This episode features Cheriene Griffith, a 2002 graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy. In this episode, you’ll hear about Cheriene’s struggles making the transition from a small town in California to Academy life on the East Coast; what it was like to become the first female Anchor Woman at the Academy; why she decided to end her career as a Surface Warfare Officer after only 3 years of service; and how she ultimately found her way onto a new career path in the emerging cannabis industry. Cheriene’s story is the perfect example of the magic that can happen when you choose to be open minded and willing to pivot when life seems out of alignment. Enjoy the show!


  • Having a major learning curve going from a small town in California to Annapolis.
  • Losing a loved one while at the Academy.
  • Being the first female anchor woman.
  • Leaving the Navy after 3 years of service.
  • Joining the startup community.


  • Can you tell everyone where you’re from? What school you went to and when you graduated?
  • Can you give everyone 1-2 lines about who you are?

2:24 PART I:

  • What made you choose a Service Academy – and what made you specifically choose the U.S. Naval Academy?
  • Wanting to fly because of Tom Cruise in Top Gun.
  • How did your family handle your decision to attend the Naval Academy.
  • Did you visit Annapolis before you went there?
  • Did you have a sense about what you were getting yourself into?

8:00 PART II:

  • Tell me about your first day and first summer – how did it go?
  • What were some of your highlights at the Academy?
  • Being out in soccer instead of drum and bugle corp during Plebe Summer.
  • Tell me more about your academic career at the Academy. 

17:00 PART III:

  • Tell me about some of the lowlights at the Academy.
  • Losing her brother during her first class year.
  • Did you feel supported during your struggles at the Academy?
  • Did 9/11 impact you?
  • At what point did you decide to switch gears from aviation to SWO?
  • Struggling with weight during the Academy.
  • What was it like as you approached graduation?
  • Being the first female anchor woman.
  • Considering leaving the Academy.

27:34 PART IV:

  • How did Surface Warfare go for you on the East Coast?
  • Deciding to get out after 3 years.
  • What was the plan when you decided to leave the Navy?
  • Learning a new leadership style in her new jobs outside of the military.

36:30 PART V:

  • Finding her niche in quality and compliance. 
  • The unfolding of her career trajectory. 
  • How she pivoted into the startup community. 
  • Going back to school for her MBA while also being a mother.

45:00 Part VI:

  • How she got into the cannabis industry. 
  • How she tells people from her past about her new role in the cannabis industry. 
  • Cannabis and the military. 
  • Her current company and what’s next for her.


  • If you had to sum up your time at the Academy in one word, what would it be? 
  • How do you feel about your decision to attend a federal service academy?
  • Do you have any parting words for listeners? Perhaps a key message to your fellow Service Academy sisters?
  • What’s one random fun fact about you?
  • Where can people reach you?



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