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Meet Admiral Mike McConnell

For Former Director of National Intelligence Admiral Mike McConnell, public service is in his blood. His Father and Grandfather both served for the United States Armed Forces, so when the conflict in Vietnam began, Adm. McConnell embraced the opportunity to serve.  

“I was just graduating from university when there was the conflict in Vietnam so for me it was just sort of a natural understanding.”

Adm. McConnell

However, his path to leadership began at a much younger age. He cites high school sports as an early indicator of his natural instinct to lead, but more so, in college, he became engaged in student government, following a nomination from a friend for a representative position, which spiraled into student body president from there.  

“As I said was happenstance, but what that turned into is in the next election, I was elected president [of the] student body and then that’s when I really started to think about leadership and what it means. In thinking about it, cultivating the skills and what I developed overtime was an attitude of servant leader. I always believed in hard work, and so what I mean by servant leader is if you’re willing to do the hard work and work harder than the people you’re attempting to lead then they’re going to willingly follow you.” 

Adm. McConnell

He recounts how his parents were never truly able to reach their own American Dreams but how they shifted their focus to ensuring McConnell and his siblings would have the opportunity. 

“The benefit for me was not that my parents handed me something, it was more that they taught me to think about the future.” He continued, “it’s always funny–number of our friends have told me ‘oh you really lucky, you’re really lucky’ and in fact I have been lucky but I also know the harder I work the luckier I become.” 

Adm. McConnell

This is something he instilled in his own children, who also have successful careers, which McConnell credits to good parenting, and hopes others can use this as an example for their own children.  

“[Success] all depends on the individual. Just because there is opportunity does not mean you can necessarily take advantage of it. Many times, I think, in America once you have too much in terms of material goods and so on, you sort of lose focus on hard work and improving yourself. So, a lot of [success] is a balance of parenting and focus.”  

Adm. McConnell

McConnell underscores that America serves as a Beacon on a Hill, and the American Dream helps preserve our future.  

The American Dream is best supported by a free market, as “the free market is an opportunity to think of an idea, build a company, and create with innovation and ideas a new service to improve the lives of those around you. [It is] to build an estate for yourself and your family. That is the American dream, and that opportunity is not presented anywhere else in the world–people come to the United States to have that opportunity.”

Adm. McConnell
Meet Adm. Mike McConnell, former Director of National Intelligence, as he shares his American Dream Story.

Admiral Mike McConnell is a proud supporter of LEAD and hopes to see its mission change the lives of his fellow Americans.  

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