Military veterans take command of their future with a business education

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The transition from active duty to civilian life can be filled with countless roadblocks, and many veterans find it challenging to secure a career that fulfills their needs and ambitions, which often result in periods of joblessness and uncertainty.

While the U.S. Department of Labor reports veteran unemployment reached a 10-year low of 3.4 percent, underemployment continues to plague many veterans. In fact, a Career Builder study shows 22 percent of veterans are underpaid, or underworked.

The military provides endless learning opportunities that veterans can bring into a civilian career profession. Although there is no distinct path, higher education can be a vehicle for these veterans to take command of their future. For three veterans, this transition led them to Washington University in St. Louis to learn how their unique skills can be an asset in the board room.

SECURING A SECOND CHANCE
Staff Sgt. Eric Maddox joined the United States Army infantry in the spring of 1994, and eventually found himself playing a key role on the elite Delta Force team as an Army interrogator. His job was simple: gain intel from Iraqi prisoners on where to locate Saddam Hussein. In fact, the team was successful due, in part, to Maddox reshaping the U.S interrogation system, which had only a four percent success rate at the time. Rather than intimidation, he focused the new techniques on collaboration, communication and negotiation.

Maddox later found a new way to integrate these same techniques into the business world. After graduating from Washington University’s Executive MBA (EMBA) program in 2016, he combined his educational and military experiences to become a motivational and keynote speaker. He now tailors his speeches to emerging business trends he mastered in the classroom, and travels around the nation teaching negotiations, elicitations and empathy-based learning to business leaders.

“The EMBA program really dives into how business works, and helped me to identify connections between the military and corporate world,” said Maddox. “I quickly realized how my experience in the intel world and war zone can directly apply to businesses and private organizations.”

Another 2016 Washington University graduate, Col. Don Halpin, served in the United States Air Force for 20 years. Until 2014, Halpin held a variety of elite positions such as Director of Safety, Commander, Vice Commander, Chief, Political-Military Affairs Officer and Initial Planning Coordinator. He also co-developed the Air Force-leading Aviation Operational Risk Assessment & Management System (Ops RAMS) for the Air Mobility Command, which included the Air Force’s first-ever incorporation of select civilian aviation industry benchmark programs.

After two decades of military success, Halpin decided it was time to pursue his other passion – healthcare innovation. He credits the EMBA program with providing him the tools he needed to turn his love for innovation and helping others into a vibrant career in the healthcare industry. He’s now the Healthcare Systems Engineer at Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center in Peoria, IL, where he supports their innovation, education and research efforts.

“In the military, you’re always looking for ways to become more efficient to provide the highest level of service to your country,” said Halpin. “In healthcare, it’s a similar situation. I love that I’m able to aid in bettering the lives of our patients, and the EMBA played a large part in that.”

A third veteran and Washington University alum, Harry Schmidt, was one of the U.S. Naval Academy’s finest recruits. Following graduation, Schmidt became a Navy pilot flying F/A-18 Hornets. He was selected to attend the prestigious Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) in San Diego, CA and later returned as an instructor. He spent the next 20 years as a professional military officer, serving in various leadership roles in operations, maintenance, and logistics – achieving the rank of lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy and major in the U.S. Air Force. After 20 years of service to our country, Schmidt chose to continue serving his community as a leader in the healthcare industry.

“The EMBA program provided the perfect forum to tie together and finish off the leadership, strategic thinking, and management skills I developed through my years of experience in the military. I would highly recommend the Wash U program to others as an avenue to learn the art and language of business and advance your career to the next level,” said Schmidt.

Today Schmidt leverages the business skills and expertise he learned in the EMBA program as President and CEO of Passavant Area Hospital in Springfield, IL.

Drawing upon their time in the EMBA program, all three veterans were able to merge their military backgrounds to seek new, and diverse experiences. While many veterans have not been as fortunate, Maddox, Halpin and Schmidt tell their story so that future generations can avoid the cycle of unemployment and underemployment that many experience when transitioning into civilian life.

Air Force general confirmed as first black chief of a U.S. military service

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General Charles Q. Brown in uniform

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Gen. Charles Q. Brown to be the next Air Force chief of staff, making him the first African American leader of a military service as the Pentagon and the country grapple with a raft of racial issues.

The confirmation also makes Brown the second African American officer to sit on the Joint Chiefs of Staff since Chairman Gen. Colin Powell.

The 98-to-0 vote was a blowout approval for the four-star general. Vice President Mike Pence presided over the historic vote.

President Donald Trump, who nominated Brown in March, hailed the general on Twitter.

“My decision to appoint @usairforce General Charles Brown as the USA’s first-ever African American military service chief has now been approved by the Senate,” Trump said, though the tweet came before the confirmation vote. “A historic day for America! Excited to work even more closely with Gen. Brown, who is a Patriot and Great Leader!”

Brown’s nomination had been in the works for months, yet the vote came amid nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd in police custody. Top Air Force officials led the way in speaking out over the past week and calling for dialogue on racism. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kaleth Wright, the service’s top enlisted leader, became the first senior military official to speak out, and was followed by outgoing Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein.

Brown, who is currently the commander of Pacific Air Forces, delivered an emotional message Friday about his experience as a black airman.

In addition to becoming the first African American service chief, Brown will be the most senior African American Pentagon leader since Powell chaired the Joint Chiefs from 1989 to 1993.

“I’m thinking about how full I am with emotion, not just for George Floyd but for the many African Americans that have suffered the same fate as George Floyd,” Brown said. “I’m thinking about a history of racial issues and my own experiences that didn’t always sing of liberty and equality.

“Without clear-cut answers, I just want to have the wisdom and knowledge to lead during difficult times like these,” Brown said of his nomination to be the service’s top officer. “I want the wisdom and knowledge to lead, participate in and listen to necessary conversations on racism, diversity and inclusion.”

Continue on to Politico to read the complete article.

Veteran Plants Roots In Tampa For Family With Floor Coverings International Business

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Mark McMurray pictured outside in front of his floor coverings vehicle with large samples displayed

Mark McMurray, 55, is no stranger to hard work and challenges.  After serving in our country’s military for many years he decided to go the corporate route. He was a consultant to many large public corporations and small private businesses, both in house and as a management consultant. It was during those years spent consulting with small, branch-based businesses that he decided to open his own business, buying the Floor Coverings International of North Tampa franchise which opened in early 2017.

He chose Floor Coverings International after much due diligence. The 150 plus unit franchise based in Norcross, Georgia, offered many of the key elements McMurray was looking for.

“I liked the thought of providing a great product and bringing a mobile showroom filled with samples of 3,000 types of flooring to people’s homes. That’s great customer service and convenience. And I get to build a dedicated work team at the same time.  That’s something that appealed to me from my military background,” said McMurray.

Having advised many business owners Mark offers his own advice to others looking for the same opportunity Mark found via a franchise model.

“The potential franchise you end up with should be something that you are naturally interested in; they should have the kind of model that fits your management/leadership style, be in the right territory, be affordable, and have a trustworthy and supportive franchisor and network, and the ability for you to build on its value.  It’s not easy to find a suitable candidate with all those criteria!  I had heard of Floor Coverings International during my previous career and had heard great things about the culture of the company.”

After years of moving around McMurray said he’s thrilled to have embraced Tampa for the past twelve years as his home and this mobile business has plenty of room for growth giving him the opportunity to work with his family too.

“I am thrilled that I get to be back at work with my wife, a CPA, and my father in law who is a general contractor. We are building something together along with my kids. That is very special to me.  And this industry excites all of us and is always supplying us with new challenges. The rate of beautiful new products coming on to the market is exciting, and the colors and trends change over time.  Luxury Vinyl Planking that is water resistant is growing in popularity and performs really well in Florida with the heat and humidity.  It gives the look and feel of hardwood, and our customers are really loving it which is very exciting.  Scraped hardwoods and reused woods are also coming out with some gorgeous new visuals, so there’s really a lot happening in the industry.”

Even through the Covid19 crisis, McMurray depended on the support team of his franchisor, Floor Coverings International to keep things going while following proper guidelines.

According to McMurray, “During the COVID-19 crisis, Floor Coverings International of North Tampa took all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our customers and our employees.  For In-Home Consultations, our employees were masked, gloved, wore booties, and disinfected all samples and items brought into our customers’ homes.  We’ve also conducted “Virtual Appointments” with our customers to discuss their projects and look at samples together.  Watching how things evolved and grew in the virtual space was most interesting, and we’re happy to work with our potential clients now however they feel most comfortable.

Our focus always has been providing excellent customer service, and it will remain so during this challenging time for our community.  We primarily work with residential customers who are updating the look and feel of their home, and that seems to have continued during the time when everyone had been spending so much time at home. Homeowners are seeing their homes in a whole new light after the quarantine, and they are ready to make some exciting new changes when the time comes to get back to normal.”

ABOUT FLOOR COVERINGS INTERNATIONAL

Norcross, GA based Floor Coverings International which has ranked consistently as the #1 Mobile Flooring Franchise in North America by Entrepreneur Magazine. The 150 franchisees and their Design Associates offer a unique in-home experience with a mobile showroom that comes directly to the client’s door. More than 3000 flooring choices are available to view in the home with and along-side the existing decor. The company will open several more locations throughout the U.S. and Canada through franchise expansion in the next 5 years. For franchise information, please visit www.opportunities.flooring-franchise.com and to find your closest location go to floorcoveringsinternational.com.

From Battalions to Business Degrees

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Graduating group of veterans lined up to accept their business degrees in caps and gowns shown from behind

If you happen to be one of the millions of veterans leaving the military for civilian life, you face a daunting challenge. You may have flown a gunship; you may have driven a tank; you may have commanded a unit…but how do you convince a corporate recruiter that this counts as management experience?

Tom Tarantino, chief policy officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, admitted to US military newspaper, “The civilian business community does not understand military service skills and how to translate them. But they want to.”

Business education can help those with a military background segue into the business world, by equipping them with the means to see how the skills from their previous career can be utilized in a different context. Simply put, an MBA teaches you to speak the language of business.

After years, or even decades in leadership positions, today’s veterans have considerable professional experience – which is very applicable to the business world. A military background, therefore, means that they are often well-prepared for management roles. Despite this, hiring executives are often skeptical and wonder how frontline experience translates to the front office.

To help uncover the challenges and advantages of an MBA education for a veteran, we spoke with Major Grégori Bassaud, who at the time of writing, was pursuing an International MBA (IMBA) at EMLYON Business School in France.

Being a veteran can mean management experience

A married 43-year-old father of two young children, Bassaud is a career officer. He spent 21 years in the French marine corps. His service was primarily spent in airborne units where he rose up the ranks as a platoon leader, a company commander and finally as a staff officer (deputy chief ops in his battalion). He’s been deployed abroad several times, including one-year tours in French Guyana and two-year tours in Réunion Island and Martinique. A skydive specialist, Bassuad has 600 freefall jumps to his name and has been awarded the National Order of Service Merit.

During his time at EMLYON, Bassaud has been impressed with the school’s lecturers, particularly with “their in-depth knowledge in their respective fields; their ability to make it simple whatever the difficulties may be.” He notes that he considered alternative graduate degrees which were less expensive than an MBA, but in the end was convinced that the return on investment would make it worthwhile. “The advantages include relevant events like the career forum, with more than 300 companies, regular testimonies from alumni through the IMBA mentoring program, which gives you access to people holding great positions. Being at EMLYON is already being in business, already being in a professional environment where you learn everyday through the context alone.”

What advantages do you think people with a military background have when they pursue an MBA?

Seniority and maturity, which offer two advantages. First real management experience: the average age of my cohort is barely 30. Only a few of my classmates have real management experience and even that is very limited—they only managed four to five people; I had to manage more than 200.

Secondly, both of your feet are on the ground. When you have gained professional experience in more than 15 countries, worked with a huge and various range of stakeholders – belligerents, allies from various countries, NGOs, diplomats, politicians, religious representatives – you have fewer certainties than your classmates. Your approach to case studies is more careful and exhaustive, you pay more attention to the details and your judgement is often rather softer than your colleagues’ – which might not be what people expect from those who’ve served in the military.

Why do you think people with a military background should consider earning an MBA?

A military background can be useful in terms of soft skills, but you also have to take into consideration your weaknesses when it comes to hard skills such as accounting, finance, marketing, and corporate strategy. Although an MBA does not provide deep insight into all of these fields, except strategy, the very broad range of topics covered gives you the sufficient tools to successfully take up your targeted position.

You should not ignore the benefit of spending a year with people younger than you when pursuing a full-time MBA. Despite their limited background, they have already gained interesting experiences and they are up-to-date, always aware of the latest technology, the latest apps, the latest online tools, etc. A year with them is an accelerated course of training in the latest trends.

How do you think networking is different for someone with a military background?

MBAs are not as widely acknowledged by employers in France as they might be elsewhere, on top of which companies can be hesitant when dealing with candidates with atypical profiles. Even companies that are aware of MBAs expect a classic career path—for instance, an engineering degree followed by an initial professional experience, then an MBA. When coming from the army, networking is much more complicated. You have to rely more on the network of former military personnel who made the switch than on the school’s alumni network. Due to this additional difficulty, having the intensive support of your career services office is useful.

After adhering to a regimented military timetable, how do you handle the challenges of attending study and social functions that happen in the late evening?

As a matter of fact, veterans are used to extended shifts. Being accustomed to early morning hours makes your life easier. You are always on time. Many of your classmates are not, despite regular warnings by the faculty. The main challenge is combining the workload with your family life, which is definitely a huge challenge. Only 10% of my classmates have children. The pace of the course is definitely set for monks, or at least for people with total freedom.

Studies suggest that people who are physically fit are also more successful in their careers. If this is true – do you think it’s another advantage for a military person?

The first thing to point out is not all military veterans remain physically fit. However, in my case, some of my classmates were surprised that I was so physically fit for my age. I also had a comparable feedback from a headhunter, telling me that it presented a good image. So I agree that it is a kind of presentation skill.

Source: topmba.com

Healthcare Careers in 2020: An In-Demand Industry

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Confident black doctor in healthcare face mask and gloves

Healthcare careers are part of the fastest growing industry for job growth and development in the United States. This trend is expected to continue over the next decade.

Projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that healthcare jobs are expected to increase by 18 percent from 2016 through 2026. This means that the industry will add about 2.4 million new healthcare jobs.

Why Healthcare?

There are several aspects that lead people to consider an exciting and rewarding career in healthcare. From potential financial reward and a diverse environment to career growth and personal fulfillment, there’s plenty of opportunities available and reasons to enter the field.

Healthcare Industries

Healthcare is a wide-spanning industry encompassing a variety of jobs. The profession is no longer tied to some of the more traditional positions in doctors’ offices or hospitals. In fact, the last two decades have seen an eruption in non-doctor roles. Today, healthcare providers are also needed in less mainstream sectors such as marketing, tech positions and more.

Healthcare Career Shortages in the U.S.

This field will add more employees than any other occupation in the coming years, according to the BLS. This is largely due to the accessibility of healthcare and the aging baby boomer generation.

Most recently, retired doctors, nurses and other medical professionals have been recruited and asked to return work to help provide medical attention to patients infected with Covid-19 virus. The US was projected to face a shortage of doctors before the pandemic hit: The Association of American Medical Colleges had estimated that it could reach 46,900 to 121,900 physicians by 2032. And in rural areas, particularly in states such as Mississippi and Arkansas, doctors were already in short supply. Many states are also projected to face significant nursing shortages in the coming years, particularly California and Texas.

Accordingly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecast that healthcare job opportunities will continue to soar through 2025.

Top 10 Medical Careers in Demand For 2020 and Beyond:

Physicians

Registered Nurses (RN’s)

Physical Therapists

Occupational Therapists

Respiratory Therapists

Home Health Aides

Medical Assistant

Physician Assistant

Healthcare Information Technologist

Pharmacy Technician

An Industry Full of Opportunity

Choosing a lasting, profitable, fulfilling career that you can be satisfied with means choosing a profession in healthcare. Many career benefits of healthcare include improving the lives of others and making a difference. The financial benefits, tremendous growth and high paying careers are limitless. It’s never too late to pursue a career in the medical field.

Source: medbrainmedia.com, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, gmercyu.edu

Wells Fargo Employee Veterans Share their Transition Story

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military people in uniform walking then transitioning to civilian professional attire. Side view.

In May and throughout the year, Wells Fargo pays tribute to service members, veterans, and their families for their contributions to the U.S.

It is also an opportunity to spotlight and elevate the many women in leadership at Wells Fargo who come from various branches of the U.S. military.

These women have transitioned to the corporate world and continue to make an impact in their corporate and civilian lives.

Meet two dynamic women who have influenced Wells Fargo’s commitment to engage members of the military, veterans, and their families, thereby supporting the financial health and success of the military community.

Learn their background, transition from service, workforce challenges, and advice for other women who are looking at their next opportunity beyond military service.

Senior Vice President, head of Team Member Philanthropy

Wells Fargo employee Chanty Clay, PhD headshot

I am Chanty Clay, PhD, head of Team Member Philanthropy at Wells Fargo, which means I am responsible for the enterprise volunteer and workplace giving programs and initiatives at the company. I made the decision to enlist in the military when I was a 20-year-old college student, and served in the U.S. Air Force for the next 10 years.

After serving in a lead role in the Air Force, I questioned if my leadership skills were strong enough to be a leader in the civilian world. I soon realized that in order for me to maximize my transition experience, I had to own it. I started networking, connecting, and — more importantly — demonstrating the skills I learned from serving my country.

In fact, my doctoral dissertation focused on women veterans and their ability to self-identify, market, and utilize their military-learned interpersonal competencies (soft skills) in their post-military career in corporate America. Today, my role focuses on helping employees leverage their strengths, passion, and skills in volunteer, service, and leadership roles in their local communities. I also continue to serve by mentoring employees and veterans, both inside and outside the company, who are transitioning from the military to civilian life.

My advice for veterans, especially women, is to think holistically about their combined soft and hard skills, and to proactively volunteer for additional opportunities to demonstrate their skills. They should also embrace the reality that opportunities in the civilian workforce are not limited to the role or title you held in the military. The key is to shift your mindset to balance both individual contributions as well as team and camaraderie—all of which are critical in your next career.

Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Auditor

Wells Fargo Employee Julie Scammahorn headshot

My name is Julie Scammahorn, and I am the Chief Auditor for Wells Fargo. I am also a proud 10-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. Growing up in a small town in Virginia, I did not come from a military family. I had completed one year of college when one of my good friends joined the military, and it piqued my interest. I enlisted and eventually served for 10 years before returning to college and continuing a career in internal audit.

Joining the military jump-started my career by giving me intense practical and leadership training. Transitioning to the workforce was challenging—I won’t lie, I felt like I was taking a risk. However, I knew the opportunities I had in the military would translate well to the corporate world.

After holding leadership roles at several financial companies, I now lead Wells Fargo’s Internal Audit organization, consisting of approximately 1,500 employees. Our team delivers independent and objective internal audit services such as assessments and credible challenge regarding the company’s governance, risk management, and control functions. Many of the skills I learned from being in the military prepared me for my role today, including finding my voice, having confidence, mitigating risk, being resilient, and building a strong team.

My advice to women in the armed forces who are navigating their next chapter is to have a plan, know who you are and what you want, and set goals. It’s really important to acknowledge that you don’t have to have all the answers at once, but you should have an idea of the direction you want to go. Take the time to think about your next steps, aim high, and never settle!

Wells Fargo has supported service members and veterans’ financial success for nearly 170 years. For more information on programs and resources, please visit WellsFargo.com/military.

Pursuing a STEM Degree = More Money on Your GI Bill

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Woman working in a laboratory wearing face mask and white lab coat looking in to a microscope

Attention STEM scholars! The United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has launched the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship program for students training in high demand STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields.

The Rogers STEM scholarship will provide up to nine months of additional Post 9-11 GI Bill benefits (to a maximum of $30,000) to qualifying veterans and Fry Scholars seeking an undergraduate STEM degree, or who have earned a STEM degree and are seeking a teaching certification.

Who is eligible for the Rogers STEM Scholarship?

  • You are pursuing a degree in a STEM field
  • You have completed at least 60 standard or 90 quarter credit hours toward your degree.
  • You will or will soon (within 90 days of application) exhaust your entitlement for the Post 9/11 GI Bill program
  • Your post-secondary degree requires at least 120 semester (or 180 quarter) credit for completion in a standard, undergraduate college degree
  • You have earned a post-secondary degree in a STEM field
  • You have been accepted or are enrolled in a teaching certification program
  • More you should know

  • Priority will be given to individuals who are entitled to 100 percent of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and to those who require the most credit hours.
  • The Yellow Ribbon Program may not be used with this extension. Schools may apply Yellow Ribbonn funding, but VA can’t match it.
  • These additional benefits can’t be transferred to dependents.
  • Fry scholars are eligible to apply for the Rogers STEM Scholarship.

    What fields of study qualify for the STEM Scholarship?

  • Students must be enrolled in or have earned a degree in one of the following areas:
  • Agriculture science or natural resources science program
  • Biological or biomedical science
  • Computer and information science and support services
  • Engineering, engineering technologies, or an engineering-related field
  • Health care or related program
  • Mathematics or statistics
  • Medical residency
  • Physical science
  • Science technologies or technicians
  • How do you apply?

    Apply on VA.gov

    Source: benefits.va.gov

    Job Interviews are Going Virtual, Here’s What You Need to Know

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    Mans hands shown tying on laptop computer

    As businesses prepare to open their doors again, the hiring process has begun. Nearly forty million Americans lost their jobs from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means that many of those people will be searching for work and participating in job interviews.

    But, as we are still adhering to some social distancing rules, many of these interviews are likely to occur via video call.

    Interviewing virtually is an unfamiliar territory, but having a successful, meaningful virtual interview is definitely possible.

    Here are the best tips for having the most successful interview on a virtual platform.

    • Presentation
    • As you would for an in-person interview, you want to look presentable. While this means wearing an interview-appropriate outfit, you want to make sure that your background and camera angle are also presentable. Make sure your background is clean, containing as little distractions as possible, and that your computer’s camera is catching the best angle of yourself. This will allow the interviewer to see the best version of yourself while bringing their full attention to what you are saying and not to what else is happening in your environment.

    • Make Eye Contact
    • As you would in a physical job interview, you want to make eye contact with the interviewer. It can be difficult not to look at your own reflection in the video call and worry about how you look to the other party, but remember to look into the computer’s camera to show the interviewer that you are paying attention to what they are saying and are really listening.

    • Remember the Lag
    • Unfortunately, video calls are known to lag and glitch. Neither party is at fault, but be aware of these inconveniences. Talking over the interviewer, accidentally interrupting, audio cutouts, and temporary freezes are bound to happen, so speak slowly and talk only when necessary to avoid these possible interview mishaps.

    • Use Your Resources
    • Virtual interviews allow for better access to virtual resources. Keeping interview notes on your screen and using screen share to give examples of your work will help you to remember your best selling points and show your interviewer what you are capable of.

    The National WWII Museum Turns 20 and Commemorates D-Day

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    A photo of the National WWII Museum's Building

    On June 6, 2020, The National WWII Museum will celebrate its 20th birthday and commemorate the 76th anniversary of D-Day.

    To honor both events, the museum will be open to visitors, but to adhere to social distancing guidelines, they will hold all of the day’s activities online.

    The day will be filled with an array of digital events such as  a social media scavenger hunt, educational talks, and a screening of a new documentary that will go over the museum’s history. For those wishing to attend the museum physically, the museum will be open at normal business hours.

    Click here for the museum’s Facebook page where all of the live events will be taking place.

    Check out what events will be transpiring within the next few days:

    Live D-Day Veteran Conversation: Friday, June 5 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (CT)

    The Museum’s mission is built upon its collection of oral histories–these are the people we’re committed to remembering, and getting to share their accounts with our audience puts a deeply personal spin on the Museum experience. Join Curator of Oral History Joey Balfour as he discusses the Normandy landings with a veteran who experienced the invasion firsthand. Dr. Hal Baumgarten D-Day Commemoration Ceremony Saturday, June 6 11:00 a.m. (CT) Presented in memory of D-Day veteran and Museum friend Dr. Harold “Hal” Baumgarten, this commemoration ceremony will mark the 76th anniversary of the D-Day invasion with a solemn remembrance of the events of June 6, 1944, and conclude with a moment of silence. The Dr. Hal Baumgarten D-Day Commemoration Endowment, made possible by the generous gift of Karen and Leopold Sher, ensures that Dr. Baumgarten’s legacy will live on in perpetuity and helps the Museum fulfill its mission to educate future generations about the events of World War II and its lasting impact.

    Celebrating 20 Years: The National WWII Museum Saturday, June 6 at 1:00 p.m. (CT)

    Boysie Bollinger, longtime Museum Trustee and one of the its biggest champions, together with the Museum’s Founding President & CEO Emeritus Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, PhD, and current President & CEO Stephen Watson, will reminisce about what it was like to be a part of the grand opening festivities on June 6, 2000; how WWII history has become a larger part of the nation’s fabric, spurring the expansion of The National WWII Museum; and the Museum’s continued transformation into one of the premier cultural and educational institutions in the world. D-Day at The National WWII Museum

    Saturday, June 6 from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (CT)

    The National WWII Museum will be open to the public for normal business hours on our 20th anniversary. Special features for the day include independent family activities, a Social Media Scavenger Hunt, and the premiere of a short documentary celebrating the Museum’s 20th anniversary. Purchase your tickets here!

    From the Corps to Corporate America

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    Headshot of Laurie Sayles

    U.S. Veterans Magazine asked Laurie Sayles, president and CEO of Civility Management Solutions (CivilityMS), and Jackson Dalton, president and founder of Black Box Safety, Inc., to share what it was like for them to transition out of the military and into the boardroom.

    Laurie Sayles with Civility Management Solutions

    Founded in 2012, CivilityMS provides professional consulting services as an SBA 8(a) certified, verified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), Economically Disadvantaged Woman and Woman Owned Small Business (EDWOSB/WOSB). The firm’s status as a SDVOSB is verified with the Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE) and the Veterans First Contracting Program.

    USVM: Tell us about your transition from military life to one as a business owner.

    Laurie Sayles (LS): I am from Chicago, IL, and have always sought out a means of having my own money or supplementing my income. I was a baby-sitter to single women in the low-income projects complex I resided as a young girl and I modeled professionally during high school, all before I joined the USMC. So, I often say that I have always been an entrepreneur.

    But after getting out of the USMC, I returned to supplementing my income. I tried medical billing as a home-based business only to learn it was a scam. I also became a wellness coach and a bootcamp fitness instructor, to name a few.

    My journey was long after transitioning because there was no outreach during the 90’s for military personnel leaving the USMC. For example, TAPS didn’t exist, and no one in the marketplace really cared that you were a veteran. Also, the Internet was not what it is today and there was no support to help translate your MOS. It was a more challenging time.

    But I wanted to work in corporate America, so I took a job for $17,000 in 1989 as a receptionist. With that, the journey began to learn the difference of being a civilian in this space as an African-American woman with no degree. Within a short period of time, I began to take English, grammar and speaking courses to help me modify my means of communication.

    I climbed the corporate ladder from receptionist to administrative assistant, to an executive assistant, to an operations director to a project manager over a 20-year period. Then in 2012, I became president and CEO of Civility Management Solutions.

    USVM: How did your experience in the military influence your skillset as a business owner?

    LS: My experience from the military has a huge influence in my skillset as a business owner. Again, being an African-American woman in business adds more challenges that many cannot identify with unless they belong to this ethnicity. But, thanks to being a woman that served in the Marine Corps, I am accustomed to operating in a man’s world and a world that is full of alpha males! The Marine Corps is not known to be, “The Few, The Proud, The Marines,” just as a slogan—it’s a culture and a lifestyle. As I often say, if you re-enlist in any branch of the military, it really speaks to you adapting and accepting that culture completely, otherwise you get out after first term. No one—and I do mean no one—that knows me personally walks away not knowing that I served in the Corps. It shows up in my demeanor and my strength as a business owner.

    USVM: What advice would you give someone transitioning from the military into becoming a business owner?

    LS: Make sure you start your homework early when you know your end date. There is so much to offer us when we get out of the military, and finally this country is beginning to recognize this fact. Our discipline, leadership, resilience and determination set us apart from anyone else who never served. So, with running anything … you’ve been trained while you wore the uniform; trained to operate in high integrity; and trained to leave no man behind. All three of these lead to you being a strong leader willing to take full responsibility for your actions. Help others be successful as you become successful.

    Do take advantage of all the training being offered by the SBA in your State, affiliates of the SBA, and programs offered to veterans of the military. Get yourself affiliated with associations and advocacy groups that focus on the type of work you want to do as a business owner.

    Lastly, network, network and network some more to find people that you can engage with. And get yourself some mentors! Each one will add different values and you can call on them as needed.

    Jackson Dalton and Black Box Safety, Inc.

    Headshot of Jackson DaltonBlack Box Safety, Inc. specializes in the prevention of serious injury in the workplace by supplying safety equipment for government agencies and organizations. Dalton is a Board-Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and holds a Master’s degree (MPH) in public health—only 17 percent of CSPs hold both (Board of Certified Safety Professionals, 2017) —as well as a Bachelor’s degree in business administration.

    USVM: Tell us about your transition from military life to one as a business owner.

    Jackson Dalton (JD): I was injured while serving in the Marine Corps. As a direct result of the injuries I sustained, I went through 3 leg surgeries and was not able to walk for a year. While serving, I was hurt at work—essentially an occupational injury. From this experience, I have made it my mission in life to ensure that others aren’t hurt at work, so that they can continue to do the things that they love to do.

    As a direct result of my Marine Corps experience, I transitioned from the military into a career in occupational health and safety. I pursued a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Public Health, and spent over 10 years working as a Safety Engineer. Three years ago, it was my desire to help more people in a more meaningful way so I left my job at 3M and started my company, Black Box Safety, Inc., which is a supplier of safety products and safety training to government agencies and organizations that are looking for ways to reduce risk and help their employees stay safe and healthy.

    USVM: How did your experience in the military influence your skillset as a business owner?

    JD: My experience in the Marine Corps instilled two traits: Grit and bearing. Grit is the ability or decision to persevere in the face of extreme hardship and danger. Bearing is the ability to maintain a calm and confident demeanor in the face of adversity and uncertainty. I learned that the most contagious thing in the world is not infectious disease—it’s human emotion. As a leader, if I lose my bearing and communicate emotions of fear and stress, those emotions will be transferred to those I’m leading. I served as a squad leader in the Marine Corps and today I serve as President of Black Box Safety, Inc., where I am responsible for the health and welfare of 2 full-time employees and 4 part-time employees.

    USVM: What advice would you give someone transitioning from the military into becoming a business owner?

    JD: This is the advice that I would give to someone transitioning from the military to entrepreneurship

    1. Take advantage of every educational opportunity available including but not limited to: Post-secondary education funded through the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Dept. of VA Vocational Rehabilitation Ch.31,; free business start-up courses offered through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) [SBA offers free business courses online at SBA.gov]; apply for a free SCORE mentor; podcasts featuring business start-up advice; and finally an often-overlooked resource that proved to be of great value and benefit to me, Shark Tank and YouTube.
    2. Join an incubator that is composed at least partially of active-duty and veteran business owners. I benefited greatly from the camaraderie I found by applying to a veteran incubator called Tactical Launch. I went through this incubator 2 years ago, and I am still close friends with many of the members of the cohort and many of us continue to be successful in business. The camaraderie is necessary when starting a business, especially if you are the sole founder. It’s actually the number one thing that servicemen and women miss the most when transitioning out of the military.
    3. If you are able to do so, start your business now. Many business startups require very little in the way of capital and expense. Most can be started out of your home with a phone, a laptop and a lot of determination. The biggest mistake I see in other founders is the desire to have everything ready prior to launch. A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed tomorrow.

    VA Jobs You May Qualify for With Military Training

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    military people in uniform walking then transitioning to civilian professional attire. Side view.

    You’ve spent years sacrificing for your country and working hard to protect it. But what happens when it comes times to transitioning to a civilian career? Are job opportunities available to you after military service?

    Here’s some good news: You have a variety of options when it comes to a career at VA.

    VA Careers has a Transitioning Military Personnel initiative designed to raise awareness about civilian careers for former service members at the nation’s largest integrated health care organization.

    In fact, based on certain military occupational specialties you learned in service, you can apply for several positions immediately after your service. Other VA positions offer preference for veteran applicants or are a good fit for those who worked in military health.

    The even better news? We offer employees premium-paid health insurance and robust retirement plans. Veterans working at VA also enjoy education support through veteran-focused scholarships, professional development opportunities and accommodations to make the workplace fully accessible.

    Ready to kick start a civilian career? Check out these five VA jobs you may be well suited for after military service:

    1. Intermediate Care Technician (ICT)

    Former military medic or corpsman should look at ICT careers. As an ICT, you apply your military medical training and skills as a health care provider at a VA medical center (VAMC). You perform complex technician-level diagnostic and treatment procedures. You also provide intermediate and advanced paramedic-level care, intervene in crises and do much more.

    1. Health Technician/Para Rescue Specialist

    Former corpsmen and medics bring the skills, abilities and experience acquired during active duty to careers as health technicians. These include delivering direct patient care, taking vital signs, administering medication and communicating results. Other responsibilities include providing diagnostic support and medical assistance to VAMCs and specialty clinics.

    1. Medical Support Assistant (MSA)

    MSA positions require tact and diplomacy, and that’s why former military personnel are right for these roles. As the front-line contact with patients and staff, you set the tone for customer service at VA. You use your shared experience to comfort fellow veterans coping with administrative processes or difficult health issues.

    1. Nursing Assistant

    Approximately 16 percent of all VA nurses are veterans. That’s not a surprising figure. Former military personnel bring the skills learned during service—working as team, caring for others and supporting a mission—to VA nursing careers. This role involves helping licensed nursing staff provide patient care. Although certification is desirable, it’s not necessary for your application. Nursing staff may take advantage of the special education support programs we offer to earn the degrees and certifications necessary to become a Licensed Practical Nurse or a Registered Nurse.

    1. Support Services

    Every team member at VA has a meaningful role to play in the care of veterans, including those in the support services role. These positions include housekeeping aid, federal protective officer, engineering technician or transportation clerk. Housekeeping aides, in particular, are given veteran preference during the hiring process. “Our housekeeping staff keep facilities safe for our patients, and veterans and their families rely on them,” said Darren Sherrard, associate director of VA Recruitment Marketing. “We are actively looking to fill these positions with quality employees, including our veterans.”

    Source:  va.gov

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