Each month, Capitol Post interviews veterans in their post-military careers to get their insights on how their military service has helped them succeed. This month, we spoke with Kathryn Kolbe, a retired Air Force Colonel in transition. Here’s what she had to say…
Name: Kathryn Kolbe
MOS/Branch: Engineer & Command/Air Force
Current Job Description (in your words!): In Transition & Full-Time Mom
Where did you grow up? Bedminster, Pennsylvania
Current home: Alexandria, Virginia
School: Lehigh University, George Washington University & National Defense University
Role Model: Bob Clark (Uncle): retired General Motors Executive and Marine Colonel… accomplished, yet humble and a mentor for the next generation of leaders.
Favorite Restaurant: Founding Farmers
Favorite Local Activity: Sculling on the Potomac
Family: Husband, Rick and Daughter, Kate
Little Known Fact About You: I played lacrosse in junior high and high school
What are you most excited about in your transition?
The ability to explore opportunities and to grow in other spaces.
What has been the best part about transitioning from military service?
Not having to worry about a joint military assignment to the same zip code.
Briefly tell us what industry(s) you are interested or what career your hope to have.
I am interested in finding meaningful work as a leader in a dynamic, learning organization within the tech or government sectors. I enjoy enterprise leadership, collaborative teamwork and fostering innovation to help organizations grow and function more effectively.
If there’s one job you could have in another life, what would it be?
Corporate turnaround specialist: dealing with crises, identifying and fixing financial and management problems to achieve sustainable results.
Who has influenced you the most in your career?
I’ve worked for many great leaders, but if it weren’t for my father’s service in the Marine Corps, I probably wouldn’t have been introduced to the military and pursued a career in the Air Force. He served in Vietnam, loved flying, the Marines, set a great example of service and had a strong work ethic.
If you could listen to a person speak for 30 minutes, who would that be?
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of Lean In. She’s brilliant, has led in both the government and private sectors and is a strong voice for woman in leadership roles.