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The Corner Office: Vince McMahon

Bernard Bergan ⋅ U.S. Army, Sergeant ⋅ 6 years served
Seattle, WA

With your countless years in business working with some of the biggest personalities on the planet, what can you share about keeping your staff focused and motivated, while not stifling their individual creativity?

One of my expressions is to “treat every day like it’s your first day on the job.” When you do that, it either confirms what was done yesterday was right—or it gives you an opportunity to take a fresh look at something.

I always ask our employees not to think traditionally in a non-traditional world.

Landy Fitzsimmons ⋅ U.S. Army, Sergeant ⋅ 12 years served
Ocean Springs, MS

In your opinion, was it more difficult making WWE a success in the beginning, or keeping it a success today?

Both are challenging. At WrestleMania 1, we mortgaged everything we owned, hoping it would be a success. It was a huge gamble that paid off. Today, the challenge is to stay relevant, take advantage of new technologies and continue to evolve. The one constant is to approach every day like it’s my first day on the job with fresh thinking and new ideas.

But to answer your question directly, it is extremely difficult to get to the top but even more difficult to stay there.

Marcus Canty ⋅ U.S. Marine Corps, Sergeant ⋅ 5 years served
Conyers, GA

What traits and attributes do you believe a veteran has to offer in your organization? Do you believe in recruiting experienced talent to fill roles, or do you like to train from the ground up?

Work ethic, leadership, communication skills and time management, as well as the ability to multi-task and work under pressure are traits I believe veterans can offer any organization. At WWE, we recruit experienced talent from a variety of industries and pride ourselves on promoting from within the company.

Sean Reilly ⋅ U.S. Army, Master Sergeant ⋅ 20 years served
Bentonville, AR

What advice would you give to transitioning career service members that are approaching the civilian work force for the first time in their lives?

Don’t just be satisfied getting a job. Determine what it is you really want to do and be passionate about it. Be tenacious and don’t take “no” for an answer.

Jessica Northey ⋅ U.S. Army, Private First Class ⋅ 1 years served
Maitland, FL

I'm starting a skateboard company. What are the most effective and low-cost marketing tactics you use for WWE?

Social media is today’s “word of mouth” and an important part of WWE’s success. Social and digital media provides us with an opportunity to engage our fans one-on-one and have a direct conversation with them. These same tactics apply to small businesses as well.

Daniel (Dan) Colman ⋅ U.S. Navy, Captain ⋅ 30 years served
Burke, VA

Thank you for your service to those who serve- I've benefited first-hand. It’s fair to say that WWE is a unique/niche organization. How do you recommend translating unique/niche military skills to the unique/niche civilian private sector?

Understanding unique/niche skills and how they fit into a larger sphere is very important. Those skills need to be transferable to whatever you pursue.

Michael Calonita ⋅ U.S. Navy, Petty Officer Second Class ⋅ 5 years served
New Hyde Park, NY

Mr. McMahon, thank you very much for taking time to help veterans looking for career advice. I currently work for a small, family run business. How important is it for small businesses to adapt with new technology?

In order to be successful you have to change with the times and embrace new technology. From closed circuit television, pay-per-view, second screen experience and now direct to consumer with WWE Network, technology was instrumental in WWE’s growth. WWE was once a small family run business and technology played a key role in helping us grow to become a global, publicly-traded entertainment and media company.

Embracing new technology will allow you to “speak” and “listen” to your customers.

Chris Persaud ⋅ U.S. Army, Captain ⋅ 6 years served
Sanford, NC

When hiring mid-level management do you look more to the degree they hold, or do you value experience and personality? Does one outweigh the other?

Knowledge, communication skills, experience, work ethic, personality and culture fit are more important to me than a degree from a specific institution.

Jeff Decker ⋅ U.S. Army, Sergeant ⋅ 4 years served
Alexandria, VA

What do you specifically look for when partnering with veteran non-profit organizations?

All veteran nonprofit organizations are well-intended. Some are better than others. We look for the organization’s commitment and its ability to communicate directly with veterans.

Derek Smith ⋅ U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer Second Class ⋅ 12 years served
Brentwood, MD

I’m torn between continuing in a career field that I do fairly well in or following my heart by going into business for myself. Are there any signs that I should be looking for that will let me when know the time is right to make that jump?

My advice to anyone is to follow your heart and passion, and reach for the brass ring. You shouldn’t be afraid to try new things. This may mean working long hours in your current career field and then going into business for yourself in your spare time.

You’ll know when the time is right to make the jump in its entirety, but be totally prepared. You need a well-thought out plan of action. Obtain as much professional advice as you possibly can and don’t let your ego get in the way.

Sam Hoffman ⋅ U.S. Army Reserve, Sergeant ⋅ 8 years served
Roslyn Heights, NY

Personality is a huge part of what makes a successful wrestler. Since veterans are trained to be cooperative, listen and speak when spoken to, many of us come off as stiff and not engaging in interviews. Do you know of anything being done at the corporate level to make HR personnel aware of our unique situations for us to get the most out of our interviews?

Before you go on an interview, literally answer the questions you think you’ll be asked out loud and in front of a mirror. You will be able to see and hear yourself and be able to answer the question “would you hire you?” before you meet with your perspective employer.

Our HR team is well-versed when it comes to recruiting military candidates. They take the time to walk veterans though the structure of the hiring process, coach them on how to relate to hiring managers and share insights on how to avoid military jargon.

Sky Sharma ⋅ U.S. Air Force, Technical Sergeant ⋅ 18 years served
Hampton, VA

Mr. McMahon, when did you realize the awesome potential for WWE to become a global brand and what advice do you have for veterans thinking of launching their own brand?

Brand building is an essential part of marketing. Make sure your brand is something easily understood by the public and make sure it is flexible enough to adapt to the ever-changing demands of the marketplace.

Ryan Miller ⋅ U.S. Air National Guard, Technical Sergeant ⋅ 7 years served
Cranberry Twp, PA

Thank you for taking the time to answer questions and for your continued support. In regards to networking, what advice would you give a young, career-minded individual who is inexperienced with reaching out to professionals in their industry, with the goal of getting their foot in the door?

It’s important to develop mentors, build trust and foster relationships. It seems daunting, but is easier in practice than you think. Take the time to introduce yourself and clearly and concisely let the person know you’re interested in speaking with them to gain the benefit of their expertise. Let them know you will call their office to set an appointment and be mindful of their schedule.

In my opinion, anyone would be interested in sharing their knowledge with a military veteran. And just one more thing, make sure you thank those who are offering you advice.

  • Vince McMahon
  • Chairman & CEO of WWE
  • Stamford, CT

Vince McMahon, Chairman of the Board & CEO of WWE, Inc. (WWE), is a third generation promoter who has made WWE into the global phenomenon it is today. As a pioneer in the television syndication business, a recognized television personality throughout the world, a visionary promoter and a fearless marketer, he continues to make his presence known as a leader within the broadcast and entertainment industries. He is a tireless supporter of the U.S. military, bringing WWE Superstars to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002 to entertain the troops. WWE was the recipient of the USO of Metropolitan Washington’s first ever “Legacy of Hope” award for WWE’s extensive support of our troops and the USO’s Operation Care Package program. In 2006, WWE and McMahon received the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Public Service Award for its support of deployed service members in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2008, the company received the GI Film Festival’s Corporate Patriot Award.

What is The Corner Office?

The Corner Office gives veterans an exclusive opportunity to ask for career guidance from some of corporate America’s top executives.

Leading experts volunteer their time to answer a selection of questions submitted by transitioning veterans.

Archived Corner Offices