Season 6: Can You Hear Me Now • July 11, 2023

Planning, Resilience, and Honesty.

Shana Cosgrove talks to Garrett Yee, Vice President and General Manager at General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT).

In this episode of The Outspoken Podcast, host Shana Cosgrove talks to Garrett Yee, Vice President and General Manager at General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT). Garrett talks about his transition to the private sector after 35 years with the U.S. Army, serving in the Middle East and ultimately as Deputy Director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). He recalls learning perseverance after a difficult early-life experience—getting kicked out of Navy ROTC in his freshman year for poor grades—and then starting over with the Army. He talks about learning how important it is for leaders to keep smiling and about his efforts to stay honest and open. Garrett tells Shana his early vision for his life was that he’d grow up to be a teacher and a park ranger and says he’s now back in nature following his passion for photographing birds.

  • “When things are important to us, we find the time to do it. So why wouldn’t we find the time to plan for the next phase? . . . People in the military in particular are known for planning.” – Garrett Yee [05:21]
  • “We try so hard to do everything and be everything and be perfect and we just fall short. That’s just the way it is. We just can’t do it all.” – Garrett Yee [15:49]
  • “You choose to do what you do, and therefore you accept that challenges are part of the deal. But that’s not going to stop you from enjoying what you’re doing.” – Garrett Yee [29:13]
  • [00:04] Intro
  • [01:34] Meet Garrett Yee
  • [02:59] On Transition Planning
  • [07:28] Life Happens: From Navy ROTC to the Army
  • [11:38] Tough Times Lead to Resilience 
  • [13:05] Marrying Young, Starting a Family, and Feeling Behind
  • [18:25] Starting in Signal, Ending at DISA
  • [21:50] DISA’s Core Mission: Transport, Connectivity, Cybersecurity
  • [25:52] Training the Next Generation at GDIT 
  • [29:10] Smiling in the Photos
  • [33:19] Staying Honest and Accessible
  • [35:15] Losing a Family Member, Talking about Mental Health
  • [40:23] Career High Point: Deployed to the Middle East in 2014
  • [42:17] What’s Your Leave-Behind? Treating Every Job as Your Last 
  • [46:20] Sharing Copies of the Constitution  
  • [49:33] When Your Family Is Happy
  • [51:57] Great Leaders Know What’s Good for the Organization
  • [55:26] Outro


I’d love to hear from you — your feedback is important to me and I read all of it. If you enjoyed the podcast, I hope you’ll give us 5 stars. I’ll be sure to thank you via email. If not, let me know what you think we should do differently. Don’t forget to hit “subscribe” so you’ll receive notifications about guest interviews and other topics that drop every Tuesday.

Live well, Shana

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