After-Action Report: RVM #40 with Dennis Volpe

Many thanks to Dennis Volpe (USNA ’96) for his presentation this evening! Dennis is a professional leadership and performance coach. Much of his work is with clients undergoing a professional transition, and he also does a great deal of pro bono work with veterans approaching the transition to civilian life. Tonight Dennis discussed the most important approach to any life transition: the one where you do it on purpose.

This was a fascinating talk for a couple of reasons.

First, Dennis has an extremely compelling story. He was a Navy warship commander at the pinnacle of his career when a chance mishap saw him relieved of his command and fighting to restore his name. He won this battle, but the internal struggle to extract meaning from the experience taught Dennis deep lessons that he shared with us tonight.

Change is what happens to us. It’s external. Transition is what happens for us, and it’s internal. It’s a mindset shift, and it’s a process.

Secondly, Dennis was accompanied tonight by his wife, Amanda Volpe (USNA ’97), who is also a former Surface Warfare Officer and was at his side throughout the ordeal mentioned above. It was interesting to hear Amanda connect the dots between Dennis the warship commander of 2014 and the the leadership and performance coach of today.

Dennis’ new book is Transition On Purpose: Self-Reflect, Explore and Re-Engage Life, which is part autobiography and part coaching methodology, based on Dennis’ training at Colombia University and his experience coaching thousands of high-performers.

Dennis has dedicated proceeds from the book to two institutions: Camp Resilience and Camp Southern Ground, which both offer retreats for veterans and first responders that combine peer-to-peer counseling and outdoor activities to help attendees to improve their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

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