Cisco Exec Helps Vets Transition to Civilian Careers

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Jason Phillips, Cisco Vice President of Digital HR and Chief of Staff, agreed to sit down recently for a Q & A with U.S. Veterans Magazine. This man who spent over 11 years in the Marine Corps didn’t hold back.

An advocate for veterans, Phillips shared his passions and insights on a number of issues facing vets, including their professional lives after they leave the military. He discussed Cisco’s Veterans Enablement and Troops Support (VETS) group, which helps vets transition to civilian life.

One issue he returned to often was teamwork (referred to at Cisco as the “power of teams”). In the corporate world, Phillips has worked hard and smart to facilitate teamwork, and the results have been positive. He sees parallels between his time as a Marine and his tenure as a corporate executive. He emphasizes that the issue of teamwork, when it comes to helping our vets and supporting our military in general, is incredibly important.

At Cisco, Phillips plays a major role in the company’s human resources performance, leading HR digital strategies, promoting operational efficiency, and managing team performance through effective governance and financial stewardship. Prior to Cisco, Phillips worked as the Vice President of HR Shared Services for Kaiser Permanente. Phillips, who completed his doctoral studies in adult learning and human resources development, started his professional journey as an officer in the Marine Corps.

Following is the Q & A, which gives readers an unfettered look into Phillips’ efforts to help vets and illustrates the way he draws parallels between the power of teams in the military and at Cisco.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to Cisco and what your position there entails?
A. I spent over 11 years in the United States Marine Corps in roles both at home and abroad. I had 5 different roles in those 11 years, and like most military leaders, I quickly learned the missions at hand and became comfortable with new challenges in various settings. After leaving the Marine Corps, I started a career journey in HR consulting where I learned how critical a well-run human resource function is to any effective organization. After six years in consulting, I took a full-time position with Kaiser Permanente where I served in multiple human resources leadership roles. My transition to Cisco this year was fortuitous because it allowed me to serve in a role that continues my personal learning and do it with a group of colleagues that are innovating at a pace unlike anything I have seen before within the field of human resources.

Q. What does digital HR mean to a major technology company like Cisco?
A. Digital HR is what we refer to as the “connection between technology and the human touch.” At a company like Cisco it really changes everything related to talent. Clearly, it has an impact on employee skills, but more importantly it impacts the capabilities required to meet our complex business demands. HR must offer up a different set of capabilities that more closely meet the ever-increasing pace of our business environment. At Cisco, HR is moving away from the model of “one size fits all” to “one size fits one.”

Q. What does “The power of teams” mean to you, when it comes to employees at Cisco?
A. As an HR organization, it is up to us to support the increase in the performance of our people – and because performance lives in teams, we set out to understand team excellence. As a result of this work, it became clear that there were repeatable factors that differentiated our high performing teams. Cisco set out to educate and scale the critical components of high performing teams. From a technology perspective we have implemented Team Space, which is designed to help teams be better together giving our leaders the data and insights they need to create the best experience for their team. It’s quick and easy to use, and it helps people share the best of themselves with those around them, understand and reveal how they do their best work, and get the right support from their leaders.

Q. How has teamwork helped encourage veteran retention?
A. Teamwork is one of the most important elements that impacts retention not only at Cisco, but in most organizations. From day one in the military, regardless of service or role, it is ingrained into all of us that effective teamwork is what will create success. It is also why such a significant investment is made within the military to develop “small unit leaders” so that a team, at its smallest focal point, can be successful. It is within these teams that loyalty and esprit de corps is built. It is within these teams that lifelong relationships are built, and it is within these teams that performance is enhanced. And to me, it is within this teaming environment that you find the “secret sauce” that motivates military personnel to want to stay and serve. Rarely is it about the pay and rarely is it about any senior leader. In my experience, it is usually about the people to the left and to the right of you – your team – that make you sacrifice daily and also motivate you to stay and serve. I feel that the same principle applies outside of the military as well, and it is an important element within Cisco’s culture that is attractive to all veterans that choose a career at Cisco.

Q. What programs is Cisco implementing to not only retain veteran employees, but to offer employee engagement and overall work life balance?
A. We have many initiatives across Cisco, but I feel that our Veterans Enablement and Troop Support group (VETS), which is one of our Employee Resource Organizations, is unique. Simply put, this group, which has regional chapters, sponsors events year round in support of our military veterans, and helps them effectively transition to civilian life. There are multiple mentoring forums and career guidance activities that truly can benefit any military professional as they transition to their next career. You can learn more about our VETS ERO offerings on our Cisco site, cisco.com.

Q. What advice would you offer a new transitioning veteran who wants to join the Cisco team but is unsure of where they would fit in?
A. Reach out and take advantage of the various entry points Cisco offers. There are multiple ways to engage and learn about areas of opportunity. Whether it is completing your profile and going through the careers site or attending a career event—such as the VETS ERO annual Veteran Career Technology Day—or reaching out to a leader like myself, this company will take the time to engage with you.

Q. As a veteran yourself, is there any advice you want to share with our veteran readers that is mission critical to a successful career transition at Cisco or any company?
A. I have always considered these three items when assessing career options: the organizational brand, an industry that excites me, and the team I will be working with. Regarding the brand, I feel it is important to align yourself with companies that can and have stood the test of time. We all tend to know who these players are across every industry. There are reasons they have been successful, and my experience is that veterans assimilate well within these organizations. Secondly, knowing which industry excites you from both a personal and professional point of view. Lastly, make sure you interview your team as much as the company is interviewing you. When the days get long and the work gets hard, it is the team around you that will provide the motivation to carry on.

Q. What is your advice to companies who are looking to hire and retain veterans?
A. There is no real risk to taking the plunge. Veterans bring a wealth of leadership experiences that are truly unique in the marketplace. The bottom line is, if you want an employee that is goal and mission oriented, comfortable with ambiguity, excels at working at a fast pace and embodies leadership traits and principles that are timeless across all industries – look no further than your veteran community.

Sailor Spotlight! Operations Specialist 2nd Class Anthony Tran

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Anthony Tran standing in uniform with flags in the background

SAN DIEGO – A 2011 Rancho Alamitos High School graduate and Garden Grove, Calif., native is currently an instructor for the U.S. Navy training sailors in operating the technologically advanced Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).

Operations Specialist 2nd Class Anthony Tran has been an instructor at the LCS Training Facility (LTF) since June 2018.

The LTF, the first surface warfare training facility to provide integrated bridge and combat systems tactical scenario training for sailors serving on board an LCS, is operated by the Center for Surface Combat Systems’ (CSCS) learning site Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center (FLEASWTRACEN) in San Diego.

Tran teaches a five-week LCS Capstone that focuses on basic Integrated Combat Management System (ICMS) operations and tactical decision making in a combat environment.

“I am responsible for ensuring future LCS sailors receive the most up to date and advanced training,” explained Tran. “I mainly focus on teaching tactical decisions and tactical advantages that help deploy fully trained Sailors out to sea.”

Sailors serving in the LCS environment demand a higher quantity and quality of training.

“LCS class ships drive a new approach to individual, team, and unit-level training to accommodate the minimum manning and rotational crewing concepts,” explained Capt. Brandon Bryan, FLEASWTRACEN’s commanding officer. “This new approach drives the need for the shore-centric Train-to-Qualify (T2Q) and Train-to-Certify (T2C) concepts, which rely heavily on high-fidelity shore-based trainers. Our simulators integrate LCS command and control, propulsion control, and bridge control systems to support individual training in a team environment at the basic, intermediate and advanced levels.”

Tran enlisted in the Navy in May 2013.

“I joined the Navy to have a solid foundation because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life,” Tran said. “With this, came the opportunity to serve my country and travel and today, I proudly serve as a United States sailor.”

His first assignment was Tactical Air Control Squadron 12, where he served as green crown controller conducting tactical air control onboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) homeported in Sasebo, Japan.

“At the LTF, we prepare sailors to execute a wide variety of missions around the world,” Bryan said. “They leave our training facility ready to stand their watch and execute the Navy’s mission.”

Tran is the son of Khanh and Vanessa who reside in Garden Grove, Calif.

CSCS’ mission is to develop and deliver surface ship combat systems training to achieve surface warfare superiority. CSCS headquarters’ staff oversees 14 learning sites and detachments located throughout the continental United States, Hawaii, and Japan and manages and operates a Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) training division in Rota, Spain. CSCS provides over 538 courses, awards 114 different Navy Enlisted Classifications (NECs), and trains over 38,000 sailors a year. CSCS delivers specialized training for officers and enlisted sailors required to tactically operate, maintain, and employ shipboard and shore-based weapons, sensors, and command and control systems utilized in today’s Navy.

For more information on CSCS, visit https://www.netc.navy.mil/centers/cscs/ or follow CSCS on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Center-for-Surface-Combat-Systems/1480366868885239

Source: Navy Outreach

Inside the Specially Adapted Home Wayfair Furnished for a Veteran with a Disability and His Family

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Disabled veteran and family stand outside their new home

When John and Brittany Curtin got married in 2015, they never dreamed they’d be living where they are today.

The couple met at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland back in 2011— Brittany was a volunteer with the Red Cross and John was in outpatient treatment for injuries he sustained while deployed in Afghanistan.

A Marine Lance Corporal, John joined the Marines at 19. He lost both of his legs and severely damaging his right arm when his foot triggered an IED one month into his deployment. He now gets around with the help of prosthetic legs or a wheelchair.

As difficult as John’s injuries were to adapt to, he and Brittany, both 29, live their lives today with incredible ease. For that, they thank two organizations: Homes For Our Troops and Wayfair, who have provided them with a specially-adapted — and fully furnished — home of their dreams, just outside of Nashville, Tennessee.

Homes For Our Troops is a non-profit organization that donates custom houses to veterans with disabilities, allowing them freedom in their homes as thanks for their service abroad. The organization teamed up with online furniture marketplace Wayfair to completely overhaul the Curtins’ home this past June, customizing it to both John’s accessibility needs and the pair’s personal style.

“We feel so unbelievably blessed,” Brittany tells PEOPLE of the experience. “Just for our day to day, our routine has entirely changed. Because John isn’t so taxed just doing small things, he’s able to do so much more both inside and outside the house.”

“It’s been an absolutely life changing experience,” John agrees. “It’s just transformed my life completely. When Brittany and I were first living in Virginia together we lived in a little 700-square-foot apartment, and we couldn’t even pass each other in the hallway because my wheelchair took up the whole space. So the ease of living is just unreal compared to those experiences.”

Not only is the 2,800-square-foot home and surrounding property entirely complaint with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and wheelchair-accessible, but a variety of gadgets inside the home are designed to help John complete daily tasks with ease.

For example, extendable shelves in the kitchen and closets can be pulled down to be at John’s eye level, and a track chair in the backyard allows him to move around the property — which has paved and graded paths — and do yard work.

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

Make Your Next Job Fair Be Your Last

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veteran standing outside convention center wearing a suit carrying a briefcase

Job fairs are a great opportunity to network and be proactive in the employment process. In order to make the most of these opportunities, set realistic expectations for what you hope to achieve.

Prepare for the job fair like you would for an interview, have a plan for when you arrive, make a good impression with the recruiters, and be sure to follow up with any connections you make.

Here are some other ways to make the most of your next job fair:

•    Research: The week prior to a job fair, find out which companies are participating and learn more about them. What are some interesting things the company is currently working on? Does the company have new leadership or a new product? These tidbits can be used as conversation starters that will impress a recruiter and possibly open the door to a new opportunity for you.

•    Dress for an interview: Job fairs typically involve on-the-spot interviews, so present yourself as you would for any other kind of interview. A suit is most appropriate, even if you’re applying for a technical job. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

•    Prepare: For your top employment choices, consider preparing folders that include your resume, cover letter, recommendations and appropriate work samples.

•    Carry plenty of business cards: Give the business cards to recruiters and other job seekers you meet. They need not be expensive or fancy. A simple design will do. Make sure they contain your name and contact information: phone number, email and address.

•    Organize: You may want to carry a portfolio or clipboard to easily manage and collect information. Be sure to have a pen for taking notes.

•    Relax, breathe and smile: Do your best to make a strong first impression.

•    Walk around: Get the lay of the land, see where your top companies are located and plan your connection strategy.

•    Network: Talk to other job seekers and ask questions. Find out what types of positions they’re seeking, and tell them a little about yourself. You never know who they might know, or if you might be able to help them with an introduction. Don’t hesitate to exchange information if you make a connection.

•    Visit booths: You may want to start by practicing your personal pitch with recruiters who represent companies that may not be your top choice. Have a list of companies you really want to visit and check them off as you go. This will keep you from introducing yourself to the same recruiter twice by accident. Listen to the “interviews” in front of you to get an idea what to expect and develop questions based on what you hear.

Speaking to recruiters
•    Connect: Make eye contact, smile, state your name and shake her or his hand. Use a prepared elevator speech—a 10-second summary of your bio, your skills and your achievements. Make sure to rehearse the speech until it becomes comfortable.

•    Listen: Pay attention, respond to questions and ask for more information. When appropriate, hand your resume to the recruiter and pause for them to do a quick review. Be prepared for questions about specific examples of your experience.

•    Keep it brief: Recruiters are typically swamped, so be mindful that your conversation may be limited to a few minutes. If appropriate, ask questions about next steps, applicant qualifications or any suggestions they may have for you.

•    Get recruiter contact information: Request a business card, and if one is not available, ask the recruiter for their email address. Conclude the conversation by thanking them for their time.

•    Step aside: Make time to write conversation notes before you move on to the next recruiter. If the previous recruiter mentioned she went to Florida State, capture that information. If she told you the company will hire for your desired position soon, write it down. Summarize your job fair experiences immediately in order to take full advantage of the event.

•    Call or email: After a few days, call or send an email, thanking the recruiters for their time and the information they provided. If you send an email to the recruiter who mentioned she went to Florida State, it is appropriate to write, “I’m the administrative assistant at the job fair who discussed Florida State with you.” That reminder could help her recall the conversation. Just taking the time to follow up will separate you from many job fair attendees.

•    Stay in contact: If the recruiter responds back to you, stay in contact. Keep an eye open for articles about their organization or industry and don’t hesitate to forward them on with a note. If you see the perfect job for you in their organization, and you’re qualified, apply for the position and then email the recruiter and let him or her know you applied.

•    Build your network: If you connected with other job seekers and traded contact information, you should follow up with them as well. You never know when they might have a job prospect for you, or vice versa.

If you need information or personalized assistance with your employment search, or have questions about education opportunities, visit the Military OneSource SECO page, or call 800-342-9647 to talk with a career coach.

2019 National Airborne Day celebration

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National Airborne Day Flyer

Celebrate the 79th anniversary of the first military parachute jump with Fort Bragg during National Airborne Day, Saturday, Aug. 17, from 8 a.m. to noon, at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in downtown Fayetteville, N.C.

National Airborne Day is observed every year on August 16, but Fort Bragg celebrates the day on the following Saturday so the community at large can participate in this milestone of airborne history.

“National Airborne Day honors and celebrates our paratrooper linage,” said Elvia Kelly, Fort Bragg spokeswoman. “This yearly celebration brings together paratroopers, past and present, with our local communities for a fun, Family friendly event. This is a first-hand opportunity to experience what makes our paratroopers the best in the world.”

The first parachute jump was conducted by the parachute test platoon, organized of members of the 29th Infantry Division, who conducted the first jump Aug. 16, 1940.

National Airborne Day was created in 2001, and former President George W. Bush proclaimed August 16 as National Airborne Day. It was joined by the U.S. Senate in 2009 with Senate Resolution 235.

The day begins with the opening of the static displays and pre-event music at 8 a.m at the museum, located at 100 Bragg Blvd, Fayetteville, NC.

The following is the timeline of events:
* 9 a.m., narrator welcoming remarks
* 9:30 a.m., an outside performance by the 82nd Airborne Division “All American” Chorus
* 9:45 a.m., a mock door demonstration
* 10 a.m., static displays and rock band performance by the 82nd Airborne Division
* 11:15 a.m., an indoor performance by the 82nd Airborne Division “All American” Chorus
* 11:30 a.m., a mock door demonstration by the 82nd Airborne Division
* 11:45 a.m., a HALO demonstration by the All Veterans Parachute Team

Daymond John — Turning Heroes into CEOs

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Daymond John speaking into microphone on stage

The Shark Tank’s Daymond John encourages veteran entrepreneurs to make waves in business.

By Lori Denman

Entrepreneur extraordinaire Daymond John has cast a pretty large net in the realm of business.

John, otherwise known as, “The People’s Shark,” is a busy man—leading his multi-million dollar FUBU clothing line and hosting the popular reality ABC hit, “Shark Tank,” that’s celebrating its 11th season.

But he never hesitates to take time to help a promising entrepreneur—particularly those who have served our country. “I’m working with veterans as much as I can,” he said.

John is in his third year of partnering with Bob Evans Farms to host an entrepreneurial contest called “Heroes to CEOs.” Finalists receive a free trip to New York City for a personalized, 45-minute session with John to help them perfect a pitch that could win them a $30,000 grant for their business.

John says the same traits that make veterans successful in combat—courage, teamwork, overcoming challenging obstacles, taking inventory of a situation—also apply in the boardroom. A veteran’s large network of supportive comrades is a further advantage, he added.

“I call it OPM, or other people’s manufacturing, mind power or marketing,” he said. “Meaning if you want to start up a business, make a list of friends and acquaintances who can assist in the mission. Soak up their knowledge and insight.”

Still, there’s a few personality traits characteristic of the military that may actually hinder a veteran entrepreneur, according to John in a recent interview for The Motley Fool.

Shark Tank panel seated together
Panel: (L-R) Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin OLeary, and Daymond John of Tribeca Talks: Ten Years of Shark Tank poses for a portrait. MATT DOYLE/GETTY IMAGES

“Vets were brought up to think about everybody else and stand in the line of fire. They don’t always put their needs first.”

There’s been more than a few veterans who have heeded John’s advice. Last month, Jonathan Norton, founder and CEO of Peak Safety Systems, was voted the winner of the third annual “Heroes to CEOs” program. A former Army Ranger, Norton invented the RopeSafe Edge protection system—life-saving equipment for military, first responders, and rope access professionals.

Norton says his company was born out of personal experience. ““I witnessed a student nearly fall to his death while he was repelling because the edge protector that we were using failed,” he said in a recent interview on cheddar.com.

“It was a scary moment and created a lot of fear, doubt and uncertainty. But it inspired me to find a solution. That was the impetus for developing the product.”

Although RopeSafe just launched, Norton has successfully sold to several areas throughout the U.S., including FDNY, NYPD, Dallas SWAT and more. Even a window washing company in Rochester, New York.

Daymond John books on display at book signing
Books on display during Daymond John book signing ” Rise and Grind: Outperform, Outwork, and Outhustle Your Way to a More Successful and Rewarding Life”. JOHNNY LOUIS/GETTY IMAGES

When asked about entrepreneurial qualities he acquired during his time in the military, Norton says, “In spite of the hardships or the bumps in the road, it’s really about commitment to the mission and knowing I am serving a bigger purpose.”

John says he was blown away with Norton’s creativity, innovation and solid business plan. “He really rose to the top as an exceptional leader who is ready to take his business to the next level.

With several successful ventures under his belt over the last 30 years, John says he’s often asked what advice he gives veterans and others who wish to start their own business.

“I would say don’t mortgage your house for 100K,” he joked recently on Ladders.com, citing his own personal experience as John did indeed get his start by mortgaging his mother’s house.

After that, John started his successful clothing line but considers the risky move very lucky, adding, “It turned out for all the better, but knowing what I know now, I was very close to losing the house and everything we had.”

Daymond John standing wearing a gray suit
Photo: ADRIAN EDWARDS/GETTY IMAGES

His top 5 tips to veterans wanting to start a business as well as other entrepreneurs on Shark Tank:

  1. Set goals to know where you’re headed

By age 16, John had told himself he’d be a millionaire by age 30. But when he turned 22, he was broke and struggling to make a buck by buying and selling cars.

“I didn’t know how to properly execute goal-setting. It’s not just visualizing of a number or a certain age,” said John.

When the idea for FUBU came along, he decided to reshape the goal he set for himself. Instead of committing to making a million dollars by age 30, John instead made it his goal to outfit the hip-hop culture. Designing a clothing line became less about earning money and more about dedicating himself to a community — one that he thought would turn into future consumers.

“My goal became doing the best I can for the company I love,” John said.

  1. Homework — you still have to do it

After sneaking his way into a menswear conference in Las Vegas, John proudly showed off early prototypes of T-shirts emblazoned with the logo of his budding company, FUBU, an acronym that means “For Us, By Us.” He secured $300,000 worth of orders, and after his mother took out an equity line on their house in Queens, he took $100,000 to outfit a factory to get production going.

Just one problem: He hadn’t done any research on what it would cost to start a clothing line and get production going. In the process, he nearly lost his mom’s house and ended FUBU before it got off the ground.

Knowing what you need to launch a venture is something John stresses to the hopefuls who appear before him on Shark Tank. He has to see that an entrepreneur looking for funding has done their work to know what their market is and who their competitors are — and that they’ve used that knowledge to not only start driving sales but also improve on their track record.

  1. Adore what you do, and success will follow

A true entrepreneur must love what they’re doing—a seemingly trite lesson that John said is crucial for any successful entrepreneur. It’s passion for a project that will allow a person to push past failures and feeling burned out.

“Do what you love, and success will follow. Money may follow; but I can’t promise that it will,” he said. “But money’s more likely to follow when you’re doing something you love, because you’ll do it for 10 years or 20 years.”

  1. Remember, you — not just your business — are a brand

These days it’s easy to manufacture a personality using social media. But building a business is as much about how you carry yourself as it is about meeting quarterly sales figures or developing new products.

“Be very honest with yourself, especially today with social media. At any given time, your employees can see you,” John said. “So you have to know what the DNA of the brand is. It only takes your employees two weeks to treat your customers the same way they’re being treated.”

  1. Keep swimming, no matter what

John’s final point makes use of what he calls the power of positive thinking. Even as FUBU grew into a bigger company, he maintained a “healthy paranoia” about running a clothing company.

“I always said fashion brands are hot for five years and then they’re gone,” he said.

But keeping a persevering attitude spurred him to come up with solutions to problems instead of giving up. As John wrote in his book, The Power of Broke: “You have to be relentless, nimble, moving ever forward. No matter what.”

Joe Walsh Announces Lineup For Vetsaid 2019 In Houston

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(HOUSTON, TEXAS) – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and multi-GRAMMY Award winning musician Joe Walsh and VetsAid, his national 501(c)3 non-profit veterans organization, announced the lineup and on-sale date for their 3rd annual music festival. VetsAid 2019 will feature sets from ZZ Top, Brad Paisley, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit and Joe Walsh and will take place at 5:30pm on Sunday, November 10, 2019, on the eve of Veterans Day, at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

Tickets will be available through the Toyota Center Box Office, at www.toyotacenter.com or by calling 1-866-4-HOUTIX and will be priced at $199.50, $149.50, $119.50, $99.50, $79.50, $49.50 and $25.

The inaugural VetsAid took place on September 20, 2017 with a concert at the EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia featuring performances by Walsh, Zac Brown Band, Keith Urban and Gary Clark Jr. VetsAid 2018 was a blockbuster event featuring Don Henley, James Taylor, Chris Stapleton, Haim and Joe, who was joined by special guest Ringo Starr. They performed to a sell out crowd of nearly 18,000. It was also in Tacoma where Walsh and VetsAid hosted its first Veterans Jobs Fair where dozens of local vets found meaningful full-time employment with established regional employers in the Pacific Northwest.

As every year, all net proceeds from the concert will go directly to the veterans’ services charities selected through a vetting process-coordinated in tandem with the National Association of Veterans Serving Organizations (NAVSO). In its first two years, VetsAid has disbursed nearly $1.2M in grants to veterans’ services organizations on the national level and the regional level with a focus on the festival’s host city. This year, VetsAid plans to disburse grants to Houston-area organizations; small grant applications have been open since May 2019 via the VetsAid website (www.vetsaid.org).

Veterans and their wellbeing have always been important to Walsh, a Gold Star son himself. His father was a flight instructor for the first US operational jet powered aircraft, the Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star, and died while stationed and on active duty on Okinawa when Walsh was 20 months old.

Walsh has been involved with veterans’ related causes for years, supporting various charities, visiting the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and offering free guitar lessons to the wounded veterans there. He has campaigned for his good friend, (now) United States Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, an Iraq War veteran and double amputee.

Walsh aims to use this platform to raise funds and awareness for the still urgent and significant needs of our returning soldiers and their families. Through the establishment of VetsAid and this annual benefit concert, he aims to give back to those who have given so much in sacrifice for this country.

“It’s about time we brought VetsAid down to Texas and who better to share the stage with than my old buddies and Houston’s own ZZ Top! With Brad, Sheryl, Jason and more special guests to be announced joining us too this will be yet another historic night of incredible music for our vets.” Joe Walsh continues, “This is a night where all are welcome to celebrate the things that unite us as Americans: good friends, open hearts and great music!”

For more information, including grant applications for small veterans services groups, please visit www.vetsaid.org.

A Guide to Pursuing an MBA

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veteran student

By Ron Kness

Whether going to school or working for a company, an important component to success is fitting in and feeling like you belong there.

If the school or business is veteran friendly, you will feel like you are “part of the family”—just like when you were serving. Others around you will understand the military lingo that you still use.

They can relate to your experiences when you need someone to talk to.

And if you have this comfort level, you will do better in your coursework or at your job.

Even though the MBA program or job may seem like a perfect fit in the beginning, you’ll soon question if you made the right choice if that veteran friendliness is lacking.

Is Your MBA program military friendly?

Choosing an MBA degree program is an important educational and career decision. After all, an advanced degree serves as a key to career advancement—with the company, position and experience being other factors. Just the difference in starting wage between having an undergraduate and MBA degree is significant—$54,000 versus $70,000 (minimum) respectively. Graduates from the top MBA programs start at six figures right out of school. Run the salary difference between the two types of degrees out over a 30-year career and the number is staggering.

But the first mission is choosing an MBA program. While only you can make the final choice, here is a thought-provoking checklist to help you arrive at a decision:

Does the school have a veterans’ association chapter on campus?

Once out of the military, veterans miss the comradery. Schools having a veterans’ association on campus not only gives veterans a place to meet, but gives the school administration ideas on how to make a veteran’s experience better while at their school.

Is the MBA program also offered online?

Many veteran students are also stay-at-home dads, struggle with PTSD or just like the flexibility of being able to study whenever the time fits into their busy schedule, so an MBA program being offered online can be a deciding factor. More and more, schools are offering the same MBA program both on-campus and online … even with the same curriculum.

Is the school part of the Yellow Ribbon Program?

This can be a true indicator of just how much a school supports veterans. If they support an unlimited number of graduate students with a maximum contribution of at least $9,000 or more per year per student, they have a great Yellow Ribbon Program. It actually ends up being twice that amount because the VA will match whatever contribution the school provides – in effect doubling the amount.

Is the MBA cost-effective?

While cost won’t be much of an issue if attending a public school under the Post 9/11 GI Bill or a private school under the same GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program, it’s a primary consideration if not using either. While going the cheapest route is not always a good decision, going the most expensive may not be either. Choose a route that will get you the best education that you can use to reach your career goals.

Does the school have an accreditation that is recognized by the career field?

Some of the for-profit schools were in the news lately where graduates discovered their school’s accreditation wasn’t recognized by their chosen career field. Not only was it costly to get their degree but not any of it was of value in getting the job they wanted.

Funding MBA Programs for Veterans

Post 9/11 GI Bill

For veterans having entitlement left from their Post 9/11 GI Bill, this can be a major source of MBA funding. When shopping for schools, check the Weam’s School Search to see if the MBA program is in the school’s list of programs—double check by asking the question when visiting the school.

With the GI Bill, the VA pays the school directly up to the resident tuition cost and eligible fees. Monthly, students receive a housing allowance determined by the zip code of the school and number of credits taken. Also students receive up to $1,000 per academic year in a book stipend.

One housing allowance difference to be aware of is for students taking all online courses—in this case students are limited to about half of what they would get if attending classes on campus. A loophole that still exists is to take one class per semester that can be applied to your degree plan (and the rest of your credits that semester online) to get the increased housing amount.

Yellow Ribbon Program

To be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program, students must use the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Under this program, the school declares to the VA how much they will waive in tuition as well as how many students they will accept into their YRP each year, the degree levels covered and the maximum contribution per student. The VA pledges to pay an equal contributed amount.

The Weam’s School Search shows on the first page if the school is a Yellow Ribbon School or not, or you can visit the VA’s Yellow Ribbon School website to search by school.

Source: affordablecollegesonline.org

From One Battlefield to Another: 3 graduate programs for vets interested in politics

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Syracuse University

By Tom McGuin
ClearanceJobs.com

Thinking about running for office? There’s no better way to “put your money where your mouth is” than by throwing your hat in the ring.

Military service has always been a good starting point for entry into politics in America. Americans traditionally love war heroes, however broad the definition of that term might be. From George Washington, who was not only the commander of the Continental Army but a veteran of the French-Indian War, to George W. Bush, a Texas Air National Guard pilot. Thirty-two of the 44 men who have held the presidency served in uniform at some point, with 12 of them as general officers.

One of the high-water marks for veteran political activity was the election of 1946, the first held after the end of World War II. Seventy war veterans were elected to Congress that year, including three future presidents: John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, and Gerald R. Ford.

There are currently 96 veterans of all stripes serving in Congress—77 in the House and 19 in the Senate—but only 19 are freshmen. I believe we need to raise that number.

If you’re a veteran who wants to make a difference in politics, whether at the local, state, or national level, there are several programs where you can put your Post-9/11 G.I Bill benefits to use.

These programs give you the technical knowledge necessary to get a head start on your potential opponents, whoever they may be.

Syracuse University Veterans in Politics Program

Syracuse University is the newest entry in this field. Banking giant JP Morgan Chase & Co. (where retired Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno is a senior advisor) provided a grant to Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs to begin the program.

Mike Haynie, executive director of Syracuse’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families and vice chancellor for its strategic initiatives and innovation, said, “We hope to create the opportunity to put the veterans who participate in the program on a path to enacting their aspiration for office.” Syracuse participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which covers the difference between Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits and the cost of tuition, and has a robust veteran services office.

University of San Francisco Masters in Public Leadership

In conjunction with the Veterans Campaign, a non-partisan organization dedicated to preparing veterans to hold political office, the University of San Francisco runs a hybrid program of online courses and weekend seminars. The program leads to a MFA degree in public leadership. It’s designed to prepare all students, but especially veterans, for political office as well as for careers in legislative affairs, campaign management, advocacy and civic leadership.

The seminars are available in both San Francisco and the Washington, D.C. area. Like many professional graduate programs, the faculty come more from professional life than academia—a must when discussing the nuts and bolts of getting elected. Prominent among the adjunct faculty is Patrick Murphy, the first Iraq veteran elected to Congress.

George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management

The George Washington University. The Graduate School of Political Management was the first of its kind in the country. It began in New York in 1987, branching out to Washington in 1991. It formally became part of GWU in 1995.

If you want to learn about politics from the people who actually practice and study it alongside people who are currently working in it, then GSPM is for you.

The program offers master of professional studies degrees in three areas: political management, legislative affairs, and strategic public relations. Political management would be the best choice for would-be candidates, while legislative affairs is geared towards those looking to work on Capitol Hill or as a lobbyist. Strategic public relations prepares students to advise senior political and corporate leaders on their engagements with the public.

Continue on to clearancejobs.com to read the complete article.

6 Terms You Won’t Believe Have Military Origins

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veterans looking at computer and smiling

There’s a long history of military slang, probably dating all the way back to when the first people hit each other with sticks and rocks. While military slang can be fun, it’s even more fun when it seeps into the common vernacular of everyday people. The only problem is when a word or phrase is too good, its origin gets lost in time, and people forget where it came from – but no longer.

Here are just a few words and phrases that came from military tradition.

1. “Best man”

n the days of yore, it was quite possible that a betrothed man might lose his wife even before their wedding to any number of possible hazards – rival bands, enemy leaders, or even random highwaymen. So while he was in the middle of the ceremony, he would enlist his best swordsman to cover his back while his attention was focused elsewhere or hold off an attacking party while the new couple made their getaway.

2. “Boondocks”

These days, to be way out in the boonies means you’re out in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the sticks. When the term was coined, it meant that too, only the actual boondocks are in the Philippines. In Tagalog, “bundok” literally translates to “mountains” so when Filipino fighters told American troops they were headed to the bundoks during the 1898 Spanish-American War and the subsequent Philippine-American War, it meant they were headed to the islands’ inner wilderness.

3. “Cowboys”

Sorry, but the term “cowboy” used to define the ranchers and vaqueros of the Old West was never actually used for those guys at the time. They were usually just called cow herders or cowhands. The term “cowboy” goes well past the 19th Century. The original cowboys were American colonists loyal to the British Crown during the American Revolution. They would band together in guerrilla units and lure other units of rebel farmers into ambushes using cowbells to coax them in. After the war, it was used to describe criminals from Texas who made raids into Mexico.

4. “Face the music”

In the European military tradition (from which the U.S. tradition is derived), any disgraced officer who was summarily kicked out of his unit was done so in the most demeaning manner possible. As the regiment’s drummer played on, the officer would have his sword broken, his buttons removed, and his charges read to the entire room. The officer was them marched across the parade ground to the tune of the “Rogue’s March” toward the regimental band.

5. “Last ditch effort”

In the kind of fighting that took place in the 16th and 17 Century, troops didn’t just maneuver around the battlefields in the open, in tight formations, wearing bright colors. I mean, they did that, but they also constructed a series of earthwork redoubts and other protective places to hold. Among these was a series of trenches they could fall back to if the stuff started hitting the fan – and they would dig many in case things went really wrong. But everyone knew by the time you got to your last one, you had to do something amazing, or everyone was likely to die in that last ditch.

6. “The whole nine yards”

This term appeared in the 1950s, after the end of World War II – and it has nothing to do with football or anything else where yardage is a factor. It refers to the length of the ammunition belts designed for American and British fighter planes during the war, 27 feet (or nine yards). When flying a particularly tough mission or otherwise using a lot of ammo, a pilot might have been said to use “the whole nine yards.”

Continue on to Military.com to read the complete article.

How Should I Answer This?

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Woman being interviewed sitting at a desk with potential employer

Interview tips for veterans entering the civilian workforce

Like many other service members leaving active duty service, I found preparing for the civilian workforce frustrating. Crafting your military service into a resume and preparing for an interview is daunting. One of the most common questions that I receive is, “How should I answer interview questions?” But it is just as important to think about what questions you will ask the employer.

Interviewing is a two-way dialogue. Yes, your potential employer will ask questions to learn more about you and the skills you bring to the table. It is great to leverage tools, such as the STAR technique (i.e., situation, task, action, result), which will help you practice translating your military experience and assist with preparing a clear and concise response to your interviewer.

While you are preparing to answer questions, it is equally important you prepare relevant questions to learn more about your potential employer, supervisor and the position to ensure that the opportunity is a good fit for your career aspirations. The best approach to asking fact-finding questions is to keep them focused, open ended and not too broad. Just remember to stay away from questions that yield yes or no responses. If you are unsure about what to ask in an interview, below are some key examples that will help you showcase you are the perfect hire.

At the beginning of an interview, an employer often asks to learn more about you and what you are seeking in a job. This question is an opportunity to set the tone of the interview and to showcase what you want to highlight about yourself. As you conclude your answer, use the opportunity to learn more about what the interviewer is seeking.

Perhaps, “I was excited to meet with you today. Could you tell me a bit more about you’re looking for?” This question accomplishes a few things. First, it prevents you from talking too much. When job candidates are not being interrupted—and are possibly nervous—they tend to ramble.

Asking a question can give you a break and allows the employer to talk. This strategy can also help establish a trend of productive back-and-forth dialogue. Another question to ask at the beginning of the interview is, “Could you explain the roles and responsibilities of this position in more detail?” When the employer answers this question, ask if him or her could prioritize the duties for you as well. This way, when the employer asks you to articulate what you’ve done in your previous roles, you can highlight how your previous experience aligns with the position in front of you.

Next, consider drafting questions that can help you learn more about the organizational culture, day-to-day jobs, responsibilities, education, skills and experience requirements, as well as soft skills or character traits the employer is seeking. The employer will be analyzing you on competency and culture fit, looking skills, education, personality, and desire to do the job well. At the same time, you should be looking to determine whether you want to work for the company, and whether the opportunity is one you can perform.

To help your thought process, it can be beneficial to ask questions about the goals or objectives for the position:
—How does the employer determine success in this role?
—What obstacles might you encounter to accomplishing those goals?
—Are the goals realistic?
—What resources are available to achieve the goals?

Remember, an interview is an exchange of information. Asking thoughtful questions is a great way to determine whether you really want the job. Good luck!

Author-Pamela Johnson
Pamela Johnson is the Veterans and Military Families Program Manager, Goodwill Industries International.

Source: goodwill.org