Women Warriors to Inspire You
on Veterans Day
Our plan this Veterans Day was probably a lot like yours. While we wanted to create a couple of social media posts to thank veterans for their services, we also wanted to highlight the fierce women veterans changing our world. Lucky for us, our plans changed when we reached out to former aviators, Stacy Ross and Teri Poulton. Here’s how.
By Amy Hyatt Fonseca
Susan Fonseca Lanham
Perhaps our plan this Veterans Day was a lot like yours. We wanted to create a couple of social media posts to thank veterans for their service and highlight the fierce women changing our world.
Sounds easy enough, right?
Wrong. Lucky for us, plans change! We reached out to Co-Founders Stacy Ross and Teri Poulton from All of the Above for a quote on how we could support women veterans. In essence, what we got back was more than a few words or a quick shout out to women pioneers in the armed forces. Instead, we learned about a real-life solution to a multitude of challenges faced by veterans today. Since our mission at Women@TheFrontier is to find and feature the Game-Changers shifting the status quo, we immediately recognized Teri and Stacy as warriors actually changing the ratio.
“Women are the fastest growing population of veterans representing almost 12% of the 18 million service men and women,” says Teri. “If you’re looking for a secret weapon to help meet gender goals in traditionally male career fields, our skills and experiences succeeding in the military could be just the resource you need.”
Stacy Ross and Teri Poulton, Co-Founders of All of the Above
First, if you don’t know Stacy and Teri’s stories, you should. Both former military aviators, they have successfully transitioned into corporate roles. This isn’t the case for all veterans, though. As Will McNulty, CEO of Team Rubicon Global and ‘dude Teri quotes almost daily’ describes it, “When we leave the military, we lose three things: our sense of community, identity, and purpose.”
A scary thought for even the bravest warriors.
So, while sharing lunch in a corporate cafeteria, Stacy and Teri attacked this fear the same way the air force trained them to—with swift, thoughtful precision. They set out to drastically change the way women veterans are prepared, recruited, and placed in new careers. Their mission: “Meet a clear corporate need for diversity with a cadre of high-achieving, well-coached badass women veterans.” It was a gutsy strategy with the potential to change the world of work. The idea could expand the number of female veterans hired and consequently, increase the pipeline of military women in Board Rooms and C-suites.
I am humbled beyond belief for the privilege of having served my country.”-Stacy Ross
Now, fast forward to this week…
We asked Stacy and Teri for a quote to celebrate the incredible impact of women veterans on our world. Their response was more profound and inspiring than we envisioned—a letter of gratitude from them to our nation for the opportunity to serve. Here’s what we received:
Each year on Veterans Day, I spend deliberate time thinking about my path in life—why I chose the military, why I loved my service, and those characteristics I now embody and embrace because of my unique experiences as a former US Air Force officer and B-1 bomber pilot. I am humbled beyond belief for the privilege of having served my country and for the opportunities it provided.
There’s a great image out there of a pair of desert combat boots, heavily worn and dusty from war, and a quote above it that says, “Not like MOST girls.” And it’s true—women veterans are not like MOST girls. They are unicorns amongst horses, special individuals who have chosen to serve, with experiences that cannot be replicated. They are strong and capable. They’re boldly intelligent and forthcoming. They give selflessly and remain determined. And they are leaders. Tremendous leaders.
When my fellow female veteran/pilot/superstar and business partner and I founded Choose All of the Above, LLC., which focuses on building the largest and most connected professional network of women veterans, our guiding principle was empowering our veterans with the knowledge to understand how their military experiences bridge into civilian success. We help coach and successfully transition these amazing women into equally amazing careers so that they continue to succeed beyond their time in uniform because we find they are underutilized and not well understood by companies who don’t realize how special they are. We believe in giving back and paying it forward, and we understand this demographic better than any…because we are them. We’re not like most girls. I’m thankful for all those who have served and celebrate them not just on Veterans Day, but every day. Hire a woman warrior—you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Former Major, United States Air Force
Co-founder, Choose All of the Above, LLC.
Veteran Advocate / Forever Badass
Can you see why we had to share this story with you? Their service and courage to tread new ground is the definition of a Game-Changer. Obviously, these ladies define what it means to embody living, breathing Role Models.
Teri and Stacy, Veteran Advocates / Forever Badasses
But our hope is to do more than inspire you. Don’t get us wrong, inspiration is good; but sometimes life requires action. So, we decided to leave you with one more ask (or three):
- If you own a Business, check out how to Hire a veteran.
- If you’re a veteran, find out how you can become part of the All For One Network.
- For the rest of us, let’s do more than create a social media post to be liked or retweeted. Reach out to a vet. Say thank you. Then, do some research and find out what you can do to pay their service forward. We can get you started here.
Research on Veterans:
- Department of Veterans Affairs Fact Sheet
- America’s Women Veterans: Military Service History and VA Benefit Statistics
- US Department of Veterans Affairs Facts and Statistics about Women Veterans
- United States Census
Facts about Veterans:
- 18.8 Million Veterans in the US
- 1.6 Million women veterans in the US
- The median age for women Veterans is 49, and the median age for men Veterans is 64.
- Women represent: 11.75% of all US veterans
- From 2009 to 2015, the average annual unemployment rate for veterans aged 18 to 24 was nearly 21%. For veterans aged 25 to 34, it was around 10%
Experts advise executives and managers to develop and innovate their talent pipelines for the next generation of global leaders. McKinsey and Co reports that “Given the higher returns that diversity is expected to bring, we believe it is better to invest now, since winners will pull further ahead and laggards will fall further behind.”
As we can see, diversity is not just an issue of equal opportunity and inclusion. That is a given. In addition, it is a key catalyst for stimulating strategic growth and increasing revenue. Most importantly, diversity allows for more creative problem-solving, more game-changing ideas and more human progress. In my opinion, we perform at our best when challenged and pushed to think outside of our comfort zone. What better way to do this, than to work with people who think differently than we do.
We hope you’ve learned something about Diversity and Innovation. Let us know your thoughts. What else would you like to know?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Prior to catching the Women@TheFrontier bug, Amy was a research and clinical speech-language pathologist interested in the impact of technology on individuals with disabilities. Today, she is a wife, mom, lover of words, Co-Founder and Managing Editor for Women@TheFrontier.
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