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Dr. Sonja Stribling: From the Battlefield to the Boardroom

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade
The Truth Network Radio
May 18, 2024 12:00 am

Dr. Sonja Stribling: From the Battlefield to the Boardroom

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade

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May 18, 2024 12:00 am

21-year Army veteran. Retired Battle Captain, combat veteran and author of new book new book "From the Battlefield to the Boardroom: The Infinite Desire to Win - A Woman's Journey To Infinite Success in Life, Business and Career"

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So this is May and May is Military Appreciation Month and now it's time to meet somebody who we really appreciate her service and we need her insight.

Dr. Sonya Stribling is using the lessons she learned from the military as she was able to build through a $28 million coaching business and she has been serving this country and now is giving back and also it would be a great idea to learn her story to maybe why you should make this your career too. Doctor, welcome. Thank you, Brian. Thank you for having me. Great to be here.

Great to see you. So for Military Appreciation Month, that's just not a phrase for you. That's what you hope the American people feel, right? Exactly.

Every day. Why did you join? Honestly, because I had a son to take care of.

That's one. And the second thing, it was just, I felt like it was my duty. Out of 12 children, eight of my siblings joined the military.

They were so much older and I didn't know this until I got older, but it was just something that we did. And what stage did you grow up in? What state? The state of Arkansas. In Arkansas. It's a patriotic state.

A lot of people from Arkansas joined the military. Absolutely. Absolutely.

So red, white and blue. All the way through. So what did you get out of it? Out of the military? Oh gosh, there's a lot.

We can unpack this real quick. Leadership, for sure. I felt like I was always a leader anyway. I played basketball. I even played semi-pro basketball overseas. But even in college, high school, I played basketball.

But the leadership and the way to communicate what the military taught me has changed the game for me, even in business to this day. What year did you join? I think back to that. Oh, 1993. So right after the Persian Gulf War. Yes. And what was it like in the military?

Because we're starting to revitalize and modernize at that moment, right? What was it like for me as a woman? What was it like for me as a woman of color? What was it like for me as a soldier? I can talk about all three and they were all different.

As a soldier, it was something that I was there looking at life differently. It wasn't like get up in the morning, go take a shower and all of that. Everything was strategized for you. Everything was on schedule.

Everything was everything was set in place for you. As a woman and as a woman of color, it was it was difficult. I'll be honest, it was very difficult. I found myself in a lot of places sitting at boardroom tables where I was the only woman and majority of the time I was the only woman of color period. How were you treated? Differently. You felt it?

Oh, yeah, absolutely. But as a junior soldier, I felt it. But as I matured and became in the higher ranks, became a major and all of that, literally, I was a soldier through and through. So it wasn't as evident in front of everyone else.

I would feel it every now and then from some of my junior soldiers until if they saw me in civilian clothes. And then when they realized what my rank was, it changed at that time. So I was it was different.

I would just say it was different. It was stressful at times. And a lot of times I wanted to get out of the military, even though I served 21 years, it was not probably every five years like I'm getting out. And then I started thinking I'm not going to be a part of the problem. I'm going to be a part of the solution. Someone's watching somewhere who's going to be I want to join the military because it was the best thing that I ever done for my life.

Right. And even though you felt that there was some there was some preconceived notions of being a woman in the military and acquiring this leadership in these ranks. Well, at what point did you say, OK, I'm just going to overcome it as opposed to leave it? I would say when I went from the rank of E5 and went to officer candidate school, we call them 90 day wonders where I had to go through this horrendous, I will say, horrendous training for 90 days. Both.

Both. Again, I'm going into another area where there's not a lot of women. I remember starting there were probably 200 of us and about 25 women, maybe a little bit more. Only about 13 of us graduated.

Right. And when you graduated, how did you feel? I felt like I just accomplished something that was just the beginning. But I knew I had more work.

But just because I went through the ranks of being enlisted and then coming over to being an officer, I still had more work to do. Because there were very few of us that were doing something like that. What were the skills you acquired that allowed you to overcome the bias that people might have towards a woman or a black woman?

One was how do you communicate how you feel? You don't always have to be aggressive and yell and things like that, because I saw my peers. It worked very well for the men.

But when it was for us, it didn't work very well. So I learned how to communicate and stand my ground and say what I needed to say without yelling, without screaming, even without cursing. There was just a certain stance that we have. I saw you when we were watching and I was like, that's the stance that we would normally have.

You were just standing there with very stoic face of, hey, I mean business right here. But that was how to have an effective communicator. Number two is how to lead.

It was leading from the front, not the rear and not from the side. And it wasn't do as I do, do as I say, not as I do. So I begin to become that leader.

If I'm asking you to do it, you better know that I'm going to be doing it before you so you can see that it can be done instead of saying just go do it on your own. Sometimes they say, even though that's not really their style, they'll come in and take command of the room, maybe undress somebody in front. Everyone kind of set the tone.

Yes. How did you set the tone? Well, it was set as soon as I walked in the room. Most of the time, I'm the only woman and I'm the woman in charge at that time. So it was like, oh, wait, and especially if they saw and brought this if I can share a little story. I have been in places and spaces where they're probably about 200 of us. We're in civilian attire. We are in suits and dresses and all of that.

And everybody's, you know, just meeting. It's a meet and greet per se in the military with all the leaders. And they don't necessarily know your rank because they just have your first name.

They do that on purpose. People would assume that I was enlisted every single time. But because I was enlisted and I became an officer, it was always a different aura.

I'm assuming that I put off. I was very much, I would say, likable. But at the same time, it was a leadership style. And I would always get, ma'am, I'm sorry, I didn't know. You didn't know what? I didn't know you were a senior leader. And I don't know where that came from. But I wanted to make sure that that was something.

But I wanted to make sure that that was something that not all women had to be faced with. It's just a certain, I would say, process or procedure or communication style that, you know, it's interesting because Senator Tim Scott, when he was an adviser to the president, they became good friends. He might even be vice president. Who knows? And he said, I go, what did you find out when the president would say some things that create some controversy? And he says it would be a, there'd be some racial insensitivity. He didn't know he was being offensive. Born 77 years ago in a different America, certain things would fly. I'm not trying to be offensive. I'm just talking about comedians. And he goes, he'd be racially sensitive.

No, no. This is how a black person would interpret what you just said. Did you find that a lot of people weren't being mean-spirited? They were just being relatively ignorant? I'm glad you said that word.

I would say yes or no. I would say there were some that really understood. And that was the lay of the land from where they came from, whether they were in Arkansas or Chicago or they were in Oklahoma or wherever. It was just something that they were accustomed to and that some really didn't know. Like they didn't know. They just didn't know. And they had to be educated on that. But once you're educated, there's some things that should change. So you decided to get out in 2014?

Yes. Why? It was time to come home to be a mom. I had three children. I'd just gone through a divorce a few years prior and they wanted to send me to yet another deployment. But I wanted to be at home with my children. So I had to make a decision. Are you going to continue and pin on the rank of lieutenant colonel or are you going to go home and be a mom? And I made the decision to go home and be a mom. My son was at the University of Michigan playing football and I wanted to be at games and I couldn't get to my son that was in high school games and I was a single parent. So I made a decision that it's going to be about my family this time.

They came home. So then you decided to build this coaching business? Yes. Leadership coaching business? Yes.

Yes. Coaching and consulting, really helping individuals build an online platform or go outside of their nine to five and really walk into their purpose. So you wanted to help them in their job or their life? Both.

Actually, both. I started in the leadership side of the house. I started in divorce coaching and then ended up, first it was like, excuse me, leadership and then we went over to divorce coaching because I had been through divorce and I found so many women the same traits and the techniques and strategies that I learned in the military. They were working very well for me in civilian sector and people would ask me like, how are you able to overcome having a child at 15 years old, being raped and left for dead for 17, being in the military 21 years knowing it's a male predominant workforce per se?

And I said, I really don't know, but I know the military has helped me a lot. Even coming over to starting and building a 28 million dollar company in three years. So what was that like growing up with so many kids in your family must have been good having patriotism and militaries must be great. But you just said 15 years old. Yes, you were I had my first child, but they were so much older. My siblings are so much older than I am. So I was growing up almost like I was the only child. The sibling closest to me is eight years older.

Wow. So it's almost like two families. They become almost your parent.

Yes, pretty much. My oldest brother is 82 years old. He served his country as well. For 20, 26 years. You were raped and left for dead at 17? Yes.

And the circumstances, how were you able to overcome that? Wow. Oh, gosh.

Great question. You're still thinking about it? I mean, no, I don't. Yeah, I did. I went to therapy later on. I didn't.

That was not something we did in our culture back then. You don't talk about that. You dealt with it. And at that age, it was just like it just shaped the person that I was. But how did I overcome it?

Honestly, I picked up a basketball, if I can be honest with you. That took my mind off of what was going on. Then I joined the military and it gave me a legal right to fight.

Right. And so I did that and I overcame that just using the the trauma and the things that I went through as a stepping stone to help me be better. It had to be a lesson learned. And I did learn a lot from my childhood. Absolutely.

I love how you said that goals and the ugly situation had a lot of ugly situations, but it wasn't necessarily goals. It was most people want to say it's resilience. I say endurance because endurance is different. Resiliency is like I'm just I'm resilient. I'm going to overcome this, but endurance. I'm going to not just overcome it.

I'm going to be better and I'm going to come back and help someone else who's been through the very same thing. Great point. Now, out of all that, you go to war. You're in Iraq. Yes.

How did that challenge you that maybe you couldn't the training could never prepare you for it? Absolutely. You can't prepare for having to account for missing in action and killed in action and having to notify family members of a 17 or 18 year old person that just really is still a child that they're not coming home.

And if they're coming home, they're coming home in such a per se, a body bag. Right. That was a lot. And then you have soldiers that are working with you and working for you that you're looking out for their well-being and all of that and their mental health and making sure that you're doing well. They're okay.

And at the same time, trying to protect your own. That was a lot. My body came home 15 months later. Mentally, I did not.

So after that, I went through this roller coaster ride. And as a senior officer, that's not something you talk about. We don't talk about having post-traumatic stress disorder or a TBI or traumatic brain injury. You don't talk about that.

That doesn't happen to us. And I know I went through that. I didn't share what was going on, but I knew I was going through something. It was medication to wake up, medication to function, medication to go to sleep.

That in itself just took me on a journey of well-being, mental health. And that wasn't a conversation we had. It was a conversation I had with Angie. Angie's got your back.

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Hey, it's Hutton Withrow. Hot Mike is here on the Outkick Network. We've got your afternoon covered with the latest sports discussion, and it's available wherever you find your audio.

Daily analysis and news. He is hot. I am Mike. Actually, my name is Chad.

His name is Jonathan. But you get the picture. We're going to bring it every single day. Whatever you want to call us, we'll respond to. We just want you to respond to what we're dishing out every day.

And while you're here, we hope you subscribe to the podcast, like, subscribe and share. Right. So how do you figure that all into your coaching and maybe your motivational speeches? Later when I decided that I was not going to let that be the dominant part of me and it was my new normal. When you say it's your new normal, this is what it is. This is what I deal with. How do you go through that? We've been dealing with the suicidal situations that I found myself in, and I just use them as to better who I was and sharing it openly and very transparently to people to let them know that this does happen.

This is a mental health awareness month as well. And just letting people know you can go through those things. And that's the reason why I wrote the book from the battlefield to the boardroom. That's the battlefield, physical battlefield, mental battlefield I was on. But the boardroom is where you decide your level of success and where you want to be. Yeah, by the infinite desire to win a woman's journey to infinite success in life, business and career. So having said that, when people are thinking about you see recruitings down all across the country, recruiters have their hands falling away.

They never thought possible. Some high schools are saying, I don't want any military here recruiting my students. What is your message? Since right now, signing up for the military is not in vogue, but yet there is a need. You know, when I was thinking about this, I believe recruiting has always been an issue. I mean, we always say every time there's a situation where at war, things are happening, recruiting is down. But we also got to think about what we see we're seeing on television as a parent and having three sons, myself and a bonus son. I remember my youngest son wanted to join the military until he that last combat tour his father and I had at that time.

And he said, I don't want to do it. You're gone too much. So recruiting is parents are looking at television. They're watching. They're knowing what's going on. And so if their child is coming to them, hey, I want to serve my country. And they're asking them not to not to do it because we're at war. We don't know where you're going to be.

We don't know what situation you're going to find yourself in. Come on, let's just be honest about that. Who wants to send their child off not knowing that they may not come back? So that is a big deal. But I believe what the military can do, if I had some suggestions on it, we need to look at how are we really advertising the military? I know the Marines will come in.

They have great uniforms. That's great. I almost joined the Marines myself simply because I saw them carrying a log on their shoulder. What young woman wants to carry a log? Me? That was me. But they were out to lunch. So I joined the United States Army and I joined because I had to.

I needed to get out of the small town that I was in. And so what I would say for the military right now, let's look at what are the job offers that we're offering young people right now? What can we offer them?

A.I. is a big deal. I don't know if they put this in place, but that would be one thing they will look at. Because the young people these days are totally different, Bron, than when I came through. They're looking at life differently. They want a quick fix. They want to be a part of the now. They want to be a part of the evolution. And we got to give them something, not just going to war, which is a great thing. I said yes. I raised my hand and I said I solemnly swear I did that because I wanted to. Nowadays, young people are not really necessary thinking about that's what I want to do.

No, I hear that, too. But I would love to see some positive commercials. Maybe someone like you in combat, some still pictures of that. And now in the boardroom, now a successful coach and saying what you just said here, the leadership I learned there, I couldn't have learned anywhere else. Absolutely. But we don't see any of those ads. We see private foundations like Wounded Warriors, Folds of Honor and Tunnel to Towers. And these people have been through hell and back and they're getting help. But their perception is everybody comes back hurt, wounded, missing a limb. And I think it's the wrong perception.

Be all you can be. Where are those ads? Yes, that's old school right there.

The new school right now is like, I want to do it right now. And that would be a great idea. I might have to look at that. How can I get on some of those commercials and show what happens? You should be on it.

I mean, they should be doing your mini bios. Let's make that happen. Did you ever watch ESPN in the middle of the night? Like I used to follow the UFC, but I stopped and then all of a sudden they catch up. I put on 90 seconds. I get to know a fighter. 90 seconds to get to know a fighter. Oh, that guy.

I saw that guy. Can you imagine if I got 90, like 60 to 90 seconds areas of you, other people tell me your story, how it affected you. I think that's, you know, manipulating people. You're saying what the military could offer. That's a great idea because of out there. And that's probably why I'm so public about my life and what I've been through and having a military background. 21 years is not in anything easy to sneeze at. And especially being a woman.

But that is something really the military needs to look at. Dr. Sonya Stribling. Say it right?

Yes. The brand new book is called From the Battlefield to the Boardroom, The Infant's Desire to Win, A Woman's Journey to Infant Success in Life, Business and Career. Sonya, great to meet you. Thank you so much.

Thank you so much for having me. The Will Kane Show is now dropping five episodes a week. Join Fox and Friends weekend host Will Kane as he tackles the latest headlines from his unique perspective, along with thought-provoking interviews with leading figures and live calls from viewers and listeners. Listen wherever you download your favorite podcasts. Listen to the show ad-free on Fox News Podcast Plus, on Apple Podcast, Amazon Music with your Prime membership, or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-18 00:20:09 / 2024-05-18 00:28:34 / 8

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