Top Organizations to Receive Diversity and Inclusion Honors Award At Annual Conference

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The Association of ERGs & Councils (a practice group of PRISM International, Inc.) released their annual list of the Top 25 US Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), Business Resource Groups (BRGs) and Diversity Councils set to receive the tenth annual 2019 ERG & Council Honors Award™ at an award ceremony during the 2019 ERG & Council Conference in Orlando May 3rd.

The 2019 ERG & Council Honors Award™ is the only annual national award that recognizes and honors the outstanding contributions and achievements of ERGs, BRGs and Diversity Councils. It was established in 2008 by the Association of ERGs & Councils, a practice group of diversity and inclusion consulting and training firm PRISM International, Inc.

The 2019 ERG & Council Honors Award™ recipients are a diverse combination of US organizations representing most sectors, geographies and sizes. “This year we had a diverse pool of highly qualified applications representing 1,079 ERGs, BRGs, Diversity Councils and their chapters,” states Fernando Serpa, Executive Director of the Association of ERGs & Councils. “We also had several non-Top 25 groups demonstrate best practices and results that deserve to be recognized and they will be receiving the Spotlight Impact Award™ that highlights the achievements of these select groups in the categories of Organizational Impact, Talent Management and Culture of Inclusion.”

This year, for the first time, the Association of ERGs and Councils will bestow the honor of Top Executive Sponsor of the Year. “We wanted to recognize and call out the important role executive sponsors play in developing, supporting and enabling their ERGs and Councils to succeed,” Serpa said.

The 2019 ERG & Council Honors Award™ Top 25 recipient rankings will be revealed at the May 3 award ceremony at the Disney Yacht & Beach Club Resort in Orlando, Florida. The Award Ceremony and Conference is open to all diversity and inclusion professionals involved with ERGs, BRGs and Councils.  This is a great opportunity for individuals to learn and share best practices, network, grow and celebrate, to become inspired and be renewed…all for the purpose of increasing their impact on key organizational and business objectives. Learn more by visiting ErgCouncilConference.com.

The 2019 ERG & Council Honors Award™ recipients in alphabetical order include:

  • American Airlines – American Airlines Diversity Advisory Council
  • Atrium Health – Atrium Health Divisional Diversity Councils
  • Bank of America – Military Support & Assistance Group ( MSAG)
  • Cleveland Clinic – ClinicPride Employee Resource Group (ClinicPride ERG)
  • Cleveland Clinic – Military/Veterans Employee Resource Group
  • Cleveland Clinic – SALUD
  • Davenport University – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council
  • Entergy Corporation – Entergy Employee Resource Group
  • Erie Insurance – Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council
  • Froedtert Health – Froedtert Health Diversity Council
  • General Motors – General Motors Employee Resource Group Council
  • KeyBank – Key Business Impact and Networking Groups
  • Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals – Mallinckrodt Inclusion & Diversity Council
  • Mount Sinai Queens, part of the Mount Sinai Health System – Mount Sinai Queens Diversity Council
  • Mount Sinai St. Luke’s, part of the Mount Sinai Health System – Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Diversity Council
  • National Guard – Joint Diversity Executive Council
  • Northern Trust Corporation – Advancing Professionals Resource Council (APRC)
  • Northern Trust Corporation – Women In Leadership Business Resource Council (WIL BRC)
  • Northwestern Mutual – Asian ERG
  • Northwestern Mutual – Northwestern Mutual Women’s Employee Resource Group
  • Novant Health – Asian Business Resource Group
  • PNC Financial Services Group – Corporate Diversity Council
  • State Street Corporation – Professional Women’s Network – Massachusetts Chapter (PWN-MA)
  • Texas Instruments – Texas Instruments Diversity Network (TIDN)
  • Turner, Inc. – Turner Business Resource Groups
  • U.S. Bank – Spectrum LGBTQ Business Resource Group
  • U.S. Bank – U.S. Bank Proud to Serve

The 2019 Spotlight Impact Award™ recipients in alphabetical order include:

  • Dominion Energy – Dominion Energy Executive Diversity Council (EDC)
  • FedEx Services – Diversity and Inclusion BRT Council
  • Food Lion – Diversity and Inclusion
  • MUFG Union Bank, N.A. – Women’s Initiative Network (WIN)
  • Summa Health – Diversity and Advisory Council

The 2019 Executive Sponsor of the Year recipients in alphabetical order:

  • FedEx Services Diversity and Inclusion BRT Council – Rebecca Huling
  • Perdue Farms Inclusion Council – Randy Day
  • Southern California Edison Company (SCE) Women’s Roundtable (WR) – Maria Rigatti
  • U.S. Bank Proud to Serve – Mike Ott

About the ERG & Council Honors Award™
The ERG & Council Honors Award™ is the only annual national award that recognizes, honors and celebrates the outstanding contributions and achievements of ERGs, BRGs and Diversity Councils that lead the diversity and inclusion process in their organizations and demonstrate results in their workforce, workplace and marketplace. Learn more by visiting ERG & Council Honors Award™.

About the ERG & Council Conference™
ERGs and Diversity Councils are vital links for improving organizational results. However, to remain impactful and effective, they need opportunities to increase their skills and knowledge and to learn and share best practices. They need opportunities to network, celebrate and grow. This is the purpose of the only annual conference designed specifically for ERGs, BRGs and Diversity Councils. Learn more by visiting ERGCouncilConference.com.

About the Association of ERGs & Councils
The Association of ERGs & Councils is a practice group of PRISM International Inc. and the premier resource for transforming Employee Resource Groups, Diversity Councils and Employee Network Groups to impact key organizational and business objectives. Learn more by visiting the ErgCouncil.com.

About PRISM International, Inc.
PRISM International Inc., a Talent Dimensions company, is a WBENC-certified, full-service provider of innovative and proven consulting, training and products for leveraging diversity and inclusion, addressing unconscious bias, increasing cross-cultural competencies and creating more effective ERGs and Diversity Councils. Learn more by visiting PrismDiversity.com.

Armed Forces Day – Military Appreciation Month

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Armed Forces Day

In the United States, Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May. It falls near the end of Armed Forces Week, which begins on the second Saturday of May and ends on the third Sunday of May (the fourth if the month begins on a Sunday, as in 2016).[16]

First observed on 20 May 1950, the day was created on 31 August 1949, to honor Americans serving in the five U.S. military branches – the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard – following the consolidation of the military services in the U.S. Department of Defense. It was intended to replace the separate Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Days, but the separate days are still observed, especially within the respective services.[17]

The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated by parades, open houses, receptions and air shows. The United States’ longest continuously running Armed Forces Day Parade is held in Bremerton, Washington. In 2019 Bremerton will celebrate the 71st year of the Armed Forces Day Parade.

Because of their unique training schedules, National Guard and Reserve units may celebrate Armed Forces Day/Week over any period in the month of May.

On 19 May 2017, President Donald Trump reaffirmed the Armed Forces Day holiday, marking the 70th anniversary since the creation of the Department of Defense.[18][19][20]

Aside from the Armed Forces Day the Armed Forces and the National Guard Bureau are honored on the following days:

  • 29 March: Vietnam Veterans Day (All US Military Branches)[21]
  • Last Monday of May: Memorial Day
  • 14 June: Flag Day and Army Day (United States Army)
  • 4 August: Coast Guard Day (United States Coast Guard)
  • 18 September: Air Force Day (United States Air Force)
  • 13 October: US Navy Birthday (United States Navy)
  • 27 October: Navy Day (United States Navy)
  • 10 November: Marine Corps Birthday (United States Marine Corps)
  • 11 November: Veterans Day
  • 13 December: National Guard Day (National Guard of the United States)

Source: Wikipedia

Veterans Launch New Advocacy Organization to Promote American-made Clean Energy Ahead of Earth Day

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Two workers technicians installing heavy solar photo voltaic panels to high steel platform. Exterior solar system installation, alternative renewable green energy generation

(Washington, DC) ––  U.S. Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA), Former Congressman Patrick Murphy, President and co-Founder of CleanCapital Jon Powers, Mayor Pro Tem of Costa Mesa, California Andrea Marr, and clean energy entrepreneur Kevin Johnson — five veterans of the U.S. Military — recently announced the launch of the Veterans Energy Project. The new organization will work to support veterans and veteran-owned businesses that build and deploy American-made clean energy, and advocate for clean energy investments that create good-paying jobs in American manufacturing on top of the three million that already exist in clean energy.

**EVENT RECORDING HERE**

Speakers and project supporters discussed veteran leadership in the clean energy industry and pending proposals before Congress to invest in clean energy and sustainability technology that can rebuild American manufacturing, create jobs, and fuel an economic recovery for all.

“America’s veterans are leading the way in building and deploying American-made clean energy technology. The President’s plan would double down on their victories to keep our country and our climate safe while securing the jobs of the future. Please join us on this mission through the Veterans Energy Project,” said Ray Mabus, former Secretary of the Navy and Advisory Board Chair of the Veterans Energy Project.

“As a member of Congress I’m often faced with the false choice of clean air or a thriving, growing economy. But the truth is, we don’t have to choose. We can have both and we can do it all while supporting our veterans,” said U.S. Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA).

“Our brother and sister veterans take an oath to protect our country that lasts until the day we die. And many of our fellow veterans are drawn to the clean energy industry. Why? Because they’re good paying careers that build on the skills we honed in the military and it helps keep our country safe,” said Patrick Murphy, former Congressman and Under Secretary of the Army.

The U.S. Military is the largest energy consumer in the world, so American veterans have the skills and training that are ideally suited for the clean energy industry and sustainability technology. Already, veterans are building successful businesses and careers in clean energy all over the country. President Biden’s Build Back Better plan would double down on these victories and ensure our country is the world leader in these booming economic sectors.

“What I’m very excited about is what President Biden is putting forward in the Build Back Better plan, because it invests in American-made clean energy and sustainability technology. It’s restoring the backbone of our country and securing our place as a world leader in a booming economic sector,” said Jon Powers, President and co-Founder of CleanCapital. “It’s also really helping to align American manufacturing and jobs.”

“As a veteran, I believe that helping to lead the transition to a clean energy economy is one of the post patriotic things that I can do. It creates jobs, reduces our dependence on foreign oil, and combats climate change,” said Andrea Marr, Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Costa Mesa, California, and Director of Willdan Energy Solutions.

“As a proud combat veteran, I served overseas in Iraq and saw our dependence on fossil fuels. I had soldiers ask me everyday: what are we doing here? And when are we going home? It really instilled in me the importance to think about what we do in the future in relation to our dependence on fossil fuels, and encouraging me to commit my career to service as a clean energy entrepreneur,” said Kevin Johnson, Clean Energy Entrepreneur and Board Director of the American Resilience Project.

Veterans are 45% more likely to be self-employed, small business owners — and the President’s plan empowers all small businesses, especially in the clean energy industry, funding innovation hubs across the country and investing billions in programs that connect small businesses to federal research and development programs.

Visit www.veteransenergyproject.org for more information. 

Veteran Brings No. 1 Home Inspection Franchise to Hometown

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Lori and Dave Starnes closeup wearing blue work uniform

Sometimes you find a business opportunity that fits like a glove. That seems to be the case for Dave and Lori Starnes. The couple recently moved back home to the Adams/Clarksville, TN area from Hawaii and recently launched operations as new franchise owners with Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®, the No. 1 home inspection franchise in North America.

Team Starnes Home Inspectors, LLC will serve homebuyers and sellers throughout Clarksville, as well as Hopkinsville, KY, and surrounding areas.

Dave retired from the United States Army after 26 years and had been a high school Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) instructor in Hawaii. He also ran his own handyman/general contracting business, while Lori was an operations/ property manager for 100 luxury vacation rental properties, in addition to running her own cleaning business. If it’s something related to homes, the couple has a pretty good handle on things, so becoming franchisees with Pillar To Post Home Inspectors was a natural fit. “Dave had been a handyman and general contractor for more than five years and worked directly with realtors in fixing and repairing many of the deficiencies discovered during the home inspection process,” Lori said. “He had a knack for finding and fixing those issues and we decided to join Pillar To Post Home Inspectors in order to provide professional home inspection services for current and future homebuyers throughout Clarksville and the surrounding areas.”

According to Pillar To Post Home Inspectors President and CEO Dan Steward, “We are rolling out some pretty amazing technologies that are now in full swing for all Pillar To Post Home Inspections. One of these is the PTP360 tour.” PTP360 is an interactive, virtual home inspection tour that allows users to revisit a home anytime and anywhere from a smartphone, tablet or desktop and even share the tour with family and friends. “It’s a great new innovation – fast-tracked to completion because of COVID-19 concerns – and we saw just how well it performed,” Steward said. Clients can also receive a measured FloorPlan of the entire home, with measurements to help with furniture fit and placement. “In the long term, PTP360 is a huge help for busy, professional Realtors, saving them time and better serving their seller, while also giving prospective buyers a far better experience,” Steward said.

Pillar To Post Home Inspectors has achieved the highest standings in various rankings of “Best in Category,” “Top 20 Franchises to Buy,” “Top 10 Global Franchises” and “Top Franchises for Veterans” in addition to achieving 5-Star status with VetFran, a program offered by the International Franchise Association that provides discounted franchise fees to veterans. A professional evaluation both inside and outside the home is at the core of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors’ service. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors input data and digital photos into a computerized report. All information is provided to clients in a customized binder for easy reference, allowing homebuyers or sellers to make confident, informed decisions.

Dave and Lori have two adult children who followed their father’s footsteps into the Army and their son, Russ, will be joining his parents in their business in the near future. In the meantime, Dave and Lori are looking forward to the new year and the newest chapter in their life. “We chose Pillar To Post Home Inspectors because we felt the support and technical advances were superior to other options we considered,” said Lori. “And we were ready to start our own business to secure our financial independence.”

 

About Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®
Founded in 1994, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the largest home inspection company in North America with home offices in Toronto and Tampa. There are nearly 600 franchises located in 49 states and nine Canadian provinces. The company has been named as Best in Category in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise500® ranking for 9 years in a row and appeared in the ranking for 24 years. Long-term plans include adding 500 to 600 new franchisees over the next five years. For further information, please visit www.pillartopostfranchise.com.

How Do You Ask for a Professional Favor?

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Just because many of us are now working remotely doesn’t mean staying connected becomes any less valuable. In fact, we all might need a little bit more human connection these days.

When you’re alone with yourself (as most of us have been recently), it’s easy to see the value of community and why building a professional network is important. No one can think of everything, and a strong professional network can bring new ideas to the table — along with different perspectives, personal and professional advice, and emotional support.

Once entrepreneurs recognize the value of professional networks and learn how to start networking, the next hurdle is often how to ask for a favor professionally. We all know the feeling: a lump grows in your throat, your tongue suddenly ties, and you can just feel the flop sweats coming on.

Before you tuck your tail and abandon the request altogether, remember that overcoming that fear is essential to benefiting from your professional connections. It’s important to build mutually beneficial relationships with your network to help one another fuel your successes.

Finding the right words to ask for a favor isn’t always easy. Even as an experienced entrepreneur, I still get nervous from time to time and feel my confidence shaken. But through the years, I’ve found that asking for favors professionally really boils down to four simple rules:

  1. Be Direct

Remember, a lot of people do like to be helpful and appreciate the opportunity to assist others. Instead of assuming your connection won’t want to help you and floundering nervously on small talk to start the conversation, be direct. Just say this: “I was hoping you could help me out.”

Framing it directly and positively from the get-go will lower the risk of seeming like you’re just trying to get something out of your connection. What’s more, getting to the point quickly is much more efficient, and your connection will value your respect for their time.

  1. Be Complimentary

Think about why you are going to this person specifically for a favor. Do you like their ideas? Do they tend to have a unique perspective? Whatever the answer, let your connection know why you’re coming to them. Offering a compliment isn’t just considerate. It’s good etiquette when asking for a favor professionally. Sharing the reasons why this person is essential to whatever it is you’re asking makes it about more than just what they can do for you.

  1. Ask Ahead of Time

If you’re asking someone to go out of their way to help you, the last thing you want to do is rush them. Waiting until the very last minute is likely to make you appear unprepared and disorganized.

Instead, ask for what you need as soon as you know you need it. Having months to deliver a favor is a lot less stressful than having mere days or hours, and you want to make your request as easy as possible to fulfill.

  1. Show Your Gratitude. 

You don’t want to develop a reputation as someone who takes but never gives. Asking for a favor should never feel like you’re trying to pick someone’s pocket. You should always be prepared to reciprocate.

Even if your connection doesn’t ask for a favor directly in return, be on the lookout for ways you can help out. Can you cover them in a meeting when they have a conflict? Can you take anything off their plate when they’re having a busy day? Even simple actions such as bringing them coffee or treating them to lunch can show your gratitude and willingness to help out in the future.

The most successful professional relationships are win-win, and that means both parties benefit from each other. That’s why an essential step in networking is learning how to ask for a favor professionally. Especially for entrepreneurs just starting out, asking your connections for help can pave your path to success. Don’t be afraid to ask for favors from your professional networks — just be sure to demonstrate respect and gratitude when you do.

Source: score.org

Five Tips for Women Veteran Entrepreneurs

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business woman leaning towards table with her hand extended on keyboard interested in an open laptop

By Natalie Rodgers

Transitioning from the military field into a new line of work can be difficult for any veteran, but this problem seems to be especially prevalent for women looking to transition into business ownership.

Veteran Airforce pilots and current business owners, Chassity Jackson and Patricia Frame, recently took part in a CNBC hosted seminar to discuss their best tips for women veterans looking to start their own businesses.

Here are five tips for aspiring women veteran entrepreneurs:

Know Your Industry

Of the millions of small businesses in the United States, it can be difficult to make your work stand out. Study the competition and decide what you would like to bring to the table. What will your company be bringing to the table that is different than everything else? What are the consumers of your product looking for and what are some typical frustrations they come across when they are trying to obtain it? Once you understand how your business fits into the industry, keep up on the latest news with competitors and customers to ensure you are fulfilling industry demands.

Networking is Key

Connect with other business owners, especially ones who are experienced in the field and can help mentor you through this new journey. Attending business conferences and networking events have always been a standard way to make these connections, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these conferences have switched to online platforms for business owners to easily utilize and converse through. LinkedIn is also a great source for networking. Make sure your profile is up to date to seem as presentable and professional as possible to new connections.

Know Your Audience

When a business is first starting out, its crucial to understand who the target audience is for the project. Start off by testing a select number of products to your customers and observe what sells and what doesn’t do as well. As you get to know your clientele, it will be easier to figure out how to best allocate your resources and where to put your money to receive the most profit.

Have the Funds

Once you have a business plan, you want to make sure that your business is going to be properly funded. Though many have used their own source of income to help get their company off the ground, there are a number resources that that veterans can utilize to get started. One of the most well-known ways is through the U.S. Small Business Administration, which provides low cost loans to veterans, military personnel, and their families.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean that veterans will just be given money because of their status–a misconception that has been believed by many current and former military personnel in the past. Raising money through pitching competitions and crowd funding campaigns are other significant ways that you can allocate the proper funds you need for your business.

Be Willing to Change

In the midst of COVID-19, companies are preparing now more than ever for unprecedented circumstances their business may face. Many businesses have closed due to repercussions from the pandemic and you don’t want yours to be one of them. Make sure you have a back-up plan should something drastic happen to your everyday routine. How will you continue to provide your products to customers if a lockdown occurs? Can you utilize the internet to help your customers in times of need?

It’s also critical to make sure that you have a cushion to fall back on should a situation arise. Put some of your profits aside as often as you can to create a money reserve to fall back, just in case.

Source: CNBC

Military Veteran Uses Experience and Corporate Background to Run His New Mobile Business

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The way Jason Colon sees things, his background provided him the perfect combination of skills to become a small business owner.

It all came to fruition this past December when the 46-year-old Rocky Mount resident became a franchise owner with Floor Coverings International, visiting customers’ homes in a Mobile Flooring Showroom stocked with thousands of flooring samples from top manufacturers. Floor Coverings International of Winterville serves customers throughout East Raleigh, Knightdale, Wilson, Rocky Mount, Greenville and surrounding areas.

Colon spent 21 years in the United States Air Force before retiring from active duty. He didn’t skip a beat, transitioning into a corporate career where he spent almost six combined years in operations working for two global corporations, both providers of technology and manufacturing services worldwide. “I think each of the career paths provided a different set of tools to prepare me for being part of the Floor Coverings International family,” Colon said. “My time in the military prepared me to run process and support people. And my time in Corporate America provided the customer experience education and tools, while also giving me the ability to realize my various skill sets and bring them all together to be a successful small-business owner.”

In Floor Coverings International, Colon found a company that has tripled in size since 2005 by putting a laser focus on consumer buying habits and expressed desires, its impressive operating model, growth ability, marketing, advertising and merchandising. Floor Coverings International further separates itself from the competition through its customer experience, made up of several simple and integrated steps that exceed customers’ expectations. For this, Floor Coverings International was given the Innovation Award for Customer Response from Franchise Update Media, the benchmark publication and conference entity that is the Gold Standard of Franchising.

“I wanted to have more control of what happens to my future and Floor Coverings International gives me that opportunity,” Colon said. “When COVID-19 struck, it wiped out the aviation industry and jobs were not plentiful. Getting on board with Floor Coverings International was the best path for me.”

ABOUT FLOOR COVERINGS INTERNATIONAL

Norcross, GA-based Floor Coverings International has been ranked consistently as the No. 1 Mobile Flooring Franchise in North America by Entrepreneur Magazine. The 142 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 3,000 flooring choices are available to view in the home with and alongside existing lighting, paint, and furniture. The company will open several more locations throughout the U.S. and Canada through franchise expansion in 2021.

For franchise information, please visit opportunities.flooring-franchise.com and to find your closest location go to floorcoveringsinternational.com.

Marines, rejoice: Someone made crayons that are actually meant to be eaten

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cartoon image of solder in uniform sqatting down with crayon in hand

Marine veteran has spent the last several years trying to turn a joke at the Corps’ expense into a successful business, and it looks like he’s nearly there with Crayons Ready to Eat. Created by Frank Manteau and Cassandra Gordon, Crayons Ready to Eat are not only edible, but writable chocolate crayons that come in a range of colors — though unlike those actual little color spears and waxy-practice-pencils, these have a triangular shape, and that’s by design.

“It’s so they don’t roll off a table,” Manteau said, and so “parents, [noncommissioned officers] and [staff noncommissioned officers] can say ‘this is okay to eat because of its shape,’ and ‘this one is not okay to eat.’”

They also come in packaging modeled after the military’s Meals Ready to Eat, hence the name Crayons Ready to Eat — and yes, a lot of this humor is on the nose, but considering that 90 percent of those reading this story will be Marines, I wanted to break it down Barney Style for my fellow ‘crayon eaters.’

Now, if you’re a little confused on some, or all of the above, and find yourself wondering: What does eating crayons — something you expect from a young child without adult supervision — have to do with being a Marine? Well, you’re not alone. Manteau was a bit lost back in 2017 when he learned that Marines had added ‘crayon eaters’ to an already long list of nicknames.

“When I was in the Marine Corps we were not crayon eaters,” said Manteau, a former infantryman who served from 1995 until 2002. “We were not crayon eaters,” he said again, just for emphasis. “We were jarheads, grunts, ground pounders, bullet sponges.”

The term, its mocking tone, and its origins piqued his curiosity, so he started to ask around “Where did this come from?” he wondered, but nobody knew.

“I could not figure out how we became crayon eaters,” he said. And while there were plenty of memes, and even a few videos that referenced, or fully embraced the “Marines are dumb and eat crayons” joke, none of it explained how that came to be. Instead, he simply accepted it as the new normal for Marines; So long ‘Devil Dogs,’ we’re ‘crayon eaters’ now.

So Manteau accepted the joke and wore it like a badge of honor “in true Marine Corps fashion,” he said. “We embrace every joke that comes at our expense and we will make it our own. We will laugh with you, not be laughed at by you.”

Manteau is right after all: ‘Leatherneck’ and ‘Devil Dog’ are hardly laudatory nicknames; one is a reference to an uncomfortable uniform item that Marines long ago had to wear; the other, according to Marine Corps lore, was bestowed on World War I Marines by horrified German soldiers. And let’s not forget ‘jarhead’ which was most definitely meant to be an insult, but instead had to settle for being the third-best nickname.

As for how a joke about being in the Marine Corps is a lot like being in kindergarten segued into an idea for a business, well, that’s another matter. (Now, it’s worth noting that there have been other Marines who tried to turn the ‘crayon eater’ trope into a business, or at least a product, like the Marine vet who created edible crayons through her company, Okashi Sweets, though the venture appears to have been short-lived as the link to the site is now broken.)

Manteau, a carpenter by trade, said the idea began to take shape while he was working on an art project, and just so happened to find himself drawing on a piece of wood near a box of crayons. Without thinking, as he reached for a different color crayon, he put the one he was using in his mouth and began to chew.

“And then it hit me: Maybe there is something to people chewing on crayons,” he said. Naturally, the next thought was: Okay, so how do you make a crayon that’s meant to be gnawed upon?

Immediately, Manteau called up Cassanda Gordon, a former colleague and pastry chef.

“Can you make chocolate writable?” he asked. “She said ‘yes,’ and that’s all I needed to hear,” Manteau said.

By September 2017 she’d developed a working model for edible and writable crayons.

Read the complete article on Task & Purpose here.

The Rosie Network National Veteran & Military Spouse Awards

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Stephanie Brown in blue dress speaking behind Podium

The Rosie Network is a national award-winning nonprofit that works to empower our nation’s active-duty, veteran, and military spouse small business owners and budding entrepreneurs around the country for more than six years.

The Rosie Network supports our small and diverse military community through our customized, no-cost Service2CEO Entrepreneurial Program. Our program is delivered to service members, veterans, and spouses through chapters. Rosie Chapters serve military spouses and female service members or veterans; the Warrior Chapter delivers the Service2CEO program to veterans and active-duty soldiers; and Valor Chapters serve diverse-minded people in the military community and people of color.

Photo Credit:  Leona Sublett –  Stephanie Brown, CEO & Founder of The Rosie Network announcing the awardees of the 2020 Veteran & Military Spouse Entrepreneur Awards; Stephanie Brown, The Rosie Network

The Veteran & Military Spouse Entrepreneur Awards were created to recognize and celebrate military business owners’ accomplishments around the world when The Rosie Network launched this event in 2017. In our fourth year, we would love to present the 4th Annual Awardees across ten different categories, as reviewed by an independent panel of judges.

The 2020 National Veteran and Military Spouse Entrepreneur Awards were presented during Veteran Small Business Week, November 2nd-6th. A special thank you to Newman’s Own & Fisher House Foundation, USAA, GovX, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Wells Fargo for taking the time to present The Rosie Network Paddle Awards to the winners. For more information about the presentations, finalists, and awardees, please visit The Rosie Network website at the rosienetwork.org
2020 National Veteran and Military Spouse Entrepreneur Awardees

Active Duty Owned Business of the Year

Anthony Gantt

At Ease Rentals Corporation, pcsatease.com
At Ease Rental Corporation provides comfortable, convenient, safe, and welcoming short-term/vacation rentals to federal employees and their families.

Veteran Owned Business of the Year

Paul Salopek

Advanced Integration, LLC, advint.com

ADVINT is Testing the Limits of Technology® to provide the competitive advantage needed to succeed in today’s demanding business environment.

Inspirational Leader of the Year

Shirley Walker-King, shirleywalkerking.com

SWK Management and Consulting Services, LLC

Offering a variety of services to meet both individual and organizational needs.

Health & Wellness Professional of the Year

Chris Kaag

IM ABLE Foundation, imablefoundation.org

Removing obstacles that prevent people affected by disabilities from being physically active by redefining what is possible.

Military Spouse Owned Business of the Year

Lindsey Litton

MilHousing Network, milhousingnetwork.com

Connecting military families with pre-screened realtors specially trained in serving the military community.

Trailblazer of the Year

Vernice Armour

VAI Consulting and Training, LLC, vernicearmour.com

Vernice’s global mission is based on the Breakthrough Mentality mindset, helping leaders to step up, lead, and get gutsy.

Military Spouse Owned Start-up of the Year

Maya Edinburgh-Taylor

M.E.T. Speech Therapy, metaylorspeech.com

Providing individualized, naturalistic, culturally competent, and client-centered speech, language, and swallowing services in the comfort of your own home.

Veteran Owned Start-up Business of the Year

Travis Arnold

Caisson Shaving Company, LLC, caisson-shaving.com

Handmade to order in the U.S., Caisson Shaving’s soap is tolerant of austere conditions and packaged in a leak-proof container, designed for the soldier and adventurous gentlemen.

Media Professional of the Year (Tie, #1)

Jen Amos

Jen Amos holding the 2020 National Veteran & Military Spouse Entrepreneur Award, a Navy Paddle hand crafted by Valhallas Forge
Jen Amos holding the 2020 National Veteran & Military Spouse Entrepreneur Award, a Navy Paddle hand crafted by Valhallas Forge; Jen Amos, Holding Down the Fort Podcast, photo credit Jen Amos

Holding Down the Fort Podcast, holdingdownthefortpodcast.com

Dedicated to making the lives of military spouses easier by curating knowledge, resources, and relevant stories.

Media Professional of the Year (Tie, #2)

David Johnson

The David Johnson Show, thedavidjohnsonshow.com

The Veteran Talk Show and podcast for the post-9/11 era Veteran and Military Community, bringing stories, perspectives, and fascinating new content to our community.

Franchise of the Year

Joe Klimek

Sport Clips Haircuts, sportsclips.com, www.facebook.com/SCTX201

Provides championship haircut experiences in an exciting sports-themed environment.

Admiral’s Circle

Todd Cline, Senior Business Consultant at Cetera Financial Group

The Rosie Network presents this special award to an individual who goes above and beyond to support our military community.

Find these and other veteran or military spouse-owned small businesses around the country at Rosie’s List powered by Grow With Google and verified by GovXID (rosieslist.org).

Army Veteran Dave Wyatt Grows Minuteman Press Franchise During COVID-19 Pandemic By Helping Local Businesses

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Dave Wyatt stands with his family in his Minute Press Press shop

During his first year in business as Minuteman Press franchise owner in Medina, Ohio, Dave Wyatt was faced with the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We reached out to local businesses early on to let them know we were there to help them in their time of need. They learned we were open as an essential business and that they could trust us, and that sparked our growth.”

One of the ways Dave helped other local businesses when they needed it most was through their free initiative Bounce Back Medina. “Bounce Back Medina simply connects local businesses with community members who are looking to shop local and support local. This is completely free and we also provide participating businesses with free COVID-19 awareness posters. This was our way of letting everyone know that we are all in this together and we will help in any way we can to lift each other up.”

Dave also reached out to local bars and restaurants, providing them with 100 free printed menus. “I knew they needed to make changes to their menus or simply needed to use them to reach out to customers, so I thought it was the right thing to do. They were very appreciative and once again they saw that we were there to help them at a critical time.”

He also printed free 10-minute parking signs for all businesses in the square downtown. “Curbside pickup became very big, and I just wanted to do my part to help other businesses adapt and stay safe.”

Goodwill goes a long way to growing sales

As a result of his efforts in giving back and building authentic relationships with other local businesses he truly cares about, Dave has seen his sales grow 30% despite the challenges of the pandemic. “Some of the businesses I reached out to through Bounce Back and these other giveaways have remembered us and stuck with us. They see that we can meet their printing and marketing needs. More importantly, they know I am there for them and that I can empathize with them since I am a local business owner too.”

At Minuteman Press Medina, Dave is able to provide high-demand products and services that local businesses need right now. He explains, “We provide general printing services, custom branded apparel, wide format printing and signage, and direct mail campaigns. These are all items being ordered and used by our clients during the pandemic.”

He continues, “For example, we were honored to be able to help our graduating students last year by printing over 1,200 signs for families. We are proud to help keep businesses safe with social distancing signage and branded face masks. They can safely reach out to their target audiences through direct mail postcards as well as Dynamic Direct Mail, where people are contacted both through the mail and online.”

Dave adds, “We are local and we care about our community. We have that personal touch you won’t find elsewhere, and you certainly won’t find it online. You will not find another team to take care of your printing and marketing needs like we do at Minuteman Press Medina.”

Dave also credits his local in-house staff of three employees who he is able to lean on to make sure his clients receive that personal touch and outstanding customer service. “We have a great team that works well together. Sierra is our Graphic Designer; Mary is our Customer Support Rep; and Eric is our Production Specialist. I am humbled to have the support I do from them. As a business owner you want to be comfortable when you are away from the shop and they make it that way for me.”

Furthering his local ties to the community, Dave makes sure to get involved and stay active. “Community is so important. I am a Chamber Ambassador for the Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce and also a member of the Wadsworth Chamber of Commerce. This allows me to get to know the new businesses as they are coming in or just joining the Chamber.  I am a member of the Medina County Economic Development Corporation as well.  I join as many networking groups as I can and still be comfortable with my time. Networking and growing relationships through the ‘know, like and trust’ platform was key in thriving during this pandemic.”

“Printing will never go away but you must be more than a printer. You need to be a marketer, a designer, a promoter, and most importantly, a business partner.  People need to trust you and your team. Once you have that trust, you have a customer for life.” -Dave Wyatt, Minuteman Press franchise owner, Medina, Ohio

From the US Army to the American Dream of Business Ownership

Prior to owning his own business at the end of 2019, Dave Wyatt says, “I spent 8 years in the Army as an Aircraft Electrician. I spent the next 19 years with Konica Minolta (16 years in service and 3 years in sales). During that time, I did a lot of training and calibrating equipment so I was in many different types of businesses. I saw independent print shops, UPS stores, and Minuteman Press franchises. When I decided to own my own business, I knew I didn’t want to open without support so I went the franchise route.”

Why Minuteman Press? Dave answers, “What I liked about Minuteman Press from what I learned in research and what I saw while working for Konica Minolta is that they allow the personality of the business to shine. They offer the most flexibility in terms of how to run your franchise, so while I am following their system, I still feel like an entrepreneur. I didn’t see that from other franchises and I also didn’t want something like foodservice where I’d be working long hours at night and on weekends. Having that freedom to be me and the Monday-Friday hours were huge along with their training and support.”

“Minuteman Press has guidelines and if you follow those guidelines you will be successful, but they also allow you the freedom to make many of your own choices when it comes the way that you actually run your business. During my search for a franchise, I felt many other franchisees were just glorified managers for their franchisors because they seemed to have very little freedom to make decisions on their own without corporate breathing down their backs. Between that, their training and support, the Monday-Friday hours, and their cap on royalties, I was sold.” -Dave Wyatt

Dave expands on the ongoing local support he receives from Minuteman Press International. “I have a great local support team in Regional Vice President Gary Nowak and Area Manager Rich DeRosa, who are only a call or email away. Everyone at Minuteman Press has been helpful during this pandemic and they have really shown me that they have my back with constant communications and additional marketing strategies.

He adds, “Our Minuteman Press FLEX software system is also a huge game-changer for us. We have implemented customer dashboards, which allows for easy online ordering and reordering. If people come to me and say that they prefer online ordering, we make that available to them while also still being their local trusted provider they can still talk to and meet with. They can have the best of both worlds.”

Advice for Others

Dave shares the following advice for others who are looking to own a business. He states, “Ensure you have enough capital; my bank has been a good business partner and because of that I was prepared when the pandemic first hit. With that said, you can’t be afraid to spend money in ways that will help you market and grow. Invest in people, inventory, and equipment where it makes sense. I also encourage you to study, read books, and listen to podcasts.  Always be learning, and never stop.”

For more information on Minuteman Press in Medina, Ohio, visit https://www.medina.minutemanpress.com. Learn more about #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise opportunities and read Minuteman Press franchise reviews at https://minutemanpressfranchise.com.

Parachuting with a Purpose: Local US Marine Corps Veteran BASE Jumps to Raise Awareness of Veteran Suicide

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us marine lands his parachute in grassy area near mountain

The number of service men who were killed in action in 2019 is the same number of veterans who die by suicide each and every day.

Pittsburgh Veteran Tristan Wimmer returned to the skies of his hometown to bring attention to this national crisis.

On Jan. 30, 2021, Wimmer teamed up with other Veterans to complete 22 BASE jumps — 22 is symbolic of the 22 United States Active Duty and Veterans who succumb to suicide each day.

The jumps were held as part of the 2nd Annual 22Jumps event at Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, AZ, beginning 6 am (MST) and continued throughout the day.

Wimmer’s brother took his own life in 2015 after sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in Iraq while serving in the United States Marine Corps. The event, 22Jumps, started last year as a tribute to his brother, but quickly drew local and national media attention, as well as support from the brain injury, mental health, and Veterans’ communities, and countless families affected by Veteran suicide. In the past year, Wimmer’s effort, 22Jumps.org, has grown into a nationwide initiative, with Veterans pledging to plan and participate in future events throughout the U.S. and all funds raised supporting Cohen Veteran Bioscience (CVB), a nonprofit biomedical research organization that is dedicated to fast-tracking precision diagnostics and tailored therapeutics for brain trauma, a major risk factor for suicide.

This year, Wimmer hopes to raise a symbolic $22,000 through his 22Jumps Facebook fundraiser. Donations can also be made at: www.cohenveteransbioscience.org/22-jumps/

22Jumps.org founder and veteran Tristan Wimmer stated-

“TBIs disproportionately effect servicemen and women. I personally know dozens of Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and emotional management issues – many of whom have succumb to suicide. The effects of those deployments linger long after returning home. I’m honored to fundraise for CVB, an organization that recognizes the need to develop new treatment options for the millions of Veterans and civilians who suffer from TBIs and other mental health issues to finally combat the epidemic of Veterans suicide. To move forward, Veterans need more advocates like CVB, and we need more science that embraces the complexity of this Veteran-heavy disease.”

Fast facts about TBIs and Veteran suicide:

  • 19% of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans reported a probable TBI during deployment.
  • Veteran suicides make up a disproportionate—14 percent—of total suicides in America.
  • TBI and PTSD have taken an enormous toll on Veteran populations. With more than 2.7 million men and women deployed to support combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, the likelihood and burden of these brain diseases will only increase.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 to receive free, confidential support and crisis interventional available 24/7/365.

Donations: https://www.cohenveteransbioscience.org/22-jumps/

About 22Jumps
www.22Jumps.org

The rate of suicide among veterans is at an all-time high — 22 per day, according to 2012 US Dept. of Veteran Affairs study. Yet, despite this soaring statistic, scant public funding is allocated to the problem. 22Jumps was founded in 2019 by Tristan Wimmer, Infantryman and Scout Sniper in 2nd Battalion 1st Marines, in response to his brother Kiernan Wimmer’s own suicide. Kiernan was a recon and MARSOC marine who served one tour in Afghanistan and one tour in Iraq. In 2006, Kiernan sustained a massive TBI that diminished his quality of life and contributed to his decision to commit suicide.

About Cohen Veteran Bioscience
www.cohenveteransbioscience.org/

Cohen Veterans Bioscience (CVB) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) research organization dedicated to fast-tracking the development of diagnostic tests and personalized therapeutics for the millions of Veterans and civilians who suffer the devastating effects of trauma-related and other brain disorders. CVB is harnessing the power of biotechnology (including neuroimaging, ‘omics, and biosensors) in combination with high-performance computing and data analytics to understand the underlying mechanisms of brain trauma and discover new ways to improve treatment for all patients.

Providing Business, DVBE. Employment & Educational Opportunities For Veterans

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