CXO Conversation Podcast

Jack Blaha

From West Point to the Boardroom: Jack Blaha’s Leadership Odyssey

In this episode of CXO Conversations, host Michael Mitchel sits down with Jack Blaha, CEO of Cendyn, to explore his journey from a West Point graduate and Army veteran to a seasoned executive leader. Blaha shares his unique insights on the transition from military to civilian life, emphasizing the crucial role adaptability and leadership skills played in his successful career in the corporate world. Throughout the episode, he reflects on the various challenges and learnings from his time as CEO across different sectors within the SaaS industry, such as hospitality and social media marketing.

Blaha discusses the importance of emotional intelligence and the significant impact a CEO’s presence can have on a company’s culture and performance. He underscores the value of mentorship, building a supportive network, and the need for continuous leadership development. Offering practical advice to aspiring leaders, Blaha emphasizes excelling in current roles, understanding the nuances of different business functions, and the importance of building and maintaining a professional network. He also shares his approach to team building in new companies, often bringing trusted team members to ensure a smooth operational transition.

The episode is not only a deep dive into Blaha’s personal and professional experiences but also serves as a valuable resource for current and aspiring business leaders. His journey illustrates the universality of leadership qualities and the importance of learning from each step of one’s career. Blaha’s story is a compelling narrative of how military-honed skills can be effectively translated into the business world, offering listeners rich insights and practical takeaways for their leadership journey.

Thank you to ACG Denver for being a sponsor of CXO Conversations Podcast. Association for Corporate Growth in its role as the hub of the middle market business community for quality networking, education and events. Connections are made, deals are formed and thought leadership is exchanged.  

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What you will learn in this episode:

  • How military experience can be effectively leveraged in corporate leadership.
  • The significance of adaptability and leadership skills in business success.
  • Strategies for transitioning successfully from a military to a civilian career.
  • The impact of emotional intelligence on shaping company culture and performance.
  • The importance of mentorship and building a robust professional network.
  • Best practices for team building and operational efficiency in new companies.
  • Insights into navigating different sectors within the SaaS industry.
  • Key lessons learned from various CEO roles and how they can apply to your career.
  • Practical advice for aspiring leaders on career advancement and skill development.


πŸŽ™οΈ Meet Jack Blaha: A Leader’s Journey (00:00:48)

πŸ›οΈ Why West Point? Unveiling Jack’s Choice (00:01:36)

βš”οΈ Battlefield to Boardroom: Military Impact (00:02:04)

πŸ”„ The Soldier to CEO Transition (00:03:11)

πŸ› οΈ Skills Forged in Service (00:03:43)

πŸ“Š Melding Military Tactics with Business Strategy (00:04:31)

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’Ό CEO Chronicles: Hard-Earned Lessons (00:05:39)

πŸ“š Embracing Feedback and Lifelong Learning (00:08:29)

πŸ€” Confronting Leadership Hurdles (00:09:40)

πŸš€ CEO Success Stories and Challenges (00:10:21)

🌐 Diving into Diverse SaaS Domains (00:11:03)

πŸ… First-Time CEO: Thrills and Fears (00:12:11)

🀝 The Power of Networking and Mentorship (00:13:40)

🧠 The Emotional Intelligence of a CEO (00:15:53)

πŸ™ A Word of Thanks to Our Sponsors (00:18:35)

πŸ’Ό Private Equity vs. Public Markets Leadership (00:19:01)

πŸ“ˆ The Sweet Spot of Mid-Market Leadership (00:20:53)

🌟 Guiding VPs to CEO Success (00:21:02)

πŸ”— Cultivating a Strong Professional Network (00:22:42)

🏒 Assembling Winning Teams in New Ventures (00:23:37)

πŸš€ Fostering Future Leaders (00:24:49)

🌐 Broadening Horizons: Beyond Core Functions (00:27:44)

βš™οΈ Military Precision in Corporate Strategy (00:29:19)

πŸ”„ Never Stop Evolving as a Leader (00:30:52)

Resources and links

Thank you Jalan Crossland for lending your award-winning banjo skills to CXO Conversations.

Listen on:

Join host Michael Mitchel in a conversation with Jack Blaha, CEO of Cendyn, as they delve into his journey from West Point and military service to becoming a prominent figure in the corporate world. Blaha delves into the synergy between his military discipline and his achievements in the fast-paced world of SaaS industries like hospitality and social media marketing. He sheds light on the pivotal role of emotional intelligence in shaping company culture and the profound impact of a CEO's leadership style, offering invaluable advice for ambitious leaders on mastering the art of adaptability, the art of building robust professional networks, and the subtle art of leading successful teams.