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Posts Tagged ‘Career Advancement’

Benefits of Mentoring for Women Veterans

Posted by YWM on May 7, 2014

Testimony of Dawn Smith, Joining Forces Mentoring Plus mentee, before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business, May 7,2014.

Dawn SmithMr. Chair, Madam Ranking Member, and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to be here today. My name is Dawn Smith. I am the Founder and CEO of Mystic Reme Teas in Greenville, South Carolina, and testifying today on behalf of Business and Professional Women’s Foundation.

As a woman veteran who recently started my own business, I hope my experiences can be helpful to the committee as you examine which government and nonprofit programs can best assist and meet the unique needs of women veterans as they transition back to civilian life.

I am very proud of my military service. I served in the Air Force for eight years and was deployed six times to Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey and Germany. My expertise in the military was logistics, which means I was responsible for making sure that the movement of both troops and cargo got to the right place and were on time. In both Iraq and Afghanistan I was a Terminal Operations Manager responsible for processing and loading more than 7,000 passengers and directing the shipment of hundreds of thousands of tons of cargo. My work was consistently recognized for meeting excellent delivery and departure standards. I also earned my MBA while in the military.

Because of my advanced logistics experience and MBA, I really didn’t think I would have a problem finding a rewarding career when I left the service. But when I returned home to North Carolina to raise my children on my own, I was not even considered for management jobs; instead, I was offered positions like a warehouse worker, which I did not think utilized my skills, education and experience. For a couple of years I took various jobs that did not fit my background including working as a high school teacher and secretary since I needed to feed my children. These jobs offered neither the career I was seeking nor the salary commensurate with my experience.

BPW JFMPlogo.lowWhile working, I continued to look for a more rewarding and financially secure position. I returned to school to begin a master’s program in accounting. But looking for a job while managing the demands of work, school and motherhood, I became discouraged. I knew I needed help, so I turned to the internet to see what career resources might be available for a woman veteran. I was very fortunate to find Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, a non-profit organization that runs a free career mentoring program for women veterans, Joining Forces Mentoring Plus®. What attracted me to their program was that working women volunteers mentor women veterans (like me) to help us navigate a path to successful civilian careers, and even pursue entrepreneurial opportunities. Participants can access a free “high-tech/high-touch” internet community that includes experienced women mentors as coaches, navigators and supporters.

I immediately signed up and was assigned a wonderfully accomplished mentor, Sandy Smith. Sandy worked with me one-on-one and was persistent in offering advice and support on everything from interviewing skills to resume development. She pushed me, checking on how many resumes I sent out each day. She helped me create a new mindset that gave me the courage to apply for positions that previously I wouldn’t have thought possible. In 2012, I was hired as an auditor by the U.S. Defense Contract Audit Agency. I am happy to report that my salary at this job was twice what I had been making previously. After landing the job, Sandy, my mentor, did not leave me on my own but coached me on office etiquette and protocols necessary to successfully navigate the civilian sector workplace. All of Sandy’s mentoring and coaching paid off: I love my job and feel my career is now on very solid ground.

But even though I love my job, I have always dreamed of owning my own business. With Sandy’s encouragement and sustained mentoring last year, I started an online store that sells my own brand of tea. I am very excited that Mystic Reme Teas is currently in the final selection round to appear on Shark Tank. If I am chosen, I will be seeking funding to open my own tea bar.

I truly believe none of this would have happened without the personal mentoring and wide array of career resources offered by BPW Foundation. It was so successful for me because it was designed by and for women. Generic veteran-based employment and career development programs too often miss the unique elements and needs that matter most to women veterans. We need awareness and guidance about available support and employment resources, and programs that support and recognize the multiple roles impacting women veterans and their access to jobs.

I can attest to the fact that women leaving the service often face unique challenges including single motherhood or care giving for family members, including wounded warriors. Also women veterans often do not identify as veterans and don’t know they can access a wide array of benefits. We are frequently looked at differently from our fellow male veterans. Women who served in war zones are often not afforded the same level of prestige as their male counterparts.

Thanks to the generous support of BPW Foundation and its partners such as Alliant Credit Union Foundation, Booz Allen Hamilton, Cengage Learning, Citi, CVS Caremark, and others, there is no cost to participate in this mentoring program – it’s absolutely free for the women who participate.

Thank you for this opportunity to share my story and tell you about the resources that helped me begin my successful career and start my business. I hope that other women veterans will benefit from my experience and that the committee will support programs that are tailored for the challenges and needs that our women veterans face as they seek meaningful lives after our time in the military

Click here to read Dawn’s full testimony

Posted in Career Advancement, Joining Forces for Women Veterans, Small Business, Uncategorized, Women Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

At the crossroads where I am and where you are

Posted by YWM on January 22, 2014

By Jacque Hillman, President BPW/Tennessee

Jacquemug-HillHelenGroupToday, I’m president of Business and Professional Women of Tennessee, an entrepreneur with two companies, and I’m on a mission. But in 1969, at age 21, I took my husband, a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, to board a plane leaving for Vietnam. He became a forward observer calling in artillery strikes.

Two years later he came home with a Bronze Star for valor and nightmares about incoming rockets. Other than malaria, he was not wounded, except in his soul. My husband wrote about calling in artillery strikes on Viet Cong families in clearings when the men came out from the jungle. He wrote: “If there is a hell, I’m going there.”

We were fortunate that he had a scholarship for Tulane University Law School. I had a degree in English and secondary education and a teacher’s license. So we became civilians. Yet as a former military wife, I looked at everyone with “new” eyes – no time for whiners and complainers.

I heard people complain about the golf course fairways or food in the school cafeteria. I listened to the good church women who wanted to install carpet in the minister’s bathroom and were miffed that his wife thought it was silly. My reaction was “Get real.”
War and military service changes everything – it changes everyone. How can it not? How can you see what you see, hear it, feel it, and not be changed?

My first marriage made it 18 years and died for various reasons – mostly we grew apart. It happens. Today I’m happily married (25 years in May) to an Air Force veteran. My first husband is happily married and has a two-week old baby! Yes, life happens.
Everyone starts over at some point. As we begin 2014, it is time for fresh starts.

Many women military veterans – YOU — are returning home and need jobs. You need help. You come home to people who cannot possibly understand where you’ve been or what you’ve done. You look at them with “new” eyes. You wonder how to begin, where to begin.

As BPW/TN president and a Jackson Area BPW member, I said, “It’s time for a change.”

So my amazing convention team and I have redesigned our convention June 13-15 in Jackson, Tenn., to offer YOU — women veterans — a full day of meetings with representatives of colleges, universities and colleges of applied technology, two days of business session training that will help your resume. We will have veterans’ representatives present from our counties to help you with whatever questions you may have. We have sponsors for our state convention who want to help you find jobs. We’ll teach you how to network, how to write a resume, how to ace an interview and more.

Want to become an entrepreneur? We’ll help you do that. Serving on the Entrepreneur Development Center board in Jackson. I see enterprising people with great ideas get started. That’s what you need, isn’t it? A start?

I’m an alumnus of the Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy where leaders in eight states learned about just what you face in the Delta Region to get started. It’s hard to get your business started in rural Tennessee if you still have dial up or you can’t get connectivity where you are. Some folks in business assume we all have the same resources. It’s hard to do homework in school if you don’t have a computer. This is real.

I will be writing blogs each week on points that will help you. If you live in Tennessee, we have women who are eager to become your mentors. Check us out at bpwtn.org.

All you have to do is reach out. You see, there are people like me who know where you’ve been. And we just want to get you where you need – and want — to be.

Contact me anytime.

Jacque is a senior partner in The HillHelen Group LLC media services and the owner/designer of Reconfigured Art Jewelry.

Posted in Career Advancement, Military Families, Uncategorized, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Benefits of Mentoring Others

Posted by YWM on January 15, 2014

By Lisa Quast

January is National Mentoring Month. While I’ve written about the importance of using mentors throughout your career and ways to find them, in this post I’m focusing on another aspect: mentoring others.Did you know that developing other people can also positively impact your career? According to a 2012 study led by nonprofit organization Catalyst, paying it forward by being a career mentor to others has positive benefits. “It benefits not only proteges but leads to career advancement and compensation growth for those providing the assistance — $25,075 in additional compensation between 2008 and 2010,” the study says.How? “It may be that developing other talent creates more visibility and a following within the organization for the high potentials who are doing the developing, which leads to greater reward and recognition for the extra effort,” state the study authors.Results of the research provided additional information when it comes to mentoring others:

If others have helped you develop during your career, you’re more likely to give back by developing others. About three in five employees who received developmental support (59 percent) did so for others.

Sponsorship counts when it comes to paying it forward. Two-thirds of high potentials who were sponsored (66 percent) — those who had someone with power and influence open doors of opportunity and advocate to help them obtain projects and assignments that enhance their visibility and position — were developing others.

People in higher-level positions are more likely to develop others. Sixty-four percent of high potentials at the senior Mentoringexecutive/CEO level were developing others, compared with 30 percent of those at the individual contributor level.

The study also busted the “queen bee” myth — the belief that women tend not to help other women when it comes to career advancement. The research results demonstrate that not only are high-potential women developing others, but compared with their male counterparts, women were actually more likely to be developing other women.

This year, make it a goal to mentor someone. Use your knowledge, career experience and understanding of your company and industry to develop others. Not only will it help your company build a strong talent pipeline, but your investment in mentoring others will also help your own career — because paying it forward can actually pay you back.

~Lisa Quast is the founder of Career Woman, Inc., a career-coaching and business-consulting company

Posted in Career Advancement, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Women of All Ages and Careers Benefit from Mentoring

Posted by sherrysaunders on January 3, 2014

MentoringAs part of National Mentoring Month, Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation announced its continuing commitment to working women helping women work® through mentoring.  With a history dating back to 1919, BPW Foundation has long supported mentoring as a way to build women leaders of all ages and in all careers thereby enhancing and helping women find and grow successful careers and their small businesses.

“Mentors are important for young careerists just starting out and for women who have already embarked on a career but want to grow and advance. Research indicates that mentored individuals perform better on the job, advance more rapidly within an organization, and report more job and career satisfaction,” said BPW Foundation CEO Deborah L. Frett.

One aspect of BPW Foundation’s commitment to mentoring is that, since 1964, BPW local and state organizations have recognized and assisted young women as they start their careers through the BPW Young Careerist program.  In addition, BPW members provide career enhancement tools to women of all ages through locally conducted Individual Development programs.  Across the country, BPW working women are reaching out and helping women work.

“Mentoring is even more important today as workforce demographics have changed dramatically in recent years.  We know that great work experience, a good education, and strong references are traditional keys to building a successful career. But a mentor can guide you along the corporate road map, help you negotiate your salary, focus your attention on reaching your ultimate career goals and nurture your professional life,” Frett added.

As more women are participating in and then transitioning out of military service, BPW Foundation created Joining Forces Mentoring Plus® , a free national program that supports the career goals of women veterans, military/veteran spouses, care givers of wounded warriors, and surviving spouses of the military fallen.  Working women are sharing their experience and expertise to help these deserving women navigate and succeed in their personal development plan — identifying career interests and goals, exploring industry opportunities, translating military experiences and training into civilian work skills, advancing education, networking, preparing quality resumes and job search strategies, and addressing those life challenges that get in the way of career access and success.

Joining Forces Mentoring Plus® mentor Sandy Smith agrees.  “The reason highly trained women in this program have trouble translating their talents into civilian jobs is due to a cultural shift.  In the military, self-promotion is frowned upon; yet knowing how to market yourself is exactly what you need in the private sector. Helping my mentee own her skill set has been some of the most important work I’ve done in my life.”

BPW Foundation Chair and small business owner, Roslyn Ridgeway said, “We know that mentoring works.  Study after study has shown the benefits of mentoring including more career satisfaction, higher earnings and better productivity. But it is not just the mentee who benefits from a mentoring program.  The mentors also benefit with more positive feelings about themselves as well as learning new skills and ways of looking at problems.”

“And not surprisingly, since both the mentee and mentor benefit, so do businesses that promote mentoring programs.  Not only do many of the top companies have mentoring programs but they benefit from more satisfied employees and demonstrate an extraordinary Return on Investment,” Ridgeway concluded.

Posted in Career Advancement, Joining Forces for Women Veterans, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Making a Difference!

Posted by YWM on December 15, 2013

Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, CEO Deborah L. Frett delivered the commencement address at Park University on Saturday, December 14, 2013.  Following is the text of her speech. 

John Frett, Deborah Frett, President Droge, Dr. Molly Droge

John Frett, Deborah Frett, President Droge, Dr. Molly Droge

President Droge, Dr. Molly Droge, Board Chair Ann Mesle and Trustees, faculty, parents, distinguished guests, and graduating students, good morning.  For those of you currently serving or who have served in the military thank you and your families for your service.

It is an honor for me to present here at Park University especially due to your long standing commitment to advance the education and career development of veterans.  This includes Park’s astute recognition of women veterans’ unique needs.

But of course the key group today is you, the graduates. We are here today to honor you and recognize your accomplishment and to celebrate this major life event with you, your family, friends and the Park University community.

We all are very proud of you.  This is your achievement.  Relish it!

But of course know it is not the end.  As Newton D. Baker said, “The [person] who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after.”  Therefore embrace lifelong learning!

As you reflect on how you got to this point, I know that each of you did it in your own unique and special way.  And however you did it, as you reflect on your future, it is sometimes too easy to focus on how unpredictable the world may seem right now. In order to identify and take advantage of the opportunities before you, you need to always:

•    recognize and celebrate the progress you have made,
•    seek ways to improve yourself,
•    challenge your ability to see and keep your vision,
•    continually learn from your experiences, and, most importantly,
•    take personal responsibility for and ownership of your life.

You have started down that road by getting your degree today.  Now you need to decide what you are going to do with it.  How are you going to use what you have learned and will you make a difference?

I was very fortunate to have parents who modeled the values I wish to emphasize today:  reaching as high as you can and giving back.  They were excellent role models and ahead of their time.  My mother was a working woman and showed me by example I could do anything I wanted regardless of what others said or thought.  My father encouraged me to play sports, to not be afraid and to appreciate those who served in the military – as he was a WWII Navy veteran. They shared family duties during an era where that was almost unheard of.  We didn’t have a lot of money but had a rich upbringing learning about:

•    teamwork,
•    having one’s back,
•    respecting each other,
•    embracing our individuality,
•    and doing what each of us could to make a difference in the world.

Now, as a graduation speaker, I am in an enviable and humbling position to impart a bit of advice as you move on to your next lifetime milestones whatever they may be. Each will be different, because you are all individuals with your own talents, dreams and visions.  And be sure to think about how you will measure your success. As we all know, one way is monetary, but I don’t believe that money-only is what in the long run you will find fulfilling.  Even Henry Ford said that “a business that makes nothing but money, is a poor business.”

It is vital that you find your passion and find ways to make a difference in your communities and in the lives of others.  Whether it is your paid career or your volunteer avocation, your passion should light up your life. Find what makes you happy and live it. It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture, just one that is true to your inner self.

There are basic but important things you can do in your daily lives that can make a difference. Things you may already do as a matter of course. For instance:

•    To the men in the audience:  Respect the women in your life and serve as that role model for boys and other men;

•    To the women in the audience:  Respect the men in your life and encourage and empower girls and women and serve as that role model for them;

•    And all of us can give back to those who are or have served us and our country.  As an example, you can befriend a military family, volunteer to help a caregiver, or as my organization, Business and Professional Women’s Foundation encourages:  be a mentor.  It is certainly a rewarding way to give back.

As I mentioned earlier, while the world today might seem problem plagued, overwhelming and confusing, we cannot and must not rely on others to change it and make it better.  Each of us needs to take action and make it happen.  Nor can we become complacent or accepting of the status quo.  As Will Rogers observed, “Even if we are on the right track, if we stand still, we will get run over by the next train.”

We each need to keep moving ahead, make our voices heard and take concrete actions to make a difference.  And with your degree in hand it is your turn to step up and set an example for others.

Knowing about the mission of Park University your education here has prepared you to seek ways to serve the greater good. Park is working to help “build the creative, caring workforce and citizenry that our world desperately needs.”  And it is you, the Park graduate, who must take that promise and commitment out into the world and make it a reality.  Park has served you by getting you to this point, now it is up to you.  Go out into the world – find your passion –  and make a difference.  Each of you can make your own impact!

So, how can you actualize your passion, serve others and make a difference?

First,   Set high goals for yourself

Don’t limit your aspirations.  You may not reach all of your goals but reaching is what is important.  Through reaching you will grow and inspire others.  As Eleanor Roosevelt pointed out, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Second Promote your causes in your personal and professional life

I have been fortunate to have had several jobs during my career that helped me live my passion.  As Executive Director of SeniorNavigator, I was on the ground floor in establishing a one-stop resource to help seniors and their caregivers.  This had been a particular passion of mine as I had cared for my mother who was afflicted with Alzheimer’s for over 15 years.  As a caregiver and working woman I understood the desperate need for this kind of service. I am pleased to say that it is still an important central resource for Virginia seniors and caregivers.

Now working for a woman’s organization, I am involved in issues of pay equity, breaking that glass ceiling, stopping violence against women and most recently helping women veterans transition from military to civilian careers through mentoring.  All things I am passionate about.

While I may have managed to marry my passion with my job in recent times, that hasn’t always been the case.  But throughout my career I have found time to mentor others, involve my company in community outreach programs and to do volunteer work outside of the job. And I can tell you that my life is better for the time I spent on these activities.

Third,  Embrace your fears and always make new mistakes

As you leave the safe environs of university life, you will face many decisions and come to many forks in the road. I am not going to tell you not to be afraid but I am going to tell you to do the things you fear and when you make mistakes, which you will, make new ones.  That way you will always be learning. Take the new knowledge gained and use it to forge a new path forward.

Next,  Celebrate Diversity

I urge you to embrace and seek out diversity for that is how we learn about other cultures and discover new ideas. With diversity comes a myriad of opinions and interpretations, both key to innovation and solving common problems. Learning from and appreciating differences will help us all survive and grow.

And finally,  Remember always work-life-family balance

In my current job as CEO of Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, not only do we believe that diverse workplaces are important, we believe that one of the key tenets of a successful workplace is one where you have the flexibility to pursue your outside interests and spend time with family and friends.

Therefore, I hope you will try and achieve work-life balance and enjoy and take time for your family and pursue interests outside of your job. It may be hard to achieve but when you look back on your life, you will be glad you took the time.  A quote I like about life is by Dianne Ackerman.  She said. “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find I have lived just the length of it. I want to live the width [and breadth] of it as well.” I think that is very good counsel.  After all, life is not just a linear line!

So as you leave this special place of learning and growth, celebrate your achievements, reflect on the many lessons you have learned and use them to develop your vision so you are ready for every opportunity.  In honor and  memory of Nelson Mandela, let’s embrace his words, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived.  It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
As you head out into the world, degree in hand, remember the enthusiasm and hope you have right now, and use it to make a difference, today and every day!

Congratulations to you all!

Posted in Diversity, Education, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by YWM on December 10, 2013

BPWFoundationlogocolorBusiness and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation has been awarded a $35,000 grant from Newman’s Own Foundation, the independent foundation created by the late actor and philanthropist, Paul Newman.

Newman’s Own Foundation generated seven grants totaling $300,000 as part of its “Honoring Women Who Serve” campaign to support career development for female veterans. Through BPW Foundation’s Joining Forces Mentoring Plus program, women veterans receive unlimited free online career development tools, resources, and confidential guidance from volunteer working women mentors to help them identify and pursue civilian career paths.

“It is indeed an honor that Joining Forces Mentoring Plus has been selected by Newman’s Own Foundation to receive this grant.  These grant dollars will directly impact and support women veterans as they make the often challenging transition from military to civilian careers,” said Roslyn Ridgeway, BPW Foundation Board Chair and JFMP mentor .

Joining Forces Mentoring Plus™ is a FREE, “High-Tech High-Touch” national mentoring program using both one-on-one contact and a sophisticated on-line platform of resources for women veterans. Joining Forces Mentoring Plus™ is based on a career development model that can be used by women of all ranks, eras, and skill levels. Mentorships and resources extend beyond job attainment to support job retention and career advancement.

 “There is no greater sacrifice than serving and defending our country,” said Robert Forrester, Newman’s Own Foundation President and CEO. “We aim to provide for the ongoing needs of military personnel and their families, both during deployment and after their return. We are pleased to award this grant to BPW Foundation as they endeavor to make a difference in the lives of female veterans.”

The six other nonprofits receiving grants are: Every Woman Works; Swords to Plowshares; Veterans, Inc.; Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania; Women’s Business Development Center; and Women, Food and Agriculture Network.

Overall, Newman’s Own Foundation is awarding $7 million in grants over three years, 2012-2014, to more than 50 organizations across the country that deal with veterans’ issues such as health, housing, education, career development, and family support.

Paul Newman, the actor and philanthropist who founded Newman’s Own, passed away on September 26, 2008. Now, five years later, his legacy continues as Newman’s Own continues to give away 100% of the profits and royalties from the sale of its food products to charity. Since the company’s founding in 1982, over $380 million has been donated to thousands of organizations, with $125 million having been donated in the past five years alone.

Posted in Career Advancement, Joining Forces, Joining Forces for Women Veterans, Uncategorized, Women Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Recognizing where you are and where you want to be!

Posted by YWM on September 25, 2013

By Kelly McCarthy

During my 25 years in the beauty industry, I never would have thought that I would become the Leader I am today. This industry has provided me with the life skills needed to be a better person, daughter, sister, employee, leader and mentor.

My role as a mentor began naturally as I began leadership early in my career. I displayed qualities of leadership that others saw in me. I didn’t see them however. I was thrust into many decision making positions and I did my best based on “common sense”. However I found that my “common sense” and another individuals “common sense” are very different and my experience began as a “Trial by Error” leader. Then I found my mentor!

I have since learned to manage my intentions and focus on what I want or need my end result to be. As I began to learn new tools in communication and networking, I began to grow and shine. I have helped lead many companies down a path of success but more importantly I was able to do that one person at a time. I have had the pleasure of leading teams as large a 100+ and as small as 14. My network of incredible people that I have helped and have helped me has grown to numbers I cannot count, however I never take it for granted nor do I feel like I have reached my peak!! There is much more I can do for myself and for others and much more I have to learn!
About 7 years ago I made a decision to begin the search to find a position within the beauty industry that allows me to accomplish personal and professional goals while supporting and mentoring others. I found the perfect match 5 years ago when I decided to become a Dean of Paul Mitchell the School, a cosmetology school.

I now provide support and guidance to hairdressers in training as well as my amazing staff of educators and administrators. We don’t only focus on the technical skills involved to become a hairdresser or salon owner, we also provide life skills, social emotional learning, community awareness, networking and professional development skills that allow a person, no matter how old, find their calling. This is where I love to be.

When looking for an organization to volunteer my time to, I found the search very difficult! I have been searching for almost 2 years and then I realized what I needed to do! Inspired by my brother, a veteran of the Marines, who is struggling with PTSD, my decision was made. He has challenged himself to transition back to a “new normal” and I have watched his accomplishments and his setbacks. That is when Joining Forces Mentoring Plus popped up on my internet search!

So you can say it was meant to be! I look forward to beginning a path of giving back to all that have gave so much. If my professional and personal skills that I have learned and developed through my years as a female professional can assist another woman in accomplishing their personal and professional career goals, I’m in!

I specialize in positive thinking, understanding thoughts and how to manage intentions as well as recognizing where you currently are and how to establish solid goals. Then I can assist in helping you take the first step toward achieving them! Understanding what you value in life and then recognizing whether or not you current routine of behaviors actually are supporting one another!

I have much to give yet much to learn from any mentee and look forward to building healthy relationships!

Posted in Career Advancement, Joining Forces for Women Veterans, Mentoring, Uncategorized, Women Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Military Spouse Survey – Share the Challenges You Face Seeking Employment

Posted by YWM on September 24, 2013


Are you a military spouse?  If so your in put is needed.

Military spouses face many challenges to both employment and career advancement as a result of the military lifestyle. The Military Spouse Employment Survey is hosted by The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). This imperative study will look at the employment pattern of all military spouses, especially related to their long-term career trajectories. All active duty, National Guard, reserve, veteran, and surviving spouses who are 18 years and older are encouraged to participate by sharing their stories, experiences and lessons learned.

 According to the 2010 Department of Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), there are approximately 725,877 spouses of Active Duty service members and approximately 413,295 spouses of Reserve and Guard members. In addition, it is estimated that there are more than 15 million veterans’ spouses in the United States and over 5.8 million surviving spouses. By adding your voice, we can build a stronger foundation for military spouses’ professional needs, identify any barriers to career development and share your stories with government officials, state, and federal policy makers in order to overcome obstacles and improve the quality of life for all military spouses, service members and their families.

The survey opened September 16, 2013 and will remain open for 30 days. This survey is completely anonymous, for research purposes and therefore completely voluntary. The survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.   

You can access the survey and additional information here: www.moaa.org/milspousesurvey

Please share this survey link with other military spouses in your community!

Posted in Joining Forces, Joining Forces for Women Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

You are NOT your paycheck

Posted by ptanji on August 2, 2013

By Patty Tanji

money_signLet’s get this straight. A salary is the price you charge your employer in exchange for your skills and experience. A fee is the price you charge your customer for your product or service in exchange for the benefit derived from use of that product.

Contrary to popular belief your salary and fees are NOT a reflection of your value as a human being on this planet. You are NOT your paycheck!

Hard to believe that Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are NOT more valuable than you.  Yup, its true. Neither is Lady Gaga or Madonna or Meryl Streep. Fame does not grant anyone the status of “more than.” And, neither does position in a company organizational chart.

In the U.S. where we are obsessed with our positions in the social and economic hierarchy, it is very easy to get wrapped up in the whole nonsense around fame and fortune as the American way. What am I saying! The name of my blog is “How To Ask For A Pay Raise and Get It!” and I’ve been advocating for women’s higher pay for over a decade! What I mean is there is a difference between taking responsibility for your earnings, paying bills on time, having a prudent reserve in the bank, and paying off credit cards debt versus feeling like crap because we’ve placed some false sense of monetary value on our worth as human beings.

And, this false sense of value can stop us from asking for more, asking for what we want, or asking for what we’ve earned. The little voice inside us is repeating over and over that we are not as famous, as smart, as rich, as powerful, as talented as [fill-in-the-blank], so we could not possibly get what we want.

Okay now that we are clear that your product and service price is NOT the value of you as a human being, here are three ideas you must embrace in order to increase your price so you can live responsibly and with freedom:

  1. You are not a commodity! Your expertise, your years of service, the books you’ve written, your college degree, that research paper you wrote, your certification, the program you developed, the number of clients you brought in. All lumped together, these transformational events are worth paying more for. These unique experiences have increased your ability to do more therefore charge more.
  2. Facting not bragging!  Sometimes we just don’t believe in our own greatness. If you can’t say or see how your skills make you stand out from the crowd, its time to look at the facts. My daughter, who is 16 years old, can’t understand why I encourage her to ask for a pay raise. After coaching for one year, she doesn’t believe her national competitions, her medals, or her 8 years of gymnastics experience are enough to earn more. How about you? Are you denying your brilliance? Time for memory jarring! Bring out the photos, the news articles, the letters of recommendation, etc. to remind yourself of your greatness.
  3. What you stand for. There are no two people on the planet that believe, act, or are passionate about exactly the same causes at the same level of commitment. For example, there are a lot of people who believe in living ‘green’ and reducing their carbon footprint. However, your level of commitment to your cause is how you will set yourself apart from others. Living a life trash free is noteworthy. Choosing paper instead of plastic at the grocery store is the equivalent to lip service to living green. When differentiating yourself show the world what you stand for. You will attract others who would rather do business with or hire you because of that one thing that drives your passion and your enthusiasm for your work.

Stand out from the crowd so you can earn more. Know that you are not a commodity, that facting is not bragging, and know what you stand for.  Ready to explore? Set up a time to chat with Patty Tanji to Discover Your Hidden Gifts . This blog post was originally posted at www.howtoaskforapayraiseandgetit.com/blog

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Women Veterans Speak Out: Women Are Fit for Combat

Posted by YWM on January 28, 2013

By Brenda S. “Sue” Fulton
This article first appeared on the Huffington Post

Sue FultonWhen the first class of women at West Point were introduced to the infamous Indoor Obstacle Course, we were confronted with a series of challenges almost entirely geared to upper body strength. About ¾ of the way through, we had to get over “the wall” — an eight foot vertical chunk of heavy wood. We were coached in the “approved solution”: jump up and grab the top of the wall, do a pull-up to get your shoulders above the top of the wall, then flip your body over.

A solution that violated the laws of physics for non-male people whose center of gravity was somewhere below their shoulders.

In short order, we figured it out for ourselves: grab the top of the wall, hook your ankle over it, then your knee, then leverage the rest of your body over. Instructors observed, and taught subsequent classes the new technique, and soon women were conquering the obstacle at the same speed as the men.

In the wake of Secretary Panetta’s historic decision to eliminate the combat exclusion rule for women, there will be much angst about women lacking the physical strength to perform in combat. The handwringing ignores some key “facts on the ground.”

First, the business about the “average woman” being unable to carry a 200-lb man to safety. For starters, most service members are wiry and lean; they weigh far less than 200 lbs. And not for nothin’, I’m six feet tall, and when I graduated West Point in 1980, weighed 175 pounds. Today’s average infantryman couldn’t carry ME off the battlefield. And the “average” woman (or man) doesn’t volunteer for the military. My West Point roommate could do 13 pull-ups. Ran the two mile in 12:50… in combat boots. My classmate Lil Pfluke — a world-class athlete, even in her fifties, after surviving breast cancer — once fought to enter Ranger School, and the guys who know her believed she could pass easily.

Yes, these are West Pointers. And yes, many military women — like many military men — have no interest in the combat arms. But why would we deny an otherwise-qualified individual the right to serve in whatever capacity they choose?

Finally, there is the most important fact: women are already in combat. They have been fighting, winning, getting wounded, losing limbs and dying on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan (and earlier) for as long as we have fought those wars.

So, we can argue about push-ups, pull-ups, and body-carries — but just as in the Indoor Obstacle Course, it’s not about how you do it, it’s about getting it done. Women have been fighting, in MP units, in convoys, in FETs, everywhere, and they have figured out how to get the job done. They get over the wall.

So why does it matter?

If we continue to pretend that women aren’t in combat, and close some roles to them, we deny them the promotions that go to the men they fought next to, because “the guy is a combat vet.” We make it much harder for them to access care for combat-related health issues, including PTSD, that women sometimes find themselves “ineligible” for. We perpetuate the myth that women aren’t really warriors — and in the military culture that means you are worth less.

We can, and must, show the respect due our women warriors: fitness for service is not limited by your gender. Secretary Panetta has taken the first step. I look forward to a thoughtful, data-based, but not endless process where we do this right. The new Defense Secretary must lead the Pentagon to set gender-neutral standards that pertain to the job that must be done. Integrate women effectively into units in ways that are constructive, not disruptive. And we will make our military better and stronger by assigning and promoting based on merit, nothing else.

We may even discover that push-ups are not the best measure of combat survival and victory.

Brenda S. “Sue” Fulton is a 1980 West Point graduate, part of the first class to admit women. She was commissioned in the Army, served as a platoon leader and company commander in Germany, and was honorably discharged at the rank of Captain. She currently serves on the board of OutServe-SLDN, and was appointed by President Obama as the first openly gay member of the West Point Board of Visitors. Fulton lives in Asbury Park, NJ, with her wife Penny Gnesin.

Posted in Joining Forces for Women Veterans, Military, Uncategorized, Veterans, Women Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »