Maureen and the IVMF are incredible resources for the military Veteran community. In this interview, we talk about the #1 challenge facing the military Veteran community today. We talk about the best way for members of the military (and their spouses) to identify a fulfilling career after their military service. We talk about the BIGGEST mistake that people in the Armed Forces make when they transition to a civilian career. We talk about military Veterans in entrepreneurship, and specific data about how they stack up against their civilian counterparts.
Maureen Casey is the Chief Operating Officer for the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University. She brings more than 25 years of public and private sector experience to her current leadership role at the IVMF, including work as a Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase, the New York City Police Department, the New York State’s criminal justice system, and more. She received her J.D. from SUNY Buffalo’s School of Law and a Bachelor of Science, Magna Cum Laude, from the State University of New York’s College at Brockport.
This episode is sponsored by Secure Components - a certified small business supporting the warfighter since 2008. Secure Components delivers innovative and cost-effective solutions for high reliability supply chain challenges; arising from diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages, across a wide range of DOD legacy systems and platforms. Secure Components’ commitment to a transparent supply chain, counterfeit avoidance, and strategic sourcing; translates to increased readiness, reliability, and efficiency for the warfighter. Please visit their website at Securecomponents.com or call us at 484-881-3125
StoryBox- People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces.
the interview snippet episode
BTU 86 - author Cal Newport: So Good They Can't Ignore You - Marueen talks about managing your expectations for your civilian career. This is a great
BTU #99 - Jacob Martinez: Army Sergeant to President of USA's 592nd Fastest Growing Company - Maureen talks about getting industry experience while also starting a company. Jacob is the best example I can think of someone who continues to learn every day while still running a company.
IVMF.syracuse.edu - a great starting place for many of the programs and services that the IVMF offers. Even though they are a part of Syracuse University they are offer training and education across the country and around the world. They have a whole arsenal of programs about entrepreneurship, and meet you wherever you are on your entrepreneurial journey. They have career preparations (onward to opportunity) at 18 military installations across the country as well as an online, distance learning option that has over 40 different training programs that lead to certifications.
AmericaServes - IVMFs network to ease the transition through information and guidance
Small Business Administration (SBA) - they have a variety of community based resources across the country
Bunker Labs - they are focused on entrepreneurship, and a great resource for military Veterans
Transcript & Time Stamps:
Joining us today is Maureen Casey. Maureen Casey is the Chief Operating Officer for the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University. She brings more than 25 years of public and private sector experience to her current leadership role at the IVMF, including work as a Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase, the New York City Police Department, the New York State’s criminal justice system, and more. She received her J.D. from SUNY Buffalo’s School of Law and a Bachelor of Science, Magna Cum Laude, from the State University of New York’s College at Brockport.
How would you describe the work that you do?
In my work at IVMF, I’m responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the organization so that others working for IVMF are able to focus on serving the military community. Part of my responsibility is to “fill in the gaps”. Although I’m not a veteran, I do have experience working in both the private and public sector. So I’m able to bring this experience to my current role and help prepare veterans to work in both the public and private sectors.
What are the biggest challenges facing veterans today?
One of the greatest challenges is around accessing and navigating transition services. There are 40,000 veteran serving organizations. Many are very good but others are not. So figuring out who and what is good can be a great challenge.
My greatest frustration is that there are great organizations out there to serve veterans. Our greatest challenge is to get our message out to transitioning service members. And on the other side, transitioning service members want to find great veteran serving organizations but can have trouble finding organizations that serve their specific need. So there is a communication disconnect on both sides.
I’ve been working in this space for seven years and I think things have gotten better as far as getting in front of veterans and sharing with them all the resources that are available to them. But the problem does still exist.
Do you have any advice for veterans that are looking to identify what career path is right for them?
When I was at JP Morgan Chase, the company had made hiring veterans a priority. And now with IVMF, we try to prepare veterans for post-military careers.
It’s really important the people give themselves time to think about what they’re passionate about. Military training is very effective at training a military member to go from individual to a member of a team. However what doesn’t happen, is that military members get that same training at the end of their service to prepare them for their civilian career. So it’s important to take the time to think about what will be fulfilling to you.
I often talk to veterans and ask them what they want to do. And they tell me, “Anything you want me to do”. That answer is not going to persuade a hiring manager. They want to know that you have a clear idea about what you want to do and what you will contribute.
Do you see any common mistakes that veterans make in their transition?
I think expectation management is important. Because of the level of responsibility given to military members at young ages in the military, military members sometimes have a false expectation of the salary or level of responsibility they will have immediately after leaving the military. So it’s important that you manage this expectation. Employers might want to see you work for a couple years at their company before they are willing to give you that same responsibility.
Do you have any advice for a veteran looking to become an entrepreneur?
Veterans are statistically more successful than their non-veteran counterparts in entrepreneurship. But there is still a lot to do to prepare. You need to prepare financially because most small business owners end up bootstrapping the financing to get their business off the ground. So if you’re still in the military and you’re thinking about being a small business owner, start preparing your finances when you still have a paycheck.
With respect to whether or not you should get civilian business experience before starting your own business, I would recommend both. You can start a new business while working for a civilian sector company. That way you still have an income while you’re laying the groundwork to pursue your small business idea.
Can you recommend any resources for veterans?
I would suggest the IVMF website. That can be a great starting place.
If you are interested in entrepreneurship, we have a host of programs and resources to meet you wherever you might be in that process. I would also suggest reaching out to the Small Business Association. We also partner with Bunker Labs, an organization that assists veteran entrepreneurs.
We also have a program called Onward to Opportunity that is a transition preparation program that is offered throughout the country.
If you’re struggling with housing or healthcare, our America Serves networks are standing by to assist veterans.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with listeners?
I just want to reiterate that you’re not in this alone. If you’re feeling overwhelmed in your transition, please reach out to us so that we can assist you.
All of our programs are free to our participants - wanted to make sure that there is no financial burden to veterans using our programs.
So please reach out to us and if we don’t have the answers you’re looking for, we will find an organization that can help you.