Teamwork from a Veteran’s Perspective

By admin | November 11th, 2013


Networking is a natural part of my job as the Director of Business Development at Cabedge, and an event last week at the new space called Oz brought me to tears. The speaker inspired me with a renewed sense of teamwork and reminded me of what I learned in the Navy.

Our friend Kerry Woo is a member of Accelerant and he invited me as a guest to hear Commander (Retired) Kirk Lippold as the keynote speaker. CDR Lippold was the commanding officer of the USS Cole in 2000 when it was attacked by Al-Qaeda terrorists while on a refueling stop in the port of Yemen. His speech was about crisis management, and how leaders need to trust their people and train them to handle any situation with integrity and professionalism.

Cmd Kirk Lippold-2

Image by Kerry Woo

Commander Lippold is a brilliant storyteller and the details in which he described the events of October 12th, 2000 attacks were astounding. I was drawn in and almost forgot that we were in an event space in the middle of Nashville, but rather taken back to my days as a Naval Officer. I could almost smell the “ship smell” and hear the “ship sounds” and his ability to tell a story with such compelling and emotion-inducing details got me thinking about the importance of being part of a well-trained and trustworthy team.

First of all, in no way am I implying that what we at Cabedge is comparable to what sailors do daily in the Navy nor could I imagine having to personally go through the horrors of a terrorist attack like the crew of the USS Cole. But spending 3 years on a Navy ship as a junior officer did teach me about building relationships and working with people of all races, religions, ages and levels of expertise. At times, I was the youngest person in a room of senior officers, and I learned to keep my mouth shut, listen and learn. As a young division officer, my team of 25 enlisted sailors looked to me for guidance and inspiration but I also realized they had a lot more technical ability than me, as well as quite a bit more time in the Navy. In these instances, I trusted them to do their jobs and to keep me informed, so that I could keep my chain of command informed.

Similarly, as the Director of Client Experience at Cabedge, I know I don’t have the answers to all of our client’s questions and I must listen to my team of technical experts, trusting that they will provide me with accurate and well-researched information. Sometimes, our clients don’t want to know how we are going to do something, but they trust us to do it on time and on budget. Other times, very involved and technically savvy clients want the specific details of how a tool is going to work and I trust our development and design team to explain to them our process as well as listen to our client’s needs.

Internally, our team communicates constantly. Our developers work directly with our designers and our project managers, ensuring everyone is on the same page for each project and that either myself or our Managing Director has the appropriate information to bring to the client. In a way, this is our chain of command, and our clients are at the top. Ultimately, people hire us because they trust us to do what we said we were going to do.  Cabedge’s dedication to each other and to our clients is honestly inspiring. Having a team I can count on makes my job easier and keeps our clients happy.  We’re still young and have plenty of room to grow, but the foundation we’re building of trust and expertise is what keeps us going in times of frustration.

I’m honored to have served my country in the US Navy and I’m honored to be serving with the Cabedge team now. Happy Veteran’s Day.

Courtenay Rogers is the Director of Business Development and Client Experience at Cabedge Design, LLC – a Nashville-based web-centric communications company specializing in strategic interactive design, brand experience and marketing.


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