It’s Not Just a Job


When I joined the military, the Navy’s recruiting slogan was “It’s not just a job; it’s an adventure.” I lived that adventure for 25 years and experienced more than I ever imagined. And now, the adventure continues.

A few months ago I received an e-mail from a former “shipmate,” Linda Maloney, asking if I was interested in becoming a member of a new speakers bureau comprised of female veterans. Linda and I had served together in Air Wing ELEVEN onboard the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72). We were among the first women deployed on combatant aircraft carriers. Being the first at anything presents challenges, and both challenges and deployments create special bonds.

Linda and Grace Tiscareno-Sato had the concept of getting together a group of women veterans who had positive messages and who wished to share those messages with others. The two pulled together a diverse group of women from across the United States, and after several meetings, eight women veterans formed the first National Women Veterans Speakers Bureau. The bureau officially launched on September 17th.

From the official news release, “With uniformed service spanning the years 1978 to 2009, this group of military women authors, entrepreneurs and leadership experts represent three generations of service. They offer important lessons gained globally, intriguing stories of combat and deployment, and fascinating insights not available elsewhere. In addition, these veterans all desire to bring authentic voices and relevant perspectives to the current national conversation about women in the military and to encourage girls and young women to pursue challenging areas of study and careers in technical fields.” (For the full story, please see

I feel honored to be included in this group of leaders, and would like to take a minute to introduce them.  They are:

  • Linda Maloney, Retired Navy aviator, author of Military Fly Moms, and founder of MMF Media Marketing, LLC
  • Sandra Tibbs, Air Force veteran intelligence officer and soon-to-be Dr. Tibbs, founder of Neverest Solutions, LLC
  • Karen Baetzel, Retired Navy aviator, featured in Stepping Stones to Success and founder of BattleAxe Consulting Services, LLC
  • Miyoko Hikiji, Army veteran, author of All I Could Be: My Story as a Woman Warrior in Iraq
  • Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Air Force veteran aviator, author of Good Night Captain Mama/ Buenas Noches Capitán Mamá, a bilingual children’s picture book and founder of Gracefully Global Group LLC
  • Shannon Polson, Army veteran aviator, author of North of Hope: A Daughter’s Arctic Journey
  • Kim Olson, Retired Air Force aviator, Iraq and Back: Inside the War to Win the Peace, Chief Executive Officer and President of Grace After Fire, a non-profit organization providing assistance to women veterans.

When people ask me if I miss the Navy, my answer is always the same – I miss the people. It feels great to be embarking on a new adventure, and I look forward to fair winds and following seas with this new crew. And once again, it’s not just a job.



  1. Robert M. Pacholik Says:

    Dear People:
    New member to MWSA, and noticed that there is a women’s speakers bureau. Well, being a retired, lightning-quick Pvt. E-1 Army, I thought I would ask if there is a men’s speaker’s bureau? Who do I contact? (e-mail, phone, etc.) And if they have needs for speakers on the West Coast, who can travel?.And if bureau looking for speakers on Vietnam-era topics? My e-book, NIGHT FLARES: Six Tales of the Vietnam War is a hybrid fiction/non-fiction collection of six fiction stories, together with “Prelude” a detailed look at a soldier’s Tour of Duty, and a 26 page, historically accurate “Aftermath” timeline of major political, social, and military battles between 1964-1975.
    I covered Vietnam for two years as an Army combat photo guy (1968-69).
    Advise any all details about speaker’s bureau and how do I compile Profile on MWSA website?
    Robert M. Pacholik

    • Dear Robert,
      Nice to “meet” you, and I hope you find MWSA as great of an organizations as I have found it to be. When we were setting up the National Women Veterans Speakers Bureau we collectively did some research regarding existing similar organizations. We did not find another women’s, or men’s veterans speakers bureau, but found military and veterans as part of other bureaus and bureaus set up as part of military units and military schools’ public affairs programs. The closest I could say that we found to a “men’s speakers bureau” would be the following organization: It doesn’t say it’s limited to men, but the members are all men.
      The NWVSB is very new, and here is the website: If you haven’t checked it, you may want to get an idea of how it is set up if you are thinking of doing something similar.
      Also, if you are interesting in doing something similar, you could post a note on the MWSA Dispatches forum and see if there are other interested members. My guess is that there would be interest, and there are many members from the Vietnam era who are very active members of MWSA. Thanks for stopping by, and if I can help, please let me know.

  2. How odd it is that these things happen…you shared (below) this with me and a few days later Karyn Molines (Jug Bay) sent me a note that she was working in Calvert County and she has been working with Sharon Strand on a Leadership program…Karyn said they had a long talk about me, but of course, she said it was all good…hmmm. It is really a small world. I enjoyed reading your comments about the women leaders and writers and how we all seem to rediscover each other over time. It is an encouraging thing for the world….love to all, doug & eddy & dog

    • Thank you, Doug. Great words and goes to show that I am not the only one who knows just how small the world can be. You left quite a legacy at Jug Bay, and it’s nice to be remembered fondly.

  3. Great blog and thanks for the introductions!!

    • Thank you, and you are most welcome, Joyce! It was a true pleasure and honor being one of the presenters at the Military Writers Society of America annual awards banquet.
      And for those of you out there who may need an editor, I highly recommend Joyce and TLC Editing Services . Many of those receiving awards Saturday night benefitted from Joyce’s great work.

  4. Congratulations, Valerie! I am SO proud of you! You continue to amaze me. Wishing you the very best in this new venture!

    • Thank you, Denise. I feel fortunate that I keep finding myself surrounded by great people. You are one of them! Best to you, and hope to see you soon.