Arlington doesn’t limit its creative sector strictly to arts endeavors.

Return on Creativity: An Arlington Asset. Fred Wellman, Ron Owens, Jennifer Tender, Sam Meek, Patty Collins, Isaac Barnes, Kevin Jennings. Photo: Andy Blenkle

Return on Creativity: An Arlington Asset. Fred Wellman, Ron Owens, Jennifer Tender, Sam Meek, Patty Collins, Isaac Barnes, Kevin Jennings. Photo: Andy Blenkle

And that may be one of its biggest assets.

Arlington Economic Development asked the question, what does the creative economy have to do with the military? Turns out, a lot more than you might think. At the May 16th Return on Creativity seminar: Leading From the Front, a diverse panel of former and active members of the military spanning three generations talked about how their military training and experiences influenced their business leadership and acumen.

Fred Wellman, CEO and Founder of Scoutcomms and retired Army aeroscout pilot moderated a panel with well-timed humor that revealed insights and experiences that were both inspired and cautionary. Serving in the military is not for everyone. But everyone can learn the nuances of leadership practices that improve the culture and productivity of any company. Ron Owens, Vietnam War veteran and co-founder of Arlington’s LMO Advertising, talked about how his time in the military taught him to identify “doers” and built the advertising team that developed some of the Army’s most famous advertising campaigns before founding his own ad agency.  Jennifer Tender, currently serving in the Virginia National Guard and working as an Action Officer at ManTech International has learned to weave the experience of leading large groups of Soldiers into motivating and supporting smaller teams of civilians in the private sector. Patty Collins, former Army officer and current principal at the McChrystal Group, spoke of her awareness to never assign limitations to people, supporting them in a way to help them achieve the goals in front of them. Sam Meek, founder of Sandboxx and former Marine Corps Sergeant spoke of focusing on the outcome, and inventing unique ways to get there when the obvious way won’t work. Kevin Jennings, former Army officer and founder of Mellennium Group spoke of his success in bringing on veterans into his organization and benefiting from their mission-focus, people-caring, and training-orientation outlooks. Isaac Barnes, former Marine and co-founder of Emminent IT said his experience in being challenged with responsibilities beyond his personal comformt was instrumental in leading him to have the courage to start his own company after his military service.

Across the panel, no matter the age, gender or race, the core takeaway spoke clearly to the value of staying mission-driven while deploying creative solutions to tough problems.

An as Allen Gannett (and previous speaker at Return on Creativity) so aptly called out in his book The Creative Curve “we’ve all been told a lie about the nature of creativity. There is in fact a science behind what becomes a hit and that today’s neuroscience gives us an unprecedented ability to decode and engineer the necessary moment of ‘inspiration’ to create mainstream and popular work.”

The ROC series offers networking opportunities, first-hand insights and compelling evidence that Arlington is an accelerator to personal and organizational growth and prosperity. Learn about the companies that are improving the areas creative reputation and earning new business from a variety of consumer companies.

Want to join more programs about the impact and influence of creatives in business? Sign up for ongoing news and updates here.