by Patricia

June 22, 2021

Patrick O' Neill

Today, we will have Patrick O'Neill, the CEO of Amp Your Good, Inc.  Patrick will share his wisdom about how to find and identify a good mentor who will help in the domains that you need expertise in, especially in this modern economy. 

Episode Highlights:

01:43- How did Patrick get into entrepreneurship? 

06:00- Give Healthy project 

13:42- What is mentorship and how to find a good mentor 

20:00- How to find civilian mentors to be involved in the military community

Key Points:

  1. Find a mentor that cares to take the time to give you thoughtful advice, not necessarily always the correct advice, but you feel they are acting in your interest. 
  2. Mentors don't have to be someone older than you, but someone who can give insight into something you need help with. 
  3. Mentorship is getting assistance and perspective in the domains that you don't have expertise in. 


  • “A good way to help people is with food and give them what you would expect or hope for how somebody would help you.”- Patrick O'Neill
  • “Have a mindset that mentors don't fall out from the sky, have an understanding of what you think your broad needs are in terms of advice or coaching” - Patrick O'Neill

Transcript of Episode 32 with Patrick O'Neill - Find a Great Mentor

Scott Tucker:     All right. Hey everyone. Welcome back yet again to Veteran Wealth Secrets. I'm Scott Tucker. And thanks for joining us whenever you're seeing this be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you're seeing this over on Facebook, do us a favor, hop over to YouTube and make sure you're subscribed over there.

We actually had got a bunch of people newly subscribed over the weekend. Folks were board locked down during the Thanksgiving, but either way, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and the next conversation we're going to have I'm really excited to talk again, someone I met a long time ago and I went and I made a long time ago, but your year and a half, two years ago, At west point entrepreneurship summit, we might've seen each other, a few of those other conferences as well.

There's a bunch of those that were going on there, but Patrick O'Neill CEO of amp. You're good. I've loved those types of. Groups as they come together. Cause you tend to find mentors. And I know that's what you wanted to talk about today. That's something coming out of the military, even in the military, having a good mentor at some capacity, whether that you're in your command or not is something you don't always get to choose.

And. But when you get out in the real world, whether you're looking for a job and doing a normal military transition or getting into business identifying what a mentor is, and I've I write about my book. I didn't have a good experience with mentors. I realized that I was falsely led into something, but anyways, that's not what this is about.

But quickly, why don't you tell us a little bit about your story of getting out of the military? How'd you get into entrepreneurship?

Patrick O'Neill: Yeah, sure. The beginning of the military pieces I went on active duty in 82 after I graduated from west point and went into the army Corps of engineers.

Had a great five years in the middle eighties serving on active duty. But I grew up in a entrepreneurial family and when it came time for me to decide whether to continue my active duty service or to really just do something else What I've learned from my parents growing up was a real strong pulp.

And so I left active duty and began a career that has turned out to be a mix of working for some big companies. Starting a couple of companies, myself, selling some companies across a couple of different industries.

Scott Tucker: Oh, very cool. W what's like life life, like for you these days as has the whole lockdown and stuff, has that impacted what you're doing?

I'm guessing I'm really excited to hear about amp. You're good. Cause it seems like you're doing some social things and and especially, with people losing their jobs, losing their businesses, it sounds like what you're up to is needed more and more.

Patrick O'Neill: Yeah we've been very fortunate.

If you're good as a company was we're about seven years old at this point it was really founded on the idea that there are a wide variety of we'll call them social issues. A lot of people will think about them in terms of social impact and we've got Expertise in technology marketing strategy and how to build public private partnerships.

And so what we've done along the way is look for things that we thought we could apply a business solution to that would generate a social impact and do it at some great scale. What I've got behind me give healthy that's a brand that we developed. I'll get into the details of that in a moment.

But our two main projects these days are both. Fundamentally public health related projects. One is called stop the bleed. We partner with the department of defense Homeland security, a bunch of healthcare organizations actually taking something that is transferring military knowledge into the private sector.

And that is that that campaign is about teaching people, how to stop traumatic bleeding that somebody might be experiencing, whether it's a car accident or they might've gotten shot, or, some other way that they've damaged or opened up an artery and are in danger of bleeding out and bleeding to death.

So the emission of that campaign is to train people much. Like they know CPR. So that if they come upon somebody who's bleeding that way, they know what to do to stop the bleeding until a professional help arrives. That's one campaign that whose ambition is to train 200 million people domestically.

And it comes out of the military because about 15 years ago, there were a lot of soldiers dying on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan who were just bleeding out before they could get to a mash unit. And soldiers were trained how to stop bleeding, using a tourniquet. And there's some other things you might use.

And as soon as that training took place and soldiers were carrying tourniquets on their body the number of people on the battlefield dying from a blood loss dropped dramatically. So it was a proven way to save lives. And here in the United States, there's about 40,000 people each year that die from blood loss.

And a lot of them can be saved if somebody that's nearby knows what to do because. Depending on where you're cut, so to speak, you can bleed out in three minutes, maybe five, 10 minutes. And it usually takes a first responder 10 to 15 minutes to get to the scene of an incident, correct.

And whatnot. So the only people that can really help are those that are right there. If they know what to do. And the other big project for us in my background is give healthy. And the idea of give healthy is that No hunger. And it's been getting a lot of attention lately with the pandemic effects on, on, on people there's over 50 million people who are going to food pantries and food banks this holiday season, because they don't have enough to eat.

And so one of the popular things that happened this time of the year is organizations do food drives. And most people are familiar. What you do with the food drive. You get some canned food, you bring it to a collection box someplace, and then it gets to a food pantry or a food bank. And our idea was to develop a different model of how to donate food.

That's essentially an online model so that people could donate fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned goods. And the idea behind that is that. The people who go, who are needing food assistance have very high rates of diet related health issues. And the reason for that is because they have a bad diet.

And the idea that they would go to a food pantry or a food bank and get a cheap canned foods, which is generally not high quality food that sort of exacerbates their health issues. It might feed them that day. The food assistance network has really been working hard to try and up the nutritional value of the food that they distribute.

So we're a way to turn food drives from collecting canned goods. Some of which are fine, but many of which are not. To enable people to donate fresh fruits and vegetables, and it's an online model. In answer to how amp your good is doing are give healthy. Part of our business has exploded as a, as an online way to do something that you just can't do with companies operating remote and schools operating remotely.

So we're working with hundreds and hundreds of groups around the country who are running very successful food drives raising fresh fruits and vegetables. And our team right now is as busy as they can be. So that's that's. Good news for our business, that we have a solution to a problem that really exists right now.

And our stop, the bleed stuff is down a little bit because the number one public health issue right now is obviously the pandemic. Businesses, a balance it's it's good. And then just a moment trying to work family and business balance, which probably most struggle with, and we have three kids in college.

They've been gone to online learning with the pandemic. So they're all back home now, even though the semester has an end for a couple of weeks and they're cooped up feeling cooped up like SAR. But it's basically okay.

Scott Tucker: Yeah. Now's the time I like to think for opportunity.

It's Hey, we still got the internet. This is a time like we've never had an all human history. Given what you're doing, taking food drives online, so to speak. How intuitive, just to see an opportunity there that was clearly being missed, that's what entrepreneurship is.

And I think, many veterans who went in when we're getting out and we think. Oh, I know I want to get out. I want to start a business. So that means go get an LLC, find a lawyer, get some funding, w what's the business, when really the best thing to do is say, Hey, there's a problem.

That's not being solved. I want to see if I can solve it.

Patrick O'Neill: Yeah. You know the truth. I I think most people, if they take a moment to think about it, Are probably a subject matter expert in some problem. Some something that they can see right in front of them, that many people experience. And I think taking the approach that, I don't like the way this works or I think there's a better way to do it with something that you're familiar with, as opposed to, just starting to read books about problems, a lot, there's a lot of educational value in, in reading about what others have done.

But I think that. Trying to tackle problems that you have some understanding. And I think coming out of the military, just by virtue of the training that we've all received, we're all either natural problem solvers or we've learned how to be problem solvers. And in the case of food drives the food drive market, if you will, you've got a hundred million people that donate food and food drives every year in this country.

That's billions of dollars worth of food. And I became familiar with it because we have four kids and the school that they all have gone to locally grade school does a food drive every year. And I was very frustrated with the fact that. In health class, most of us would have taken health class in middle school.

Their health class has had about a week of classes on health and nutrition, basically what food you should eat and what food you should avoid or eat less of. And most of us would understand what's on the list of things you should eat and what's on the list. You should not eat or not eat too much of.

I think most of us have that. Knowledge. So the kids would all come home with these lists and then invariably, a month or two later, the school would do a food drive. And the list of things that the kids were asked to bring in were a much closer match with the list of things that they should eat less of than the healthy food.

And the biggest reason for that was all the healthier stuff tends to be perishables. Whether it's fruits, vegetables cuts of meat, so on and so forth. So that was very frustrating to me. And it tied into something that I learned growing up. I grew up in a restaurant family.

One of six, we all worked with mom and dad growing up in this restaurant, doing all the jobs you can do. It was at a small community and my parents one of their ways of helping the community was to make meals for people who were in tough circumstances, usually temporary, tough circumstances, but some kind of distress.

And so I really learned growing up that a good way to help people is with food. And and my parents would make meals that were essentially restaurant quality meals. And their perspective was if you're going to help somebody, you don't help them with the leftovers. You. You give them what you would expect or hope for how somebody would help you.

So it was always, good. My parents were good, cooks the restaurant had good food. So we were bringing, what we thought of is pretty high quality food. Understanding how to help people with food or having that as part of my DNA and then being very frustrated with how these food drives were working.

Those were the kind of two touch points that got me really thinking there's gotta be a better way. And. Yeah. That's what led to the guilt get healthy part of what we do.

Scott Tucker: Yeah. Yeah. It sounds like, getting back to the topic, we want to dive into a little bit deeper growing up with your parents in the restaurant business, I don't know if you consider them mentors or not.

Probably. I think we all consider our parents mentors in one way, but you were able to witness them actually seeing an opportunity to help people. And then so many years later, You're like, ah, I have a skill set. I can implement it, but going into the military obviously mentorship's a big topic there too.

And in business, Patrick, what's mentorship mean to you and how do we find a good mentor? Because in this day and age, it's easier that it can connect with anybody, with things like LinkedIn and stuff. But sometimes that can be a detriment if we're not

Patrick O'Neill: careful. Yeah you're right, Scott, I think I wouldn't have thought about the Ms.

Mentors growing up. They were my parents. They happened to be great examples to learn a lot of things that I was able to apply later on. But in terms of we're broadly how I thought about mentorship, let's say, post leading mom and dad and getting out into the world I was very fortunate to have a great mentor, almost fall into my lap.

It was my first boss after I left active duty. And that was a long time ago. That's, 35 years ago at this point. And that relationship started, then it continues to this day. It's somebody who's almost 20 years older than I am. And besides, working for him for several years post working for him and getting a lot of great advice during that time.

He is we've had a lifelong relationship that covers a lot of ground. I've been very fortunate to have some other mentors along the way who didn't fall into my lap. And I guess what I would pass along his advice is that when you're looking for a job, for instance most of us will do some research on different companies will, invest a lot of time trying to land a job that were, that works for us.

I think most of the advice that people would get is, if you don't have a job and you're looking for a job, your full-time job is doing the things you need to do to find a job that works for you. If you're leading a team, if you're in a management position and you're looking for new hires, you're interviewing a lot of people.

And I think that being very purposeful about finding people. Start with one and presumably more over time, who can be your mentors is requires you to put the, have the same mindset as looking for a job. And that means, you can meet people who are prospective mentors and you decide it doesn't work for you.

They may decide it doesn't work for them, but and you, and it may work for awhile. And then you realize you might need something else. But having the mindset that mentors don't fall out of the sky and it's just oh boy, I, you know what just happened to me? You really if you have an understanding of what you think your broad needs are in terms of advice and coaching or connections what I found is that if approaching people to form a relationship that could lead to a mentorship if it's intentional and you've done homework and that person can appreciate, you're investing your time and energy to try and develop that relationship, you have a much better chance of having those kinds of conversations that can lead to.

Okay. This is. This is our relationship. And I've had a multi-decade career at this point. Some of my mentors now are much younger than me because they are digitally fluent or fluent in things that are happening, that I just don't have an ability to have direct experience with.

So I think it's I would advocate. Very strongly for anyone, no matter what you're doing to think about developing a couple of mentors that can help you and presumably you offer some value to them, but mostly to think about it as an area that it can be as beneficial as any next job that might be, a step up the ladder or a company you're starting to have people who will Care to take the time to give you thoughtful advice, not always the correct advice, but thoughtful advice that you feel that they are acting in, in, in your interest, in their role.

Scott Tucker: Do you think that the definition mentorship is changing given the new age we're in? You just said it and I've been mentoring always considered to be somebody much older than you, but it's no, it's somebody who can give me insight into something that I need help with. And this world is changing, not just technological, but it's just changing in so many different ways.

And a lot of times maybe mentorship goes

Patrick O'Neill: both ways. I think that's, I think that's spot on. I, we've got a a 12 year age gap between our oldest and our youngest child and the technology differences between the oldest and the youngest in terms of what tools they use to communicate how they communicate.

Our younger kids are text first communicators. Our older kids are not and. The gap between my wife and I, our kids are, 30 plus years and we've seen so much change as our older kids were going through. Let's say your teens and into their twenties.

And then another big change again let's say correlated with smartphones and the iPhone 11 years ago or so. And I see things continuing to. The change rapidly. So I think mentorship to your point, Scott is getting some assistance and perspective in domains that you don't have the expertise.

So I agree. Yeah. Do you

Scott Tucker: actually, in that regard are veterans too. Likely to only seek other veterans for mentorship. And should we be looking in that domain of the civilian world? Like how do we communicate? What's it really like out there for someone who hasn't, lived on a base and enclosed for offer a few years.

How do we find more civilian mentors and get them involved with the veteran community? Because I know they want to be, they're always like, oh gosh, thank you for a service. We want to help. I dunno.

Patrick O'Neill: And that's another great point, Scott. I think that the military community active retired or, post active duty, it's a very small percentage of the whole population.

And just from a law of numbers, there's more activity going on outside of the military community Veteran community than inside of it. And what I've observed along the way is that I think that there obviously is a natural affinity between veterans, you, whether you serve in the same branch or different branches, or you were in the same branch in the same specialty area, Yeah, there's a common bond of a service to country.

And sometimes, maybe we did the same job or we were in the same unit. There's different levels of connectedness, but there is that common bond that makes it more comfortable to communicate with people who, you have something in common that's important.

And I think. Veterans should support each other in that way. The danger is that spending all your time doing that cuts you off from the vast majority of what else has happened, putting out there. And and as you said, as you say, I think there are many people who lie outside of the veteran community who are very interested in supporting veterans But they need some help in figuring out what that actually means.

And so I think it's more incumbent on veterans to Get involved in the non-veteran community, there are veterans chambers of commerce for instance, that I think a lot of veterans participate in, but if you belong to one of those, you ought to belong to the chamber of commerce.

That's in your area. That's not the prince chamber of commerce and spend time in both. I think that would help most people, net.

Scott Tucker: No, absolutely. Bottom line is we're the ones who have to put ourselves out there and learn the skills because you said it we're a small set of the population.

And so we can't assume that everybody's just gonna be out there and do take care of us and tell us exactly what to do. Patrick, thank you so much for coming on and sharing so much insight on something that's. know, It's so important I think is overlooked in, especially if even so you've inspired me to I need to be seeking out again.

Cause if you did have a bad experience and maybe it wasn't a bad experience, but it's oh, maybe I outgrew my mentors or something like that. Thinking about it in a different light. As we

Patrick O'Neill: wrap up here,

Scott Tucker: No, your missions are you're a for-profit mission, right? Gosh, I think that's so important.

I So genius, because. There's so many nonprofits out there that struggle because they're all looking for funding or whatever, when really they're a business, anyways, what's wrong with getting a profit. You can actually help more people because you can scale and grow. And as you said you're working with hundreds of organizations for these missions, which are.

Usually considered to be a nonprofit thing who should be connecting with you? W what

Patrick O'Neill: yeah an easy one for this time of the year is there's a wide variety of organizations that do food drives this time of the year. And schools, businesses, civic organizations, faith-based organizations, and many of them just can't because they're operating remotely.

People can go to give It's a great website that explains how we work. We make it very easy to do a food drive for whatever food pantry or food bank you want to support here in the United States. That's something I certainly would advocate for both because we're a way to get it done, but it really is importantly right now the numbers are staggering.

It was 53 million people who are going to food banks right now. One in four children don't have enough to eat and, in our country. It's mind boggling.

Scott Tucker: Yeah I've seen the videos of the lines of cars and everything, and yet. We're destroying crops like this is a crazy time that we're in.

So thank you so much for being a true entrepreneur and solving a real problem and making it available to the masses. I know there are a lot of veteran service organizations out there that, Maybe not usually it's maybe helping homeless veterans or something along those lines. I know that there's lots of groups out there that could use your service, so appreciate it.

We'll make sure we get it out there and get it into as many hands as possible, but cool.

Patrick O'Neill: Cool. Appreciate it really great to be on with you today. No,

Scott Tucker: I appreciate it. It's always great to talk to another west point entrepreneur. And and maybe find another mentor in my own life. So it's thank you so much for coming on and sharing everything you're

Patrick O'Neill: up.

Are we allowed to say beat Navy does that? Yeah,

Scott Tucker: of course. If they if they don't do an air force did and canceled the game, which is, but we'll see. Cool. Thanks again. And thanks everybody for joining us again. Make sure you subscribe and we'll see you next time.

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