Taking Chances

AIE_VeteranWritingServices (1)It’s been three years since a Navy friend asked me if I was interested in applying for the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) program.  At the time I thought:

“Entrepreneur? Doesn’t that mean someone who wants to get rich?”

Fortunately, I learned through the program that the true meaning of entrepreneurship was not about getting rich, but about taking chances. I embarked on my entrepreneurial path and officially launched my business, Veteran Writing Services, LLC in March 2014.VWISE_Proud_Graduate_Logo-JPEG

I consider January a good time to reflect, and I count my blessings as I look back to some of my business highlights in 2016. Veteran Writing Services:

  • Earned a spot as a subcontractor to Kforce Government Solutions (KGS) on the $22.3 billion Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology Next Generation (T4NG) contract.
  • Received Acquisition International Influential Businesswoman Awards for Most Outstanding Writing and Editing Consultancy in Prince George’s County and Most Outstanding Local Businesswoman, Prince George’s County.
  • Continued good partnerships and met new, exciting clients and business friends.
  • Shared lessons learned on the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) process with fellow Veteran business owners through Maryland’s Procurement Technical Assistance Program.
  • Enjoyed press coverage through the local Bowie-Blade News which led to additional business.
  • Celebrated recognition in its book division by inclusion in the Equus Film Festival’s Literary Collection, and attendance at the Calvert County Local Authors Festival and Freedom Hill Horse Rescue’s award-winning Pony Palooza event.
  • Won a Maryland Horse Industry Board grant to distribute “Believing In Horses, Too” to all county libraries in the state.
  • And so much more….VeteranWritingServices - Copy

Yes, I took chances. Rather than starting a second career in an established job with a predictable income, I took a chance. It started with a hobby book – “Believing In Horses” – and then led to more. To me, entrepreneurship has opened the door to new opportunities I would never have considered. It has provided a wonderful way to learn, grow, and help share lessons learned.

I look forward to the future and thank all those out there who have helped turn the chances I’ve taken into a successful new adventure. Here’s to 2017!

Tribute to Loftmar Stables

DSC00882Today marks the final day of Loftmar Stables’ operations at the end of a 33-year successful business impacting so many lives. My husband, Jaime, and I, and our three horses –  Chance, Billy, and Lucky – enjoyed 10 years as part of the Loftmar family. I wish Jan and Raul Martin the best in their well-deserved retirement. In a small way of thanks I wanted to recount some of the positive influences Loftmar Stables had on us. [Read more…]

Maryland is for Horses

Maryland_Horse

The Maryland state slogan should be “Maryland is for Horses;” it makes much more sense than “Virginia is for Lovers.” It’s not just the history, the legacy, and the facilities, but our fellow citizens’ support. Although I’ve been involved with horses since my first riding lessons at Kettering Stables in the 1960’s and grew up watching horses run at Bowie Race Track, I did not understand the far reaching impact horses had on communities, businesses, individuals, and industries until recently. I’m not an economist, but I can use my own personal example to illustrate how one person’s horse habit can affect the local economy. [Read more…]

“Believing In Horses, Too” Awarded Grant

MHIBThank you to the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) for selecting “Believing In Horses, Too,” for a 2016 grant award! The funds will be used to purchase and donate a copy of “Believing In Horses, Too,” for every Maryland county public library system and Baltimore city. “Believing In Horses, Too,” tells the story of a young girl who worries about her Navy father serving in Afghanistan. She turns to her love of horses to distract her from her problems. Her adventures with horse rescue, show competition, and equine-assisted therapies present her challenges, and she learns about overcoming adversity through friendships and personal growth. [Read more…]

Realizing a Life Well-Lived

Valerie Ormond ready to fly off the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72) ,in the ES-3A Shadow , Indian Ocean, 1995

Valerie Ormond ready to fly off the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72) ,in the ES-3A Shadow , Indian Ocean, 1995

I looked out the window and knew if I died that day, I still lived a full life.

It surprised me how calm that thought made me – almost peaceful. After grasping the severity of the situation, my body and brain filled with warm thoughts, and I understood how blessed my short life had been compared with the longer lives of others. I had no regrets.

When assigned as an intelligence officer to a naval aviation squadron, I had the opportunity to earn my passenger flight qualifications. That meant if I needed to, I could fly in the back seat of our squadron’s jets. I attended naval aviation physiology training and didn’t drown, so months later I found myself launched off the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean experiencing a triple flight emergency. With my limited aviation knowledge, I knew from the visible and audible signs that things weren’t looking up. [Read more…]

Small Business Resources – You Are Not Alone

Veteran Writing Services, LLC logo In March of 2014, I founded and became Chief Executive Officer of my own business, Veteran Writing Services, LLC. I was fortunate to attend a program for women veterans within Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management. The Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) program gave me the tools, training, and guidance to transform what I had been doing part-time into a full-time successful woman, veteran-owned small business.

Recently, several people have asked me advice about starting and managing a small business. So, I decided to share some resources I’ve used over the past year. I know there are many more out there, but I’ll stick to those with which I have personal experience. The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my first year in business is this: you are not alone, if you know where to look. [Read more…]