When Benjamin Joseph first visited his 25 cousins in Israel, he was only three months old. Since then, the 31 year old has returned over 40 times, and not always as a civilian.
Over the course of his visits, Benjamin’s cousins would become like older siblings, playing an instrumental role in his development as a young man. But since his visits began in 1988, David would face constant fear that a family member would be seriously injured or killed in a terrorist attack. In 2002, his worst nightmare came true when his cousin was seriously wounded in the Kikambala hotel bombing in Kenya.
As he began his freshman year at the University of Miami, Benjamin watched as family members took on impressive roles in the IDF. He began to reflect on how their experiences had impacted them, and realized the IDF experience fosters resilience, humility, and strength in many of those who go through it.
But when the First Gaza War broke out during his sophomore year, Benjamin was once again forced to face the reality of friends and family in harm’s way.
“The juxtaposition of me in sunny South Beach, while Itay and Nadav were fighting a war to protect our family in one of the most hostile, densely packed places on Earth, was too much to bear. Before that moment in time, I had never really committed myself to a challenging goal or tried to achieve my potential,” he reflects.
Benjamin wanted to enlist right away, but a trusted professor advised him to use his remaining semesters to prepare for IDF service. His hard work and determination paid off, and after graduating early, he would be one of a handful of foreign-born soldiers to ever be admitted into the elite Sayeret Matkal, the prime sayeret unit of the Israel Defense Forces.
Soon, the tryouts and training would teach Benjamin one of life’s most valuable lessons: focused effort over a long period of time can achieve wondrous results. But high stakes meant adhering to the highest possible performance standards. After all, if Sayeret Matkal fails at a mission, consequences for Israel’s national security are catastrophic.
“This of course means giving your absolute best effort in everything you do. From building a custom piece of machinery to moving heavy equipment, everything was performed at a sprinting pace and done to perfection.”
And high ethical standards were the other half of the equation.
“Simply put, you can’t afford to send an operator with integrity issues behind enemy lines with no support or backup. If even the slightest detail is improperly conveyed whether during or after a mission, the ramifications are dire.”
Overall, Benjamin says his IDF service taught him to be uncompromising when ethics are involved, and that if your ethical values are aligned with your work, your level of motivation, capability, and determination significantly increases.
After serving, Benjamin attended Wharton Business School, where he developed a passion for entrepreneurship. Shortly after graduation, he met his current business partner and best friend David Moreno. A successful entrepreneur in multiple ventures by the age of 30, David offered a unique perspective on the home warranty industry and together, they co-founded Liberty Home Guard.
“He believed that most of the other companies in the space were not taking a customer-first, long-term perspective, and in many instances, their behavior bordered on being unethical,” Benjamin recalls.
By applying integrity and organizational skills learned in the IDF to improve services like project management, Liberty Home Guard hopes to disrupt an antiquated industry.
“The sort of industry climate lent itself perfectly to David and I coming in with a fresh, energized perspective to build a home warranty provider that is different and better for customers,” Benjamin says.
The bottom line: home owners don’t like uncertainty. And when it comes to their homes, that fact is doubly true. Ultimately, Benjamin hopes that his high standards for performance and ethics will change practices throughout the industry.
“Improvement means implementing the customer-first approach and doing everything in the service of the customer. For too long, home warranty companies have been able to promise the world and under-deliver.”
And by implementing high ethical standards and values fostered in the IDF, Benjamin hopes his company, Liberty Home Guard, will set the new standard for customer service in his industry.