Wednesday 1 February 2023
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Raphael Hernandez: Making it happen, and other lessons in Creative Leadership from the USMC

Season 2 of Stories of Creative Leadership continues with Lt. Col. Raphael Hernandez, Chief Marketing Officer, Marine Corps Recruiting Command.

Raphael Hernandez, intrepidNOWSome highlights from the conversation:

We define creative leadership as the leadership responsibility to create the environment for others to be creative and drive innovation. In the USMC culture, how do you accomplish this?

There seems to be many lessons corporate America can learn from the concept of Commander’s Intent. Is it fair to say that trust is the critical component of making it all work? What advice can you give corporate leaders about building a culture of trust so that they can empower employees to improvise and be creative problem solvers?

“Leadership is hard.”

Some listening today might only think of innovation in the military as it applies to technological advancements. Can you share some examples of how the leadership principles of the USMC help inspire innovative thinking across all levels?

“Espirit de Corps.” The importance of team.

The USMC mantras of “Improvise. Adapt. Overcome” and “Make it Happen” seem to be applicable for any organization. Can you share a story or two of how this spirit encourages creative thinking? Something tells me you don’t hear many Marines complaining or saying, “That can’t be done.”

“Can’t really means I won’t.”

Lt. Col. Hernandez tackles the 7 C’s Lightening Round. We serve up each of the 7 C’s of Creative Leadership and ask the Col. to provide a short, pithy soundbite as to why they’re important for fostering creative thinking and innovation: Communication, Curiosity, Creativity, Connecting, Culture, Change, Courage

Miles Finch, Tony Vengrove, intrepidNOW

Lieutenant Colonel Raphael Hernandez_ver3 (2013)Lieutenant Colonel Raphael Hernandez currently serves as the Chief Marketing Officer for the Marine Corps Recruiting Command and in coordination with J. Walter Thompson Atlanta, the Corps’ advertising agency, leads a strategically aligned, multi-million dollar, national level, research driven integrated marketing program designed to increase brand awareness, generate high quality leads for 3,700 plus enlisted and officer recruiters located across the United States and support their sales support needs.

Lieutenant Colonel Hernandez has served in the United States Marine Corps for 21 plus years and has extensive experience in logistics, strategic and operational planning and execution, recruiting operations and organizational leadership. He earned a business degree from the University of Texas At El Paso and a Masters in Organizational Leadership from National University, LaJolla, California.

He has served in Afghanistan and Iraq and in 2011 was part of a 6 person planning team who assisted the Department of State at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, to rapidly develop contingency plans as a result of the 9.0 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis. In addition, he served as the Director of Operations and Logistics, for the Third Marine Expeditionary Brigade during Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief Missions in the Sri Lanka in 2009 and the Philippines in 2009 and 2010.

Lieutenant Colonel Hernandez volunteers as a mentor and volunteer marketing advisor for the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum as well as serves as the Assistant Leader for the recently launched DEF Agora Quantico chapter.

Raphael and his beautiful wife Paula reside in Virginia. They have two children, Sarah Ann, a Penn State Graduate and Brand Manager for Top Shop and Dominic Raphael Hernandez, a High School Senior who is passionate about Lacrosse and Photography.


1. See the complete roster of guests for Season 2 – The Stories of Creative Leadership!

2. CLICK HERE to sign-up to intrepidBUSINESS – and not miss a single episode!

Tony Vengrove, IntrepidNOW, creative leadership, innovationAbout Tony Vengrove, the Co-Host!

Tony Vengrove founded Miles Finch Innovation with the goal of helping companies shatter the cultural barriers that interfere with corporate innovation. He’s an innovation omnivore with a passion for fostering creative thinking in organizations.

Drawing upon more that twenty years of experience in global ad agencies like Grey, Saatchi & Saatchi, and F500 roles in brand marketing, business development, and corporate innovation, Tony knows first-hand what it takes to lead innovation and commercialize ideas.

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Co-founder of the intrepidNOW Media Network, Todd Schnick is a media + business strategist and talk show host + producer. He is a former marketing strategist, national political operative, and lobbyist. Todd has published five books, writes a business + lifestyle column, is a distance runner, and lives in Chicago with his wife Stephanie + family.