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 http://bit.ly/womenvetsspeak).
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.