Meet the Operator: Ten Questions with YGN Alumnus Scott Eshom
Former Green Beret Scott Ehsom’s “aha” moment was, like so many others, on September 11, 2001, his 18th birthday. That is when he knew his commitment to Army ROTC was the right thing for him. He chose Special Forces because he wanted to work with the best and make the largest impact during his service. His career spanned 10 years and led him to deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar and Lebanon. He was rated #1 of 18 tactical commanders and hand-picked for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command executive mentorship program. The military, specifically the Special Forces, taught him the values of perseverance, adaptability, and the importance of having broad interests and being open-minded. Values and principles that guided him in his transition, and ultimately helped him land a job as a Private Wealth Advisor for Goldman-Sachs.
Scott serves as a trusted advisor for a select group of high net worth entrepreneurs, private investors, families, and foundations on all aspects of wealth management for Goldman-Sachs in Washington, D.C. He lives in D.C. with his wife, Jordan, who also served before she transitioned from Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal after nine years.
We sat Scott down and asked him ten questions about himself, his military career and his transition. Meet Scott Eshom:
Where did you grow up?
Who was your inspiration growing up?
Growing up, my inspirations were my parents. They provided for our family and never limited me or my sister in anything we wanted to pursue. They remain a major inspiration in how I work with people and think about providing for my own family.
Another key inspiration was my youth soccer coach. He was formerly in the Army’s Ranger Regiment and now is a member of Seattle SPD SWAT. He was tough on us, but I grew from the experience and thus, his leadership style influenced my own as I graduated from high school and started Army ROTC in college.
When did you first realize that you wanted to go in to the military?
Growing up in northern Seattle, I didn’t interact with many in the military. My first exposure was my youth soccer coach who served in the Army’s Ranger Regiment. As I progressed through high school, I started to learn about Army ROTC and options it provided for service and help with financing school.
Why did you choose the Special Operations route?
I chose SOF because I wanted to work with the best, make the largest impact during my service, and represent my country abroad. I wanted to be challenged and pushed to the limit – and grow as a person and American.
How long did you serve?
I served for 10 years before I decided to transition. My wife served for 9 before she transitioned from Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal.
I deployed to Iraq in 2008, Afghanistan in 2009, Qatar in 2012/13, Lebanon in 2013/14, and Iraq in 2014/15.
I started my career in Hanau, Germany, met my wife in 2008 in Fort Knox, KY, and lived for various lengths of time in Fort Sill, OK; Fort Leonard Wood; MO, Fort Benning, GA; Fort Bragg, NC; and finally completed my service with 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Campbell, KY.
What did your time in the military teach you?
So much! I learned the values of perseverance, adaptability, and the importance of having broad interests and being open-minded.
Perseverance came from all of the Special Forces training, much of which was failure-based, and knowing that a no quit attitude is mandatory to represent US SOF.
Adaptability came from the numerous situations junior leaders find themselves in the military and more dramatically in Special Operations. On countless occasions I was in situations where I needed to make a split decision based on my judgement and knowledge of my environment and the skills of my team. We didn’t have time to request approval or get guidance – we needed to execute and use the resources we had at our disposal.
Having broad interests and being open-minded became increasingly important as my team was in new environments in the Middle East and forced to build relationships with local power brokers. Oftentimes we were the first Americans they’d ever encountered – we needed to connect somehow and some way. This is why SOF pulls from a diverse pool of talented patriots – the broader the skill set or life background, the better. Additionally, it’s why Green Berets are training in foreign languages. I speak French well and used it multiple times overseas to support ongoing operations.
What is/was your biggest fear when you thought about transitioning?
My biggest fear was leaving a successful and rewarding career in SOF and not finding my fit in the private sector.
Enter YGN. How did YGN help shape your job search and help in your transition?
YGN helped connect me with executives in finance who gave me background on avenues to pursue. They provided a tailored suit that I confidently wore to multiple job interviews (and secured multiple offers). They connected me to life coaches who helped me set my goals and expectations during the transition. They also continue to keep me connected to the SOF community that I’ll always care about and give me an outlet to support transitioning vets find their next best career.
YGN has a growing network of successfully-transitioned SOF vets who care about giving back to the community; donors who understand that their contribution isn’t just a one-way transaction – it’s an investment that will return multiple times for the SOF vet, their family, and the company that hires them; and a growing number of companies and executives who value the skills, experience, leadership, and problem solving SOF vets immediately bring to their organizations.
Very importantly, YGN is also the only organization that is doing this for SOF vets at this scale. This community has committed and sacrificed more than all other parts of the US military. Corporate America doesn’t understand the difference between SOF and the rest of the military, and SOF vets tend to have difficulty telling their story. YGN is educating corporate America and helping connect SOF vets to senior leaders who deserve the chance to hear of the capabilities this group can provide for their organizations.
What is the biggest surprise you’ve found in transitioning to the corporate world?
A SOF vet will quickly go from a team-oriented environment to one where individual achievement and credit is much more important than what should be accomplished as a group. This was and always will be difficult for me because so much of my success came from working very closely with others to meet and exceed objectives.
How is the corporate world like the military?
Hard work is rewarded and interpersonal skills are critically important.