23 November 2015

#VetsRising: Veterans Day 2015

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) have a social media tagline #VetsRising that you may have seen on Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else the kids are using these days. To be honest, it seemed odd to me when I first saw it. I wondered from what depths we were supposedly rising and to what heights did we intend to go. I have been a veteran for over 11 years now, and I have worked with student veterans for close to seven. The past 18 months, however, have truly been transformative. In my work at Northeastern University, I have had the privilege of traveling about the country and meeting veterans from other cities. Through these other veterans, through their challenges and countless accomplishments, I have come to learn just how appropriate #VetsRising really is.

About once a week, I receive a phone call from my friend Josh out in Washington State. These have become my favorite calls of the week. Josh is an Army veteran who served in Iraq, and now he’s a fellow IAVA team leader. We both attended an IAVA regional leaders summit back in August and left feeling hyped up and enthusiastic about creating a sense of community among veterans in our area. He calls to share his success stories, to tell me about the veterans he meets and how happy they are to have found others who served. He does all of this in addition to his responsibilities as a father and full-time employee working with the homeless. Josh’s next venture is to start a program helping veterans in prison. He is an inspiration. He is also a man of great conviction. So distraught is he over their rate of suicide, that Josh has “22” tattooed on his finger to remind him of the 22 veterans who take their own lives each and every day.

Thanks to the leadership of Rebecca, a Field Associate at IAVA, and the work of other fantastic organizations that are truly serving this population, I continue to meet great veterans and civilian supporters. Here in Boston, the Home Base Program treats veterans and servicemembers dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, deployment stress, and military sexual trauma. They do this in spite of a veteran’s discharge status or their ability to pay. Their outreach staff is comprised solely of veterans who have served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. This fall, Northeastern partnered with Home Base in order to host their New England Warrior Health and Fitness Program on campus. This free program is open to any Post-9/11 veteran and includes components such as strength and conditioning training, proper diet and sleep hygiene education, and mental skills training. Civilians would pay thousands of dollars a month for this type of experience, but it is free to us simply because we served.

The goal of programs like Warrior Health and Fitness and groups like Team RWB is to foster a sense of community in a healthy, positive environment. Organizations like Team Rubicon and The Mission Continues have similar goals, but they take things a step farther by empowering veterans to make a positive impact in their communities through their response to natural disasters and coordination of volunteer activities, respectively. Veterans aren’t simply returning to civilian life to shirk their civic responsibilities. They continue to serve other veterans and their fellow citizens. At our core is a shared belief in this wild and beautiful experiment called America.

The former military members I meet are shaping the veteran experience in their communities. They’ve taken up causes like veteran suicide, homelessness, unemployment, mental and physical health, educational improvements, and empowerment. Veterans like my friends Victor in Seattle, Rob here on the main campus, and civilians like Josie in Boston or Noel in Charlotte are helping us with outreach because they believe in the power of a Northeastern education and the impact it has on employability.

Until recently, I must have thought of myself as a lone gun working to help the veterans with whom I come in contact. The fact is, though, that I’m one of many, many veterans across the nation who are banding together to elevate their brothers and sisters. We do what we can to welcome them home, to prepare a place for them at the table, to invite them in from the margins and prove to them that they’re never alone. I’m intensely relieved and reassured when I see the number of these veterans and veteran supporters doing this important work.

In my opinion, this is the essence of #VetsRising. We emerge from the military undoubtedly changed by the things we experienced, some left to struggle more than others. As we succeed in our transition, we rise. It fills my heart to see so many veterans turning, extending their hands toward a brother or sister, and lifting them up.

My life has been forever changed by my decision to serve some 15 years ago. Northeastern University has continued to place their faith in me, to offer me the privilege of serving the veterans who call our campus home. Yesterday, they doubled down on that faith by appointing me the inaugural director of our new Center for the Advancement of Veterans and Servicemembers (CAVS). I hope to follow the excellent example of the organizations and individuals around the country who are taking point and clearing the way for others.

This Veterans Day 2015, the outlook for those who serve and have served is getting better and better. We rise. We rise together.

Read more posts like this, here!

12 November 2015

Veterans Day and Looking Forward

Author Name:- GySgt George Vukovich

Veterans Day celebrates and honors those who selflessly served our great country as members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The genesis of this day dates to the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when major hostilities of World War I formally ended. The day links together a global community of veterans. Did you know that many European countries honor the day, but refer to it as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day? Did you know that Nov. 11 was not officially celebrated in the U.S. as Veterans Day until 1954? Prior recognition in the U.S. was the same as our European counterparts, which we previously honored as Armistice Day. Regardless of the name, it’s important to remember the significance of honoring those who served.

History of the Veteran Bond

During World War I, the U.S. Armed Forces fought alongside courageous European soldiers. We’ve witnessed similar courage in generations since during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and in the Middle East. Collectively, we have bonded to form a global community of veterans, and we all deserve the recognition affiliated with sacrifice for a greater good. This is our “thank you” for a job well done! 

How We’re Celebrating the Veteran Community

As we speak of a community of veterans, I want to share some local insights as well. Celebrating the legacy of the veteran community tends to focus on one day of the year in particular. Veterans Day comes and Veterans Day goes. I’m very fortunate in my adult life, as I’ve had the privilege of serving our country in the U.S. Marine Corps for 20 years. Since then, I’ve been equally fortunate to represent an institution of education, American Military University, which truly supports our military and veteran community on a daily basis. We’ve helped thousands of veterans and military students earn an academic degree, and we currently serve and support more than 50,000 such students in our program. Our pledge to our community of veteran learners is constant and consistent. Our willingness and desire to provide greater opportunities is unwavering. We think about the needs of our students daily—not just once a year.

With that, we look forward to celebrating in 2016 AMU’s 25th Anniversary since being established in 1991. We also look forward with great anticipation to the opening of our newest endeavor, the APUS Veterans Center on Campus, which will become the center point of our activities associated with our veteran students. Our Student Veterans of America Chapter, which currently consists of approximately 3,000 members, will also be headquartered within this resource center. Each chapter member is an AMU and U.S. Armed Forces member.

We intend to provide a variety of opportunities to aid our veteran students in their classroom environment and also with life in general. Details of the center will be announced during the opening, and just as the mission of the school is to provide education at a distance, the Veterans Center’s mission will follow suit to help support those who are not located in the same region. 

On November 11, we honor and proudly say “thank you” to all veterans, particularly our student body veterans. We want you to know, we’re thinking about you on this special day and on every day that comes before and after. We’re deeply committed to you and your academic success, and we strive daily to help provide more opportunities for you.

Happy Veterans Day!

About the Author

George Vukovich is a retired Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant and former President of the Virginia Advisory Council for Military Education (2010 & 2011). George is actively involved in educational opportunities for veterans in a variety of venues, and serves as staff advisor for American Military University’s Student Veterans of America Chapter.

If you're considering advanced education, don't hesitate to take a look at American Military University: http://rly.pt/Veterans-Day-Looking-Forward

We’ve always believed in giving veterans the green light.

Author Name:- Walmart
With 22 million veterans in this country, their contributions to our nation are immeasurable. Any effort to highlight their achievements and show our appreciation would be a display of loyalty that can’t be ignored.

And that’s exactly what we’re going to strive to do.

Walmart is proud to power Greenlight A Vet – a national campaign that will shine a light on the strengths and values that veterans bring to our communities. Together, we can recognize the important contributions they make for our nation and in our communities:

·      Hiring a veteran or helping a veteran find a job
·      Volunteering and serving with veteran groups in your local community
·      Raising awareness on social media using #GreenlightAVet
·      Changing a light in your home or on your porch to green to signal your support.

As part of this movement, Walmart has proudly greenlit the company’s 100,000th hire since 2013 as part of the Walmart Veterans Welcome Home Commitment. And we’re not done yet. By 2020, we’re committed to 250,000 veteran hires. Each and every new opportunity is a strong foundation for civilian transition – and it’s these paths to success that we’re going to brilliantly light up.  

A successful transition does take more than just a job opportunity – veterans face other challenges when returning to the civilian workforce. Recognizing this, the Walmart Foundation has committed an additional $20 million to support veteran job training, education and community-based initiatives. By investing in innovative public and private partnerships, we’re working toward giving every veteran a strong foundation to build their civilian careers.

It’ll take both big initiatives like those and small acts of support from everyday Americans to really make a difference. Greenlight A Vet is the start of a national movement spotlighting the contributions our veterans bring defending our way of life and the value they offer in our communities. Both are irreplaceable.

Learn more about how you can shine a light on veterans across the country. Visit greenlightavet.com.

23 October 2015

A Boomer’s Perspective on Millennials in the Military

(AMU Students, alumni, faculty & staff participating in Wreaths Across America December 13, 2014 at Arlington National Ceremony)

As a baby boomer, I tend to sit on the fence regarding my views on millennials, but as one who is also only three years shy of being a Gen X-er, I tend to move easily between the two generations of thought. For example, I generally take a more heterogeneous view on social and cultural diversity, whereas boomers, especially those born shortly after WWII, tend to have a more homogeneous perspective. I realize that this is the type of stereotyping that goes hand in hand with most generational biases, and someone out there is already disagreeing with me, but that’s okay. Such differences are one of the many things that make our country great.

The majority of today’s active-duty forces and veterans are products of the millennial generation, shaped by their environment and combined social experiences. For example, millennials have experienced the bombing of the World Trade Center, over 10 years of war in the Middle East, the housing and banking bubble, and the Great Recession.

There are numerous opinions on millennials in the military, ranging from their obsession with social media to their liberal political views. Like their civilian counterparts, they are often described as a lazy, self-centered, and privileged generation. In the workplace, millennials are often portrayed as putting in the bare minimum of hours, and driven by the self-absorbed notion that they should be promoted overnight. I work with numerous millennials, some of whom have served, and couldn’t find this sentiment to be further from the truth. My experience is that they are actively engaged in meaningful social causes and are typically among the first at work to contribute their free time and money toward a worthy cause. One could also argue that being strapped with the nation’s debt created by past generations or being subject to a retirement system dependent on the whims of today’s financial markets isn’t “privileged” at all.

What is clear, whether you are talking about the Greatest Generation, Boomers, Gen X-ers, the Net-Generation, or Millennials, is that they all share a love of country. Millennials are no different.
I have the honor of visiting veterans and servicemembers throughout the country, and with each encounter, I leave with a great sense of pride about the young men and women from this generation. Millennials join the service for many of the same reasons as others before them: to seek adventure, grow up, get a job, serve others, and satisfy a deep sense of patriotism, especially for those who joined after 9/11. This is no different than those from the Greatest Generation flocking to recruiting centers after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. They felt a patriotic duty to join.

The future for millennials in the military is as bright as that of any preceding generation. Women are breaking barriers by joining the exclusive military communities of Navy Submariners and Army Rangers, and, as the first digital natives, millennials are perfect candidates to combat the growing threat of cybercrime. 

Millennials question authority more than generations of the past, and texting and engaging on social media comes naturally, but no one should doubt that this generation is any less patriotic than previous ones. The heroic stories of self-sacrifice by this generation on the battlefield and the endearing sense of optimism by those millennials wounded in recent wars are humbling. One need look no further than the heroism and selfless sacrifice of three servicemembers who recently stopped a terrorist gunman from killing and injuring countless people on a train in France.

As our country prepares for this Veterans Day, we not only take time to reflect and honor the accomplishments and sacrifices of those who came before us, but to also recognize today’s servicemembers and veterans. No matter how you choose to spend this holiday, one thing is for certain, we can all sleep at night knowing that we are still in good hands.

About the Author
John Aldrich is Vice President of Military, Veterans & Community College Relations at American Military University (http://rly.pt/amu-b-3) where military and veterans of many generations attend to further their educational goals and help transition to civilian life.

Read more Command Posts, here!

06 October 2015

Frustrated with Traditional Medical Innovation, Marine Corps Veteran Becomes Unlikely Entrepreneur

Derek Herrera has the quintessential passion of an entrepreneur. He wants to solve problems quickly and efficiently. However, the Marine Corps Veteran never intended to be out of uniform and on his own entrepreneurial journey.

But, on a deployment to Afghanistan in 2012, Herrera was hit by an enemy bullet and instantly paralyzed from the chest down. He was evacuated from the combat zone and during his rehabilitation journey; he was inspired to create his own company, Spinal Singularity.

Through researching his own injury and being a patient in several clinical studies, Herrera quickly became frustrated with the long, drawn-out process of medical innovation. The academic and medical community seemed to focus on scientific advancement, but Herrera wanted practical solutions to the real-life issues he and others faced. And, he didnt want to wait several years.

So, Herrera took action. Shortly after medically retiring from the military, he began his MBA course work from UCLA and started the process of building a team to tackle problems associated with spinal cord injuries. He cold-called medical experts, engineers, and doctors in search of partners and learned as much as he could about the industry.

In 2014, Herrera was also able to attend the Patriot Boot Camp in New York City. This intensive three-day conference was aimed at helping Veterans create technology start-ups. Here, Herrera was exposed to the world of entrepreneurship and met mentors and experts that helped him go on to start Spinal Singularity.

Currently, Spinal Singularity is working on launching its first product that helps people with neurogenic bladder, a condition often associated with spinal cord injuries that results in the inability to sense a full bladder or control the release of urine. The product is called the Connected Catheter and it uses smart technology to alert a person when their bladder is full and eliminates the need for traditional catheters.

The Connect Catheter provides the life changing, innovative medical solutions that Herrera was inspired to create. Before this product, a person with neurogenic bladder had to insert traditional, intermittent catheters 5-10 times per day in order to relive the bladder. Now, rather than using over 200 catheters a month, the Connected Catheter can be easily inserted and remain for 30 days creating a less painful and frustrating process. It will greatly enhance a persons quality of life.

Herrera is also working fast. He has launched a crowd-funding campaign aimed to get the Connected Catheter out of development and helping people as quickly as possible. The campaign has already reached 45% funding.

While Herrera never planned on being an entrepreneur, his personal experience and desire to solve painful problems propelled him on the unexpected journey. Hes embraced his new role and is working tirelessly to ensure that the Connected Catheter improves peoples quality of life.

To learn more and support the crowdfunding campaign, go here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-connected-catheter-by-spinal-singularity#/story

If youre a Veteran interested in technology start-ups, check out the Patriot Boot Camp.

Author: Cameron Smith is an Army Officer who recently took the leap into full-time entrepreneurship.

Read more Command Posts, here!

A Thoroughfare for Freedom: The 2015 Road Warrior Ride

In the crisp dawn air on June 6th, 2015, I found myself gearing up for another mission. I checked and rechecked my gear. Was everything strapped down? Could I easily reach and manipulate the controls? I went over the plan with the guy in charge and shared that plan with the guy following me. After a short delay, our convoy began to move out, alert and excited for the challenge ahead.

Far from the dangers of a combat zone, our team was setting out to navigate the country roads of New England. Day Two of the 2015 Road Warrior Ride, a cross-country motorcycle trip for severely wounded veterans, began with the rumble of 20 Can-Am Spyders. My colleague and fellow veteran, Rob Foster, and I took up the rear on our cruisers.  Together we formed a living chain that stretched for hundreds of feet like the backbone of a mythological dragon, which is exactly how some of the other motorists treated us along the way.

As the Director of Veteran and Military Services at Northeastern University, I have enjoyed limitless backing in my support of servicemembers and veterans, both on and off campus. My leadership encourages me to be a force for good in the community. Despite the somewhat unorthodox nature of this particular venture, they didn’t balk when I pitched the idea of supporting a cross-country motorcycle trip. Instead, they sent us off to represent our institution and the commitment we have for veterans. Both of us were beyond honored to go.

The Road Warrior Foundation is the brainchild of LtCol (Select) Craig Anders and Air Force veteran Steve Berger. They saw a gap in the services provided to injured veterans, one they decided to fill using their own brand of “adventure therapy.” Riding cross-country poses a challenge of endurance to anyone, injured or not, and it was exactly that challenge these eight wounded veterans had sought out; they relished the opportunity to prove that limitations are self-imposed. Adapt and overcome!

The ride to New York that day took around nine hours. This was one of the longer days of riding I had done since I started six years ago. Rob had learned how to ride only days before, so this was a true baptism by fire for him. That was especially true as the Can-Ams went into tight curves at 60mph, assured by their high-tech traction and stability controls. For those of us with only two wheels, it was scary at times. I spent a good portion of the ride with my heart in my throat which, if you’re wondering, is not where God put it.

When not busy contemplating my death or dismemberment, I was having the time of my life. I was witness to a whole group of people discovering a love of the open road. There is a flavor of life not tasted by those in cars or trucks. With no cage to protect you, you place your trust in nature and the road stretched out before you. In return, both open themselves to you and reveal a side unseen by most.

The center line divides your thoughts. The mountains stand like an ancient chorus poised in grandeur to sing their verses of solitude. The wise, old hills listen as your silent heart pours out its contents. The details of your life float away as dandelions scattered by the wind to be swallowed by rolling, emerald pastures. And as you ride through a countryside that exudes life, you can’t help but to get some on you.

It is precisely this sense of freedom and peace that draws so many into the saddle. Two-wheeled therapy has provided decades of treatment to veterans. Unfortunately, regular cruisers require the use of one’s feet/legs in order to shift gears, brake, and stabilize the vehicle at stops. The Can-Am Spyder, however, provides an automatic engine, hand brakes, and a third wheel. The generosity of Can-Am’s parent company BRP to donate the vehicles made this ride possible for veterans who had lost the use of one or both legs. For the lone female veteran on the ride, who had lost her vision from a virus contracted in Iraq, the Spyder allowed her to sit back and relax with a friend at the controls.

Our destination that day was Bear Mountain State Park, and our group arrived to a performance from the Nassau County Firefighters’ Pipes and Drums playing America the Beautiful. Their misty-eyed drum major stood at attention and held a salute as each one of us rolled past. It was at Bear Mountain over a barbeque spread and cold beverages that we really started getting to know the veterans we were there to support. They were family men, artists, athletes, and business leaders. There was Patrick, the heartthrob of the group, with his quick wit and southern drawl. Chewy, who looked like a brooding Mexican-American with a long, dark beard, was instead a warm and gentle soul with an inviting laugh. Big Mike would stand at six feet-eleven inches if he weren’t confined to a wheel chair; he slung jokes like it was his job. Though she can no longer see it, I hope Kathy never forgets what her beautiful smile looks like. Michael P. was unassuming and quiet despite being an accomplished adaptive sport athlete and non-profit entrepreneur. These and the other veterans each added their unique spice to the mix, and it soon felt a lot like a family barbeque.

We joined the Road Warriors again days later in Asheville, North Carolina and hosted a reception for them at the Twin Leaf Brewery. Locals had heard about the ride on the radio and came out to wave large American flags and cheer at their arrival. One more random city in America was able to show its gratitude for their service, and Northeastern University was proud to make it possible in yet another state.

That was our final evening with the 2015 Road Warriors. It lasted well into the night, and the conversations grew more descriptive and trusting. Injuries were explained. Recovery challenges were detailed. Such raw honesty was familiar from my own time in the service, and I missed it. In many ways, it was refreshing. Among civilians, we have to mind what we say and how we say it. There are things we shouldn’t say and things we simply cannot. Talking with Road Warriors like Big Mike brought me back to a time when that wasn’t a concern. We were all brothers, and we could tell each other anything.

Rob and I will never forget our time out on the road with this awesome group of veterans. There are so many ways to heal, and adventure therapy provides a fantastic alternative to the over-medication that’s grown all too common.  We certainly hope that more organizations will see the value in supporting the Road Warrior Foundation as NU has done.  Those who serve inevitably change, and we owe them the opportunity to rediscover themselves as they explore the great country they fought to defend.

Read more Command Posts, here!

29 September 2015

The Kids Are Back in School, Why Aren’t You?

(Image provided by American Military University)

Summer is over and the kids are back in school. Is the timing right for you too? Whether you’re a military spouse, currently serving or a veteran—many military parents take advantage of this newfound time to focus on individual goals when school is back in session. For many, completing a degree implies more opportunities. Based on my career serving as a former senior admissions representative, recently promoted to Veteran Liaison, serving American Military University (AMU) students, there are five guidelines I’ve defined for students looking to return back to school.
Make your education fit into your hectic schedule
Time management is a key component to success as a student, online or traditional. Since most online learning is asynchronous, students have the option of fitting education into their schedule. This means you can learn 24/7 using your mobile device or computer and complete your weekly assignments based on a schedule you choose that fits your busy life. This enables you to log in to complete your classroom discussions, writing assignments, and tests at your optimal time of day. This flexibility is incredibly empowering whether you’re an on-the-go spouse or deployed military.
Maximize military experience for additional credits
No matter where you decide to attend, be sure that the school offers military transcript evaluations. I encourage you to work with your college advisors to explore all of your options. AMU provides and Transfer Credit Evaluation and Prior Learning Assessment programs to help you get the credit you’ve earned through your military training, job experience, or other learning outside of the traditional classroom. You can also optimize your credits by choosing a program that closely relates to your military background like criminal justice, cybersecurity (IT), intelligence studies or homeland security, among many others options.
Educate yourself on your financial aid options
There are many options to choose from including military Tuition Assistance (if Active Duty, Guard, or Reserve), Veteran’s Benefits, Federal Student Aid, Employer Benefits, as well as self-pay. It’s important that you work with a respected, affordable university that understands military life so that you’re able to maximize the benefits you and your family have earned.

Find and connect with other military-community students while you study
Social media communities are a great way to connect with fellow students online. These groups are a great way to see motivational student success stories, school announcements, and are an open environment to ask questions and get feedback from students and alumni. AMU has a major presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and RallyPoint – just to name a few. We utilize these channels to connect with our students at a deeper level, and find it’s a great way to communicate with them. If you’re currently serving, you can locate one of our many Military Outreach Representatives near your local military installation. Don’t be afraid to network because there are many people out there who are eager to help you with your educational goals.

You’ll always have a strong support network.

Get Started
Research the programs that are of interest to you. Every school has their own set of requirements, and you’ll want to make sure that it’s accredited. Also ensure that they have accommodating features to your military career, and shift in priorities. If you’re ready to take the next step with AMU, I invite you to contact me or a member our helpful admissions team at 1-877-777-9081. You can also apply now online here.

There is no better time than today to think about your educational goals and what school would be a good fit for you. Whether you are state-side, currently deployed, or transitioning to your post-military career, know that there are options available if you’re serious about seeking a degree and a peer community online.  

If you have any specific questions, please comment here.

24 September 2015

Design Your Exit Strategy Before You Submit Your Resignation from the Military

Design your exit strategy, or should I say your transition strategy, from the military to the civilian world. This is advice from someone who has discovered that the transition from the military to entrepreneurship is one of the most challenging and difficult journeys one can take, especially if there is lack of research, lack of knowledge and just a misplaced cocky attitude.
An exit plan should be addressed as early as possible, because transitioning from a military career to the civilian world is not as easy as most people imagine. For example, I left the military in 1983 as a young Airborne Ranger Infantry Captain and thought that I would be welcomed with open arms and have the civilian world in the palm of my hands.
There were many opportunities that I chose not to take. One of which was to enter the shadow world of the State Department and some of its subsidiary companies, i.e. their semi-civilian corporations. I did not reach out to the Military Industrial Sector, nor did I choose to go back home to become a fireman or a police officer. These were all good choices and opportunities that I did not pursue. Keep in mind that once you close these doors, there are no second chances.
Instead I went to a high-powered New York City recruiter for one of the largest head hunter companies of the time.  He, in turn, looked at my resume and said that Infantry Platoon Leader, Executive Officer, Acting Company Commander, and Brigade Headquarters’ Commandant for an Infantry Brigade were all very impressive milestones that I had achieved.  Then he suggested that I join one of the high-powered companies in the medical, biotech, or financial fields and become a sales trainee. He had high hopes that with my drive, I would succeed. I, on the other hand, was hoping to be a Senior Manager or a Company CEO. He smiled and said, “You are not a retiring General with connections. You need to start at the bottom and work your way up.”  
The military taught me to set goals, design a road map and work at it until it was achieved. The road has been colorful at best. I left behind a steady paycheck, retirement options, potential retirement benefits, health care benefits, etc. Just to keep it simple: there are no vacations or sick days and you are working 24/7 if you want to succeed.
I, instead, took the road less traveled. The road lead me to Contract Security Management and ultimately real estate for the past 20+ years in the Boston, MA and the Greater Los Angeles, CA real estate market. The competition is high and the opportunities are higher, but you can never take your eye off the goal.
This is universal to all businesses and particularly to the sales field. With true passion, perseverance, and focus, you will succeed. When you interview for a position, make sure that you get this point across and at the same time remember the interview is a two way street. Get to know the organization’s climate and see if it is a good fit for you. Do not focus on just getting the job, but rather focus on whether or not you can stay the course for years to come.
If this idea is too challenging, then you might consider staying the course and serving until retirement. Enjoy the camaraderie that is not as prevalent in the civilian world as it is in the military. Either way, best wishes for success in all your endeavors!

Read more Command Posts, here!

10 September 2015

Veteran Entrepreneur Overcomes Obstacles to Create Popular Mobile App

Air Force pilot, Gregory Coleman, and fellow MBA candidate, Benjamin Young, realized they faced a problem while they attended the prestigious Wharton School of Business. Both men juggled family obligations, full-time work, and a rigorous academic schedule and had little time and energy to maintain a healthy lifestyle. They needed a solution.
Coleman, a 1995 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a pilot with over 60 combat and combat support missions, decided to solve this problem with the help of Young’s tech expertise. Together, the men founded Nexercise, a technology company that makes the popular Sworkit mobile app. Sworkit provides a simple way to workout anywhere, anytime with no need for equipment.
But, their entrepreneurial journey wasn’t easy. Coleman and Young graduated from business school in 2009 at the height of the global economic recession. Though their first product gained impressive traction, they wanted to create a breakout app and eventually pivoted their focus to the Sworkit project. Both men worked on the business during nights and weekends while maintaining other careers. In fact, Coleman still served as an active duty pilot in the Air National Guard when the two applied and were rejected from the famous Techstars accelerator.
However, the rejection led Coleman to a sister program called Patriot Boot Camp which targets Veterans involved in technology start-ups.
Coleman was able to attend the three-day Patriot Boot Camp in Washington, D.C. in 2012 and was exposed to a host of mentors and resources. More importantly, the program served as a community and support network for him. Entrepreneurship can often be a lonely journey and through the Patriot Boot Camp, Coleman was encouraged by the camaraderie of Veterans who were on a similar journey.
Armed with the experience and support from the Patriot Boot Camp, Coleman and Young reapplied to Techstars and were accepted to the 2013 cohort based in Chicago. This three-month program was a huge catalyst for their Sworkit app and propelled Coleman to eventually resign his full time role with the Air National Guard to focus solely on the business.
Since then, Sworkit has been a resounding success. In 2015 alone, it has grown from 200k monthly users to over 1.8 million. Today, Coleman serves as the COO of the company and manages execution and business operations. Like many Veterans, he brings valuable skills such as innovative problem solving and perseverance to the founding team. He also credits the great mentorship provided by Patriot Boot Camp and Techstars with providing key ingredients to Sworkit’s success.
Coleman’s story is a prime example of how military members can leverage their skills and “no fail” mentality to solve problems and make an impact. Coleman firmly believes that Veterans make great entrepreneurs, but that “taking the leap” is also where many Veterans stall..
Veterans can’t forget that the roadmap to entrepreneurial success is often marked with setbacks and obstacles. However, resources like the Patriot Boot Camp and finding mentors are essential to becoming a success story like Sworkit.
Visit http://sworkit.com/ to learn more about Sworkit. And if you’re an aspiring Veteran entrepreneur, check out Patriot Boot Camp!
Author: Cameron Smith is a former Army Officer who is taking the leap into entrepreneurship.

Read more Command Posts, here!