Each month, the Museum invites you to get to know the staff supporting our pillars to Honor, Connect, Inspire and Educate. Meet Lt. General Michael Ferriter, U.S. Army (Retired), President and CEO.
Q: What is your favorite place in the Museum and why?
A: I always like to say that my favorite place is our front door. It’s what allows all our guests to come in.
Q: What are three words that best describe you?
A: Trusting. Impatient. Optimistic. A person can be very patient but never show it. Whether you show your impatience or not, that’s a choice.
Q: We feature an #NVMMReads recommendation every month, what is a book that you think everyone should have on their “must-read” list?
A: Some of my top recommendations for books are leadership driven. “Start On Purpose” by Susan Schreter talks about being a business startup and all the things that you build into your organization like celebrating everything. We implement that in our end of week meetings every Friday, where each member of the NVMM team shares what their ‘win of the week’ is.
Q: What originally inspired you to start your journey with the NVMM?
A: After having served in the Army for 35 years, I felt there was much more that Margie [my wife] and I could do. So, we looked for a place that would make a difference. I looked at many organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project and the VA but did not end up in those positions. I believe that things happen for the right reasons. The phone eventually rang and someone asked me to join the NVMM as the President and CEO. I knew that people would come in and that would be awesome, but I also felt that we could put together programs that would impact people and change lives.
Q: What has been the most rewarding part of the last 5 years?
A: I think seeing our team grow has been the most rewarding part. I’ve seen us come together, and watching each individual grow into their positions and their lives has been amazing. We’ve had babies and weddings; I get to see how people come together a make more of each other.
Q: What has been the most exciting change you’ve seen at the NVMM during your time as President & CEO?
A: The most exciting change is probably how by coming together as a team, everything is done that much better. When you’re on a sports team or an Army team, people are anticipating your needs and coming to you ahead of time. I have watched us go from distinct departments with their own model, to now, us all working together and with each other in mind.
Q: How do you see the Museum changing in the years to come?
A: Our next step is to organize the stories that we have been able to share thus far. We want to bring more Veteran stories to life for more people to see. Meeting people where they are, and finding more ways for them to interact with our stories is our next big thing. We have 35,000 square feet in our building, and over 350,000+ square feet virtually.
Q: The year is 2018 and you just opened the National Veterans Memorial and Museum to the public for the first time. If you could go back and tell you from 2018 something about your time as CEO, what would it be?
A: Trust Your Gut.
Q: What is something that no one would believe about you?
A: When I was in high school, I had shoulder length hair and a pair of powder blue suede platform shoes that I did wear – to prom! I was part of the athlete crowd back in the day and we would do crazy things like hitchhike 16 miles back home on a Friday night after a game.
Q: If you could have dinner with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?
A: Probably my family: my little brother, father and my mother. They have all passed. We would get together in my mom’s kitchen. We have a program at the Museum called Rally Point – that was the original Rally Point for me!
Q: If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
A: I would trade places with my grandson, Parker. Parker has autism and I would love to understand how he processes things: what information he receives, what he may miss, how he takes it in, interprets it, etc. He’s so smart and has a great sense of humor.
Q: What’s your favorite board game?
A: Chess! I was very good at one point. Right now, it would probably take about a week to get good again. Life is a game of chess, and we practice it all the time.
Q: What is your go-to karaoke song?
A: “The Cowboy Rides Away” by George Straight.