16. Kate Germano on Being Tough but Humble

March 16, 2022

16. Kate Germano on Being Tough but Humble
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In this episode, Brock talks with Kate Germano.

Get a weekly episode breakdown, sneak peak of the next episode, and other resources in your inbox for free at https://scuttlebutt.substack.com/.

Kate spent 20 years in the Marine Corps, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In this conversation, Kate explains how she used data collected at boot camp to dial in on more effective Marines in the recruiting process. We discuss the systemic problems women face in the Marine Corps and the military as a whole. She also explains how the military and data focus has shaped her leadership style which is strongly reflected in her tough, but humble, attitude. 

Kate is the author of the book, Fight Like A Girl: The Truth Behind How Female Marines Are Trained, and is now a leadership coach and consultant at C+H Partners. You can follow along with Kate and reach out through her website or on LinkedIn.

Whether you’re in the service for four years or twenty, you have learned skills, led teams, and learned what it takes to execute under pressure. While those past successes are valuable, they don’t always translate to a life or career when you get your DD214.

Join Tim and Brock as they break down the skills and strategies current and former military members are using to build a successful careers on the outside the service.

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• Tim: @Mccaurthor,  Youtube
• Brock: @BrockHBriggs    
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• Send us an email: scuttlebuttpod1@gmail.com


Brock Briggs 0:00  

Hello there and welcome to the Scuttlebutt podcast, just made today. Today you're gonna be hearing my conversation with Kate Germano. Kate Germano is a former lieutenant colonel in the Marines, where she served 20 years. She's the author of a book entitled, Fight Like a Girl: The Truth Behind How Female Marines are Trained. 

And since her service is now a leadership coach and consultant, we dive into some really big issues in this conversation. And it was interesting to get a perspective that I had never really seen about the Marines and the military in general from such an elevated position within the Corps. Some of the topics that we discussed, and what you should expect to be hearing are the systemic problems that she saw in the Marine Corps and what she was doing to implement and change them. This led to her actually, at one point being called too tough for the Marines, if you can imagine that. 

We talked about the history of women in the Marine Corps and why physical and shooting standard for them are so low, why she viewed those standards as too low and what she was doing to raise the bar for women in the Corps. And we also talked about the leadership skills that she's learned in the Marines. 

Since her exit, and going back to school, she's studied the brain and using that information to develop a world class leadership coaching and consulting business. Kate brings an awesome perspective, one that needs to be heard, our first female guest. I hope that you learn and gain from it as much as I did, please enjoy this conversation with Kate Germano. 

Brock Briggs

Kate, thank you so much for coming on the show today. We're really looking forward to having you.

Kate Germano  2:14  

I am so excited to be here. And I know it's gonna be a great conversation. So thanks for having me.

Brock Briggs  2:19  

It really is, you spent 20 years in the Marine Corps. 20 years is not a feat for everybody. What do you think are your high level takeaways spending that long in the service?

Kate Germano  2:33  

Oh, it's such a good question. You know, it's funny when I look back, the most fun part of that 20 years was the first 10 years. And I think that, that as you talk to more and more people who retired, they'll say the same thing. So for people who were kind of questioning whether they wanna stay or go, that's something that we should all sort of be thinking about because it can become a grind. And the more you work with more senior people, the harder things get, so just things to keep in mind.

Brock Briggs  3:06  

Why do you think it gets more difficult?

Kate Germano  3:09  

Well, I'd say that when I was a captain, which I think was absolutely the best rank I ever held, I had more autonomy. And I had the ability to really develop personalized relationships with my Marines. The more senior I got, the more removed I was from my Marines. And the more attuned I had to be to the leaders above me, and that was not necessarily something that I was gifted at, or wanted to contribute a lot of my time and effort to. So you know, it's just important for people to understand that the more you stay, the further the distance is between the kids with boots on the ground, and what you're gonna be doing at that level, kind of makes it less fun.

Brock Briggs  3:53  

Yeah. As you progress further and further up the ranks, you're obviously commanding higher level decisions, are you not only further away from your people, are you not seeing the impacts of the decisions that you make as much or are you seeing bigger impacts because of bigger decisions being made?

Kate Germano  4:17  

Yeah, you know, that's what kept me around. I hated the distance that I was seeing between me and the junior folks, really the kids doing the work. But the beauty was, as I became more senior, mainly because of the positions that I held, I was able to see where we were moving the needle, and it was mainly focused around the quality of kids who were joining the Marine Corps and how they were performing. Either in terms of their preparation before they went to boot camp or then later how they actually performed at boot camp. So it was nice to see I had more of a strategic impact at that level. But that also meant that I was pushing the needle constantly trying to get people to change sometimes faster than the institution would allow, which created tension in and of itself, right?

Brock Briggs  5:06  


Kate Germano


Brock Briggs

Yeah, I think that everybody listening can attest to the size of the military just as an organization, and how slow large organizations move. And it really doesn't matter how fast you want something to happen, it will move at the speed that it wants to.

Kate Germano  5:27  

That's right. And it's largely based on the culture. Yeah, and traditions, so that's the hard part.

Brock Briggs  5:33  

What do you think are the role of traditions in today's military, are those important? I know that there was during my time in, there was a very large discussion around combating the drunken sailor image, which we've kinda, you know, there's our Old Navy songs that like revolve around drinking, and there's coming into port and going to the bars, and that was very much ingrained in the culture and very visible. And that maybe is like maybe a poor one. But there certainly are some traditions, I'm sure that are valuable and important.

Kate Germano  6:12  

Yeah, I mean, I think you raised a really great point. I think what you just alluded to is that sometimes when we're in the military, we become so enamored of what was valued before that we lose sight of whether or not it's actually a tradition, or it's just what happened before and the danger of that. And I always said this, about how we did boot camp in the Marine Corps. The danger of that is, when you start confusing tradition, with or what we've always done with tradition, you end up just repeating the status quo, which isn't always efficient and effective. 

So yeah, when it comes to what we confuse these traditions, like the junk drunken sailor, illusion is a good one. I think the danger is that we can become so enamored of that, that we don't understand that even looking forward, that image may not be conducive to what the American public needs of us. And it may not be conducive to the behaviors we need from the people who take up the mission to join.

Brock Briggs  7:23  

What kinds of things were you pushing for change on when it comes to Marines entering into boot camp and the standards? You kind of mentioned that you're pushing for something there. What were you looking to get out of that? And what was the resistance and the pushback

Kate Germano


Brock Briggs

To that argument?

Kate Germano  7:44  

Well, you know, I was lucky, because I ended up serving two tours on recruiting duty, which most people would cringe and say, “That's not luck.” But those ended up being two of the best tours that I'd ever had. And it really was because I felt like I could move that needle. So the first actually, both times that I was on recruiting, what I saw when I got to my units, was essentially a focus more on quantity versus the quality of kids who were joining. And so there. And then the second time I was on recruiting duty, I was the commanding officer, and it was during the surge. 

So what we were finding is that the recruiters were looking past significant issues with kids that would make them less likely to be successful both during boot camp and afterwards. And so I, because I love data, which is sometimes to my detriment, I ended up doing a lot of data analysis and identified key areas, key enlistment criteria, that would contribute to someone being less successful. And we sort of tightened the window, the aperture, if you will, for who we found qualified. 

And what ended up happening was, you know, the recruiters because recruiting is such a hard duty, the recruiters drag their feet sometimes, not all the time. Many of them were very much on board, but they dragged their feet because often they perceived that I was making them work harder. And so the tension, the balance of trying to convince them, yes, you may have to work a little bit harder up front, but in the back end, because you have to make up every kid who adrifts while they're waiting to go to boot camp. On the back end, you're gonna get time back with your family. You're gonna get days off. You're gonna get all the time that you need to work refresh. So just trying to maintain that balance, that tension and convince them of the merits, that was really the hardest part.

Brock Briggs  9:42  

What were those things that you identified in the data that led to maybe a more successful recruit, like joining the Marines?

Kate Germano  9:51  

And this isn't rocket science. I mean, clearly, if it were rocket science, I wouldn't have come up with it. But we found things like if you had applicants who had graduated from high school, and had, you know, six to eight months where they hadn't done anything, hadn't worked, hadn't gone to college, hadn't attempted anything, we found that they were more likely to adrift. We found that kids graduating from high school at regular high schools were more likely to be successful. 

And a lot of that has to do with the socialization. It didn't mean they had to have top grades. But it just meant that they had the social skills generally to succeed in a very stressful boot camp environment. Kids who played sports, and these are for men and women. You know, kids who played on sports teams in a regimented team that wasn't necessarily a one person sport, they tended to be more successful, and they tended to be more physically fit, which meant that they were also generally more mentally fit. 

And then, in addition to that, what we found is that kids who were older and had gotten married or had a dependent, were very much more likely to not complete bootcamp successfully. And then there was the whole discussion about felony level offenses and how those related back to attrition. So those were kind of the things that we looked for, to either weed kids out or to make sure that they succeed, and it had a huge impact. And it really did make a difference in the quality of life for the recruiters.

Brock Briggs  11:31  

What I'm about to say is going to sound undercutting to you. And it's definitely not meant that way, I'm sure that there was a lot of time that was spent analyzing the information. And that's literally what your job was. But surely, this type of analysis has been done at some point before, like, I would hope anyway, maybe that's not true. 

Kate Germano 11:54  

Oh man, such a brave man.

Brock Briggs  11:59  

It just makes me question like we don't have dumb leadership in Department of Defense. People, this isn't gonna be a political conversation. But there are a lot of smart people working up there. And I have to imagine that that wouldn't be that difficult to kind of parse out and like, make the implement and implement the changes. So that tells me that it was purposeful, that it wasn't done. Would you agree?

Kate Germano  12:29  

That's interesting. I think that that is a stretch. I think there's a lot of gray area there. I think the challenge is that you have multiple layers between me as a recruiting station commander, or an OPS-O or operations officer, which is my first work. Many, many layers between me and my recruiting station, and NAVCRUIT, the command that controls all of recruiting and entry level training. 

And so while my bosses would often take credit for what we were doing, and what we were achieving, there was very little like, “Oh, hey, these are the lessons learned. And we might wanna replicate those at higher level.” So you made me laugh when you talked about yeah, it seems like this should be you know, people should be doing this type of analysis. 

But honestly, it was a one off. And it was a one off during two separate tours on recruiting. So it's not like I tested the theory when I took command. And I recognized very clearly that despite what we had proven worked when I was an Operations Officer years before, the Marine Corps hadn't taken that on board. So hopefully that helps.

Brock Briggs  13:49  

So maybe not truly a one off if it happens in back to back circumstances. 

Kate Germano

Right, right. Yeah. 

Brock Briggs

And like I said, that wasn't to say anything about anybody it just noticing that I'm like, “Well, I'm sure that surely somebody has to be thinking about that.”

Kate Germano  14:07  

Not to cut you off, but I think it goes back to what we were talking about before we hopped on the podcast, and that is that people don't realize how big of a bureaucracy the military and the Department of Defense are. And because of that, there are Lance Corporals and CFC's, who come up with the most amazing ideas, and the units benefit from those ideas, but very rarely do those ideas trickle up. So I just think it's part of being such a big slow moving beast. Yeah.

Brock Briggs  14:45  

Right. Yeah, I can. I could name off several instances of stories like on deployment and throughout my just brief four years in where we would kind of come up with a new idea. It's like hey, this isn't making actual sense. And it just well, this is the way that it's always been done.

Kate Germano  15:05  

And that status quo! Oh my gosh, well, you probably know if you know anything about me, the status quo doesn't do anything for me. So yeah, I feel your pain on that, very much.

Brock Briggs  15:18  

It would seem to me on just from what you're saying about wanting to narrow in on higher quality recruits, and that's not some people just aren't cut out for the military. That's not derogatory to anybody. You're, in a sense, trying to raise the bar for the Marines and the Marines are notoriously tough, you know. I went to school with several of them. And they're just, they're cold blooded. They're ready to fight. They're ready to, they're angry, they're but very smart too. That standard already being kind of higher than a lot of the other branches in terms of physical, mental, all of these extra dynamics, you are called. On your website, I'm quoting you here as, let’s see what did I have it, too tough for the Marine Corps. 

Kate Germano

Yeah, yeah. 

Brock Briggs

What does that mean? Because I see my perception of the Marines. And I think everybody's perception is there already. Just these just rabid dogs that are just ready to, like, you know, just your point. And they go, and that's so true of like, everybody that I know. Is there such a thing as too tough?

Kate Germano  16:38  

I think that well, okay, so let me just put it this way. I went 15 years of my military career, not believing that there was such a thing as being too tough. And I always knew that my toughness was coming from a place of good intention. The challenge that I had is that I didn't recognize that the way I was impacting how people felt, was actually creating much more distance between us than it was drawing us together. 

And that was especially true with my male leadership, because I was making them feel threatened because of how I communicated. So I do think that there's a spectrum, we tend to fall into binary camps, right? You're either too tough or you're too weak. For women, I think this is especially a challenge because we end up being put into one of those boxes, and we don't get to explore what's in between. And some of that has to do with stereotypes. 

So you know, there's a thought that if you're a male Marine, there is no such thing as being too tough. We want killers, we want aggressive, you know, folks that are gonna go out and do the job and be aggressive. There's a different perception when it comes to female Marines. And it's still today, I mean, the Marine Corps come some distance, but they still have a lot of work to do. So there are a lot of misperceptions. And so what I found is that I was rewarded up until the point that I was a major for the same qualities that my male peers were applauded for being aggressive, being direct, communicating, being loud, being charismatic, all of that. 

And then once I became a major, and I was working with older men, more senior men, I found that very quickly, those same qualities became weaknesses. And so that's a long winded answer to say that I think there's a perception about gender that's at play there. And I also think that there's a need for all of us to have more balance, you know, we get in our own way. And I found that that was true for me too.

Brock Briggs  18:51  

That some of your junior officers and people below you potentially felt threatened by you, by the way that you communicated. Maybe that was too big of personality or too aggressive or whatever. Do you think that as you progress, and when you got to the rank of Major, you're speaking with these older men in these positions, do you think that they felt threatened? 

Kate Germano

Oh, absolutely. 

Brock Briggs

By your aggression?

Kate Germano  19:19  

I mean, absolutely. Like I can tell you for a fact, knowing what I know now about how the brain is wired. That because of the way I talked about the need for change, particularly when it came to how we were training female recruits. I had great intentions. What I didn't recognize was that because I was saying, look, we got all this data and for four years, we haven't been holding women accountable. And we've had all this gender bias and sexism. I had no idea that because I was talking about those things in a very direct way. I was making the people above me feel like I was accusing them of being part of the problem. 

So absolutely, I was making people feel threatened. I mean, the same thing for the Marines who were resistant in my battalion when it came to changing how we were training their recruits. You know, I had no idea this was specifically true for the drill instructors who'd been on the Depo for multiple tours as drill instructors, and were had been at the battalion for two of their three year tour. Because they'd been there so long, and they had been rewarded for the way that they'd always done business. 

Here, you have this new Lieutenant Colonel coming into the battalion saying, “Hey, we've been doing this all wrong, and we need to fix it.” How does that make them feel? So I'm sure I threatened their status. I'm sure I threatened their sense of security. Absolutely, yeah.

Brock Briggs  20:48  

Well, then it's sad too, because all of those individuals really need to understand and realize that you might be part of the organization and helping make those decisions, but you aren't the organization. And while change, like will directly impact how you're leading people, it really doesn't. That's not to say anything about you personally, it doesn't make you a bad leader, because, hey, I didn't know this information about how we should be selecting recruits. It's like you're coming at them with new information and say, “Hey, why don't we try and do this better?” 

Kate Germano


Brock Briggs

And somehow that's taken personally. I don't know how anybody can take anything personally.

Kate Germano  21:35  

Here's the challenge, when you have been rewarded for doing the same thing, in the same way, and that has never been tied to a specific metric, it is hard for someone to come in and help people understand the facts. So yeah, I had facts. And I had logic. What I didn't understand at the time is that there's tons of research to support that facts and logic don't drive human behavior, emotions do. So if I come into the battalion, and I've got the facts and logic, and I lay it out. And I did. I mean, we did all hands presentations with charts and comparisons. And we did all that. 

But what I didn't recognize was the emotional impact I was having by making people feel like I was saying they hadn't been doing their jobs well. You know, Marines take a great deal of pride in what they do, may not always show up the way we want it to. But you have to imagine that the way I was making some of those folks feel made them feel insecure. And you know, that I was being unfair, and that I was unfairly characterizing them as failures, which was never my intent. But in hindsight, I fully recognize my stupidity there.

Brock Briggs  22:56  

Well, I think that this might be an overgeneralization. But men tend to tie their identity to their jobs and careers, probably much more than women. And so like you said, you're kind of it feels like an attack, even though you're just presenting, “Hey, we have better information. Let's do this better, as an organization.” You mentioned some of the standards for women in the Marine Corps. What were your views on that? How, what kind of change were you suggesting? And maybe walk us through what the standards were and what you're suggesting and how those two play off of each other?

Kate Germano  23:40  

Well, you know, the challenge that I saw was that the Marine Corps tends to treat recruiting, and boot camp as two completely separate entities. And they're actually inextricably intertwined. And so the way the Marine Corps has traditionally recruited women, because there are so few of us, there's less than 9% of the total force is comprised of women, right? So if you're a male Marine, you're a male recruiter, you could go your whole life experience in the Marine Corps and never work with a woman. 

And the challenge with that is that then there's this perception that I can't treat my female applicants the same way as my male applicants. I can't hold them to the same tough standards. I can't screen them to the same thorough degree. And so what that translates to at the training depots in bootcamp is a lot of women coming in overweight. A lot of women coming in with pre existing childhood traumas that then make them less mentally stable and able to withstand the stress of boot camp. A lot of women coming in, not really clear about what the Marine Corps is gonna be like, not having basic information, not knowing basic history, not knowing the basic rank structure, really just coming up to bootcamp clueless not knowing what to expect. 

So you can imagine that all of those things impact how well those women were able to perform a bootcamp. So just a few examples of that. And then, because the Marine Corps treats recruiting and training as two completely separate entities, it was really hard to convince people higher than me that, “Hey, we need to look at these things together, because one is having a direct impact on how successful their recruits are, and how successful they are as entry level Marines.” I hope I answered that question.

Brock Briggs  25:38  

Yeah, it does. That surprises me that there isn't more consideration to the relationship between the two. I would think and, again, hope that there should be some type of correlation between especially a non war times where we're not just handing a rifle to anybody that walks in the door, when we can be selective about the people that are joining. The recruiters I feel like should almost be tied to the people that graduate boot camp, because that would. That's the ultimate test of their recruiting ability, right? 

Kate Germano


Brock Briggs

Not ultimate test, but probably the closest test.

Kate Germano  26:21  

So you bring up such an interesting perspective, because the recruiters have always only been evaluated based on their, they get evaluated based on their attrition. But boot camp attrition, ironically, carries less weight, because the only kids they have to make up on their recruiting mission are the kids who discharge before they go to boot camp, right? So the challenge there is here we are on one hand saying, oh, yeah, as recruiters, we're gonna hold you accountable, and we want your kids to graduate from boot camp. 

And yet, we can really only hold them accountable to who goes to boot camp. And then what the recruiters like to say as well, what happens in boot camp is the drill instructors, that's on them. And the drill instructors don't get evaluated on attrition. So you can see there's this gaping hole in how we do business, and nobody's ever really held accountable for why kids adrift.

Brock Briggs  27:27  

Then, how we do business and it seems like you look at the military as a business. Do you think that that's true?

Kate Germano  27:39  

I'm gonna pause for a second, you're asking such great questions. What I would say is that there are a lot of things the military has in common with organizations outside of military, right? The branches in military. And I think that the military branches like to think that they have a monopoly on leadership. And we don't, and I'm saying we as a military person, even though I'm retired. I mean, the military doesn't have a lock on leadership. And we don't have a lock on practices that make for more efficient organization. 

So I think that there is the perception that the military is somehow distinct, and nothing that's learned in the civilian sector could ever apply. I mean, think about it, like, we don't teach recruits how to manage conflict. We don't teach recruits about emotional intelligence. We don't teach recruits about brain science and what puts us in a threat state like all of those things, the civilian world is really working hard on to make sure their folks understand, because they're key issues that impact development and performance and leadership. The military believes we only have to train this way, because it's the way we've always done it. And it makes us killers. So there's a division there for sure.

Brock Briggs  29:00  

When you say a monopoly on leadership, are you implying that the military as a whole thinks that only the leadership skills learned in the military are what matter?

Kate Germano  29:11  

I yeah, I mean, for sure. There is a bias against leadership development practices that have been proven to be transformative to organizations and leaders outside of the military. I will make one exception. The Air Force is the one branch that has, it shocker, right? The Air Force is the one branch that has done a good job. And I used the word “good'' loosely, they have done a better job of all of the services and incorporating human based needs into how people lead. But the other services especially the Marine Corps, we don't talk about emotions. We don't talk about how those things influence. We don't. We don't talk about this stuff. So yeah.

Brock Briggs  30:09  

Saying talking about the differences between the Air Force and some of the other branches that kind of made me think and wonder what the results would be comparing veterans of the Air Force versus the other branches in terms of things like suicide. 

Kate Germano


Brock Briggs

Suicide is something that's subject very near and dear to my heart. And I mean, a lot of people's. 

Kate Germano


Brock Briggs

Veteran suicide is a massive, massive problem. And it stems from a lot of problems like that, I think. Not addressing the emotional, mental needs, the whole ideal around being scared to like, ask for help. 

Kate Germano

Yeah, absolutely. 

Brock Briggs

Did you see things like that?

Kate Germano 30:53  

But I think, well, I think we're seeing those things now broadly, as a society. And if you looked at the different suicide rates by service, you would see indications by service of how those things are playing out. Loneliness, you know, and this is horrible, but people getting out of the military and feeling like they have to join organizations that are not doing good things in the country, because they need that sense of belonging. You know, we don't, we're not..

Brock Briggs  31:30  

What do you mean, not doing good things? 

Kate Germano  31:33  

Well, I mean, we've got a lot of military people leaving the military and joining the super duper, conservative, highly charged organizations, and I don't wanna call them out by name. But there are organizations that are discriminatory against other people in society. They're looking to overthrow the government. I mean, you know, those are the kind of organizations veterans are joining. And that all comes down to, you know, what are we doing to create a sense of community and resolving trauma. And there's a lot of work to be done, because it's either that or people feel like they have, you know, there's no hope and we do have a terrible suicide problem. Absolutely.

Brock Briggs  32:22  

That sense of belonging is something that we talk about a lot, and a lot of organizations are out there trying to fix it. But it still just fascinates me that how you can go from feeling so plugged in and part of something. And what's kind of ironic is how much people complain about it. And I know that because I was one of them. I spent four years in and I mean, a lot of the days I hated it, I really, really didn't like it. And of just everybody talking about, oh, one year left, two years left, there are so many days left till I’m free, you know. They're acting like they're in prison. And then you get out and you're like, you miss it. And you are looking for that sense of kind of belonging and your place in the world, almost.

Kate Germano  33:17  

You know what, though, I wanna push back on that a little bit. Because I honestly and I'm coming at this from a different place, obviously is like the very extreme minority. I shouldn't say they're extreme. I'm the extreme minority, but there are people of color, who are the very, very extreme minority in the Marine Corps. There is, we mythologize what belonging feels like in the military. We mythologize it. And

Brock Briggs  33:46  

Can you explain that or like kind of dive into that a little bit?

Kate Germano  33:49  

Yes. So you know, we always say, you know, I know in combat, I'm gonna take care of the person to the right and the left, and we're in this together. And it's like, really? Are we in it together? Like I would say, in combat, yeah, probably more than in garrison. But we mythologize this idea that we're in it together, and we all have the same, you know, perception of how we fit. And what I would throw out there, just to push back a little bit is that I've never fit. I never felt like I belonged. 

So I spent 20 years in the Marine Corps, working my ass off for the Marine Corps, always feeling like if I work this hard, if I do this extra thing, if I serve in this bill, and if I have command one more time, I'm gonna feel like I belong, and it never worked. So I 

Brock Briggs

Do you think that that's life though? 

Kate Germano

I think that, that is part because I fit in a minority group, right? So it's a lot harder to feel like you fit when you're not part of the dominant group. And I think that it's because if you asked 50,000 people from the military to find what belonging means they would give you 50,000 different answers. 

So I just think we tend to mythologize what it means and because of that people get out and they feel lost. And they feel like they don't have what they had in the military. But if you ask those people, like you were talking about what their military experience was, they would probably say, “Yeah, I hated two thirds of it. You know, I really hated two thirds of it.” And then the last part I was looking at every day about getting out, you know, so I think we tend to mythologize that.

Brock Briggs  35:40  

Do you think that the sense of belonging, or belonging, we'll call it, is different? Or I'll say this, I think that the sense of belonging is different than the achievement based things. Tim, my co host and I have touched so much on past episodes about how from day one, in the military, you're constantly being held to a standard, that's like, almost not even achievable. Like you're in boot camp, you're like, “Oh, there's the people that are one week ahead of me. They're so much further on.” 

And then when you're in training, it's like, “Oh, these are in the Navy, it's the people in the fleet.” And then it's like, oh, well, this person's done a deployment, it just, like, steadily scales up and into this infinite ladder of, you know, shortcoming, basically. I think that, at least personally, I think that that might be a separate issue than just a feeling of community, and knowing your place amongst your friends, and maybe just the feeling of having a couple of close people that you know, you can rely on the whole, have my buddies back in a foxhole conversation.

Kate Germano  36:55  

Yeah, I think that's a great point. And I would also say that it affects how we see ourselves also as veterans. So and you used the word ladder, and I would say, it's like the infinite ladder of status. So, you know, we have perceptions of people who were in certain jobs in the military as having more status than other people. So I was an admin for the first couple years of my existence in the Marine Corps, and I was probably the lowest rung on the ladder. 

Whereas the infantry men, because at that point, they were all men. They were the highest rung of the ladder and the attack fighter pilot guys were the highest, right? So infinite rung of status. And then there are people who feel like, well, I never got to deploy. So I don't have the status that the combat veterans had. There are people who feel like well, I deployed but it wasn't to a combat. So yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Brock Briggs  37:56  

They experienced that a lot myself, but also saw a lot in Marines that I went to school with, there was, oh, this person's got this, like the combat ribbon. Like that was something you could see from a mile away. And or what's the phrase that they use, a pug. You're not infantry, so you're not anything.

Kate Germano  38:19  

And if you think about it, if you wanna think about respect in the ranks, and the lack of respect for certain groups, because remember, that ladder of status applies to different groups, like people of color, women, men, all of that applies, right? So if you think about the visible symbols of status, the awards, the ribbons that I wear, the badges, my shooting badges, well, women are gonna be automatically at a disadvantage there. Because historically, we haven't been able to achieve the same success as our male counterparts. Because for decades, women weren't even allowed to go into combat zones or perform combat related missions, right? So status is a huge thing in the military. Absolutely, yeah.

Brock Briggs  39:11  

I wanna circle back to something we were talking about earlier, as we're talking about shooting. That's something you've been very vocal about the standards when it comes to shooting for women. Talk a little bit about that. And maybe we can segue into your book.

Kate Germano  39:27  

So we, you know, we were talking about the ribbons. And the first thing is, you know, and you mentioned it first thing Marines do when a new person joins the unit. They don't talk to them. They don't, you know, ask how they're doing. They check out the ribbons and badges. And so historically, because all women were trained at Parris Island, and historically because women were perceived as not shooting as well as men. That's how they were trained. They were told during training, I'm just gonna do this by their coaches on the rifle range. I'm gonna do the best I can. I'll train you the best I can, all I need you to do is pass. 

Well, there's a lot of ample research to support that. There's this thing called the Golem Effect. If you tell someone before they take a test, people like you normally don't do well on the test, you will get exactly those results on the back end because it primes the brain, right? So this had been going on since I think 1984, when women first started shooting on the rifle niche. And what that translated to in terms of respect is that whenever women join their new units wearing their rifle badges and their pistol badges, inevitably, they were not expert shooters, right? So like me, for years, I carried around what we call in the Marine Corps, a pizza box badge for shooting the rifle and that's the lowest qualification you can get. 

And so in my pea brain, I'm thinking, you know, when I get to Parris Island, and I have some control over how we're training all future female Marines, on the rifle range, all of them, I mean, that's pretty staggering. It was important for me to start with how we were training them on the rifle range, because it was such a visible sign of respect. So we started there and ended up getting the rifle range coaches all supported the changes we were making. And within eight months of training them differently, the women were shooting as well or better than the men. And so we showed it can be done. 

And the ironic part is that if you look at competitive shooting outside of the military, most of the best competitive shooters in the world are women. But in the Marine Corps, there was this perception, not that we're training them wrong, but that, “Oh, well, they're just not as strong mentally, so they crack under pressure,” right? So there were all these biases that were interfering with how we were actually training. Once the biases were eliminated, we saw what they could do. So I look back at what my Marines did, and what the rifle range coaches did. There was so much pride, because it was literally a way to change the level of trust that people had in female Marines checking into the unit.

Brock Briggs  42:25  

Feels shocking to me, because knowing that, understanding what it takes to operate a weapon, and it's not even a measure of comparing, like maybe physical ability, like, “Oh, they're, you know, Navy SEALs,” are of this level of physical fitness and like it's just physically impossible for women to do this. It doesn't take anything extraordinary to operate a weapon.

Kate Germano  42:50  

But there were literally people on the Depo, who thought that because the women generally tended to be shorter, that they couldn't reach the trigger well, to pull the trigger, because their arms were shorter. I mean, there are short Marines and short, you know, people in the military who aren't women, and they shoot just fine. But somehow the shortness of the arms for women and the mental pressure, I mean, it was amazing. And once we were able to eliminate those as factors, it was just crazy to see how quickly people rose to a higher standard. It was amazing.

Brock Briggs  43:29  

That touches on such like a much larger topic, like you had kind of already mentioned, the whole idea of a lot of people talk about it internally, like self-talk. But when you're projecting that onto somebody else, if you only if you're gonna say, “Hey, this is only the best you can do,” like, if and especially if that's what you believe internally. That is as well as you will do.

Kate Germano  43:52  

Absolutely. It's a self limiting belief. Yeah. And again, the irony of all of this is that I didn't know anything about the psychology. I didn't know about the Golem Effect. I didn't know about self limiting beliefs. I didn't know any of that. I didn't know about gender bias. I didn't know it was it. We acted kind of out of instinct. And I say “we”, because it was a collective effort with me and my Marines, and made change happen. 

But the sad part is that once I was fired, the Marine Corps because they had created the image of me getting results because I was a hard driver. They failed to take advantage of the systems we had put in place. And, you know, let women go back to shooting and barely qualifying or failing on the range. So I don't know what's happening now. But it's, you know, goes back to what you were saying about not systemically applying the lessons learned. Yeah, frustrating.

Brock Briggs  45:00  

You're the author of a book entitled, Fight Like a Girl: The Truth Behind How Female Marines Are Trained. Did you begin writing that book after you exited service? And what was your goal writing the book?

Kate Germano  45:15  

Good question. So I actually wrote the book with Kelly Kennedy, who is an Army veteran. Because I've never written a book before. And I had no desire to write a book. I was writing very regularly in national media outlets, because when I got fired, it was like, “Well, I don't have anything to lose.” And for me, leveling the playing field for women in the Marine Corps, that was a matter of principle. So I was very vocal, and I wrote a lot about it. But I never thought it would be a book. 

And so out of the blue, I got a call from an agent. And he was like, “Hey, have you ever thought about writing?” And that sort of led us down that path. And the reason that it was so important to me is because of what I mentioned a few minutes ago, and that was, you know, I may not have been a perfect leader. There were a lot of things I could have done better differently, you know, knowledge that I didn't have that I have now. But I know my intentions were good. And I also know my intentions were all about the institution. 

And yet, when I was fired, the Marine Corps created this narrative about my leadership that they hoped would take the attention away from the issues, because why would we believe someone who wasn’t incredible as a leader, right? That was kind of the perception. And so very frustrating that all the changes we made, where we were seeing results went into decline after I left. And so the Marine Corps sort of went back to the status quo. 

So for me, you know, you take heat out of the situation, fine, she'd maybe you hate her, maybe she's a horrible leader. But the issues remain. And so for me writing the book was just as much about telling my side of the story, as it was about bringing public attention to the just sheer stupidity in how we were training, you know, women in the Marine Corps. So combination of matter of principle, but also, I wanna tell my side, so people understand the bigger picture.

Brock Briggs  47:23  

It's funny how, at certain levels of status or stature or even in the political spectrum, that becomes a credibility question, not about the actions or things that were said, but it becomes a question of like, oh, well, can we just discredit this person entirely? Do you think that your goals were achieved with the book?

Kate Germano  47:51  

Well, yes, I would say that the book has been a jumping off point, to have interactions with people outside of the Marine corps who have the authority to make decisions about change. So yes, members of Congress, political figures. And yes, because the Marine Corps, although they will never associate the changes with me, which is fine. The Marine Corps has integrated bootcamp, they are making some progress, still a lot of work to do. Females are now being trained on both coasts on both recruit depots. 

So change happened. And I know me being just a complete vocal, I don't know how else to put it. So I'll just leave it at that, me being completely vocal, made a difference. And that probably would have been a smaller difference had I not been able to get my book out there with Kelly and really tell the story.

Brock Briggs  48:58  

You feel any type of way, knowing that your name won't be associated with that change?

Kate Germano  49:06  

Oh, my God, I love the way you phrased that, “feel any type of way.” I mean, I feel all kinds of types of ways about that. 

Brock Briggs

Let's hear ‘em. I wanna hear ‘em. 

Kate Germano

Yeah. I mean, I feel I'll name all the feelings. I feel sad, and I feel angry, and I still feel a lot of anxiety. You know what I mean, I feel like I am. There are people in the world who believe what they read because the Marine Corps General puts it out and they take that for the gospel. 

And we see this all over. We see this with, you know, generals' assessments. Afghanistan is a success. And people believe it on the surface, right? So yeah, I feel judged. I feel insecure, all of those things. Absolutely. And I also feel like I've moved on, so it doesn't make me that much more have those feels as much as it did five years ago. But yeah, I mean, I have a lot of feels about it. 

Brock Briggs  50:08  

See that and that's good. I think I would be worried if you didn't. And I think if you are honest with yourself, and not just you, but anybody honest with yourself about the ability to impact change, and knowing that that's, if the organization is better because of it, you know, you're and maybe you're not tied to it. Maybe that's a bummer. But I think in the long run, those small little incremental changes will be worthwhile.

Kate Germano  50:42  

You know, I hope so. But the challenge that I have is that because the Marine Corps leaked a just horrible investigation about me to the New York Times, that's online in perpetuity forever. Even if I disagreed with every bit of information in that investigation, which I did. My side isn't there, the investigations online for any. So yes, and no. Just a lot of shady, shady practices involved there, for sure. So that just makes the feelings that much harder to move on from.

Brock Briggs  51:17  

Do you think that that investigation and the actions taken post your exit tarnished your name? True or not true? Or do you think that it's more of, any press is good press and that type of feel?

Kate Germano  51:35  

No, I mean, I truly, absolutely. My character was always very, it's a value issue for me. So yeah, I mean, I feel paranoid every time I meet somebody, I don't know. Because it's like, “Oh, man, what if they read about me,” you know. And there are, you know, the bulk of the population in America probably never has to worry about that. And I feel like through the work I've done to really make sense of what happened to me and how I contributed, I feel like I've taken more ownership of what happened, than the leaders in the Marine Corps, and so that's, you know, I still grapple with the hurt and anger related to that.

Brock Briggs  52:16  

So maybe this is a good time to let you know that I actually do work for the New York Times and this is an exposé article. 

Kate Germano


Brock Briggs

No, no, no, no. You mentioned something, talking about how you have like, it's taken you some time to like put this to bed and to like, accept everything. I think that there's a lot of people, maybe not in the exact same shoes, this is a very unique circumstance, but are working to put their time in the military to bed, to accept and move on and understand what happened, good or bad, and just take that and move forward. What have been the most helpful things to you that have assisted in your process?

Kate Germano  53:09  

Oh, that's such a great question. For me, and this isn't just for folks who are in the military, but for the folks I coach who are not for military. For me, the greatest tools that I have are helping people make sense of bad things that happen, and helping people understand the systemic factors that are at play, versus what they owned. Because once you do that, you can create distance between responsibilities, like responsibilities at the system's level, versus the responsibility of how the person responds when bad things happen. And you can help them develop better ways of handling those things moving forward. 

And so for me that was pivotal for my own growth and development. But that is key for my coaching work with my clients is helping them see the bigger picture, helping them understand what they own, and then helping them understand what they can do differently specifically to show up as they aspire to in the future.

Brock Briggs  54:21  

What are those things that you mentioned, those better ways of understanding your role in it? How can people implement that?

Kate Germano  54:30  

Well, I mean, first and foremost, I think people need to understand what they value most. And I think people need to understand what causes them to feel insecure. And I don't use the word safe because that I think is an overplayed word in our society. But I think when you think about there being two threat states in the brain, just two, there's the reward state and there's the threat state and as human beings we spend the bulk of our time in the threat state because it's how we survive. We're always on the lookout for threats. 

But the threats we face today are threats like when we get a nasty email from someone or our boss says, “Hey, I need to see you in my office.” We react the same exact way as we did when we were cave people. And we were attacked by saber toothed tigers. So helping people understand what their brain, what sends them into a threat state, whether it's status, certainty, autonomy, being micromanaged, relatedness or fairness, those are the five brain categories, helping them understand what their triggers are. So that they can be more aware and actually do deep breathing when they feel themselves getting triggered, can keep people on the right track, and not get them derail. 

And so that's just one example of a tool that I use with my clients regularly. There are all sorts of tools out there helping people understand what their saboteurs, you know, how they get in their own ways, tons of tools. It's good stuff.

Brock Briggs  56:00  

You've mentioned several times that you've spent a lot of time studying the science behind these types of topics. Talk a little bit about that. What have your big takeaways, then what was like the most eye opening thing that you or realization that you came to from your studies?

Kate Germano  56:19  

Well, I mean, first and foremost, it's how our brains are wired, right? And so I just talked about the threat state and the reward state. I had no idea that we literally have to mindfully keep ourselves in a reward state in order to be able to respond to people in positive ways and land on their emotions in positive ways. So the neuroscience, the work put out by David Rock, who's a neuroscientist who came up with this thing called The SCARF model. You know, that was fundamentally like, wow, I had no idea. The idea that there are only two networks in the brain, when it comes to how we process and relate to others. 

So you know, there are people like me who are very analytical, like we've talked about data like 1000 times today, right? But there are other people in the world who are more comfortable in the network of the brain, that really is tied to emotions. If you understand their two networks, and you're more comfortable in the analytical, you may not understand that the way you communicate. For example, you may say, we need to do this and not take into account how that makes people feel. 

So understanding the two networks of the brain, and then being able to modify your communication, so that your intention and the impact you make on people turn into the goal that you set out to achieve. I think those are two of the most fundamental lessons and they apply to all humans everywhere around the world.

Brock Briggs  57:56  

Knowing what you know now about that topic, and all the research that you've done writing the book, knowing where you are today. You're back in the Marine Corps. What is it that you're doing differently? I know it's what you always wanted, we all wanna go back.

Kate Germano  58:15  

I am not gonna lie. When Ukraine started to blow up, I was like, I bent over double. And I started breathing heavy. I was like, “Oh my God, I don't wanna be recalled.” I know that's horrible. But I can't imagine. I feel like I'm such a different person now. Okay, so let's talk about the communication piece. So just because you put on the uniform doesn't mean that you don't have feelings. 

So as an analytical person, my inclination is to type an email that gets to the backs like we need to do this now. No niceties, no, “Hey, how's your mom doing?” No, “Hey, how was your weekend,” right? So I literally have to, I had to train myself to go back to the beginning of the emails to put in the niceties to communicate and land on people in a way that let them know I actually cared about them, and we need to get this thing done. So that would be the first part. The second thing would be understanding that there are limits to my authority based on my position. 

So I truly believed that when I talked about making women Marines, stronger, faster, tougher and smarter, I truly believed that would be enough to convince people that yeah, we need to do this. And so understanding that while setting out the goal is important. It's also to do it in a way that doesn't make people feel like you're challenging them or associating past performance with their leadership. That is fundamental. So two key areas that I would do differently but please, God, don't call me back to active duty to test me.

Brock Briggs  59:52  

It's so funny that you say that. I was talking with Tim the other day and we were just waiting for our recording to start and he goes, “How do you feel about this Ukraine thing?” And I was like, “Well, I don't know. I feel kind of like itchy a little bit.” And it's interesting to hear you say that, like, it's almost like repulsive to even think about going back. But there's another camp of people, myself included that kind of look like, oh, maybe we do need to go back and maybe talk about that this is not really something I planned on talking about. But what is it? Is it your experience? And just how everything played out that lead to that or?

Kate Germano  1:00:38  

Well, you know, it's funny. I feel like every day, we mentioned how I meet new people. I'm always concerned that what they've read about me. So take that just with people in the civilian sector, take that and multiply it. It's like it's on steroids. So if I had to go back into the Marine Corps, knowing that every day I'm trying to own up to my part of what happened to me. I don't think I could do it. I don't think I could face people every day who look at me like I'm a piece of crap leader because of what they've read. I don't think I would have the intestinal fortitude to do that. I don't think I'm strong enough to do that. I think it's a battle that I would not be able to fight.

Brock Briggs  1:01:26  

There’s some kind of phrase in here that I could probably stick in something about choosing your battles. I know that that's an important thing.

Kate Germano

Yeah, pick your battles, for sure.  Yeah, that's not a battle that I can fight. 

Brock Briggs  1:01:38  

Yeah. One last thing on the female Marines that I just thought was really interesting. And I did do a little bit of reading about you, but I tried not to get too into it. I normally don't do any research on people just because I want the conversation to be organic. And I want to like kind of discover the person as I go. One of the most unique things that I think that you brought to the table is you were not pushing for. 

It wasn't the same conversation that we're seeing in like, pay equity conversations in like the corporate world. You weren't coming from a place of that women or disadvantage. You're coming at it from a place of like, “No, we need to rise to the occasion.” And like, their standards are too low for us. And that was like so, that was so powerful. And I just wanna say, like, thank you. That's very inspirational. And I think that when you wanna elevate people, and a lot of times it's looked at in populations, whether it be race or sex or whatever, like giving people the opportunity to rise to the occasion is incredibly important. 

Kate Germano  1:02:55  

Yeah. I love you for saying that. Thank you! Yeah, for me, that's what it's about. We want the best people in the toughest jobs. So why would we find ways to prevent people from achieving their best? You know, I just that still to this day, cracks me up that institutional focus was so I mean, jeez, Louise. 

The reason they said that we had to have segregated boot camp for decades and decades wasn't because of the data. It was because the leadership would say, these women don't have the competence that they need to train shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. So they need to be trained separately, based on zero actual facts. So yeah, I think helping people rise to their greatness and helping them understand what values they have. I think that's why I love what I do now so much, so thank you.

Brock Briggs  1:03:55  

Just gonna say, I think that you embody that greatly. Having gone through a very difficult experience, and I could see how it would be easy to get out and kind of slough it. You know, you got your 20 years and have a bad taste in your mouth. But you now are a leadership coach and consultant. I wanna talk about you starting that, but wanna open up with what leadership philosophy you're bringing to this business.

Kate Germano  1:04:26  

Oh, wow. So thank you. My leadership work is based on its founded, the foundational elements are helping people be more self aware, helping them understand what impacts them in negative ways that might derail them and cause negative relationships with others. It's helping them communicate differently, and it's helping them understand how their brains are wired. So those are sort of foundational elements of the work that I do, whether it's on the consulting side or it's on the coaching side. And so and again, it's all based on lessons I learned the hard way that then, on my sensemaking journey and being at school led me to sort of the science behind leadership and change. So I hope that answered that question. 

Brock Briggs  1:05:19  

Yeah, it does. What led you to wanna start this? Obviously, you've got a passion for it. And even from way back in while you were in, I think that that's evident. What made you think that? What made you want to push that and get that to other people?

Kate Germano  1:05:42  

Oh, well, first and foremost, I wanted people to understand. You know, we always put people into boxes, and we will categorize people as good or bad. We have a very binary way of thinking as human beings. And so this work is so important to me, because I know there are a lot of people who struggle to feel like they're good leaders. 

And unfortunately, because we don't ask for help. And because organizations aren't good at providing feedback. A lot of times, people don't wake up until something really bad happens, like getting fired. And so for me, the work is so personal, because one, I think I'm a good example of how change can happen. We can learn new ways of being and doing until the day we die. We can always form those new neural patterns in our brains. 

So it's really important for me to be approved source for people so that they can see that if you have this information, you can do things differently and get a different result. And I mean, I see that in my relationships every day. So this work is very personal to me. And it's a reflection of the leaders, the many, many leaders out there who are struggling every day, asking themselves, am I doing a good job, to help them feel like they are equipped to do great things.

Brock Briggs  1:07:04  

What type of clients? And maybe that's not the right word, what type of people are you targeting? And who do you advertise to saying, “Hey, I'm for you,” basically, who is your target market?

Kate Germano  1:07:20  

You know, it's interesting. I don't really have a target market. And I've been really lucky to work with people all across the leadership spectrum. So, for example, right now, I'm working with the CEO of a multimillion dollar company who deals in medical waste. I'm working with, you know, some great people in DIA. I'm working, you know, unexpected in the commercial sector, and then just the differences between the government sector and the commercial sector. 

So it's a wide swath of people, and I don't advertise. I work with a couple of really good organizations that are large and do executive development work. And I work for them. They call me when they have someone who's struggling and needs coaching or needs development, and I work with them. So I'm really lucky. I don't have to do business development. 

And I would offer that because we use research and science back methods, people are able to see that they'll actually achieve results. And I think the problem that we have in coaching is that it can be so fluffy. And so sort of soft, that it can be difficult to show people proof that coaching works. So using the science and the research is a way to do that.

Brock Briggs  1:08:40  

I think coaching is just the topic in general is something that has been almost kind of like looked down upon for a long time, up until maybe recently, you see it a lot more. And these young tech entrepreneurs, big, you know, they're CEOs of like multi billion dollar companies and are in their 20s. And it's like, “Hey, I need a coach.” Maybe you need a business coach. Maybe you need a fitness coach or a mental health coach, whatever it is that you need, that the stigma around getting help for something that you really need, that should be taken away really.

Kate Germano  1:09:19  

Well, and remember when you, in this country, what we reward is technical brilliance, technical expertise. And so what ends up happening is people get promoted for their technical expertise. It doesn't mean that they have the people skills, the interpersonal skills, to be good around people so that their teams can be successful. 

And that sort of the dynamic that you're talking about with the startup world as well. It's like we put people in these roles, who have no leadership experience, and we reward people for having all the answers all the time. So we need more intellectual curiosity and intellectual humility. So people do say, “I'm not the expert here. And I do need help”. But yeah, you're right. It's a challenge.

Brock Briggs  1:10:05  

You're in kind of a unique line of work. Not a lot of people just go start there, you know, become their own coach and kind of consultant in that way. But I think that a lot of people who have served in the military make fantastic business operators and business leaders, generally speaking. What do you think is the best way for people in the military to leverage that experience in the corporate world, when whether you do 20 years or 4? What's the best way to use that, do you think? 

Kate Germano  1:10:41  

Well, you know, it's funny, because there are intangible skills from the military. And then there are the tangible skills. And I think one of the biggest challenges people who leave the military have, I had this. I don't know what your experience was like, but I hear it a lot. It can be really hard to quantify what military skills mean to the civilian sector. So I think first defining that and having a way to translate that is important. But I'd also say, you know, there are a lot of jobs in the military, that maybe people don't wanna repeat in the civilian world. 

So really, I think having people who are transitioning, understand what they value. And what matters most to them, is important, because a lot of us get out thinking the one job we get is gonna be the job we get and do forever after the military. And that's not really true, right? People bounce around. And so I think understanding what you value and really checking yourself to see if what you wanted to do, what you did in the military translates. And then if that's what you want to do in the civilian world, I think that those are important things to think about during transition.

Brock Briggs  1:11:59  

I think that for the most part, people exiting, have no idea. The opportunities that are available, and how widely sought after the skills that we've learned just, like even basic, like leading a team, you know, you see 

Kate Germano

Managing projects, yeah, absolutely 

Brock Briggs

Projects, teams, like just unbelievably stressful situations. Any job is looking for that. But they don't wanna hear, “Oh, I was responsible for this type of aviation equipment or whatever.” They wanna hear..

Kate Germano

Yeah, absolutely. 

Brock Briggs

They wanna hear the intangible things like kind of like you mentioned.

Kate Germano  1:12:42  

The intangible things are what really make the world go round, right? So the soft skills, and I hate that we call them soft skills. But it's not that I managed a budget of $3 trillion in the Marine Corps. It's that I had, you know, teams of 50 people all over the world doing this work, blah, blah, blah. So yeah, it's about translating into the real human terms, because not everybody can run a team well, you know.

Brock Briggs  1:13:09  

Very cool. Kate, I wanna kind of start to close out here. And I wanna hit you with a question that I heard on a podcast the other day that I really, really liked. Do you have any heroes?

Kate Germano  1:13:26  

Oh, it's not a true crime question. That's what I was hoping for.

Brock Briggs  1:13:29  

Oh, I could. I hear so much about morbid and crime junkie. My fiancee, I could probably talk. We might turn this into a true crime. Oh, yeah. All of them.

Kate Germano  1:13:42  

Oh, do I have any heroes? Gosh, you know, I mean, I literally am only here on the planet still, because I had people who cared deeply about me as a human being, and knew I was a good person. I literally wanted to kill myself when I was relieved to command. I mean, it was my identity. And within 30 seconds, it’s gone, right? So I think the heroes in my life were the people who kind of talked me off the ledge and made me feel like it was worth sticking around on the planet. And made me feel like I had something to offer other people and had a purpose because the purpose that I had for 20 years has gone like that. So yeah, my family, my husband, my in-laws, my dad, my, you know, my stepmom, all those people. Those are my heroes.

Brock Briggs  1:14:41  

Well, we're certainly grateful that you stuck around. The world needs more of you. 

Kate Germano

That's really kind. Thanks! 

Brock Briggs

Are you reading anything interesting right now or what would you recommend on reading material?

Kate Germano  1:14:55  

Gosh, I'm so glad you asked that because I'm reading right now a book called Connect by David L. Bradford and Carole Robin. In subtitle, Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends and Colleagues. And it is like you can see I've got a bunch of stickies already. It's amazing. They are two professors who give their teaching the most popular course I wanna say at Yale, or Princeton. And it's all based on interpersonal relationships. 

And so they wrote the book, oh, it’s Stanford, excuse me. I'm gonna get Stanford Business School. I'm gonna get some nasty grams after this, but it's all about what they've been teaching students for decades, and how the students come back 10, 20 years later, and say, this was the most valuable class I ever had. It's affected every aspect of my life. And I'm a better leader, for today because of it. So it's fascinating. It's the best book.

Brock Briggs  1:15:49  

I’ll make sure to check that out. I'm always looking for more books, but more importantly, looking for more time to read more books.

Kate Germano  1:15:56  

Yes, I’m too busy listening to True Crime podcasts, so

Brock Briggs  1:16:00  

My fiancee is gonna kill me for, she's gonna wanna like talk to you about True Crime. So, that's so funny. Kate, this has been fantastic. Where can people go to find more about you, other than just Googling your name? Because that's all probably not that great. Where can they reach out to you? If they're looking for a business coach, perhaps? Or leadership coach, excuse me? Where can they go?

Kate Germano  1:16:27  

I do have a website and it's just my name, kategermano.com. And then, I also am on LinkedIn. I'm not on any other social media, kind of cut it out in my life, because it just wasn't mentally healthy for me, but always on LinkedIn. And I'm always, always happy to get messages from folks, even if they wanna push back. I'm always happy to engage in dialogue, so happy to.

Brock Briggs  1:16:51  

Awesome! Kate, thank you so much for your time. This is fantastic. 

Kate Germano  1:16:54  

Thanks for having me. It was great talking with you.