Boots to Business – transitioning from the military to the commercial world

Height CEO Warner Cowin was invited to speak to serving defence personnel looking to transition into business. Warner is pictured on the right above, with Charlie O'Hara Smith (left) and Heather Dickson (centre). 

Height CEO Warner Cowin was invited to speak to serving defence personnel looking to transition into business. Warner is pictured on the right above, with Charlie O'Hara Smith (left) and Heather Dickson (centre). 

Height CEO Warner Cowin was privileged to speak to serving personnel of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), at a resettlement seminar in Ohakea this week.

NZDF offers resettlement seminars in recognition of the challenges of transitioning from military to civilian life – and ensuring Navy, Army and Air Force personnel can put their best foot forward in the commercial and civilian worlds.

Warner – and another senior Height staff member Kel McBeath – are veterans of the Royal New Zealand Air Force (Kel served in Croatia and Warner in East Timor).

Height is honoured to support NZDF personnel, and we hope with Warner openly and honestly sharing his journey from RNZAF officer to corporate leader to CEO of his own business Height,  other serving personnel have been inspired to start their own entrepreneurial adventures!

Top tips from Warner:

  • Start with what you are passionate about
  • Know what problems you are really solving for your customer
  • Be led by values – it pays off
  • Surround yourself with experts
  • Be in a perpetual state of learning
  • Make use of all the efficient online technology platforms out there
  • Success is a balance of family, personal and business
  • Prioritise your goals (top five for the year, three for a quarter etc)
  • Take action on the key numbers (measure and act on customer feedback, productivity etc)
  • Constantly challenge the norm – be uncomfortable!

 “Success in building your own business is not just about what you know but how you approach, grow and apply your thinking. The idea of starting a business can bring huge anxieties and associated challenges. Setting the base for personal business success requires a clear evolving plan and a resilient, optimistic outlook. Being a business owner can come with risk but the rewards can be hugely empowering," Warner told the audience.

We are also excited to be supporting seminars in Auckland in May and Burnham in October.