Former Commander of Navy Seals and Joint Special Operations Command
Admiral Olson retired from the United States Navy in 2011 after 38 years of military service. He served in special operations units throughout his career, during which he earned a Master’s Degree in National Security Affairs and was awarded several decorations for leadership and valor including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and the Silver Star. Admiral Olson’s career culminated as the head of the United States Special Operations Command from July 2007 to August 2011, where he was responsible for the mission readiness of all Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps special operations forces. In this capacity, he led over 60,000 people and managed an annual budget in excess of ten billion dollars. As President and Managing Member of ETO Group LLC, since September 2011, Admiral Olson is now an independent national security consultant who supports a wide range of private and public sector organizations. Admiral Olson serves on the Board of Directors of Under Armour and Iridium Communications, and as the Chairman of the non-profit Special Operations Warrior Foundation. He is an Adjunct Faculty Member at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
While a student at the Naval Academy, Eric was struck by the power of small, high-performing teams. This led Eric to join the Navy SEALs where he served in and developed the special forces behind many of the most notable military operations of recent history. Eric shares invaluable insights on the megatrends affecting global security, economics, and politics with our members but it’s his “lessons learned”, wisdom and humility in the face of his accomplishments that most inspire our community. Eric’s lessons about integrity and tenacity under extreme circumstances being more important than smarts and strength is an example of a rallying cry for the young people Eric has touched.
Our next generation leaders may be our greatest natural resource. I can think of few things more important than supporting their development. The Center for Conscientious Leadership is bringing a team, resources and a passion for serving these young people that is inspiring. I’m all in.