Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, Inc. is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Ann Phillips as Chief Administrative Officer

LinkedIn
Chris Ann Phillips headshot

She joins Guardian Angels and brings academic and leadership experience in development, marketing, communications, human resource management and diversity, equity and inclusion.

She is a results-oriented leader and nationally recognized advocate in the veteran and disability community. As a U.S. Marine Corps veteran she brings strategic focus to the growth and development of the organization.

Chris joins us from PNC Bank where she served as the Military Affairs Liaison and Enterprise Business Lead for PNC’s Annual Community Mutt Strut – supporting veterans in danger of suicide by raising funds to provide medically trained service dogs across the country. Starting her career with PNC as a Diversity Specialist in HR recruiting, she was instrumental in the design, development, and execution of the veteran hiring strategy for PNC.

For the last 3 years Chris has taught as an Adjunct Professor of Business and Professional Communications at Duquesne University. She has held successful positions with Chrysler Corporation and the Department of Labor as a national sales trainer and regional job developer.

Her civic duties include Pittsburgh Veteran Employer Coalition and the Veteran’s Advisory Board for Duquesne University. She is an active member of the board of directors for Pittsburgh Warrior Hockey and is a highly sought-after mentor and public speaker in the military community.

Guardian Angels logoShe is the recipient of a 2013 PA ESGR Patriot Award and instrumental in PNC receiving the Secretary of Defense Freedom Award. Having twice been named in the nation’s top five finalists for Individual Excellence in Veteran Employment by the US Chamber of Commerce, her commitment and passion to the veteran community is exemplary.

Chris holds master’s degrees in Leadership, Professional and Corporate Communications from Duquesne University and will complete her doctorate from Duquesne in 2022. She has two daughters, two granddaughters and a large family. In her free time, she enjoys reading, entertaining and traveling.

Joining the Guardian Angels executive leadership team at a time of amazing growth and expansion, she will be an integral part of the transformation geared towards furthering the mission and long-term sustainability. Her proven leadership and strategic focus will offer great value to our team and all those we serve.

For information about Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, visit https://www.medicalservicedogs.org/

Retired Military Working Dogs Overcoming PTSD

LinkedIn
military working dog posing in a grassy area

The men and women of the United States Armed Forces aren’t the only ones who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after returning from active duty — the dogs who serve so bravely alongside them often do as well.

Mission K9 Rescue, a working dog rescue in Houston, TX rehabilitates and re-homes retired military and contract working dogs. Since 2013, they’ve saved over 1,100 dogs and reunited over 540 dogs with former military handlers.

Often, retired military and contact working dogs have been in situations that have caused them severe anxiety and stress. Many retire with issues such as PTSD. These dogs need time with us to decompress and reintegrate into society, and Mission K9 Rescue works with these dogs to make them suitable for adoption.

Rehabilitating Retired Military Working Dogs Who Have PTSD

Causes — Retired working dogs frequently come to Mission K9 from high-intensity and potentially traumatizing circumstances. Many are trained for dangerous and high-risk tasks such as tracking, search and rescue, explosive detection, patrol, and attack, many of them undergoing explosions, air drops, and heavy-handedness by uncaring handlers. Because of this, many of these dogs exhibit PTSD. Of the dogs brought to Mission K9 Rescue, approximately 30% of military working dogs and 50% of contract working dogs exhibit PTSD. Contract working dogs are a higher percentage, as on top of the training and stressful scenarios, they are more likely to be handled poorly and often aggressively.

Removal From Kennels — After retirement, many military working dogs are stuck in kennels, whether overseas or stateside. The first step for rehabilitation of these dogs is to get them out of these kennels as soon as possible, one of the many reasons being that the kennel environment does not help their PTSD.

Symptoms — Dogs with PTSD may exhibit symptoms such as shaking, crying, and trying to hide. They can also be aggressive around people, including being resource aggressive. They may also not trust, occasionally mistrusting one sex over the other due to handler neglect or abuse. Various triggers from their service cause these behaviors.

Treatment Once Mission K9 Rescue determines a dog to have PTSD, they isolate them in their own play yard so they can get used to their new surroundings and begin to feel a bit more grounded and peaceful. Mission K9 Rescue will also make sure they’re not around any loud noises, which can trigger their condition. “We treat them all the same, giving equal amounts of love and care,” says co-founder, Bob Bryant. “If they cower or show aggression, we’ll take more time with them, working to gain their trust and love. Unfortunately, if dogs with PTSD have continued difficulties, we may have them prescribed Prozac or Trazodone, though we try to keep this at a minimum as there can be nasty side effects.” However, though Mission K9 Rescue can mitigate PTSD with time, love, and patience, “We unfortunately cannot cure it,” says Bob.

Adoption Despite not being able to fully cure PTSD, Mission K9 Rescue has seen many dogs initially exhibiting PTSD eventually decompress, become adoptable, and find happy homes with devoted caretakers. Behavioral changes that show less agitation, return of normal drive, and sociability are some of the signs we look for when evaluating a dog for adoption that initially presented with PTSD.

Awareness is the key for dogs with PTSD. It takes someone with patience, awareness, and compassion to take care of a dog that has any level of trauma. But as that dog begins to find peace in its new home and develops a sense of trust for its new owner, the richness of the bond can be incredibly special.

NASM Supports Military Families with Career Opportunities

LinkedIn
Young military couple kissing each other, homecoming

By Chris Billingsley

NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), a global leader in fitness education and certifications, supports military families – not only on days like the annual – Military Spouse Appreciation Day – but every day by providing 30% off all courses for military members and their families, as well as a free course on mental toughness.

Since 2017, NASM has been recognized as a Military Friendly School, and its Certified Personal Training (CPT) program is also eligible for military funding reimbursement.

Not only do NASM courses offer invaluable health knowledge, for military members and their spouses, NASM also offers flexible career opportunities perfect for a military family’s lifestyle, which can often include multiple moves and makes working in a traditional environment difficult.

Working as a NASM certified personal trainer, wellness coach, or nutrition coach offers the freedom to work wherever and whenever works best for your family, while offering the purpose and satisfaction that comes from helping others achieve their goals.

In fact, for those that want to coach virtually, now is the best time to get started. NASM is seeing a 23% uptick in graduates who are offering virtual services since 2017, with the online fitness industry projected to grow from $16.15 billion this year to $79.87 billion in 2026.

Military spouses looking for career opportunities can also apply MyCAA scholarship funding to specific programs, including a Group Fitness Instructor certification through AFAA (Athletics and Fitness Association of America).

Learners have many options for their course of study – whether they’re interested in offering clients nutritional support, fitness knowledge, or comprehensive wellness coaching. NASM even offers bundles of courses as well as specializations, such as virtual coaching, to help students create the best program for their career goals.

For more information on how NASM supports military members and their families, visit www.nasm.org/certified-personal-trainer/military-support.

Wells Fargo Launches Military Spouse Hiring Program, Designed to Onboard 100 New Employees Per Year for the Next Five Years

LinkedIn
wells fargo store in the city

By Yahoo! Finance

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) recently announced its Military Spouse Homefront Heroes Hiring program, offering mid- to high-level remote, hybrid, and in-office career opportunities with a focus on portability for spouses of those actively serving. The new program is designed to onboard 100 new employees each year for the next five years.

Wells Fargo’s Military Spouse Homefront Heroes Hiring (HHH) program is now accepting interested candidates into its talent community in preparation for launching 100 open positions in early June 2022. The HHH program team will help prepare candidates and hiring managers for a virtual hiring event, assisting with resume development and interview training to help applicants articulate transferrable skills and potential employment gaps. The virtual hiring event will occur in August 2022, with a program start date of Sept. 12, 2022.

The announcement came in advance of Military Spouse Appreciation Day on Friday, May 6.

“The 24% unemployment rate for military spouses far exceeds the national average; this is largely a result of permanent change of station and the inability to have a portable career,” said Sean Passmore, head of Military Talent Strategic Sourcing and Enterprise Military & Veteran Initiatives at Wells Fargo. “There is no one-size-fits-all solution to military spouse un- or underemployment. The scale and complexity of HHH demonstrate our understanding of the unique career challenges faced by military spouses, and our commitment to helping solve the problem.”

Positions will be available in Human Resources, Consumer & Small Business Banking, Technology, Wealth & Investment Management, and Consumer Lending. Each line of business will host 20 roles, and new hires will begin the inaugural program on Sept. 12, 2022.

HHH is just one of several programs Wells Fargo has implemented to serve and employ the military community. Others include:

The Veteran Employment Transition (VET) Program: A nationwide, competitively paid 8+ week Spring and Fall internship for experienced talent that converts directly to a full-time role based on performance. Interns develop an understanding of the daily responsibilities of a full-time Wells Fargo employee, while networking and participating in special training opportunities.

Military Apprenticeships: A Department of Labor structured experiential training program that results in skills certification for applicants who do not initially meet qualifications for the non-apprentice equivalent role.

Boots to Banking: A Wells Fargo one-of-a-kind program designed to attract, prepare, and hire military talent into various career opportunities through military-specific hiring events. Pre- and post-event components include candidate and hiring manager preparation along with valuable resources for a successful transition.

Corporate Fellowship Program: In partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Initiative, the program hosts military personnel within six months of separation for a 12-week fellowship experience to achieve full-time employment.

Applicants interested in joining the HHH talent community should visit the Military Spouse Homefront Heroes Hiring Program website.

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Finance.

Paws of War Placing Emergency Feeding Stations for Ukraine Abandoned Pets

LinkedIn
woman bent down feeding several dogs

When Russia began to invade the Ukraine in February 2022, nobody knew how long the turmoil would last or how much destruction would be caused. Everywhere you look there are animals, once someone’s pet, roaming the streets desperate to find any morsel of food. Paws of War was one of the first organizations on the ground in Ukraine providing food and supplies to the people and their pets who stayed behind.

Paws of War are in Ukraine helping by setting up 100’s of feeding stations they quickly made, and they struggle to keep them stocked with food and water as so many animals are using them to survive. They are providing food and other supplies to animals and people around the country. While Paws of War specializes in helping animals, they have also been assisting people in Ukraine because it’s so desperately needed.

The group is still figuring out how much food and water feeding stations they need, how often they will need to be refilled, and how far apart to place them. For volunteers traveling over borders to help the animals, the trips can take six hours.

“It’s so important that we are in Ukraine talking to the people there, giving them the help they need to help themselves and the poor suffering animals left behind,” explains Robert Misseri, co-founder of Paws of War. “Some families have 20 dogs and 40 cats taken into their homes because they can’t bear to see them starving and suffering. It’s very sad. Most of these people are humble, with modest living conditions, but they are very pet friendly. They have opened their hearts and their homes to try and stop the suffering.”

While 4.7 million citizens have fled Ukraine, some have stayed behind and are doing what they can to help the animals that have been left. They are regular citizens who have essentially turned their home into an animal shelter. Daria, for example, had one cat before the invasion but now has at least 50 that she is trying to feed daily.

“Until Paws of War was able to bring me food, I would scavenge around empty houses and garbage looking for scraps of food, anything I could find,” says Daria. “Now I can give these poor cats a chance to survive, and God willing, I can get them to a safe home one day.”

The need for help is everywhere. Every street you look down has a pack of dogs foraging for food. Cristina Tutunaru is one of 20 to 30 Paws of War volunteers who have been working with Ukrainian and other rescue groups.

Paws of War relies on volunteers at the borders of Ukraine in Romania and Poland to purchase and deliver supplies, assist refugees’ animals and meet with heartbroken Ukrainians surrendering their beloved pets before they continue their uncertain journeys.

“We had a girl walk in with a goldfish bowl. People there are close to their animals. They were traveling for two days,” said Misseri.

Paws of War is seeking donations to help support its Ukraine mission of helping pets and people. To donate, visit the site:pawsofwar.networkforgood.com/projects/156471-help-save-the-refugees-pets-of-ukraine. To see a video of Paws of War in action in Ukraine, visit: youtube.com/watch?v=-vuU0BssMws.

Paws of War has been operating around the world since 2014 helping military save the animals they rescue while deployed overseas. They have helped veterans with numerous issues, including suicide, service and support dogs, companion cats and dogs, food insecurity, veterinary care, and animal rescue for deployed military. As the demand for Paws of War’s services grew, traditional fundraisers like galas and golf outings were sidelined, putting a crimp in the needed funding to keep these services going. Paws of War has a large loyal following of supporters and looks forward to working with new corporate sponsors to keep these life-saving programs running.

About Paws of War
Paws of War is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization that assists military members and their pets, rescues and trains dogs in being service dogs, and provides companion animals to veterans. To learn more about Paws of War and the programs provided or donate, visit its site at: pawsofwar.org.

Diversity in the Healthcare Industry, at Every Step

LinkedIn
business man and woman in office giving a high five

Abbott and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) recently announced a $37.5 million initiative to empower diverse small businesses to help create a more diverse healthcare supply chain. The initiative will provide diverse small-business owners with the tailored solutions, support and resources they need to grow, compete and create jobs – enabling greater diversity in healthcare and a more inclusive supply chain for Abbott and other healthcare companies.

This work advances Abbott and LISC’s shared commitment to create a more diverse healthcare industry and generate jobs and stronger economies in underinvested communities.

This funding opportunity is open to qualified diverse small businesses and offers support through:

  • Growth capital: interest-free capital to help businesses overcome hurdles to expansion, such as investing in management systems to comply with regulatory and environmental requirements
  • Business loans: flexible, affordable loans that would not typically be available through conventional lenders
  • Tailored coaching and technical assistance: targeted, customized support, including help with fulfilling investment and loan requirements and identifying and addressing specific business challenges

Eligible diverse small businesses for program participation and funding must be:

  • Diverse-owned, defined as those that are majority owned by people of color (including Black, Latino, Asian and Native Americans), women, veterans, people with disabilities, people who identify as LGBTQ, and other historically underrepresented groups;
  • In business for more than two years and are based in the U.S. with an annual revenue of $250,000 or more; and
  • Focused on manufacturing nutrition, diagnostics, medical devices or other health technologies, or offering business-to-business products and services that the healthcare industry can use.
  • Sole proprietors are not eligible for the program.

For more information about this initiative, please visit the LISC site. And to learn more about Abbott’s work to support a more diverse supply chain, visit Abbott’s site.

Plans for the World’s Tallest Flagpole and Most Comprehensive Veterans Memorial to be Unveiled in Maine

LinkedIn
Flagpole of Freedom logo

The Park will create thousands of jobs and catalyze year-round economic opportunity

WHAT: Born from a desire to advance unity and patriotism in America, the founder of Wreaths Across America, Morrill Worcester, will unveil Flagpole of Freedom Park – an apolitical project 12 years in the making.

This Park will become the only place in the country to honor all 24 million American veterans in one location.

Standing taller than the Empire State Building, the Park will fly the world’s largest American flag from the tallest flagpole in the world, symbolizing the commitment and sacrifice veterans make to protect America’s freedom.

The Park will humanize key milestones that have shaped American history and will feature immersive educational experiences and living history museums. Phase 1 will open on July 4, 2026 – America’s 250th birthday.

Located in Columbia Falls, the large-scale project will catalyze economic development for the State of Maine, creating an estimated 8,000+ year-round jobs and $27M in tax revenue.

WHEN: Tuesday, March 29, 2022 11:00 a.m. Eastern

WHERE: Livestream link

WHO:

  • Morrill Worcester, Founder & Chairman of the Board, Flagpole of Freedom
  • Senator Marianne Moore (R), Washington County Maine
  • Chris Gardner, Washington County Commissioner
  • Tony Santiago, Chair, Columbia Falls Select Board
  • Tim Gatz, Maine Tourism Alliance
  • Maine State Chamber of Commerce
  • Tricia Thurston, American Legion, Department of Maine

DETAILS: Flagpole of Freedom Park: https://www.flagpoleoffreedom.com/launch/

Armed with a Legal Degree, a Veteran Continues His Mission

LinkedIn
soldier in uniform talking on phone and two other pictures of the same soldier with Army buddies

By Antoinette Balta, Esq., LLM

Andrew Alton enlisted in the United States Marine Corps upon graduating from high school. He served on an intelligence collections team after studying Russian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif. During his time in the Marine Corps, Alton deployed twice: first, in support of humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake, and then to a combat deployment in the Sangin region of Afghanistan. Following an honorable discharge from the Marine Corps as a Sergeant in 2012, Alton returned to Southern California to continue his studies. Alton received his B.S. in Biology from Cal State Fullerton and then his Juris Doctor from the University of California, Irvine School of Law.

While in law school, Alton longed to continue his mission of service and sought out ways to give back. Alton’s search ultimately led to Veterans Legal Institute® (VLI), a nonprofit law firm that provides free and life-changing services to low-income and homeless veterans.

Alton interned at VLI throughout his law school career and was exposed to several different areas of law including housing, complex veteran benefits appeals and discharge upgrades for survivors of military sexual trauma and other disenfranchised Veterans.

Armed with a law school degree and significant legal training, Alton was offered a variety of employment options. Alton applied to his alma mater, and was awarded a post-graduate fellowship that would allow him to work for one year at VLI. Alton’s fellowship at VLI helped numerous veterans in need of legal services in Southern California. Indeed, Alton helped over 100 veterans and their families remove barriers to housing, healthcare, education and employment.

Upon completing his fellowship, Alton was so intertwined with the veteran community and provided so much value to VLI that he was offered a full-time attorney position. Alton enjoys the different challenges and legal obstacles that he encounters daily. Here is a small sampling of the type of cases that Alton resolves in a typical month. While cases vary in terms of size and scope, Alton treats each case with the same passion and urgency, recognizing that any veteran in crisis deserves a zealous advocate.

A veteran’s landlord served a legal 60-day eviction notice to an 81-year-old Air Force veteran during COVID, who had been a tenant for 12 years. Although VLI determined that the eviction notice was lawful, this veteran desperately needed more time to find new housing and relocate his belongings — the isolation and lack of resources during the pandemic was going to render the veteran homeless. Alton was able to negotiate with the landlord to obtain an extra six weeks for the veteran to locate new housing and, most importantly, celebrate the holidays in his old home.

As a direct result of Alton’s advocacy, this veteran can alleviate his fears of homelessness, and have the time necessary to locate a new home.

In a separate case, an elderly Army veteran lived for months in deplorable conditions. The landlord did nothing to fix the conditions, despite evidence of a severe roach infestation. Worse yet, the landlord ignored the veteran’s repeated requests for extermination services. Recognizing the unsafe living conditions, Alton negotiated with the landlord for the veteran to move into a new, upgraded apartment, free from infestation, along with two months of waived rent. This resulted in a $3,740 surplus for the veteran who lives on a fixed income.

Recognizing that many veterans who fought to defend American justice cannot afford to access it, Alton committed himself to serving the greater good, and advocate for those who need a hand up. Each day presents a new opportunity for Alton to brainstorm with his team of over 15 colleagues at VLI to determine how to best uplift the veteran community.

Relying on Military Experience During Times of Uncertainty

LinkedIn
woman holding hands together in hopeful pose seated at desk with computer

By Chris Wayne, Verizon Small Business Essentials

I spent nearly four years in the military as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division. During that time, I learned a lot about perseverance, discipline, and determination from the military standards for working as a team.

Little did I realize how much those skills and experiences would shape my leadership during a global pandemic.

In the military, we prepare for a variety of scenarios and rely on our team to play their individual roles to achieve a greater goal. The belief in this process is how we navigate and survive the challenges we encounter. When you have clear expectations of yourself and those around you, it’s easy to follow through, execute a plan, and be accountable.

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in early 2020, my organization, like many, was unsure of what the future held. But what we did know is we owed it to our customers and our employees to ensure there was minimal disruption to their daily lives, especially as we all hunkered down at home and learned to work in new ways.

Nearly two years later, many companies, large and small, are still grappling with the disruptions of COVID-19. Thus making it imperative to maintain a sense of stability and ensure our teams have the resources they need to work effectively against a set of challenges that constantly evolve.

Here are four ways my time in the military taught me how to lead during times of uncertainty, and it’s my hope that sharing these experiences can help you lead when you are met with adversity.

Create a culture of open communication
Leaders can face an uphill battle when it comes to managing unforeseen or unprecedented issues. Being in charge — whether leading a large team, company or battalion — requires that those who report to you buy into the fact that you are the one who makes the final decision. But just like any endeavor, those in charge can lose control of their team if they don’t earn their respect and trust.

Maintaining that respect starts with open and frequent communication, especially in times of uncertainty. Fostering an environment where your team feels connected and comfortable to express concerns will create trust and ultimately lead to respect. Earning respect can also mean remaining consistent in your work, setting clear expectations with your team, and making sure everyone understands the impact and importance of their role.

Know when to lead and when to bring others in
The mark of a strong leader is someone who understands when there are smarter people in the room. There will be instances where it’s the right decision to lean on others who might have more expertise or more insight into the issue you are facing. True leadership can look different in various scenarios, especially when your team is navigating uncharted territory. Knowing when to step back and allow your team members to lead won’t lessen your leadership; in fact, it might do the opposite.

Failure is a catalyst for growth
Failure is an inevitable part of life. In the military, we know failure can mean the difference between life and death. But that doesn’t mean you should completely dismiss failure when the stakes are not as high.

For our customers, the stakes are always high, just in a different way. They are small business owners and entrepreneurs who put their livelihood on the line to realize their dreams. We recognize and respect that they face challenges every day, and our job is to help them solve those challenges. At Verizon Small Business Essentials, we learn from our failures to help refine our strategies. Making data-driven decisions to help our customers compete and succeed, as well as creating an environment for our employees to learn and innovate in their roles, is key to our success.

Build a network of trusted peers
Leading can be lonely. While you might have a team that looks up to you for guidance, the buck stops with you, meaning success or failure falls squarely upon your shoulders. When you go home at the end of the day, it can be difficult to shake the feeling that you have nowhere to turn to vent.

This is when your network becomes vital. Chances are good your network contains people you trust, who may also have served in the military. Our common experiences can be helpful when seeking advice or a sounding board to work through a variety of challenging scenarios. If you can find the right people to bring into your trusted circle, it will make all the difference when uncertainty arises.

I credit my military service for my ascension in the civilian ranks to becoming a leader with one of the largest companies in the country. Everything I picked up along the way has led me here, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without that experience.

Leadership is defined as the capacity to influence others through inspiration, motivated by passion, generated by vision, produced by conviction, and ignited by purpose. As veterans, our paths to leadership opportunities are diverse. And I firmly believe we are uniquely suited to lead because of our history of military service and sacrifice.

Chris Wayne is the managing director for Verizon Small Business Essentials. Prior to this, he was the company’s Chief Technology Officer. Chris holds a Master of Business for Veterans (MBV) degree from the University of Southern California and is a certified Data Center Management Professional (CDCMP). Before joining Yahoo Small Business, Chris was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.

Supplier Diversity Certifications: Game Changers for the Disadvantaged

LinkedIn
group of business owners standing together in a line smiling

In today’s competitive environment, every owner must take advantage of any opportunity to differentiate their company from the competition.

Supplier diversity certifications for disadvantaged businesses are an often-overlooked option with great potential. Qualifying companies include those with veteran, minority, LGBTQ+ or women owners, as well as those in historically underutilized business zones, or HUBZones. These certifications grant access to private-sector opportunities and contracts with local, state, and federal government agencies that want to do business with a diverse pool of suppliers.

Certification History

According to “A History of Corporate Supply Chain Diversity” (WEUSA 4 [2020]: 95), certification programs were born out of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and guided by legislative mandates enacted to end discrimination that gave large businesses a disproportionate share of opportunities. The program flourished in 1969, when the Office of Minority Business Enterprise was established to provide guidance and support. In 1978, the Small Business Act re-categorized minority businesses as socially and economically disadvantaged and required federal agencies to comply with new goals for federal contracts.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, new legislation fostered the advancement of federal contracting opportunities to businesses in HUBZones and those owned by women, veterans, service-disabled veterans and members of the LBGTQ+ community. Today, as more companies invest in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, the demand for diverse suppliers will only increase.

How Certifications Benefited Our Company

The owner of Black Box Safety, Jackson Dalton, is a military veteran who was disabled while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. That status could put a small business owner at a disadvantage, but it qualified Black Box Safety for certifications and network memberships that introduced us to new and otherwise inaccessible clients.

Certification with the National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) gives us access to special events (such as its recent Marching Forward Monday) and networking connections that resulted in at least $90,000 in contract wins in the company’s first year of certification. Black Box also received NaVOBA’s 2021 Disabled Veteran’s Business Enterprise of the Year award.

Certification with Disability:IN led to our nomination for the organization’s Pitch Perfect Challenge. We presented our pitch to a panel of experienced judges and took first place, landing a five-figure prize and a subsequent feature in a November 2021 Forbes article. Black Box also served on the Re-Imagining Your Business from 2020 Learnings conference panel, which put us in front of potential clients such as Bristol Myers Squibb.

Membership in the Veterans in Business (VIB) Network connects us with private entities, third-party nonprofits and federal contractors through conferences and events. Through VIB alone we secured at least one new regular customer per quarter, and we also increased our visibility as general-session presenters on supplier diversity at the 2021 VIB National Conference.

Black Box Safety put time, money and energy into engaging with these organizations, approaching each with a sense of how our goals and values align with theirs. That investment paid off not only in great opportunities — putting our name in front of Disney, Shell Oil, T-Mobile and other market giants — but also motivation to reach and exceed our own expectations.

The Process

When applying for diversity supplier certifications, begin with the end in mind. Define your target market and evaluate which certifications that market will value. For example, if you manufacture garden and patio decor and want to expand distribution, consider certifications accepted and valued by big-box retailers. NaVOBA certification puts you in front of their corporate sponsors, which include Lowe’s Home Improvement. Many large buyers post a list of accepted certifications on their website, and you can also ask them directly.

Next, evaluate honestly which certifications best reflect the status of your company and whether you meet their requirements. Certification is a rigorous process managed by government agencies or third-party agencies that advocate for the development of disadvantaged-owned businesses. Each has its own conditions, but most require a business to be at least 51 percent diverse-owned. Some require that the owner be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The application process does have associated costs, and you should also set aside time to navigate the documentation, screening, interviews and on-site visits needed to prove that your company is qualified.

For businesses that qualify, the advantages of obtaining diverse supplier certifications far outweigh the costs of earning them. Business partners admire this classification, and certification is alluring to diverse supplier programs. It is not an easy process: it takes not only time and money, but also perseverance and patience to earn these certifications. However, for Black Box Safety, diverse supplier certifications opened doors enough to be well worth the effort and hard work.

Source: Black Box Safety

Drew Carey: A Grateful Marine

LinkedIn

By Brady Rhoades

The Price is Right host and Hollywood icon Drew Carey is, in many ways, an unlikely Marine.

The congenial, bespectacled, self-described “peacenik” comedian served his country as a sergeant and field radio operator with the 25th Marine Regiment and calls the experience a pivot-point in his life.

“Military life and experiences gave me incredible experiences in leadership — especially in small groups, and under pressure,” Carey, 63, said in an interview with U.S. Veterans Magazine. “The military is not about yelling at someone to do things, as people wholly unfamiliar with the military would believe. There’s a tremendous amount of trust that other people will do their jobs and that you’ll do yours. So, there’s social pressure. And a lot of subservience to the mission and the greater good of the group. So, you learn to swallow that and perform because there are always stakes, great and small. And you never want to be the one who can’t rise to the occasion. You’re reminded of this dynamic constantly in the Marines. It’s just there. No one has to yell at you about it.”

Rewind to 1980. Carey, who hails from Cleveland, was jobless, broke and crashing at his brother’s California home when he joined the military.

It turned out to be a watershed move.

“I went from not being able to afford to eat or clothe myself to getting three meals a day. I had an instant family,” Carey said.

The lessons his new family — the Marine Corps — taught Carey ring true to him to this day. They explain, in part, why he’s committed to the ideal of service.

One of his most famous philanthropic efforts took place in 2014 when he promised $10,000 to help find the perpetrators of a fake “ice bucket challenge” involving an autistic 14-year-old Ohio boy who had been told he was going to be doused in ice but instead was showered in urine, tobacco and cigarette butts.

“Horrendous,” Carey tweeted at the time.

Drew Carey seated in helicopter wearing fatigues and posing with another Marine
Drew Carey and others meet with and perform for military members during comedy tour for USO.

Drew Carey and others meet with and perform for military members during comedy tour for USO.

Carey, who checked out a joke book from a local library after his stint in the Marines, is a big supporter of libraries. Over the years, he has donated millions to the Ohio Library Foundation and Cleveland Public Library.

And he advocates for active military personnel and veterans — performing in USO tours, competing in the Marine Corps Marathon, and raising money in various ways.

On a lighter note, Carey continues to advocate for the Cleveland Browns, who sported a disappointing 8-9 record this season. After Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield was sacked nine times in a 26-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Jan. 3, the funny man tweeted this:

Maybe the #Browns offensive line just doesn’t like Baker Mayfield?

Ever think of that?

Or it’s some kind of insurance scam.

I dunno.

When Carey completed his military service in 1986, he turned to standup comedy at the Cleveland Comedy Club and other venues.

In 1988, he competed on Star Search. In 1991, he landed a spot on HBO’s Young Comedians Special and appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He went on to co-star in the Disney TV series The Good Life and worked as a staff writer on The Gaby Hoffmann Show.

Actors Wayne Brady, Drew Carey, Pauley Perrette, and Jai Rodriguez pose outside smiling
(L-R) Actors Wayne Brady, Drew Carey, Pauley Perrette, and Jai Rodriguez attend the 29th Annual AIDS Walk. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)

By the mid-1990s, Carey was a household name, starring in The Drew Carey Show, which ran from 1995-2004, and the improv/sketch show Whose Line Is It Anyway? on which he was host and producer from 1998-2007.

The success of that show led to the creation of Drew Carey’s Improv All Stars, a talented troupe that performed across the country.

Carey was cast in movie roles and penned a best-selling memoir titled, Dirty Jokes and Beer: Stories of the Unrefined.

In 2007, he was named the host of The Price Is Right, succeeding longtime host Bob Barker. This year marks the show’s 50th anniversary.

As if that doesn’t keep him busy enough, Carey is more-than-passingly involved in music.

“I play rock n roll every Friday night on Sirius channel 21,” Carey said. “Little Steven’s Underground Garage. It’s called the Friday Night Freakout, and it airs from 8 to 11 p.m. EST. Also streams on the Sirius app. It’s my passion project.”

Most people know all about Carey’s TV career — and now they know

Drew Carey speaks at a podium at the Veterans Inaugural Ball
Actor Drew Carey attends the Veterans Inaugural Ball.(Kris Connor/Getty Images)

about his love of rock and roll — but what do they know of pre-famous Drew Carey? Probably not much.

That goes back to the unlikely part, although Carey said he’s not that unlikely.

“I know it sounds paradoxical, but despite being such a supporter of our troops and the military, I’m a real peacenik. I’m half hippy, to be honest. But I know I’m not the only one.”

He’s also not the only Buddhist who’s served his country.

“I discovered Buddhism and meditation late in life,” he said. “You do it because it’s the least conflicted and happiest way to live. And because it’s just the right thing to do. It took me a while, but I no longer consider anyone else above or below me. I used to think I did. But I didn’t. I would be intimidated by or jealous of different types of people in power or with different social standings. And I would feel sorry for people who didn’t have as much in one way or another. Now none of that matters to me as far as how I treat them. We all have our path. I try to treat everyone with the same dignity and respect.”

And, of course, he will always be an Ohio-style diehard when it comes to veterans, a feeling that took root in his teens.

Drew Carey as a young  Marine headshot
Drew Carey during his time in the U.S. Marine Corps.

“I graduated high school in 1975, the year we got the last helicopter out,” he said. “I delivered the Cleveland Plain Dealer as a paperboy. They broke the Mai Lai Massacre story. I remember folding all those papers with those awful pictures on the front page. And I remember how badly soldiers were treated when they got home, both by civilians and our institutions. I believe it’s important for us to always recognize the sacrifices it takes to serve in our military, and how necessary they are… We need to recognize and applaud people in our military who do their jobs well, and with honor. Period.”

Providing Business, DVBE. Employment & Educational Opportunities For Veterans

American Family Insurance

American Family Insurance

Leidos Video

lilly

Alight

Alight

Heroes with Hearing loss

Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  3. Multiple Hire GI Hiring Events During June-December!
    June 21, 2022 - December 8, 2022
  4. San Diego Unified Construction Expo 2022
    July 13, 2022
  5. Business Beyond Barriers Conference + Expo
    July 14, 2022