IAVA & the Fullbridge Program: Week 3 Reflections
Posted by Christina Kim on January 22
Following the conclusion of the first IAVA and Fullbridge Program Business Immersion program, several of the veteran participants have shared their reflections on the overall experience. Armed with the skills and knowledge gained through their intensive business bootcamp -- learning about financial statements, financial analysis, presentation skills and more -- this group of ten IAVA Member Veterans is set on a path for continued and accelerated career success.
But getting to have a mastery over these key concepts wasn't necessarily easy.
For Tim McCarty, a former Air Force Staff Sergeant who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the answer was simple: "We've come a long way."
"There were definitely highs and lows, and at times I felt like I was trying to learn so fast that nothing was being retained," McCarty said. "But it all came together in our final presentation, in which I could really see how far we had come individually and as a team."
Prior to beginning individualized career planning and assessments, veterans worked together in teams to present a business case analysis in front of their peers and coaches.
"All of us were answering questions, on the fly, that would have stumped us a few weeks ago--and sounding like professionals while doing it," McCarty added.
But while the skills and knowledge these veterans have gained through the program have prepared them to be successful business and civic leaders in their communities, they've also gained much, much more.
For Joshua Carroll, a former Air Force Captain and Intelligence Officer, participating in the program alongside other veterans brought new meaning and weight to the term "veteran."
"I suppose it wasn't until I was chosen to be part of the Fullbridge program that I truly understood the weight of responsibility that I feel," Carroll said. "There is this obligation to always represent vets in the best ways that I know how."
Additionally, Carroll, the co-founder of Flying Scarfs, Inc., a non-profit, social business designed to empower Afghan women through international trade, found confidence and inspiration through the Fullbridge program to bring his organization to the next level.
"I can speak the same language, now," he said in reference to an email exchange with Flying Scarfs' CFO. "I know I am now looking at that next adventure for our business with a new lens and a sense of confidence that I can navigate my team to a successful expanse of the business."
And regarding the veterans' professional and personal futures, a renewed confidence and sense of purpose is already enabling them to build upon their successes in this program.
For Carroll, knowing that it's not enough to rest on one's laurels or to give into one's insecurities signals positive change. "My hope is that my employers will look at my time at the Fullbridge Program and say: 'He's trying to make himself better by improving on his strengths and mitigating his weaknesses.'"
"I think that will be our biggest takeaway--confidence in ourselves and our new abilities," McCarty added. "While all of the finance, management, and marketing lessons are great, the thing that will most pay off for us will be our confidence as we move into the busines world."
For McCarty and the first pilot cohort of the IAVA-Fullbridge Veterans Business Immersion program, giving back to their communities, expanding their veteran networks, and becoming local leaders are already in the works:
"All of us have had the chance to work with some amazing veterans and coaches from around the country. [We] will be able to leverage those relationships to achieve great things in the future."
In just the last year, IAVA has connected hundreds of veterans with employers through innovative career fairs, helped over 10,000 veterans go to college on the New GI Bill, and provided mental health support to over 50,000 veterans—all at no cost to Member Veterans. Programs like these are only made possible through your generous support. Fight for those who fought for us and help us keep these resources and benefits completely free for new veterans and their families. DONATE >>
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