Rob's Biography

Rob Lively is unique. As an experienced, proven leader, Rob has operated and led teams and organizations in the most demanding, diverse, and challenging environments. His 28-year Army career is the story of service, sacrifice, and intentionally living a life in the pursuit of excellence. Rob culminated his Army service at the highest enlisted rank and in the most competitive noncommissioned officer position, retiring as Command Sergeant Major (senior enlisted leader) for the Army’s most elite unit. He rose to the top among a collection of extraordinary noncommissioned officers. 

Rob upheld an accomplished decorated military career, where he performed and led in the most dangerous and active war zones.  He is an organized leader with a proven record of motivating and empowering others, especially during periods of physical danger and personal stress.  Rob constantly pursues excellence and creates cultural excellence everywhere he goes, both personally and professionally.  As a geopolitical subject matter expert, he regularly briefed and provided recommendations to the U.S. Government’s most senior military and political leadership, while also cultivating critical relationships with foreign, civilian, and military leaders in support of U.S. national security objectives.  Wherever Rob leads, people become better and perform better. 


Born in suburban Washington, D.C., Rob grew up in a family that highly valued sacrifice, hard work, and service to others.  He was an avid athlete and competed in all sports, most notably football, culminating at the collegiate level. Rob graduated from Virginia Tech in 1986 with a degree in Public Relations and Marketing.  Goal driven as a young man, Rob “through-hiked” the entire 2,100 mile Appalachian Trail after college graduation.

Throughout Rob’s career he’s accepted hardship, demonstrated tenacity, pursued challenges, and embraced self-sacrifice.  From his time as a soldier in the 10th Mountain Division to his service in the 75th Ranger Regiment, Rob’s authenticity and commitment guided him to excellence.  The pinnacle of Rob’s career was leading an elite special missions unit at Ft. Bragg, NC where he served for over 21 years. Rob worked passionately to learn and excel at every duty position. He thoughtfully translated his tactical experiences to become an agile organizational leader. Rob learned and practiced the art of influencing from the tactical to the strategic levels in order to guide an evolving organization in an ever-changing geopolitical environment. 

Today, Rob exercises an entrepreneurial spirit and a commitment of service to others with his wife Kathy by his side.  Together, they have formed The Unit Foundation, a unique not-for-profit serving a specific Army Special Operations element. Beyond serving this element organizationally, the Foundation addresses the unmet needs of the element’s retired and injured, as well as the families of those having made the ultimate sacrifice. Rob and his family founded and lead the Union Pines High School Leadership Scholarship Fund which provides college tuition to seniors who demonstrate high potential as leaders. Rob serves as a consultant and advisor to Tignum, a world leader in helping executives become Sustainable High Impactors.  He is a non-executive board member of The Patriot Defense Group, a privately held Department of Defense contracting company.  Rob is a sought-after consultant and leadership speaker to companies all over the world. 

Rob and Kathy have been married for 30 years and live in Vass, North Carolina.  Their daughters Kayla and Carly are college graduates and successful professionals in New York City and Raleigh, North Carolina respectively. 


Rob's Topic

Leading Outside the Moment

Are you a leader? Are you a transformational leader or a transactional leader? Do you train your leadership? Do you hone and refine those critical leadership skills daily? Do you do this in your professional and personal life? Have you ever found yourself in the middle of the most critical leadership moment of your life and you did not know what to do? Rob Lively has.  

In Leading Outside the Moment, Rob shares his combat experiences and takes you to a place that few people have ever gone, bringing to life leadership lessons that few people have ever experienced.

Leading Outside the Moment is a unique perspective on how to live and prepare for not only larger-than-life-changing moments but also the micro moments of self, family, and team leadership. Rob will inspire and challenge you to bring out your own true transformational leadership potential. 

This presentation will encourage you to explore and grow as you listen to a truly transparent, authentic, and vulnerable leader. Life is unpredictable and its challenges are eminent. Will you be ready when your moment comes?