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How the Navy taught Antonia Stephenson II how to run a business

Meet Antonia Stephenson II, a Raleigh, North Carolina native who just finished his enlistment with the United States Navy, where he served 8 total years as an active duty servicemember.

Stephenson openly admits that he didn’t join the Navy to learn how to run a business but he’s glad it happened the way it did. He laughs about it because he says he “tricked” himself into thinking his responsibility as a supervisor and the people he supervised was his personal “little business”. He says, “On Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we’re all looking for something to feel warm and fuzzy about but for me, I needed to feel important, I needed to feel like what I was doing was making a positive impact or helping contribute to a common goal”. He continues by saying, “Once I changed my perspective on what I was doing and looked at my division as a business, it reflected in my performance. I was in charge of a lot people and I knew if I could get them to buy into me as a leader than we could run a smooth, operational business”.

One key thing that contributed to his early success in the military was his chain of command. He said without the leadership and wisdom of Senior Chief Petty Officer James Stafford, Chief Petty Officer Derrick Pollard, and First-Class Petty Officer James Westbrook, he admits he doesn’t know what direction his career would have gone without those three leading him.

As a junior sailor, he started learning the importance of time management, being pro-active, and taking initiative. Those skills then translated quite well into him running his own company. Stephenson runs a Real Estate Investment Firm where he has 1 business partner, Amberle Farthing, who’s a Real Estate Investor and Realtor in the State of Virginia. Together they have 3 employees that help run their day to day operations. Stephenson admits, “I learned about the importance of step by step instructions and system from the Navy. Any time there was an action that needed to be taken there was a Standard Operating Procedure on what to do.” The thing Stephenson says he struggled with the most during his 8-year career with the Navy, was delegation. “I just always felt like no one could do it better than me or they wouldn’t do it the way I wanted it to be done so instead of using my rank, I’d go do it myself for peace of mind” But he says, “that’s not the long game in business”, so he soon got over that and started focusing on running the business by improving systems and operations and giving clear instructions to his team as the leader.

As Mr. Stephenson is only a few months removed from his military career, be on the lookout for what he plans to do for his military brothers and sisters.

Be sure to follow him on Instagram @Tonystephensonii