Lessons from the Trenches: Halfaker inspires entrepreneurs at Inc. Leadership Forum

Miami, FL— “As business leaders, you go to work facing tight deadlines, cash flow crisis, and a feeling of competitors breathing down the back of your neck.  Pressure.  None of those are life and death.  There’s pressure…and then there’s ‘I’m in a foreign land fighting for my country and the bad guys are trying to kill me’ pressure,” stated Krissi Barr, founder and chief executive officer, Barr Corporate Success and co-author of Plugged, as she introduced Dawn Halfaker during the Inc. Leadership Forum in Miami, FL.

On June 7, 2012, in a candid one-on-one conversation titled, “Lessons from the Trenches: A Conversation with Captain (ret.) Dawn Halfaker,” Dawn inspired the audience of entrepreneurs through her impressive journey of survival and service that spans from the battlefield to the home front. The founder and CEO of Halfaker and Associates, Dawn has led the company’s impressive growth, revenue was up 84% from 2010 and the company has grown from 120 employees in 2010 to over 170 employees in 2011. Through her candid interview, which can be viewed on the Inc. website, she shared how her experience in the military has undoubtedly molded her leadership strategies.

Relying on her military leadership experience to motivate her employees, Dawn noted, “Going into small business, it was a very similar environment. You really have to do more with less, and you have to count on the people around you.” Dawn further reflected that, “At West Point, I learned how to bounce back from failure and continue moving forward. They throw so much at you there, and you become engrained with how to react to adversity. If you translate that to business, you are much better off. You know how to adapt and motivate your team to achieve their goals and mission success, even if a loss occurs along the way.”

With the government making massive cuts to contracts and looking to operate more efficiently, Dawn has relied heavily on the company’s ability to be resilient and adaptable. She believes the next wave of growth opportunities will come to those companies who remain highly agile and fundamentally create greater value for clients, “One of the things our company is doing is looking at how best to leverage technology. There will be a lot of new opportunities as the government looks to streamline their processes. To capture this market, I’ve pushed our team to further expand into the IT industry and continue to find ways to do more with less.” Dawn’s leadership has effectively positioned the company to be a technology-driven and agile organization, a strategy that allowed her company to double its revenue from 2009 to 2011, despite a rapidly changing government contracting industry.

Dawn is a trusted mentor in the business world, and regularly speaks at events such as the Inc. Leadership Forum. Just like the community of support within the military, she continues to benefit from the advice and guidance of her mentors and wants to pay it forward to other entrepreneurs. She believes that it takes a team of employees working together to make a company great, and for an entrepreneur to flourish, they must have a team of support from amongst the business community, “In the military, I knew that the driver and gunner were going to be taking care of me when the bullets started flying. And I wanted to make sure they knew I was taking care of them. Likewise, in business, leaders must never forget who's going to be covering for them and who's going to be sticking their neck out of the turret while the bullets are flying.”

To learn more about the Inc. Leadership Forum, please visit: http://bit.ly/Kl6Sz1

To read the article about Dawn in Inc., please visit: http://bit.ly/L7iQgX