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The Top 3 Differences Between Veteran & Civilian Work Styles

The Top 3 Differences Between Veteran & Civilian Work Styles

Transitioning into a civilian career means you’ll most likely have to learn a new set of rules in the way of work style. In the military, the process of getting things done was pretty cut and dry, with little room for creativity. The civilian sector, however, comes with as many “ways of working” as there are people. Still, there are some clear differences between Veteran and civilian work styles that are found in every workplace. Being aware of these differences is key to a Vet’s success in a civilian world.

Here are our top three differences between Veteran and civilian work styles:

Preferred Lines of Communication
It’s no secret, millennials prefer email and text over phone calls and face-to-face communication. Since this group is now the most represented generation in the civilian workforce, these communication preferences have seeped their way into workplaces all across the country. With a focus on emails, more than 205 billion of them are sent every single day, and the average office worker receives 121 emails on a daily basis. Though you may have sent your fair share of email reports in your military days, your email experience most likely lacks compared to that of a civilian worker. Out of the need for immediate feedback, the military holds tight to the traditional face-to-face (or phone call) communication style. In the civilian sector, the lack of urgency compared to the military’s needs are why email-heavy correspondence works.

Teamwork vs. Solo Projects
Working as a team is the founding principle of any great military culture. Working alone in training or on the battlefield could result in devastating consequences, which is why the military work style is one of collaboration and teamwork. Out in the civilian sector, however, solo projects are plentiful, and sometimes even more efficient. Though there will still be opportunities to work in a team setting, proving you’re capable to go at it alone will show versatility in work styles — something all employers desire in employees.

Learning Agility
Being a jack-of-all-trades and master of none is a well-known and widely-accepted part of being an active duty Veteran. It’s rare that someone in the military would have the opportunity to hold one position for more than a few years. Civilians, on the other hand, can make an entire 20-, 30-, or 40-year career in the same job. With that much time devoted to a single skillset, civilians come with more centralized expertise. But with your constant training in various skills, your learning agility is going to be higher than most of your civilian peers. This means you’ll be able to catch on fast and become a productive member of the company in less time than it might take others.

As a Veteran, your differences in work style doesn’t have to be a disadvantage when entering the civilian workforce. You simply need to find a balance that works for you and your employer. Luckily, SAVI can help you adjust and grow upon your skills with our free services for transitioning Veterans. Contact us today to learn more.

5 Ways to Support Disabled Veterans in The Workplace

5 Ways to Support Disabled Veterans in The Workplace

From missing limbs and traumatic brain injuries to hearing loss and post-traumatic stress disorder, Veterans can enter the civilian world with a host of disabilities. Despite these challenges, most disabled Veterans are more than capable of working post-military. As we’ve discussed previously, Veterans easily adapt to a variety of workplaces despite any limitations. If you’re a business looking to hire — and retain — former soldiers, making accommodations to support disabled Veterans is key to all-around success.

Here are five of SAVI’s best tips to support disabled Veterans in the workplace.

1. Train Your Managers

Successful support of disabled Veterans in your workspace starts at the top. It’s important that you know how to manage the various readjustments that any Veteran, disabled or not, may have in his new civilian work environment. The VA has plenty of resources and information devoted specifically to this topic. Find the training that works for your business and equip your managers with the knowledge they need to better serve your Veteran employees.

2. Encourage Flexibility

Veteran workplace preferences will differ depending on the disability. If suffering a brain injury, a Vet may require quiet workplaces with minimal distractions. For them, a good set of sound-proof headphones could go a long way to encourage productivity. Those with PTSD, however, may view silence as a distraction. Playing low background music or sitting them near a window may be beneficial for these individuals. Regardless of preferences, it’s important to encourage your Veteran employees to find what works best for them and then be flexible.

3. Provide Resources

Many Veteran-accommodating businesses have found that mentoring programs thrive in the workplace. By creating these mentorship programs between employees, you’re able to support your team and facilitate a much smoother transition for Veterans new to the civilian sector. Mentors are typically seasoned employees who are able to answer questions, provide insight and serve as a friendly face around the office.

In addition to this mentor program, provide additional resources to disabled Veterans with more severe needs, whether they be medical or emotional. Connect them with local community groups and ensure they are informed about the counseling options in your area that specifically support disabled Veterans.

4. Create a Culture of Inclusiveness

One of the most important ways to support disabled Veterans in the workplace is by creating a culture of inclusiveness. First and foremost, make sure your business can easily accommodate those Veterans with physical disabilities. This includes handicap accessible entrances, exits, and bathrooms as well as keeping hallways devoid of clutter and office furniture spaced appropriately. Ask your employees, Veteran or otherwise, what they need to feel supported in their job. By making such accommodations, your employees will feel thought of and included.

5. Acknowledge Military Service

If you’re already making adjustments for your Veteran employees, you clearly care about their success at your company. Why not take it a step further and acknowledge their prior service through special honors or rewards? This could mean giving all Veterans the day off for holidays like Veterans Day, recognizing them in your company newsletter or providing free lunch to all Veteran employees on specified days.

Veterans have sacrificed greatly for our country. Many have put their mental and physical health at risk and spent significant amounts of time away from their families. Creating workplace accommodations for our disabled Veterans is one small way to truly thank them for their service. When including Veterans in your workplace, keep in mind that all needs differ and that some disabilities are more severe than others. If you’re flexible, resourceful, and inclusive, you will reap the many benefits that come with hiring Veterans.

Are you an employer of Veterans?

Check out our employer programs and certificates. Visit www.savivets.org/organization to learn how we can help you serve and support Veterans in your workplace. We can even connect you with transitioning Veterans looking for employment!

Are you a Veteran?

SAVI loves to connect with and support Veterans transitioning into the civilian workplace. Reach out today or visit www.savivets.org/veteran to learn more about the free help our SAVI experts can provide to transitioning Veterans.

5 Ways Veterans Can Maximize Effective Communication in the Workplace

5 Ways Veterans Can Maximize Effective Communication in the Workplace

Communication at work is less about talking and more about connecting. The first order of business when entering the civilian sector is to learn how your specific organization prefers to connect. Are they email-happy, phone call-driven, or do they prefer to meet in person on a regular basis? Most likely you’ll encounter a solid mix of these communication options, but learning your company’s preferred style is a crucial first step in effectively communicating with civilian employees. Once you know the style, you can then leverage your military training to enhance it. Here are five ways to maximize effective communication in the workplace.

Be Concise
The first rule of any type of communication in business is to be concise. Many workers are so inundated with emails and meeting invites that they’re not reading them or constantly canceling. If you want to encourage a response, get to the point as fast as possible. As a Veteran, brevity in communication is your strong suit. Use bullet points in emails to let them know exactly what you need in a format that’s easy to skim. For meetings, create a meeting agenda that keeps you on schedule. If you build a reputation of sticking to your meeting timelines, your co-workers know they can expect to end when you say they will. This makes it easier for them to plan around their busy schedules.

Follow Up
So you sent that super concise email and kept to your strict meeting agenda. Still, you’re not getting any movement from your colleagues. When people are sent too much communication they have to prioritize. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes tasks go unanswered and undone. When this happens, understand that your co-workers aren’t being rude on purpose when they ignore your initial request. They’re simply busy. By sending a reminder you’re more likely to get the response you need. Instead of typing the familiar “Just Following Up” subject line, use this opportunity to state clearly what you need and when you need it. In the body of the email, continue your short sentence structure and include again the deadline of your request. You now have on record that you’ve communicated your needs more than once.

Influence Without Authority
Unlike the military where the line of leadership is relatively clear, the civilian sector can sometimes be ambiguous. Employees often wear many hats and have more than one boss. Sometimes this causes confusion as to who an employee’s loyalties are to. Here’s where you can practice influence without authority to help co-workers help you. The point of this is to build rapport through effective communication techniques that motivate (without forcing) colleagues to want to meet your deadline. A few ways to do this include:

  • Set upfront deadlines and expectations that work for their schedule
  • Learn something about your co-worker that doesn’t relate to work and then talking to them about it
  • Thank co-workers in public for their work

Be Predictable
One way the military was so efficient in communicating was by holding regular formations. By physically standing in formation, you were able to get the information you needed without distraction. Another reason it worked was because it was a predictable part of the job. In fact, when it came to what was expected of you, a lot about being a soldier was predictable. Use this same mentality with your communication at work. A good mantra to adopt: Always be on time, always end on time, and never cancel meetings. As mentioned above, build a reputation of sticking to your timelines. When you say a meeting will end at noon, end it at noon whether you met your objective or not. This will not only show your co-workers that you value their time, but it will also help you plan more efficiently for your next meeting — making you a more effective communicator.

Learn Technology
In business, some aspects of military communication are a benefit — and some aren’t. While in the service, you probably had your ‘little black book’ of appointments and important dates to remember. Your new workplace will require a much more streamlined approach to scheduling. Enter: The G Suite. This suite of Google tools is going to become your technology of choice in the business world, and learning to use it is essential in maximizing effective communication in the workplace. Tools like Google Calendar are especially helpful in keeping track of calendar items. A good rule of thumb in the civilian sector is if it isn’t on the calendar, don’t expect it to happen. Also, check out what Google is doing to match Veterans with suitable civilian careers.

SAVI believes that successful integration into the civilian workplace is a reality attainable for every Veteran. Contact us today to learn how we can support your transition by helping you capitalize on the skills you already have.

3 Ways to Reconnect with Yourself When Transitioning Out of Active Duty

3 Ways to Reconnect with Yourself When Transitioning Out of Active Duty

As you begin your exit out of the military, it’s easy to get carried away in the To-Dos of a transition. Any lifestyle or career change comes with work, but it also comes with the chance for a fresh start and reflection on one’s self. Here are three ways we encourage you to reconnect with yourself when transitioning out of active duty.

Meditation
Mindfulness activities have been shown to make a positive impact on reintegration into civilian life. Most notably, meditation is being used as a tool to help prevent and decrease symptoms of PTSD in soldiers. According to numerous studies on the technique of transcendental meditation, regular meditative practice has far-reaching and long-lasting benefits; including restorative relief from anxiety, depression, ADHD, PTSD, and addiction. This article, co-authored by SAVI’s Adrianne Phillips, dives deeper into the scientific and anecdotal evidence that’s making transcendental meditation the treatment of choice for a growing number of suffering Veterans.

Take a Celebratory Vacation
Vacations have long been touted as a way to prevent worker burnout and increase overall quality of life. Research shows that taking a vacation in between major career changes is an ideal time to get away. This is why taking time off before you delve into the civilian life is an important part of reintegration. And if you need further convincing, here are a few reasons from wellness coach Elizabeth Scott:

  • A good vacation can lead to fewer stressful days for at least five weeks after your return.
  • Vacations help us to reconnect with ourselves, promoting self-discovery and creativity.
  • If you have a family, taking a trip with them (and without distractions) helps to strengthen bonds with loved ones.
  • Vacations can lead to increased quality of work when back on the job.

Serve Others
As a soldier, your job was to serve others by improving or protecting their lives. That’s why continuing your service to others is key to staving off those purposeless notions many soldiers feel post-military. In fact, a 2015 study by the Association for Psychological Science found that helping others can actually reduce the impact stress has on our emotional functioning. Since getting out of active duty has proven to be an emotional hardship for many Veterans, finding ways to combat negative feelings should be your focus when transitioning. Start by researching nonprofits in your area that align with a cause you’re passionate about. Or, reach out to friends and family and ask them how you can help make their lives easier. Being out of the military likely means you can see your loved ones more often. Take advantage of lost time by being there for them in ways you couldn’t in the past.

Going from active duty to Veteran status is a huge change. Your life was dedicated to your country and now it’s yours again. Set yourself up for success by taking your time and reflecting on what’s important to you. Contact SAVI to learn what we can do to support your transition.

15 Veterans We Admire & What They’re Doing Post-Separation

15 Veterans We Admire & What They’re Doing Post-Separation

Despite the uncertainty that comes with any major career move, thousands of Veterans make the shift from soldier to civilian every single year. Why? One reason is the civilian sector is brimming with entrepreneurial opportunities that are enticing to Veterans. In fact, Vets are 45 percent more likely to start their own business than their civilian peers, leading to a massive network of Vetpreneurs.

If you’re a Veteran looking for encouragement, here are 15 Veterans we admire and what they’re doing post-separation.

1. Evan Hafer, Black Rifle Coffee Company
An Army Green Beret turned coffee guru, Evan Hafer opened Black Rifle Coffee Company in December 2014 as a combination of his two passions: firearms and coffee. Between deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Hafer submerged himself in coffee research and roasting practice with the dream of one day opening his own coffee business. When he finally made the switch to civilian in 2015, all his efforts went to making his dream a reality. Five years later and Hafer’s once modest coffee shop now grosses $30 million a year. BRCC not only gives thousands of dollars annually to Veteran nonprofits, like Raider Project and Thin Blue Line, but also employs Vets at all levels of his business. Check out this video on how BRCC changed the life of fellow Veteran Mohammad Wali Tasleem.

2 & 3. Jake Wood and William McNulty, Team Rubicon
In response to the 2010 earthquake that shook Port-au-Prince, Haiti, former Marines Jake Wood and William McNulty formed a small group of volunteers to go and aid relief efforts. Empowered by their successful mission to help many in the underserved areas of Haiti, the Veteran vigilantes founded Team Rubicon, a disaster relief organization that has been growing ever since. Today, Team Rubicon utilizes the skills of Veterans and medical experts to aid disasters domestically and abroad, a mission that is proving to build stronger communities while also supporting transitioning Veterans. That’s a mission we can get behind!

4. Emily Núñez Cavness, Sword and Plough
With her sister, Besty Núñez, Emily Núñez Cavness opened Sword and Plough in 2014 with the ambition of bridging the civilian to military divide. A military brat and former Army captain herself, Emily knows the struggle many military Veterans face post-separation. She and her sister are helping to improve job opportunities for Veterans by incorporating them into every stage of Sword and Plough’s business: from the design and sewing to the sales and modeling of their upcycled line of repurposed bags and accessories. Their products — which are made from military surplus fabric, leather and hardware — have been featured in publications such as Redbook, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Women’s Health.

5. Adam Bird, Heroes Media Group
Founder of Heroes Media Group (HMG), 10-year Army National Guard Veteran Adam Bird is passionate about giving a voice to Vets and those who support them. Opening in 2015, this digital media media branding platform provides education, entertainment, and empowerment to everyday heroes; including active duty soldiers, Veterans, firefighters, first responders, law enforcement, educators, medical professionals, and clergy. By getting the word out about what these community heroes are doing, he’s hoping to bridge the gap between our country’s heroes and the citizens and communities they protect.

6. Mark L. Rockefeller, StreetShares
StreetShares co-founders Mark Rockefeller, an Air Force Veteran, and Mickey Konson have revolutionized how small business owners do business. In 2013, they launched StreetShares, a business funding option that offers a suite of specialty finance products to the small business and veteran markets. These products include business loans, lines of credit, and account receivables financing for the government contract community. Currently, StreetShares employs 10 Veterans, has more than 67,000 members, and has helped countless Vets get the funding they need for their business to succeed.

7. Derek Sisson, Merica Bourbon
Here’s a quick history lesson: In 1964, Congress recognized bourbon as “a distinctive product of the U.S.A.” That means that bourbon can only be made in the United States. With that in mind, it’s hard to think of anything more American than the Veteran-owned Merica Bourbon. Founded by Marine Veteran Derek Sisson, Merica Bourbon was born from a desire to create a patriotic brand that promoted American ideals and Veteran camaraderie. Teaming up with Grunt Style, another Veteran-owned brand, Sisson has gone on to turn Merica Bourbon into a booming business — even winning the silver medal in the 2017 Whiskies of the World Award.

8. Eli Crane, Bottle Breacher
Eli Crane, a former Navy SEAL, and his wife, Jen, founded one of the fastest-growing Veteran-owned businesses in all of Arizona. Part of their success came after a 2014 appearance on Shark Tank, when they secured investments from business masters Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary. What was so enticing about their Bottle Breacher company? The couple made bottle openers from decommissioned .50 caliber brass. Their unique, upcycled product has garnered a lot of attention since their TV airing, and today Bottle Breacher includes an ever-expanding product line of everyday products made from repurposed military gear. With such success, the Cranes like to give back. To date, they have donated to nearly 300 Veteran causes, including The Navy Seal Foundation and the Chris Kyle Memorial Benefit.

9. Daniel Alarik, Grunt Style
Pride in self, in military, and in country. This is what Founder and CEO Daniel Alarik is striving to instill in his Grunt Style patrons, and it’s working. A former Army Drill Sergeant, Alarik opened for business in 2009 and has turned his initial $1,200 investment into a $100 million business. The company, dubbed the lifestyle brand of the warrior class, employs only those with as much fervor for the country as Alarik, including many fellow Veterans. On the side, Grunt Style holds massive fundraising events and gives to charities like The Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation, Fisher House Foundation, and Toys for Tots, among others.

10. Robert Dyer, RuckPack Combat Nutrition
Another Shark Tank winner, RuckPack Combat Nutrition got its big break in 2012 when founder Robert Dyer made it on the big screen. Like previously mentioned Bottle Breacher, Dyer scored two investments and has since become one of the most aired companies in Shark Tank history, according to the RuckPack website. The idea for RuckPack, a combat nutrition company that makes supplements designed for soldiers, came around a campfire in the battlefields of Afghanistan by Dyer and his Marine Special Operations Forces buddies. With their blessing, Dyer went on to turn the idea into a real-life business, which has now become a household name in the energy drink industry.

11. Jason McCarthy, GORUCK
Founded by former Green Beret Jason McCarthy, GORUCK is an American brand exuding excellence, toughness and adaptability. Their goal is to make the toughest, most durable fitness apparel and footwear around. In addition, GORUCK puts on 1,000-plus fitness events each year that encourage team building and living active lifestyles. The very last line of McCarthy’s bio says a lot about what this company is trying to emulate: “If there’s a nobler way to live a life than in service to others, I’ve not yet seen it.”

12. Michael Ogden, Pinnacle Leadership
A retired Army pilot from small-town Indiana, Michael Ogden founded a unique military-style training experience that has caught the attention of athletics teams, big corporations, and more. Pinnacle Leadership, started in 2013, takes sports teams or other large groups and turns them into cohesive teams prepared to succeed in complex environments and ambiguous situations. To date, Ogden offers half-day, full-day, and overnight retreats for various organizations including Indiana University Athletics, Indiana University Kelley School of Business, US Women’s National Wrestling Team, and Arizona State University Athletics.

13. Tim Kennedy, Sheepdog Response
A household name in the fighter and Special Forces world, Tim Kennedy is leading the pack in accolades. A Green Beret, sniper and former Top 5 UFC Middleweight, Kennedy also co-starred in the History Channel’s “Hunting Hitler” and the Discovery Channel’s “Hard to Kill.” Add to that list founder of Sheepdog Response, a self-defense company offering full-scale, high-level defense training courses. If the world is full of violence, Kennedy wants his clients to be prepared to handle themselves. The more Sheepdogs we can train to be truly ready to respond to violence, he says, the more good guys will survive.

14 & 15. Roy B. Sartin and Eli Williamson, Leave No Veteran Behind
Leave No Veteran Behind (LNVB) is a nonprofit focused on helping Veterans successfully transition to the civilian world by providing Veteran employment training, transitional jobs, and a Veteran educational debt relief scholarship. Seeing what a solid education and secure job could do to combat the many challenges Veterans face during transition, Army vets Roy B. Sartin and Eli Williamson founded LNVB in 2008. They have gone on to help countless Veterans successfully transition by helping pay thousands of dollars in student loan debt. What’s more impressive is the mark this organization is making on a community level. As most of their executive team is from Chicago, LNVB teamed up with Chicago Public Schools to provide safe passage to and from school for the city’s most vulnerable youth. Read more about this incredible partnership here.

Seeing Veterans succeed post-military is what keeps us doing what we do at SAVI. If you would like to know more about how we can help your transition into the civilian sector, reach out today.

Our Favorite Holidays for Veterans & How To Celebrate Them At Work

Our Favorite Holidays for Veterans & How To Celebrate Them At Work

Celebrating holidays at work boosts morale, encourages employee interaction, and shows your workers you care about their needs and desires. For your Veteran employees, it’s just as important to acknowledge not only the traditional holidays, but the ones important to them. Here we offer our favorite holidays honoring Veterans and how to celebrate them at work.

Memorial Day — May 27, 2019
Though some may mistake this holiday for another Veterans Day lookalike, Memorial Day is specifically to honor the fallen soldiers — not the living. Formally called Decoration Day, this holiday was borne out of the Civil War as a desire to honor our dead. his special celebration has continued to be a day in which our country holds dear. We hope you’ll take it as seriously as your Veteran employees likely will, as many of them will be paying tribute to their own fallen brothers and sisters. Here are a couple ways you can celebrate along with them in the week leading up to Memorial Day.

  • As an office, volunteer at your local Veterans cemetery; and place flags and flowers on gravestones of the fallen.
  • Make a corporate donation to provide financial support to Gold Star families. To get employees involved, set a deadline for donations and match the final donated amount with company funds.
  • Talk to your Veteran employees, and learn who they will be remembering this Memorial Day. With their help, recognize those individuals in a special newsletter that is distributed company wide. In addition, post a tribute to them on your company social media accounts, highlighting their service and relationship to your Veteran employee.

Flag Day — June 14, 2019
Flag Day has roots as far back as 1885, though it wasn’t officially recognized as a holiday until 1949 when President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th National Flag Day. The day, commemorates the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States. Common ways to celebrate include flying the American flag outside homes and holding celebratory ceremonies at schools. Here’s how you can follow suit at your office this year.

  • If you don’t already, consider flying the American Flag outside your business. Be sure to follow proper flag etiquette.
  • Hold a Flag Day Art Contest that encourages employees to create patriotic art across various mediums, including painted canvas, sketch, and photography. The winner, voted by your staff, receives an American Flag and Amazon gift card as their prize.
  • Specify a time in the work day to have all employees stop work and say the Pledge of Allegiance.

Independence Day — July 4, 2019
The Fourth of July is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in our country, and certainly the most patriotic. Commemorating the day the final draft of the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress in 1776, this important holiday is the backbone of our American nation. Though Veterans have no more claim to this holiday than any civilian, it is a day Veterans will expect to celebrate at work. Here are a few ideas to fuel the fun.

  • In the week leading up to the July 4th holiday, hold a Patriotic Costume Contest prompting employees to come to work in their best patriotic garb. The award should be something equally patriotic, such as tickets to a baseball game or a gift card to a local restaurant.
  • Pick a day before the holiday weekend to provide burgers and hot dogs at lunch for all employees. Go potluck style and ask staff members to bring in their favorite Fourth of July side or dessert.

Veterans Day — Nov. 11, 2019
Originating as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, celebrates the first anniversary of the end of World War I. In 1938, it became an official national holiday that pays tribute to all Veterans (alive or dead) who served their country in war or peacetime. More than any other day on this list, Veterans Day is when to your Veteran employees. Here’s how to give thanks to your Vets this November.

  • Plant mini flags all over the office, inside and out.
  • Highlight Veteran employees by putting their photos and military background around high-traffic areas in your building.
  • For each Veteran, surprise them with a “Salute Package” filled with goodies you know they’d enjoy. See our post on “5 Ways Your
  • Company Can Honor Veterans in The Workplace,” for more package ideas.

SAVI is always working on new ways to better support our business partners. Connect with us today to learn how we can help you ease Veterans into your civilian workplace.

Tips for Celebrating Your Military Experiences in Your Personal & Professional Life

Tips for Celebrating Your Military Experiences in Your Personal & Professional Life

Whether it’s a graduation, anniversary or retirement, there are plenty of milestones in life that are cause for celebration. These opportunities to pat ourselves on the back help to remind us why hard work is worth it. As the old cliche goes, “Hard work pays off,” and no one understands this better than the military Veteran. The ultimate payoff being: a safer, better and stronger country for all.

With such an accomplishment under your belt, why wouldn’t you want to celebrate? Your military career shouldn’t be swept under the rug once it’s over, as it is what got you to where you are today. So go ahead, celebrate you. We give you not only permission, but tips for celebrating your military experience in your personal and professional life.

Share Your Skills
What did your time in the military teach you? How to navigate, hike across treacherous terrain, run long distances, lead a team? There are so many skills you could share with your new civilian coworkers, many of whom are curious to learn what it’s like to be a soldier. In fact, there are military-style “boot camps” popping up all over the country that fuel that curiosity. Hold a free course for your colleagues on navigation and map reading or start an early-morning running group that meets every week before work. By using, and sharing the skills of your past, you’re also commemorating your valuable experiences.

Revisit Old Duty Stations
Maybe it’s where your first child was born. Maybe it’s where you met your spouse. Or maybe it’s where you spent months in miserable training conditions that taught you valuable life lessons. Whatever the personal meaning, take a trip down memory lane with a visit to an old duty station. Even if your memories aren’t all fond, revisiting a place of once great importance can do a lot to restore your soul — and your memory.

Take Advantage of Discounts
Veterans Day includes deals for Vets everywhere you turn. Take advantage of these discounts and treat yourself and your family. Websites like Thrillest.com are great at rounding up where to get free or discounted items on Veterans Day each year. In addition, don’t be shy about asking for Veteran discounts on non-holiday outings. Movie theaters, restaurants, hotels and many retail stores offer everyday military discounts for both active and non-active duty Veterans. Also, if you’re a Veteran and haven’t heard of GovX, look it up! GovX gives military and government employees free access to heavily discounted items, from sports tickets, to theme park memberships to concerts.

Celebrate Others
In the same way you want to celebrate your military experience, it’s just as important to celebrate others’ experiences too. In fact, by recognizing fellow Veteran colleagues, neighbors, or friends, you can actually improve your health. According to SUCCESS, celebrating others’ success can increase our feelings of positivity and joy. This leads to greater optimism, which a Harvard study says can protect against health issues like cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, respiratory disease and infection. How exactly can you celebrate other Veterans? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Arrange a lunch outing for you and your fellow Veteran coworkers
  • Ask your company to highlight Veteran workers in the company newsletter
  • Write hand-written letters of gratitude to Veteran friends you haven’t seen in awhile
  • Volunteer at Veteran-specific nonprofits

There are many other ways to celebrate your military experience. Contact SAVI today to learn more.

5 Ways Your Company Can Honor Veterans in The Workplace

5 Ways Your Company Can Honor Veterans in The Workplace

Adorned in insignia, ribbons, rank, and medals, the military soldier can be likened to a walking resume. Every major milestone — promotions, awards and number of combat tours — is neatly displayed across the soldier’s uniform as a marker of achievement for all to see. The military holds formal recognition as a sacred rite of passage. Such a culture of honor is unrivaled upon leaving the service. Though not a single Veteran would expect such fanfare in the civilian sector, there are still plenty of ways your company can honor Veterans in the workplace. Here are five ways to honor them in your workplace:

  • Give a “Salute Package” — A package of goodies that says “Thank you” to your former service-members will go a long way in making them feel appreciated. Package contents can be anything you want, but here are some suggestions to get you brainstorming:
    • One healthy food item plus one sweet treat
    • A gift certificate to the local movie theatre
    • Company swag such as a branded T-Shirt, hat, or a high-quality mug
    • A handwritten note from their manager or the CEO

  • Organize a Morning Coffee Hour — Organize a morning get-together to honor Veterans in the workplace with a good cup of joe, donuts, and a chance to interact with coworkers and fellow veterans in a relaxed setting. Be sure to put up signs that make it clear for what, and whom, you’re celebrating.

  • Wave the Flag — For Veteran-specific holidays, put small flags all around the exterior sidewalks of your office building, along with flags throughout the inside. If your company has a Veteran’s club or a group of Vets, get them involved with this. It’s a great way to give them a break from the daily grind while getting them excited for upcoming Veteran celebrations.

  • Letters of Appreciation — Encourage your staff to write letters of appreciation to their Veteran coworkers. A note coming from a manager and CEO is great, but coming from a coworker can be even more meaningful. This unexpected act of kindness can go a long way in making the Veteran feel appreciated for both his past service and his current position.  

Publication Highlight — Does your company have a newsletter? This could be a way to share the military background of your Veteran employees with the rest of your company. If there’s no newsletter, ask your CEO to send a company-wide email spotlighting the Vets and addressing each by name.

Everything you need to know about Dental, Vision and Dependents healthcare through the VA

Everything you need to know about Dental, Vision and Dependents healthcare through the VA

There are a variety of VA healthcare opportunities available to Veterans and their families, many of which remain unknown and under-utilized. At SAVI, we want to ensure that you are taking advantage of the privileges and benefits that you qualify for as a Veteran or dependent. There are different ways to secure comprehensive or low-cost healthcare plans through the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and the first step is being informed on the options.

Here’s everything you need to know about dental, vision and dependent VA healthcare options available to you in 2019.

Dental
When thinking of your VA healthcare options, it’s easy to direct your focus to medical coverage. However, you may qualify for an all-encompassing dental plan through the VA. When determining whether you qualify, many factors are taken into consideration, including details of your prior military service, your current living situation and your current medical state. Input your information into this site to find out what plan you’re eligible for.

Don’t qualify for dental benefits? You still may be able to reduce costs of dental insurance through the VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP), which you can read more about here. Keep in mind that in order to enroll in VADIP, you must be a Veteran already enrolled in the VA healthcare system or a dependent enrolled in the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the VA (CHAMPVA).

Vision
Vision coverage is also an area often overlooked by service-members once they transition to civilian. But if you’re already qualified for VA healthcare benefits, you certainly qualify for at least some vision care through the VA as well. According to the VA website, the VA will cover your routine annual eye exams and preventative testing if you already have VA healthcare benefits. To qualify for additional vision coverage, however, you’ll have to fall under a specific set of criteria. For example: in order to get your eyeglasses paid for, you must meet one or more of the below requirements:

  • Have a service-connected disability for which you’re receiving disability payments
  • Are a former Prisoner of War (POW)
  • Were awarded a Purple Heart
  • Receive benefits under Title 38 United States Code (U.S.C.) 1151
  • Receive an increased pension due to being permanently housebound
  • Have vision problems caused by an illness — or the treatment of an illness — for which you’re receiving VA care. Examples include stroke, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, vascular disease, geriatric chronic illnesses, etc.
  • Vision problems caused by an injury — or the treatment of an injury — for which you’re receiving VA care. Examples include reactions to prescribed medicines, cataract surgery, traumatic brain injury or polytrauma
  • Functional or cognitive impairment severe enough to make everyday tasks hard
  • Vision and/or hearing loss severe enough you need assistance in caring for yourself
  • For blind Veterans, the VA also offers various advanced care options, including inpatient rehabilitation centers and vision-enhancing devices.

Learn more about vision coverage and apply online here.

Dependents
VA healthcare privileges are not just for Veterans, but for their dependents as well. If you’re a Veteran spouse, child or primary caregiver, you may qualify for the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA). This program, a comprehensive healthcare program in which the VA shares the cost of covered health care services with eligible beneficiaries, is the only way non-Tricare qualifying dependents can receive VA healthcare. Still, not every dependent will qualify. One or more of the following descriptions must be true for you to receive CHAMPVA:

  • The spouse or child of a Veteran who’s been rated permanently and totally disabled for a service-connected disability by a VA regional benefit office
  • The surviving spouse or child of a Veteran who died from a VA-rated service-connected disability
  • The surviving spouse or child of a Veteran who was at the time of death rated permanently and totally disabled from a service-connected disability
  • The surviving spouse or child of a service-member who died in the line of duty

Learn more about applying for CHAMPVA here.

Additionally, the VA offers The Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, which provides enhanced support to caregivers of Veterans who were injured in the line of duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001. Through this program, caregivers can receive counseling, respite care, education, monetary support and more. Find out if you’re eligible.

Still Have Questions About VA Healthcare?
Researching and applying for healthcare as a Veteran can be a daunting task. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, please reach out to SAVI for free support and to learn more about our free Veteran services!

Is Healthy Living The Key to Veteran Success Post-Transition?

Is Healthy Living The Key to Veteran Success Post-Transition?

Transitioning out of the military can be an exciting and challenging time. Choosing where to live, what your next career might be and what the next chapter of your life will look like can be overwhelming.

As you transition out of the military, staying mentally and emotionally healthy is important. Healthy Veterans make choices and pursue healthy living habits that can reduce stress and anxiety during times of uncertainty.

If you haven’t taken steps to pursue healthy living, now is the perfect time to look for ways to improve your health. Here are a few of our best suggestions from healthy habits that will help prepare and protect you for transitioning to civilian life.

Practice Self-Care

Coming out of the military, many Veterans struggle with the lack of routine and structure in the civilian world. You may not have built-in time for exercise or downtime. This lack of structure may even leave you feeling unproductive and anxious.

One healthy habit that you as a Veteran must build is prioritizing your self-care routine. Building a self-care routine can be as simple as focusing on the activities that are restorative for you. Some suggestions of healthy living self-care practices include daily exercise, getting out in nature and socializing with friends and family.

In addition to some of these basic self-care routines, you should also look into pursuing new and healthy hobbies. If you didn’t have time to develop hobbies while in the service, now is the perfect time to discover some. Daily walks, hiking, biking, gardening, reading, and woodworking are just a few examples of activities that can be enjoyable. If you’re not sure where to start with a hobby, try taking a class in something that interests you. Many organizations from art studios to gyms offer free trial classes.

Establish Routines

The military lifestyle offers regular routines for service-members and their families. Therefore, once you have successfully transitioned out of the military, establishing new routines and practices is critical. One key practice is getting organized by adding structure to your day. Structure can be added through things like using a planner, setting goals, making to-do lists and setting short and long-term goals.

Daily meditation or prayer can also help reduce stress and anxiety during times of change. Journaling or writing about your experiences in the military can help you make sense of your past. It can also help you better cope with what you’re experiencing during the transition.

Make Connections

Your first year post-transition is a critical time to reconnect with immediate and extended family. Although it may seem awkward at first, it’s important to find things in common with your family if some connections have been lost.

For starters, try sitting down to dinner together. Plan some activities you can do together in advance. Take advantage of a more predictable schedule by scheduling times to reconnect. These routines can benefit both transitioning military members and their families.

If you find it difficult to reconnect, consider reaching out to a counselor or mental health professional who can help you establish healthy habits and ways of coping with stress. Research shows that people who stay connected or re-establish connections with loved ones tend to live longer, healthier lives.

Separating from the military is an important time in the lives of all Veterans. Seize the change as an opportunity to build a life that you love and are proud of. Visit our website for free resources for Veterans and more tips on living a healthy life post-transition.

EDUCATION TRACK

Academic advising, walkthroughs of your VA education benefits … and everything in between.

All transitioning Veterans in SAVI’s programs gain access to our carefully developed tools for post-military students, including the SAVI Student Transition Incubator℠, Student Track Transition Program℠, and Student Benefit Assessment Service℠, as well as our personalized career path determination assistance.

These SAVI instructors and mentors, along with the entire SAVI team, understand that each of our services is vital to a whole life approach to the military-to-civilian transition. We take your unique goals, circumstances, and vision into account as we craft personalized assistance throughout your twelve-month journey with SAVI.  

EMPLOYMENT TRACK

Civilian workplace etiquette, the hiring process, job searches, performance evaluations...and everything in between.

SAVI’s Employment Track delivers start-to-finish support to help Veterans navigate a new career. From skills assessments to professional networking strategies, SAVI offers custom-built tools — including the SAVI Employment Transition Incubator℠, Job Networking & Search Service℠, and Employment Benefit Assessment Service℠ — as well as job retention and mentoring services to help you every step of the way.

These SAVI mentors have been in your shoes and have experience in the unique challenges Veterans may face as they seek employment after service. They are with you every step of the way throughout your twelve-month program, and provide ongoing professional guidance and mentorship throughout your career.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP TRACK

Value propositions, initial funding, branding, launch strategies… and everything in between.

All transitioning Veterans on this track receive our comprehensive tools for personal business success: the SAVI Entrepreneur Transition Incubator℠ and Entrepreneur Benefit Assessment Service℠, as well as our opportunity consulting and our funding exploration support.

Through your twelve month journey with SAVI, your mentors will guide you through the Entrepreneurship track while providing unique insight and guidance based on their own experience. Whether you are just starting a new venture, or expanding a passion project you created while in the military, our Entrepreneurship team is here for you every step of the way.

RETIREMENT TRACK

VA compensation and benefits, healthcare, financial planning… and everything in between.

All transitioning Veterans on this track receive comprehensive tools for a successful retirement: the SAVI Retirement Transition Incubator℠ and Retirement Benefit Assessment Service℠, as well as our one-on-one ongoing assistance and assessment services. We’re here to ensure you don’t have to muddle through the financial, personal, and emotional aspects of retirement on your own.

Our Retirement mentors know what it’s like to transition from a steady career to retirement, and want to use their personal and professional experience to help you have a smooth transition. Whether you have questions on finances or healthcare, or the more personal aspects of upkeeping emotional health, we are here for you every step of the way.


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Getting Connected with Your Local Veterans Organizations

If you’re a military Veteran, then you’re a part of a very niche group. Active military personnel make up less than 1 percent of the total U.S. population today, so it’s not surprising that so many Veterans feel isolated as they start their transitions into civilian life.

Yet this issue isn’t a new one. Since 1899, organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and The American Legion were created to offer Veterans a place for camaraderie, to feel empowered, and to help boost troop morale for those still in the service.

Fast-forward to today and Veterans groups have emerged in nearly every community in the country and boast a wide variety of scope and missions — such as the career program by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and the suicide prevention work by The Military Veteran Project. The benefits to getting involved with one of these local groups include much more than just gaining buddies to swap war-stories with. Veterans can also get assistance with job placements, career counseling, emotional support, and finding resources for disabled Vets.

Not sure where to begin to find your local Veteran connections? Here’s a list of a few national Veteran groups with various local chapters across the nation.

The American Legion ​
AMVETS
Disabled American Veterans
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Korean War Veterans Association
The Military Veteran Project
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Veterans of Foreign Wars
• Student Veterans of America
• Vietnam Veterans of America

For a more comprehensive list of military charities, organizations, and government contacts, click here.

Get Squared Away: A Comprehensive Checklist for Transitioning Service-Members

18 Months Before Your Discharge
• Review GI Bill and tuition assistance benefits
• Review GI Bill transferability requirements (Transferring your benefits may require re-enlisting or incurring an additional service obligation.)
• Use the DoD Online Academic Skills course to prepare for the SAT, ACT, GRE, or GMAT Exams
• Take a skills/interest assessment through your local ESO or career counselor
• Consider taking CLEP exams to complete your general education requirements
• Reach out to your SAVI mentor for tips from someone who has lived through the transition experience -Start developing your personal and professional networks
• Review your post-separation budget, and start planning for your financial transition
• Register on LinkedIn to get ready for networking opportunities
• Research the job potential, affordability, and community where you plan to live

12 Months Before Your Discharge
• Start developing an Individual Transition Plan
• Review your Pre-Separation Checklist (DD 2648)
• Get your Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET) document (DD 2586)
• Research the cost of living where you plan to live as a civilian-Learn about your VA home benefits -Make an appointment with your local Transition Counselor
• Attend a Transition GPS five-day workshop -Check job boards, and start exploring the right career options for you
• Start exploring the right degree and college for you -Request “house hunting orders”
• Enroll in a SAVI Transition Incubator℠
• Use a skills translator to begin developing a civilian resume

9 Months Before Your Discharge
• Continue building your networks through LinkedIn and elsewhere
• Consider an employment assistance program
• Start writing your resume
• Search for jobs in your field and area to see what’s out there
• Arrange for HHG transportation counseling -Research your healthcare options, including Employer-Provided Civilian Care, CHCBP, Transitional Health Care Benefits, and CHAMP
• Make a budget, and prepare to pay for health insurance coverage

6 Months Before Your Discharge
• Start applying for jobs -Start building a wardrobe for the civilian workplace
• Continue to expand your career networks
• Attend career fairs
• Review and update your will and financial documents
• Consider whether to take terminal leave or sell back your balance
• Schedule appointments for household goods (HHG) shipment and storage
• Schedule final medical checkups for all family members
• Visit the Legal Assistance Office for help updating your documents
• Determine if you’re eligible for separation pay or early retirement
•Begin your PCS and housing checkout procedures -Begin looking for VSOs to join

3 Months Before Your Discharge
• Consider job placement services
• Use the VA Pre-discharge program to determine your eligibility for VA Disability Compensation
• Review your finances to ensure your budget will work in civilian life
• Compare SGLI to VGLI and other life insurance options
• Get to know more about where you plan to live
• Contact your Military Treatment Facility, and get copies of all of your health records
• Complete a physical with your MTF or a VA Medical Center
• Take advantage of the two-day TAP GPS program for education and entrepreneurship support

1 Month Before Your Discharge
• Finalize your relocation appointments, and review your benefits
• Arrange for inspection of any government housing
• Choose your transitional healthcare plan

Enrolling in VA Healthcare

1. Make it easier on yourself: Start with support from VA’s Concierge of Care. Enrolling in VA care isn’t as tough a process as it used to be. In October 2017, VA launched its Concierge for Care (C4C) program to enhance its support for transitioning Veterans in getting VA healthcare. The C4C initiative educates and empowers Veterans while simplifying the healthcare application and enrollment process. This means that, shortly after you separate, you’ll get a phone call from a representative who can answer questions, process your VA healthcare enrollment application, and schedule your first VA medical appointment.

2. Get notified of your application status. After your application is submitted, you’ll receive another phone call from VA to let you know whether your enrollment is approved. VA will also send you a Veterans Health Benefits Handbook with information on your healthcare benefits, Enrollment Priority Group, copay status, and other information you’ll need as a new enrollee. Handbooks also include information for appealing a decision if your initial application is rejected.

3. Get your Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC). Only Veterans enrolled in the VA healthcare system can receive a VHIC. Once your application is verified, contact the enrollment coordinator at your local VA medical center to arrange to get your picture taken for the your card either in advance or at your next VA healthcare appointment.

4. Keep your information current after you enroll. Enrolled Veterans can update your personal information (such as income, address, and insurance information) by completing VA Form 10-10EZR online, by visiting a local VA facility, or by calling 1-877-222-VETS between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

Project You: Top Self-Development Courses to Take

Create a Perfect Morning Routine
You will learn how to create a morning routine filled with purpose, presence, and peace. You’ll be more energized, productive, and content — all before the start of your workday. Start your morning by doing things that feed your soul and make you happy.

Finding Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
If you’ve been searching for your true purpose in life, Eckhart Tolle has some straightforward advice: Stop struggling. This is because the primary purpose of every human being is simply to be: Be fully engaged in this moment, and be aligned with the natural flow of reality itself.

Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential
This course is designed to show you how to look at what you’re learning, and your place in what’s unfolding in the society around you, so that you can be what you want to be. You’ll see that by using certain mental tools and insights, you can learn and do more than you might have ever dreamed.

Achieving Personal and Professional Success
You'll learn how to find your passion and core values, how to apply these values to your own life, how to work well with others, how to communicate effectively, how to set goals, how to use influence to achieve these goals, and even how to say you are sorry. Through exercises, self-diagnostic surveys, quizzes, and many case studies, you'll discover how to define not only what you want, but also the best way to get it. These courses provide key insights into successful personal practices, whether you are in the office or in your home. We all bring ourselves to work every day, and these courses will help you be your best self wherever you are.


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Adrianne Phillips is a service-disabled veteran, who founded Strategic Alliance for Veteran Integration (SAVI) as a reaction to the immense need for support of veterans transitioning to civilian life. After serving in the U.S. Air Force as a combat service-member and Security Forces, Adrianne transitioned out of the military and into civilian life. During this time, she realized that veterans often make the transition with little or no structural support or guidance. This prompted her to spend over 11 years working in the veterans benefit sector, including working in development, adjudication, training, presenting, quality assurance, and division management. In 2011, she started a corporation focusing on event travel management and corporate business travel. In 2017, she harnessed her experience as a veteran, benefits manager, and entrepreneur to found the Strategic Alliance for Veteran Integration with the goal of supporting every service-member’s transition.

Eddy Hansen

Eddy is a retired Marine and a service-disabled veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He currently manages the development of emerging technologies in the Mission Systems division of General Atomics - Aeronautical Systems Inc.

Having experienced first hand the challenges of transitioning from the military, Eddy is passionate about supporting others through the process. He has spent time volunteering with several veterans support organizations and mentoring veterans individually. He was drawn to SAVI through a deep belief in the mission and to focus his efforts toward a larger impact on the community.

In addition to the SAVI board, he sits on the Board of Directors of BIANCA (non-profit supporting autistic children). Eddy holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business. He lives in San Diego with his wife, two teenagers and a Bullmastiff.

Adrianne Phillips

Adrianne Phillips is a service-disabled veteran, who founded Strategic Alliance for Veteran Integration (SAVI) as a reaction to the immense need for support of veterans transitioning to civilian life. After serving in the U.S. Air Force as a combat service-member and Security Forces, Adrianne transitioned out of the military and into civilian life. During this time, she realized that veterans often make the transition with little or no structural support or guidance. This prompted her to spend over 11 years working in the veterans benefit sector, including working in development, adjudication, training, presenting, quality assurance, and division management. In 2011, she started a corporation focusing on event travel management and corporate business travel. In 2017, she harnessed her experience as a veteran, benefits manager, and entrepreneur to found the Strategic Alliance for Veteran Integration with the goal of supporting every service-member’s transition.

Aloysius Teo

Aloysius is an advisor, project manager, mentor & consultant in business & technology strategy. He works with early-stage startups to develop their Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and guiding ideas and concepts into commercially viable solutions. His partnerships with established businesses result in the creation of new verticals and opportunities.

Creative strategist/technologist across multiple industries - healthcare, entertainment & music, MMR, travel, print production, blockchain, crypto-currencies, Big Data & AI. 20yrs technology industry experience and certified AWS APN & mobile technology.

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