Veterans are asset as motivational speakers & corporate trainers

– Start making a living, making a difference

Who are Veterans?

The veterans are retired Army, Navy and Air Force officers. They are men and women who died serving their country in a war, and the soldiers who are still alive and served in the forces during peace or war are remembered and respected around the world. They have hundreds of inspiring stories and tons of experience from their service career, which they all love to share and boast with their colleagues and batchmates. Let their experiences of days gone be shared with institutions, corporate professionals and public at large.

Military and armed forces’ personnel are best at motivation, inspiration, and team building. They are expert in overcoming adversity and performing under insurmountable pressure. The speakers from military and armed forces are bound to bring you engaging keynote speeches and impactful training sessions. Most people believe that the kind of discipline and approach that defence personnel have is way ahead from normal civilians. They have seen and lived life, amidst the most difficult situations, learnt how to deal with adversities and win any losing battle. They have been making the highest sacrifices to protect their country. They are known for their etiquettes, courtesies and the ability to tackle difficult situations. Hence, many institutions and corporate houses are now getting Veterans on board to train their students and employees in various aspects these days. Is enough being done? Is this trend catching up in India Inc.?

Why Veterans?

Talking about the kind of training that corporate houses take from Veterans, are numerous training modules which include leadership, basic etiquettes, team work, camaraderie, corporate security, interpersonal and communication skills. Training programs can be customized as per client requirement, wherein the importance is on the character and mental strength building, that is instilling values and integrity.

So, what is it that ex-military men add to training for students and working professionals? Veteran officers bring with them a rich experience that is shaped by their stint in the forces; they are disciplined, methodical, and egalitarian in general. Basically, their outlook towards life is very positive considering the tough environment in which they have operated, and thus, they can share some very relevant messages to students and employees in most learning environment.

While talking about veterans, Vice Admiral MP Awati, a great seafarer, in his last days (2018) from hospital bed said,

“The sense of discipline, and the spirit of can do, will do, has a very positive effect on others. Moreover, Veterans can create excellent outbound activities aimed at fostering team building and leadership development in any group that they work with”.

In one of my campus to corporate, outbound experiential learning program (2006) for HCC, a participant, Sheetal Swaminathan, shares her experience, and says,

“Military officers have always left an impression in my mind, of being true Indians who are sincere, both with their life and work. With their great experience and learning during wars, they try to impart those qualities within you using different procedures and methodologies. They have their own justified set of rules and regulations sometimes they are harsh, they make you work harder. There is one thing for sure, when you are physically and mentally broken down, they are the real motivators and will rebuild you from the ground.”

What kind of training a Veteran can conduct?

These are not only comprehensive but help an individual to hone their professional as well as personal skills. For example, one of my modules included solving a murder mystery, which allows team members to find clues, derive inferences, communicate effectively with peers and superiors. It helps then to learn negotiation and arrive at their objective.

With increasing pressure and expectations at the workplace, these trainings imparted by Veterans are certainly proving to be a boon for a few corporate houses with their employees becoming more disciplined and committed to what they are doing. They also assist sensitization of students, the process of making someone react to something that previously had no effect.

But why aren’t other institutions and organizations opting for, such training? Yes, the Veterans are ready to be invited by educational institutions, corporate professionals and public at large as motivational speakers and mentors. It’s time to listen and time to speak? Are Principals and Directors of institutions listening?

Let’s meet some outstanding Veterans

The most Veterans look forward to rest, relaxation, golf, family time and travel. Meet some of the successful Veteran officers who have excelled as behavioural trainers and motivational speakers, along with golf and travel.

Brigadier Sushil Bhasin: He has a training and speaking experience of 34 years in the Indian Army and 14 years in the Corporate. His forte is Leadership and Teamwork, and he brings his experience of Military Leadership to the Corporate. His workshops are based on Experiential Learning and Facilitation and are full of fun. He is a keynote & TEDx speaker and a storyteller. He inspires audiences with his military and corporate stories. He has authored number of books relating to training and self-development.

Vice Admiral Pradeep Chauhan: He is a much sought-after leadership mentor and an outstanding orator. Over the years he has been repeatedly invited to speak upon an impressive array of subjects to discerning audiences in India and abroad and has mesmerised them all. He is also a prolific writer on maritime affairs and leadership issues.

Lt Col Ajay Chaudhari: He is an RCS (Results Coaching System) Certified Coach has over three decades work experience in the areas of HR, operations, consulting, coaching, assessment centres, development centres and training. A trained behavioural analyst, his expertise lies in skill and behavioural modification. He is also a certified Pranic healer. As a trainer, he focuses on providing opportunities for experiential learning for his participants.

Captain Raghu Raman: He is a leadership, change management, strategy and persuasion faculty in leading Business Schools and Companies, which comes easily with his Army background.  He has been CEO NATGRID and UN peacekeeper. In addition, Raghu is a columnist for the leading Business Newspaper – MINT and the author of the bestselling book “Everyman’s War”, published by Random House. Above all, he is also a TEDx speaker.

Major Gaurav Arya: He is considered a passionate advocate of the soldier’s point of view on the television. He also speaks about the brave Army men who have gone to the extremes, pushed the limits and emerged victorious… but not always. They’ve also taken the falls, losses, disappointments and setbacks as lessons and insights gained to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges and obstacles.

Commander Rajindra Dutta: He was a pilot’s flying training instructor (QFI) in the Indian Navy and has motivated and groomed several students for pre-SSB (Services Selection Board) training. He has been invited to a few institutions as a keynote speaker. He has been a Master of Ceremonies with a rich baritone and a prolific writer and a Blogger:

Wing Commander Pooja Thakur: She is a persuasive communicator with ingrained leadership traits who loves to seize the moment proactively. An active speaker since Student days and a sought-after corporate speaker since the past few years.  She uses her personal and professional experiences in her talks to inspire, motivate and guide the students and professionals alike. Lofty lady officer became the first woman officer to lead a tri-services Guard of Honour in 2016 when President Obama visited India for the Republic Day parade.

Cadet Navin Gulia: An ex-Army officer-cadet and a world record holder in adventure sports, is a multiple award winning, internationally acclaimed, author, adventurer, thinker, orator and social worker. A man who turned disability into a life-affirming force, stretching beyond physical abilities. He was at the Indian Military Academy as a Gentleman Cadet, when a freak accident whilst doing gymnastics paralysed him neck down.

My gratitude for taking a few inputs from ‘Speaking Minds’; link: & ‘Simply Life India Speakers Bureau’

The list is endless, and it would perhaps be in order to add the author’s name as last:

Commander Pratap Singh Mehta: He has a rich experience of working as behavioural coach, super trainer, maritime faculty and Master Mariner. He is also a prolific writer. Besides books on maritime training, he has recently authored a historical memoir, a coffee table book, Rajputana Chronicles – Guns & Glories. He has been invited for talks by King’s College Hospital, London and Civil Services College, Mauritius, besides a few management institutions in Mumbai and outside.

Let’s make a promising start to second innings for the other Veterans.

How do civilians perceive Veterans?

Let’s meet some people on the other side of the fence, who have worked with ex-military men and how do they perceive them.

Sathiyaseelan, Corporate HR (2007), “Based on my personal experience, good thing is that they are process oriented, demanding, result oriented, disciplined in work, excellent communication skills, to name a few. Bad things that I have noticed are language that they use – more commanding, resistance to learn from others especially juniors (youngsters), they demand respect than commanding it, they have superiority complex that they know everything, to name a few.”

Rajat Joshi, CEO (2010), “I may be biased in my opinion as my father was in the army who also served in the private security sector after his retirement. My take is that – yes undoubtedly, they are disciplined and focused in their approach and possess excellent interpersonal skills which is critical in the industry. Why should they limit their options to security, HR & Admin alone? They are potential leaders and should aim to be CEOs of mid-size firms and start-ups. Yes, for that they need to upgrade themselves.

Sparky, Black Belt (United Kingdom, 2009), “The only downside I have ever come across with ex forces personnel is original thinking. Because they are used to following orders and procedures, they sometimes lose the innovation spark.

NS Narang, Hospitality & Events (2008), “The expectations from an ex-Army officer become quite routine and predictable, and slowly they get into a comfort zone, after years of hard life. In other words, complacency sets in as in any other job.

Dinesh V Divekar, Freelance Soft Skill & Behavioural Trainer (2012), “They have good writing skills and ability to create process. Limitations are too many for a business firm. Biggest problem is lack of commercial thinking or commercial sense. They are driven by rules rather than results. Most officers get caught in the nitty-gritty and do not visualize larger picture. At times their mouth is ‘Weapon of mass destruction’.  They are super yes-men and expect same to be from their juniors.’

These are individual experiences and may be partly true. However, the above areas do need attention from Veterans to reflect and contemplate.

My sincere gratitude for above inputs from link below. A few additions and deletions have been made to bring impact in writing:

Cdr Pratap Singh Mehta

Author | Behavioural Coach | Veteran Indian Navy

Email id:


Twitter: @captainpsm


Mobile: +91 9920103737

Addressing doctors and other staff at Kings College Hospital, London (2018). The talk organised by KCH Hindu Society.
With Director Civil Service College, Mauritius (2017) after the workshop on Stress-Free Living, organised by L&D Institute, Mauritius.

24 thoughts on “Veterans are asset as motivational speakers & corporate trainers

  1. Very well written! However I am very surprised to see that one of the top most motivational speakers of the country’s name is left out, who is also an Army veteran incidentally, and has been invited to give TEDx talks the maximum number of times, not just in India! 16 TEDx talks by one person is totally unprecedented!
    Such an amazing article looks incomplete Sir! Jai Hind..

    1. Thanks for appreciating and inspiring. Yes, I have purposely left 16 TEDx speakers name. Who doesn’t know Modi? Who doesn’t know Obama? Who doesn’t know Sam Manekshaw?… There is no need to talk about them..! Got it..? Jai Hind. Apologies for late response as there was some technical glitch in me (Admin) getting notifications. Take care Rajalakshmi.

  2. Wow it is such a comprehensive write up on both the strengths and weaknesses of veterans as perceived by the outside world … thank you Sir for this write up …
    Lt Cdr Sadhana

  3. Brilliant read sir !!! Very true Fauji’s make the best motivational speakers. In all my 16 TEDx talks and a couple of my Josh Talks I have always taken the reference of Fauj…

  4. Dear Mr. Pratap Mehta,
    I congratulate myself for reading this article and thereby express my heartfelt gratitude to you for bringing out unique dimensions of veterans and different perspectives of corporate/ Institutional leaders. One can sense great amount of patience and coordination that has gone into building this incredible contribution. Brig Sushil Bhasin has changed million minds so far and it was through him that I could know some more veterans closely. He has become an awesome combination of styles prevalent in defense and ones relevant in corporates. Thank you once again. Looking forward for more such remarkable reads.

    Sulekha Chandra
    Founder – Gyan Paradise

  5. The article was very candid and inspiring. These Respected veterans are asset to the society and guides to the genext. They never tell what to do, rather they emphasise on why to do and of all WHAT WORKED BETTER THROUGH THE CHANGING TIMES.

  6. True Sir, Veterans – a bank of well trained, experienced
    and available faculty to the community and industry in particular for training all levels and multifarious jobs. No doubt their devotion, dedication, honesty, integrity, straightforwardness and discipline makes them standout in our society. Their potential needs to be tapped for enriching our youngsters and future generations.

  7. Salute to the Veterans and all defence personnel! Undoubtedly there is so much one can learn from your experience, knowledge and life. The industry can benefit immensely from these trainings.

  8. Veterans are very brave and lively people. They are full of discipline in their life. Everything perfect. My one brother lt colonel Ravinder Singh chopra recieved padamshree award. My other brother retired as lt.general Gurvinder Singh Chopra from medicine . Proud of my family of veterans. Tough life for them emotionally and physically both. Respect for all the soldiers.

    1. Dear Amandeep… very proud of you and your family. My prayer for you today is that the almighty God never cease blessing you and your family, and that you see more remarkable days like today.

  9. There is no doubt about motivation – discipline through which Defence personnel can journey one. Behaviour Pattern with superiors – peers & juniors they can well carve out & add to that their sense of Humour – fun – frolic mix makes the journey joyful & no monotony. Jaanbaaz Dileri lessons to face adversity with conviction & courage they will inject into you. Highest respects for them always.

  10. Totally agree. Veterans have much more to contribute than being security in charge. Time for the industry bigwigs to think big and beyond.

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