Everyone can be an exceptional leader, according to Dr. Peter J. Anthony. All it takes is the right guidance, knowledge, and team members—which he learned first as an Eagle Scout and later during his 20-year military career as a Navy submariner. Those skills have served him well as an instructor in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s pilot program Camo2Commerce, which assists members of the military in western Washington state in their transition to civilian and business life after service.

Anthony’s skills are also on display when he’s teaching at Walden. The quality of his instruction inspired 20 doctoral students to nominate him for the College of Management and Technology Outstanding Faculty Award and the Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence—both of which he won in 2015. Here, as he reflects on his long career, he offers insights into his work with students, military veterans, and sustainable businesses.

Walden University Dr. Peter J. Anthony with a cohort of Camo2Commerce participants.
Photo credit: Camo2Commerce

What is your role in Camo2Commerce? How does the program help veterans transition to a career in business?

I teach a four-day kickoff including résumé writing, interviewing skills, networking skills, emotional intelligence, and how to transition to civilian culture. Then, each week for 12 weeks, the fellows work on real projects, from working as a Lean management lead for an aerospace equipment supplier to developing a veteran recruiting program at a major healthcare organization. They also go to internships each week for 3 days, then come back into the classroom with me for business leadership and management training.

What skills do vets bring to the business world that you help them further develop?

Vets bring strong leadership skills, diverse knowledge and experiences—especially with other countries and languages—and dedication to the organization and getting the job done.

You also provide consulting on sustainable business practices. What drew you to this field?

Business leaders see the need for social, community, and environmental responsibility, but also the need to make a profit. So I saw a challenge—and I always like a challenge—to empower leaders to understand how they can profit from being a socially responsible company.

What do business leaders need to know about sustainable business practices?

There is a need for understanding the benefits. The challenge is to present a business case for sustainability and show how socially responsible measures may not net short-term profit, but they will earn long-term success and customer respect.

How does your sustainable business consulting and Camo2Commerce influence your teaching in your class?

The world needs responsible leadership, and leadership needs a world that values organizations that are socially and environmentally responsible while still making a profit. The classroom and conference seminars are valuable platforms for expanding knowledge and experience in collaborative critical thinking and analysis. The diverse backgrounds of classmates provide the perfect opportunity to share together in one room or an online forum.

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