CXO Conversation Podcast

BoD Kevin Chilton, Discusses the Board Role & Reaching C Suite pt2

This is Part 2 of the interview with General Kevin Patrick ‘Chilli’ Chilton. Tune in for discussion filled with advice on reaching the C-Suite, sitting on good boards and finding balance.


A note to those who have not served in the Armed Forces: I will be referring to our guest as either General or by his call sign of ‘Chilli’ out of respect for his rank and his service to our country.



General Kevin Patrick ‘Chilli’ Chilton graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and has flown pretty much every aircraft in the Air Force inventory including the RF4, F15, U2, and the B52. He attended test-pilot school, served around the world and was selected as an astronaut that included three shuttle missions. He was also the Deputy Program Manager of Operations for the International Space Station. He then returned to the Air Force for key postings such as the Commander of the Ninth Recon Wing, Commander of the Eighth Air Force, and Commander of the Air Force Space Command and the United States Strategic Command. He is currently the only astronaut to obtain the rank of 4-star General. Chilli has served on the boards of Anadarko, Orbital, Aerospace Corporation and both level three and post-merger with Centurylink today as well as with Aerojet Rocketdyne.



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FINDING C-LEVEL CANDIDATES [1:50] The General explains how the search process goes from the public, private, and non-profit board’s perspective. He also shares some tips on how to be considered for C-Level in an organization.


[4:15] Chilli touches on how many boards are too many boards.


GOOD BOARD, BAD BOARD [6:32] The General has never been on a bad board, so we take the time to ask him how to build a good one. He shares what first surprised him about being on a board as well as the difference between sitting on a Fortune 500 company board and small private ones.


[10:52] Chilli explains how he keeps himself up-to-date on board trends.


A CEO ON THE BOARD [11:39] Chilli shares his thoughts on having the CEO sit on the board, even chair, and what the really important success factor really is as well as what the number one purpose of the board is.


DIFFERENT STROKES [14:00] Having served on boards in so many different sectors, Chilli shares the similarities and differences in the roles he held, he shares his insights on one experience.


LISTENER QUESTION! [17:43] The General answers: ‘How can public companies better leverage their boards?’


ASPIRING CXO’s [20:52] Chilli shares his advice for aspiring CXO’s — no one does anything on their own.


HIS BEST DECISION [21:59] General Kevin Patrick ‘Chilli’ Chilton shares his wife’s military service.


AN ASTRONAUT’S WORK-LIFE BALANCE [24:25] The General touches on how he and his wife managed impressive military careers and four children. He makes a point about leadership.


CHILI’S ADVICE FOR HIS YOUNGER SELF [27:20] Keep your options open and don’t burn any bridges.


BEST WORST JOB CHILI EVER HAD [29:35] Can you believe Chilli’s never had a bad job?


READ, LISTEN AND GET IN TOUCH [31:10] Right now, the General is reading on History.


[33:08] Michael thanks Chili for coming on the podcast to share his insight and closes out the podcast with his favorite takeaways.


We hope you learned something today and enjoyed the conversation. Please give us 5 stars on iTunes and share your comments so we can improve and ask the questions you want to hear.






Jalan Crossland for the music

Angela Johnson at OC Executive Search

Joseph Batty at Podfly

Corey Coates at Podfly


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