From the Sea to the C-Suite

Lessons Learned from the Bridge to the Corner Office

  • Subject: Leadership | Clear the Decks Up to 80% OFF
  • Format:
  • Pages:
  • Published:
    November 15, 2019
  • ISBN-10:
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  • Product Dimensions:
    8 × 5 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    10 oz
Hardcover $5.19
Book: Cover Type


How do you quadruple the size of an 85-year-old company in one decade without changing its cultural DNA? How do you accomplish this while keeping your original base of customers wildly loyal and your employees passionately engaged? With Cutler Dawson at the helm for the last 14 years, Navy Federal Credit Union, the world’s largest credit union, has quadrupled the size of the organization and made it an industry leader in customer service. A retired Navy vice admiral with an esteemed 34-year career commanding ships and fleets, Dawson arrived at the venerable and conservative credit union and set it on a course for meteoric growth. It is now one of the most fiercely trusted and smoothly run financial institutions in the world ranked by Fortune magazine as a Best Place to Work for eight years. This book reveals an honest and straightforward look at Dawson’s leadership philosophy and guiding principles, offering tangible and practical insights for readers who want to learn how to chart a similar course of success—one of exponential growth without compromising a company’s bedrock principles.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“Cutler Dawson was able to transfer seamlessly a lifetime of lessons learned in six commands at sea to the highest levels of civilian leadership in the financial sector.  Along the way, he created a legion of followers through his dedicated mentorship of the generation of naval officers coming along behind him.  I count myself personally lucky to have relied on his mentorship, advice, and counsel throughout my naval career and beyond.  He sails true north every day, and the results show it." —Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret), Operating Executive of The Carlyle Group and former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO
“Having known and collaborated with Admiral Cutler Dawson for 50+ years, I’m delighted he’s sharing leadership lessons, often humbly learned, over a lifetime of service and accomplishment. From all walks of life, aspiring leaders will learn from this fast-paced, ‘must read’ book.” Joe R. Reeder,  U.S. Army Undersecretary & Chairman of the Panama Canal Commission (1993-97) 
"Cutler eloquently articulates by his experiences, that the art of management is by 'doing'.  Articulating visions, embodying values, and creating the right environment are necessary. A passion to excel, teamwork and commitment to people are aspects that are well highlighted through the narrative. A must read for all aspiring leaders." S. Ramadorai, Former Vice Chairman, Tata Consultancy Services
“Cutler Dawson is as authentic a person and leader as one will ever meet and this book is a treasure trove of stories that shaped his leadership as an Admiral and as a CEO.  Leaders and aspiring leaders will be entertained and see servant leadership in action through Cutler’s experiences.” —<b>Alfred F. Kelly Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,  Visa</b>
“Vice Admiral Cutler Dawson is an extraordinary naval officer who has a ‘storied career’ in the United States Navy, and then became a ‘world class business titan’ in the financial industry. His is a compelling story of a leadership- and values-driven life well worth emulating. You will be much better off personally and professionally having read this book.” —Adm. Mike Mullen, USN (Ret.), former Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
“This is the best leadership book I have ever read. It actually choked me up with stories of Navy Federal ‘doing the right thing’ for their employees and customers. Cutler Dawson had six U.S. Navy leadership commands at sea. The payoff at Navy Federal quadrupled the business.” —Barry R McCaffrey, Gen, USA (Ret.), Four combat deployments, NBC News National Security Commentator
“True to form, Cutler Dawson delivers the same valuable insight on leadership that I have experienced first-hand through my interactions with him as a mentor, friend, and business partner. This book allows the reader to experience that same refreshing and unvarnished approach to leadership through Cutler’s words.” —Wes McMullan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta
“Sportsman, athlete, decorated naval officer and Fortune 100 CEO! What a trajectory. A CEO who gives responsibility to those who deserve it, can handle it, and thirst for more. Vice Admiral Dawson listens to people first and finds a way to get to “yes.” Reading this book won’t make you a leader, but understanding the examples will put you on the right path.” —Richard L. Armitage, former Deputy Secretary of State
“Cutler Dawson is a master of leading in context, and here he shares the wisdom accumulated from his many remarkable experiences in both the military and corporate worlds. This highly conversational and practical book is like having a private chat with Cutler – one that is sure to inspire and develop leaders at all levels!” —John R. Ryan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Center for Creative Leadership
“An ocean-class Navy admiral and a world-class chief executive, Cutler Dawson describes empowering sailors and employees on the one hand, and better supporting customers on the other. From a young Navy officer to a respected admiral and then Navy Federal CEO, his lessons and results in ‘Sea to C-Suite’ speak volumes.” —Adm. Robert J. Natter, USN (Ret.), President, R.J. Natter & Associates, LLC
“Cutler Dawson’s unparalleled experience as a naval leader and successful CEO of the world’s largest credit union has given him an incredible prism of knowledge into what works and what doesn’t. The robust leadership lessons in his book have a common theme: people. You will learn how to communicate, motivate and inspire the people around you.” —B. Dan Berger, President & Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions
“Admiral Cutler Dawson’s From the SEA to the C-SUITE is a unique and vitally needed book that addresses two critical areas that are not typically blended – leadership and financial EQ. Leveraging his U.S. Navy and Navy Federal Credit Union leadership roles, he helps the reader understand how putting people first is always a winning strategy.” —Capt. George Galdorisi, USN (Ret.), Director of Strategic Assessments and Technical Futures at Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, and New York Times bestselling author
From the Sea to the C-Suite: Lessons Learned from the Bridge to the Corner Office comes at you from a place of success. Written by Cutler Dawson, a retired US Navy Vice Admiral who now serves as CEO of Navy Federal Credit Union, and Taylor Baldwin Kiland, the book conveys perspectives on the corporate leadership that underpinned Navy Federal’s quadrupling in size in just over a decade…. This book is a well-written and compelling guide to management and leadership. In a genre that can trend toward an annoying blend of stuffiness and a self-serving tone, Dawson and his co-writer are neither. It’s a worthwhile read for anyone who aspires to run an organization, or even a team, or wishes to do it better.” —Journal of Cyber Policy

“Retired Navy flag officers often are sought after by commercial and industrial enterprises because of their demonstrated leadership abilities and track record of accomplishments. Vice Adm. Cutler Dawson was one of these....The author shows how he applied his principles to motivate Sailors and employees alike to serve with excellence.” —Seapower

“This is a very useful book for executive leaders of civilian organizations that work with and for the military as it opens some insights into the way senior military officers approach their responsibilities. Additionally, this book may help bridge the generation gap between senior officers/leaders (Gen X) and the junior officers (Millennials/Gen Z) in building a culture of trust and understanding.” —Naval Historical Foundation
“Dawson offers leadership advice from his perspective as a retired vice admiral and former CEO of the Navy Federal Credit Union. He shows the value of passion and compassion, energy and empathy, and incentivizing and innovating. Most of all, he demonstrates the importance of truth, trust, and putting people first.” —Navy Reads