This is a summary of 360° Pulse Podcast with guest Jacqueline Blackburn. From commanding teams in the Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Community in critical Middle East and African missions to shaping J.P. Morgan's early-stage tech initiatives, Blackburn's journey illustrates the seamless blend of military precision with commercial innovation. Jacqueline Blackburn is Principle at Decisive Point.
Jacqueline Blackburn’s leadership journey isn’t just remarkable; it’s truly a leadership odyssey. From the United States Naval Academy to the naval explosive ordnance disposal community to her years at JP Morgan, and to her current role at Decisive Point. She has navigated diverse and challenging terrains with an unyielding spirit and sense of purpose. We hope you listen to the whole conversation. Here are some highlighted insights we felt really important to our community.
Leading with Purpose: Naval Academy and Team Dynamics
Blackburn expresses her Naval Academy experience, “I learned how to live life, and that’s with purpose and team.” It wasn’t merely about academic or technical learning but about cultivating a mindset geared toward collective achievement and personal growth. This sentiment is further emphasized in her reflection, “the importance of making an impact that is greater than yourself, and knowing that success often doesn’t rest on the merits of a single individual.” Indeed, the strength of any successful endeavor, especially in fields as demanding as EOD, rests on teamwork and shared values. She notes the pivotal nature of relationships built on “integrity and trust,” referring to them as “the single most important values” that make a team truly unstoppable. A leader’s role, as she so aptly puts it, is about “showing up each and every day” and ensuring that “effective communication is critical to team success.” She articulates the difference between having a tribe and having a team.
From Military to Wall Street: A Seamless Transition
Upon transitioning from the military, Blackburn embarked on a journey of self-discovery and purpose. Despite her initial inclination towards medicine, she observed, “gaining perspective, I realized that there’s lots of ways to help people outside of just being a doctor.” The world of venture capital and technology beckoned with its promise of rapid, generational impact. But, the pathway to this world wasn’t straightforward. Jacqueline candidly shared, “I started big by working at JP Morgan. They mentored me…and for the first time, I recognized since I was in the Navy that I felt like I was on a team.” This underscores the importance of mentorship, guidance, and the sense of camaraderie that transcends specific industries. Her tenure at JP Morgan wasn’t just a job—it was a stepping stone towards a broader goal. Her passion for being close to problem solvers led her to say, “I sought after an investor role,” emphasizing her commitment to being at the forefront of innovation and change.
Decisive Point: Investing in Tomorrow’s Innovations
When asked about Decisive Point’s investment thesis, Blackburn is clear, “We focus on deep tech innovations for security, energy, and infrastructure. Our aim is really to serve the interest of the United States and the national security strategy to create long-term value for our investors.” Keeping updated with technology trends is crucial. Blackburn is particularly excited about the potential of AI, deglobalization, and sustainable energy resources like nuclear energy. “I foresee these having a major impact on our next generation,” she says. She is also a voracious reader. Blackburn recommends several books, including The Confident Mind by Dr. Zinser, Thoughts of the Philosophical Fighter Pilot by Jim Stockdale, and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. A recent favorite of hers is Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, a tale of friendship, love, and pursuing passions. Blackburn’s advice to college students and new graduates is heartfelt. “Follow your passions and explore your curiosities. From there, you’ll find your purpose. It’s okay to fail; it’s often how we overcome our failures that truly define us,” she encourages.
We hope you will listen to the whole program. Jacqueline Blackburn doesn’t just share her journey; she provides a masterclass on leadership, resilience, and finding purpose. As she concludes, surrounding oneself with a solid team and learning from failures are the true hallmarks of success.