonigal here in Greenville and it’s a resource group for veterans to help them find jobs after they transition out of the military that they are passionate about. So that’s one of my big projects, I do a lot of networking and working with veterans and helping Jordana connect with the veteran community. And then I’m in the very early stages of working with a Captain here in the army about building a leadership and mentorship program within our office. I started with the blog, which talks about leadership in the army. In the outside world we overuse “culture” and “leadership”, but what’s interesting (and something I’m really starting to figure out I’m passionate about) is that the army or the military is so structured in the way that you do things, there’s not a lot of room for interpretation, something I think drives the culture of an organization.
We are so rank-structured that it’s hard for people to deny the belief that “if I outrank you, there’s nothing I can learn from you,” and I think we need to change that. So those are the two big things, ReCon Network and this blog, which I hope leads to a much larger discussion about leadership in the military as we move into the 21st century. I’m a Lieutenant, which is the bottom of the officer military structure, but by age and experience, I’ve been doing it for 13 years. I was on the other side in Iraq but my peers are all 25 and 26; I’m ten years older than most of them. When the NBA wraps up in about 3 weeks I will have an abundance of free time that I haven’t had in two years, so I want to start digging into this idea of rank-based leadership, and how we can best equip young officers.
360: Continuing with that theme, what advice would you give to a young person wanting to embark on a similar journey as yourself?
Jeremy: Super cliche, but always keep learning. Always learn, always ask questions, always respectfully challenge what you’ve been told in any environment. Be adaptable, you can’t be set in your ways. I didn’t enjoy reading books until I was 24 years old, but now I will overload you with books, just look at my Instagram story. There has to be this notion that you are going to take care of yourself before you take care of other people. How do you take care of other people if you can’t take care of yourself? If you’re not actively learning and respectfully questioning and being adaptable and engaging in conversations that are way outside of your comfort zone, how are you going to help people? I just wrote this blog post about innovation. Just stop. Remove the word from the dictionary. And that’s coming from me, which is blasphemy, but when I looked at it in context of the army, where everyone is heads down and project-focused, I realized we focus so much on innovation within companies that we fail to see that we are having the wrong conversation. The argument that I have right now is build individual leaders, and innovative solutions and teams will follow.
360: Well Jeremy, thank you so much for your time, and to end I have some fun questions to ask you…
If you were on an island and you could only bring three things, what would you bring?
Jeremy: Oh gosh, this is going to get me in trouble! Of course my family, a boatload of books, and a guitar.
360: What is your biggest pet peeve?
Jeremy: When people don’t replace the toilet paper, they just leave the cardboard thing on there. That drives me so crazy.
360: What TV show are you binge watching right now?
360: What actor would you choose to play you in a movie?
Jeremy: Well if I have to think about the one who looks most like me, I would probably say Ryan Gosling.
360: What was the last gift you gave someone?
Jeremy: Oh I gave Kristin tickets to a Chris Stapleton concert.
360: Lastly, if you were running for president, what would your slogan be?
Jeremy: “Nope.” It’s like a spinoff of “Hope.” No, that would be so bad. It would be “Try harder.”
360: Well said! We can stand behind that. Thank you again, Jeremy! We appreciate everything you do for our country. Look forward to talking to you again soon!