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John Shull

John Shull


John Shull headshot
BS, Engineering, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, 1970
MA, Slavic Studies, Cornell University, 1979
US Naval Command and Staff College, Newport, RI, 1980
Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), The American College of Financial Services, 2010
Certified Professional Business Coach (CPBC), Professional Business Coaches Alliance, 2020


John Shull, MA, ChFC®, CPBC, is a leadership coach, retired Army Infantryman, and experienced business executive. He has over fifty years of experience leading people and directing programs. He is currently coaching leaders and practitioners in the financial services field. His primary focus is on executive communication and leadership, time management, and advisor recruiting and training.

Over four careers, the central focus of John’s life has been leading.  While on active duty for 21 years in the US Army, he began with leading teams of soldiers in the United States, Korea, Germany, and in the former Soviet Union.  He continued his leadership journey in subsequent careers in defense contracting, management consulting, and financial services. 

In the Army, John held leadership positions in the infantry, from platoon leader and company commander to battalion executive officer of a 1000-soldier battalion.

He also served as an Associate Professor of Russian language and literature at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, from 1980-82.

As a staff officer, John’s last assignment in the military was at the Pentagon, where he led intelligence and operational teams into the Soviet Union in support of inspections for the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). He was also the principal designer of bilateral U.S.-Soviet Analytical Staff Talks.  In this role, he coordinated directly with the Soviet General Staff in Washington, Germany, and Moscow. 

As a defense contractor, John expanded his focus on former Soviet republics, leading numerous teams to Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine, supporting US foreign policy and Department of Defense objectives during the post-Soviet thaw in the mid ‘90s. He directed a retrospective study for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Net Assessment, on Soviet strategic decision making during the Cold War. He also led a team on three trips to Minsk, Belarus, in support of US policy directives for defense conversion initiatives under Nunn-Lugar legislation.

As a management consultant, John was an executive of boutique firm, Meridian Ventures, LLC.  He participated in and led engagements for Mobil, Avery Dennison, Home Shopping Network, Hanover Direct, and other Fortune 500 companies. This involved assessments of US defense equipment production, international commercial market entry options, and strategic analyses of multiple pipeline routes for oil and gas from the Caspian region.

In his 16-year financial planning career, John served as a client-facing financial advisor for five years, followed by 11 years as a front-line field leader of three financial advisory offices in Maryland and Delaware. 

In that position, he received the GAMA International Award for First in Class, as the top recruiter and field leader out of 65 peers in his company.

He also served on the company-wide District Advisory Council for three years, elected by peers, to enhance communications with the Home Office and highlight leadership best practices across 500 advisory teams.

John’s leadership focus and achievements in his District included the following:

  • Developed culture of teamwork and collaboration among advisors and other local area Districts
  • Grew advisor force in the District from 4 to 11
  • Built Advisor Team Leader development program in each district office to enhance new advisor accountability and teamwork and identify prospective field leaders              
  • Developed ideal advisor profile and advisor candidate value proposition as tools for interviewing prospective advisors and communicating the role of culture in the onboarding experience

Areas of Expertise

In his current role as a leadership coach, John’s primary focus areas are executive communication and leadership, time management, and advisor recruiting and training.

He works with executives and field leaders on their personal rapport with their teams, helping them address people challenges and systemic concerns within their businesses.  He also works directly with financial advisors, coaching them on client communication and service.

He has devised a time management matrix to assist leaders in prioritizing their life goals and work tasks to focus on what matters most.

In recruiting and training, John has assisted clients to strengthen their accession process, merging onboarding and long-term comprehensive training to improve selection and retention.


John has served as a speaker and seminar presenter for active duty military communities and federal employees, promoting financial literacy and personal responsibility.  In addition, he served as a speaker for the GAMA Speakers Bureau, and has given presentations to practitioners in the life insurance and financial advisory communities.


  • Russian: professional proficiency
  • French: limited conversational proficiency

Publications and Presentations

  • Presentation to Knights of Columbus General Agents, January 2018, “Building a Culture of Success: The Power of the Right Conversation”.  GAMA Speakers Bureau.
  • GAMA International Journal, Two-Part Article: “Top Twenty Leadership Principles for New Frontline Leaders”, Mar-Apr, May-Jun, 2017
  • GAMA International Journal, “Assisting Bereaved Clients”. Co-author with Advisor Warren Brooks, Sep 2010.
  • Presented American College Wealth Channel video interviews with Advisor Warren Brooks, on “Assisting Bereaved Clients”, October 2010.



John and his wife, Ellen, have three children and nine grandchildren. They currently live in Annapolis, MD.