News

May 17, 2022

COMMIT Quarterly - Spring 2022 Edition

Sandy Travis: Pivot Extraordinaire The COMMIT Foundation is known for being a gathering point for a richly experienced a...

Sandy Travis: Pivot Extraordinaire The COMMIT Foundation is known for being a gathering point for a richly experienced and diverse community of coaches, mentors, veterans, professionals, and veteran advocates who power our mission through their passion for veteran advancement. We are fortunate to witness the transformative power of this community and the services provided by our Programs Staff and coaching team. Sandy Travis has worked with COMMIT by coaching and mentoring transitioning military leaders, helping them master and tackle one of life’s most challenging pivots. For the full story, click here COMMIT Launches it’s Family Transition Program This spring, COMMIT launched its pilot Family Transition Program, welcoming a cohort of 15 military spouses into a program designed to help guide them through the transition process. The virtual cohort meets monthly for up to four months and connects on all things military-spouse related from uncertainty in transition, entering the job market in post-military life, making decisions for the family, and prioritizing time for themselves. For the full story, click here Spring Workshops; From Coast to Coast This spring has been one of COMMIT’s busiest seasons yet. While taking all possible COVID precautions, we have been able to return to our in-person workshop schedule, ecstatic to meet over 70 of our service recipients and mentors, face-to-face. For the full story, click here Welcome Jen Anthony This spring, COMMIT welcomed Jen Anthony to our ranks, thrilled to invite her extensive expertise as a leader and subject matter expert in the veteran service space. During her 20 years in the US Air Force, Jen worked all over the world in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Turkey. She honed her exceptional leadership skills while specializing in offensive and defensive cyberspace operations, an area which required significant innovative thought. After achieving the highest enlisted rank of E-9 at a time when the total population of women service members was less than 19%, Jen established her career as a healthcare executive. After taking the time to understand the corporate world, Jen returned to the work she felt was her true calling - service military veterans and their families. She comes from a family with a long line of military service and her son is currently serving as an Active Duty Air Force Loadmaster. We are honored to have Jen on our team and can’t wait to see what she will do here at COMMIT! WQW Hunt for Purpose For years, Warriors and Quiet Waters (WQW) has been an incredibly generous supporter of COMMIT service recipients by hosting a number of Transition Mentoring Workshops. This year, COMMIT and WQW have partnered to take programming to the next level: WQW’s Hunt for Purpose. For the full story, click here Thank you donors! Thank you to Guggenheim Partners, A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, and MCD/Richmond American Homes Foundation for partnering with us in our mission for veteran advancement and empowerment!

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  • May 17, 2022

    Spring Workshops; From Coast to Coast

    This spring has been one of COMMIT’s busiest seasons yet. While taking all possible Covid precautions, we have been able to return to our in-person workshop schedule, ecstatic to meet over 70 of our service recipients and mentors, face-to-face. In Nashville, our gracious hosts at Bridgestone welcomed 20 transitioning service members to a transformative workshop. Boasting expert mentors and inspiring views of the bustling downtown, the synergy and excitement buzzed throughout the room. When Bridgestone Americas’ CEO, Paolo Ferrari visited the group, they leaned in, intently listening to his words of wisdom and advice. Service recipient, Scott McKay, disclosed some of his ambitions at the workshop. “My last assignment, I had 800 paratroopers that I was responsible for leading,” he said. But priorities shift as one transitions, “I have a 4 and a 6 year-old and the goal of my transition is to provide stability,” McKay explained. The pressures and anxiety of transition can often chip away at even the most decorated leader’s confidence. This is the goal of COMMIT’s Transition Mentoring Workshop: solidify the confidence, provide the information, and help them imagine what is possible in this next chapter. Similar feelings were shared at Booz Allen Hamilton’s San Diego, CA office where 14 transitioning service members were hosted for two days of intensive retrospection and life-design exercises. The participants shared their experiences and concerns with the group, eliciting helpful framing from the coaches and facilitators and insight from the mentors in the room. By the second day, the group had grown into a tight-knit cohort who would return to their respective units with optimism and a blueprint for post-service life. COMMIT alumni joined the group to share their advice and perspective, embracing a “those who have gone before” element important to the military community. The group at COMMIT’s Williamsburg, VA workshop buzzed with words like “creating space,” “breathing room,” and “sacred.” Hosted at the beautiful campus of College of William and Mary. The vaulted ceilings in the hall where the service members gathered contrasted beautifully with the intimate huddle of 19 service members and 11 mentors. Everything shared, from harrowing experiences in service, to triumphs in their personal lives, and reservations about the unknown factors of civilian life drew the group closer together. One alumni mentor in attendance shared “this means so much for me to be able to give back and help people avoid some of the heartache I faced in transition.” Building this element of community is a treasured part of COMMIT’s impact. In Seattle, COMMIT partnered with local giant, Amazon, to host 17 transitioning service members from across the country. Mentors gathered to share their insights and advice for the group. “We have been so fortunate to have organizations offering the use of their incredible facilities - Booz Allen, Bridgestone, and Amazon to name a few -- none of which would have happened without the connections created through participants and staff,” said Tanya Reinhardt, COMMIT’s workshop director. Over the course of four months, COMMIT provided this once-in-a-lifetime experience to 70 service members this spring along with the hundreds of others served virtually through Executive Coaching, Resume Writing, and the Pursue Your Purpose program. With Denver, CO; Menlo Park, CA; Washington D.C., and Charlotte, NC workshops ahead, we are grateful for our supporters who make these incredible experiences possible. “As we look toward the remaining five workshops I am hoping we can find investors to help mitigate the increasing costs of the workshops so we can continue to create what one veteran described as a 'sacred space’ where participants can again explore possibilities and pursue their purposes,” Reinhardt said. To learn more about our supporters or how to support a COMMIT Transition Mentoring Workshop, please contact us.

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  • May 2, 2022

    WQW Hunt for Purpose

    For years, Warriors and Quiet Waters (WQW) has been an incredibly generous supporter of COMMIT service recipients by hosting a number of Transition Mentoring Workshops. This year, COMMIT and WQW have partnered to take programming to the next level: WQW’s Hunt for Purpose. Brian Gilman, CEO of WQW and Marine combat veteran recognized the healing powers of elk hunting in Montana after returning from kinetic deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. The solace he sought and found in the mountains and purposeful pursuit of elk helped bring him peace and quiet the noise of war so many combat veterans bring home. “Research demonstrates that having a sense of purpose in life is critical to well-being. As veterans, many of us struggle to find purpose in our lives following our military service,” said Gilman. COMMIT’s Chief Programs Officer, Scott Walgren, designed the guided self-discovery curriculum which has aided Hunt for Purpose. The coursework starts with a strengths assessment and is designed to help veterans mindfully reflect and introspect, find clarity, and discover their goals and calling all while practicing the discipline and inherent mindfulness needed to properly carry out a hunt. The exercises are carefully aligned to the activities and hard work that the participants must dedicate. “This group has been out of the military for a long time,” said Walgren of the participants, “COMMIT is unique in the transition space which is the reason we were asked to participate.” What Walgren is referring to is a deeper philosophy across COMMIT programming; transition is not just an ‘A’ to ‘B’ road from military to civilian life. Transition is a series of transformations and pivots which occur during this major life process. Each individual journey is unique and requires different types and levels of attention; something inherent to COMMIT programming which is focused on meeting participants where they are rather than taking a “one size fits all” approach. The second iteration of the program will commence in June - a perfect season for veterans to connect with the wilderness in Montana while they travel a road to self-discovery and hunt for purpose. For more information on WQW Hunt for Purpose, please visit Warriors and Quiet Waters.

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  • Apr 13, 2022

    Sandy Travis: Pivot Extraordinaire

    The COMMIT Foundation is known for being a gathering point for a richly experienced and diverse community of coaches, mentors, veterans, professionals, and veteran advocates who power our mission through their passion for veteran advancement. We are fortunate to witness the transformative power of this community and the services provided by our Programs Staff and coaching team. Sandy Travis has worked with COMMIT by coaching and mentoring transitioning military leaders, helping them master and tackle one of life’s most challenging pivots. Her ambitions and skills were honed through a series of major life pivots which gave her the incredible insight and perspective she holds today. “I am at my creative best at the interface of radically different disciplines,” Travis said. This statement is evident in her professional journey which ranges from PhD student to Peace Corps Volunteer, world-class consultant, llama farmer, and Executive Coach. There is a level of decisiveness and strategy present in Travis’ life that makes her uniquely qualified to coach veterans. She is able to reflect on her path in real-time and decide whether or not it’s serving her goals. When she senses that it is not, she makes a pivot, leveraging what she knows to build a body of work and experience that broadens her impact in her next role. While working toward her PhD in Neurobiology at Yale (following in her father’s footsteps) she recognized that the dream was not her own and she needed radical change to shift her back onto her own course. It was at this point Travis became a Peace Corps volunteer in the Congo for three years. She taught biology and chemistry and then switched to public health research when the first Ebola outbreak hit. After earning her second Masters in International Administration, the winds of change began to blow Travis’ sails yet again. Because of her international experience and masters degree, Travis became a consultant with a boutique British firm in DC, serving the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. While this once-in-a-lifetime experience stretched her professional spectrum, it began to fall out of sync with her goals. All the years of travel, while exciting, left her yearning for a lifestyle change. Being a lover of the outdoors, she chose the Pacific Northwest as her next destination, resigned from her position, and established an independent consulting firm. Again, on the outside, this might look like she shifted on a whim. But every move was aligned based on both her goals and the experiences she had while consulting for forest products companies in British Columbia. Travis’ journey eventually brought her to COMMIT. While she had no previous experience with service members or veterans, she had become an expert in quickly learning new cultures. More importantly, Travis offered a lens through which most veterans do not get to see their experience. By reframing the way service members reflect on their professional lives, Travis is able to help them align their goals with their values in a meaningful and mindful way. Travis explained that the strategic discovery process is what she believes sets COMMIT apart from other veteran support organizations. Between the Pursue Your Purpose platform, suggested reading, and individualized approach, service recipients are addressed as a whole person, perhaps for the first time in a very long time. This, Travis explains, is why COMMIT is special to her and aligns so well with her beliefs. “You can make radical changes and still land on your feet” said Travis. Her ability to see the transferability of life experiences beyond just skillset, and her creativity in reimagining what her experiences could mean for her next chapter, define the incredible pivot-mastering Travis has done. Another major pivot Travis had to face came after a routine doctor's appointment when she found out she had an aggressive form of cancer. This was when she established her empowering mindset. “My first thought was ‘I don’t know how to beat cancer, but I do know how to do adventure travel from all my years in Africa - what lessons learned can I apply to this new journey?” Travis said. Today, she is a “cancer thriver,” a term she prefers to “survivor.” She was able to apply positivity in what is normally a very terrifying process, and ended up putting together her own program for thriving. After enduring the journey and beating cancer, Travis wrote Passport to Freedom, her book on overcoming limiting beliefs through cancer treatment. We are honored that Travis has joined COMMIT’s mission. Her contributions can be heard in the countless praises she receives from service recipients she has coached and her impact lives on in all they are empowered to do.

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  • Mar 28, 2022

    COMMIT Launches it’s Family Transition Program

    This spring, COMMIT launched its pilot Family Transition Program, welcoming a cohort of 15 military spouses into a program designed to help guide them through the transition process. The virtual cohort meets monthly for up to four months and connects on all things military-spouse related from uncertainty in transition, entering the job market in post-military life, making decisions for the family, and prioritizing time for themselves. “I feel more confident knowing when to ask for help and when to delegate - it’s helped me stay mentally healthy” said one service recipient at the end of the program. Another relayed “the coaching sessions are incredibly helpful - to have someone ask you the right questions is huge. [My coach] didn’t give me the answers, that was up to me.” The modules are designed to work around the busy schedules of military spouses while still giving them a “home base” and the support of the COMMIT community. Senior Director of Education, Amy Taft helped design and stand the program up, leveraging her unique background as a military spouse. Through her husband's many kinetic deployments, Taft always kept faith and family as her priorities but set aside healthy amounts of time and space for herself. Alongside her husband’s career, she was able to design her career in education to become one of curriculum design and nonprofit leadership. While in her doctoral program, Taft aligned her values and skills with the mission at COMMIT, helping to bolster the focus put into family programming and support. Applications for the next cohort will be posted on COMMIT’s LinkedIn page this summer. As for the current cohort wrapping up, we are thrilled to see what they achieve next!

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  • Mar 1, 2022

    COMMIT Quarterly - Winter 2022 Edition

    Our Growing Mission After ten years of providing transformative transition services to incredible men and women, The COMMIT Foundation has grown tremendously. To kick off 2022, we have taken strategic shifts to strengthen and fortify our community. With the generosity and support of the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, COMMIT was able to launch its first ever Family Transition Program, Alumni Engagement program, and a series of supplemental resources to build awareness and advocacy on behalf of those we serve. Learn more about how we are helping to build a foundation for the legacies our service recipients create. As we grow, we are firmly planted in the ethos of Veterans First and Always. To help support our growing mission, donate here.For the full story, click here Welcome Mike Greenwood! COMMIT’s growth in services rendered and applicants was tremendous in 2021 and continues to grow in the New Year. To continue serving our community, we welcomed Mike Greenwood as our newest Director of Veteran Services. Mike has over 14 years of military and veteran nonprofit experience. As an Army veteran, Mike is passionate about helping veterans achieve their life goals and he knows first hand what veterans face when they remove their uniform for the last time. He holds a BBA from Pace University along with an Executive Certificate from the University of Notre Dame in Transformational Nonprofit Leadership and a Certification in Production Management from Indiana Tech. Mike also leads his own financial counseling practice as a trained Ramsey Solutions Financial Coach in his free time. Born and raised in Upstate New York, he now calls Colorado Springs, Colorado home. He enjoys running, hiking, and traveling with his wife, daughter, and their dog. Stephanie Simon: Trailblazer Musician. Marine. Fighter. Trailblazer. Stephanie Simon has spent the last decade growing her career with a deliberate mindset to challenge the status quo and land beyond her goals. She has leveraged The COMMIT Foundation in her transition out of active duty and into a purpose-driven post-service life. As she transitions out of service as an Amphibious Assault Officer and Captain of the Marine Corps Boxing Team, she has learned to transfer her fighting spirit in pursuit of her next role: professional MMA fighter. For the full story, click here From Pilot to PayPal Through his decades of service, David Forbell had unique opportunities to uncover talents and passions which transcended flying and built his foundation for thought leadership and a respect for data. His unique perspective as a pilot and data enthusiast made him an incredibly valuable asset at the Pentagon and as an instructor to advanced pilots. For the full story, click here Ten Years with Alison Carroll As COMMIT celebrates its ten year anniversary, we look back at all those who have made this organization what it is today. When Co-Founder Anne Meree Craig was in the midst of designing COMMIT’s mission and services, she called in the help of Alison Carroll, an intuitive Executive Coach with an incredible ability to connect and partner with transitioning service members to help them design their post-service lives in meaningful ways. For the full story, click here Partners, Friends, Advocates The landscape for how individuals invest in our mission has evolved in the past few years. Donors are more informed, connected, and have become some of our best partners. To that end, The COMMIT Foundation focuses on strengthening our relationships with donors in meaningful ways. Because of that, we want to say thank you for all you do for the women and men we serve each and every day. The impact provided over the previous year allowed us to reach well over a thousand individuals, prepare to launch new programs, and to expand our team to support more transitioning service members. We are proud of our work and continue to evolve as the needs of our military community change. Moving forward we are looking for new and inventive ways to engage with The COMMIT Foundation on projects that extend beyond financial support. We want partners that possess a shared interest in the outcome of COMMIT’s work and invest with more than money to help support the work; we want to build something together as we move in the same direction helping more veterans. As we prepare to travel the U.S. for workshops and donor visits, please let us know how we can partner with you as an individual or corporation. The investment of resources, expertise, and energy is paramount as COMMIT expands our programs in the coming year. To learn more, contact us.A very special thank you to our donors: AIMCOApolloBellevue FoundationCoinbaseFiservJohnny Mac Soldiers FundNewman's Own Foundation

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  • Feb 21, 2022

    From Pilot to PayPal

    Pilots have a unique challenge when exiting service in reimagining their professional course. For one former fighter pilot, this challenge became a reality upon retirement from the United States Marine Corps. David Forbell of California started his career in the Marine Corps Reserves as an enlisted infantryman. He was unsure of exactly what he wanted to do after earning his bachelor’s degree but after talking to a Marine Officer Selection Officer, realized pursuing a leadership role in the Corps would be a worthy endeavor. With the wave of a flight contract, he was off to earn his commission and then his wings. While in service, Forbell had unique opportunities to uncover talents and passions which transcended flying and built his foundation for thought leadership and a respect for data. He deployed twice to Iraq and later was able to transfer what he learned in the battlespace to more seasoned student pilots as an Advanced Instructor Pilot. “It was rewarding being an instructor. You start to learn what you have to pay attention to by reflecting on your own experience. It felt great to give them the tools they needed to be successful and they always showed up ready and prepared for training,” said Forbell of his students. On a collateral duty helping support operations at the flight school, Forbell was tasked with a project in broad and complex accountability for the flight school. He dove into the work, enjoying the data collection and analysis. By the end of his task, he created a matrix of spreadsheets and information that his command was in awe of. After that, Forbell became the go-to “data guy” and complex problem-solver at his unit. He was able to build upon that skill during follow-on tours at the Naval Postgraduate School and the Pentagon. When he transitioned with COMMIT, it was this very experience that stood out to him as he reflected on his professional journey alongside coach Court Whitman. Data gave him energy and a sense of purpose which he wanted to grow in his post-service life. With this newfound calling, Forbell pursued a Corporate Fellowship with Hiring Our Heroes at PayPal. A few weeks into his Skillbridge internship, he realized that he had found a home. PayPal offered Forbell a full-time position as a Data Scientist upon his retirement from military service. “I’ve landed on my feet and I know enough to be dangerous!” laughed Forbell. His transformation is not uncommon among those who leverage COMMIT along with a Skillbridge program. Today, he enjoys his work and looks forward to growing his career at PayPal. Back to Winter Newsletter

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  • Feb 14, 2022

    Ten Years with Alison Carroll

    Ten years ago, COMMIT’s Co-Founder Anne Meree Craig was in the midst of designing COMMIT’s mission and services. After talking through the power and impact of executive coaching with a linguist she had formerly worked with, Craig began brainstorming around what it would look like to bring executive coaching into COMMIT’s service offering. Fortunately for her, that former linguist, Alison Carroll had become an executive coach and was willing to launch a pilot program with COMMIT. Carroll is COMMIT’s first and now longest-serving executive coach. She has coached hundreds of transitioning service members including Craig’s husband, Les, Court Whitman (who later became a COMMIT coach, himself), and current Chief Executive Officer of COMMIT, Alex Krongard. Her ability to shift the focus from finding answers to asking the right questions is unparalleled. “I like to call myself a recovering high-performer,” said Carroll. She perceives a general lack of emphasis in our society to take the time to pause, rest, reflect, and regroup. This is especially true for a population that is traditionally pressured to perform and move with a bias for action. Fortunately, veterans are also an extremely coachable population. “Even if someone is not comfortable talking about themselves, I do always feel like they are willing to take the risk to meet me halfway. I find that to be so inspirational,” said Carroll. Having been introduced to coaching by being a coachee, herself, Carroll said she is able to empathize and understand the hesitations someone might have while being coached. Carroll uses intuition and a whole-person approach to support her clients. Through the past decade, she credits her COMMIT clients for making her a better coach. “They ask for my honesty,” Carroll explains, “Court was my second or third client with COMMIT and he opened the door for me to see when someone is willing and able to explore with me beyond the immediate challenge, it opens a door for what’s possible in the future.” The value and power of witnessing Whitman’s transformation gave Carroll a distinct faith in her client’s abilities to get to where they need to be with her as a validating presence. New coaches will often make the mistake of putting emphasis on results instead of the value of the journey. Carroll observed that there is an ethos among many high-performing veterans, “they are incredibly reliable teammates but never want to ask for help for themselves.” Having built the foundation of COMMIT’s coaching community, Carroll describes the key to our program: commitment to self. When a veteran can be vulnerable and accept every part of themselves, it’s a commitment to their own humanity. That moment of commitment to self is when the layers of fortified armor required by military service begin to peel away. Back to Winter Newsletter

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  • Feb 1, 2022

    Our Growing Mission

    To kick off 2022, The COMMIT Foundation has taken strategic shifts to strengthen and fortify our community. With the generosity and support of the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, COMMIT was able to launch its first ever Family Transition Program, Alumni Engagement program, and a series of supplemental resources to build awareness and advocacy on behalf of those we serve. We launched our pilot Spouse Program with Dr. Amy Taft, Sr. Director of Education at the helm. Amy is a military spouse and caregiver to her husband who sustained life-altering injuries in combat. Her passion for helping spouses in their own transitions out of the military community and into the civilian world is unmatched. COMMIT will offer transition support to 40 spouses, initially, providing them with a tailored transition support program that meets once a month for four months, executive coaching, and tailored assistance. “Through the COMMIT Family Transition Program, we hope to create shared experiences between transitioning spouses and provide them space to explore the possibilities for the future. The COMMIT Foundation is excited to bring the one-of-a-kind program designed specifically for military spouses to our community,” said Taft. COMMIT also recently launched the Alumni Engagement program led by former Senior Director of Veteran Services, Michele Olive. With the tremendous growth in our programming, we saw an opportunity to enhance our offerings and extend services beyond our transition programs. After experiencing the value of incorporating alumni into our programs as mentors, it became clear that we could build a strong and thriving ecosystem while bolstering serendipity for our service recipients. Olive’s focus has been on alumni outreach and providing opportunities to volunteer and give back to COMMIT through thought leadership and support. Recently, COMMIT also began hosting webinars for transitioning service members which introduce different industries by way of panelist discussions and storytelling with alumni and veteran advocates. “COMMIT plans to expand its offerings for alumni with ongoing support, scholarships, mentorship opportunities, and sharing their important impact stories that emerge from program participation,” said Olive. COMMIT has also strategically shifted Corporate Programs into a corporate outreach effort, capitalizing on a more robust communication strategy and partnering with socially responsible companies on veteran advocacy. With the help of our volunteer panelists and speakers from different areas of industry, COMMIT is able to connect service recipients with insight, information, and networking opportunities to enhance transition outcomes. This move has broadened COMMIT’s audience and drawn in more diverse applicants. “Continuing work with veteran-ready businesses, we will be able to see this ripple effect of the impact our service recipients bring to their communities and places of work,” said Abby Peterson, Director of Corporate Programs. COMMIT’s legacy serves as a foundation for outstanding service recipients to build their own personal legacies upon. Many of these stories are captured on COMMIT’s social media pages and podcast, COMMIT Veteran Voices. Check out our channels for more information: LinkedIn InstagramFacebookPodcastBack to Winter Newsletter

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  • Dec 23, 2021

    Veteran Highlight: Stephanie Simon

    Musician. Marine. Fighter. Trailblazer. Stephanie Simon has spent the last decade growing her career with a deliberate mindset to challenge the status quo and land beyond her goals. She has leveraged The COMMIT Foundation in her transition out of active duty and into a purpose-driven post-service life. Simon’s father, a Marine, was the first to see that Simon had incredible potential for athletics. Her coordination and even just her run were clear indicators that she would be an athlete. Growing up in Washington state, there were many sports and activity options available for Simon to try on for size. She became involved in her school’s marching band and developed a love for music while also honing an incredible level of discipline. She became involved in a few different sports but finally landed on Taekwondo which also required a high level of commitment and discipline. Eventually, she discovered and fell in love with wrestling which had just started to gain popularity for girls in the Pacific Northwest. “Going into my first match ever, two little boys ran up and told me that my opponent would kick my butt. They thought because I was a girl, he would beat me,” Simon said. Shortly after the fight began, it became clear that Simon would be winning. She still has a photo of herself after the match; a small pigtailed girl smiling with her arms outstretched in victory while the referee comforts her opponent in the background. “It was the first time I had that feeling of “you don’t belong here” and I had to earn my way to belong,” Simon said. For some, that discouragement would put an end to their pursuit, but for Simon, it only made her crave victory more. This concept would become a common theme in her life. Overcoming obstacles and fighting the odds became Simon’s specialty. When she started to think of college, the Naval Academy and the challenge it promised allured Simon. While they did not have a wrestling program, she hoped to change that by helping them start a wrestling team. As she prepared for college, she was given the opportunity to take boxing in the summer as a way to validate the class and not have to do it again as part of the normal curriculum. But then she had her first victory in the ring and everything changed. “I had to fight a girl in front of 1,000 classmates and I won,” Simon said. “They put me on their shoulders and it was a very thrilling experience. That’s when I started boxing.” Today, the Naval Academy women’s boxing team has grown by 10 times its size during Simon’s time in. She touts that as something she is tremendously proud of, having done the hard work and beaten the odds to pave a path for the next woman in line. When it came time to choose a branch of service, Simon gravitated to the Marines. There was an instant connection she had with many of the Naval Academy instructors who hailed from the Marine Corps and she could not deny the challenge it presented, especially upon learning that combat arms were open to any woman who could meet the standards. Since combat arms roles were only recently opened to women, Simon saw an opportunity to make her mark and do work she could be truly proud of. “The danger that comes with being an amphibious assault Officer is unlike anything else in the Marine Corps. At 23 years old, you’re out a few thousand meters at sea trying to get your guys and 300 infantrymen on a ship. You’re trying to pick a location in the middle of the ocean to meet with the Navy personnel you’re coordinating with,” Simon said. When asked about the amount of fear and stress inherent to her that role, Simon explained, “it makes fighting not scary.” And that is exactly that attitude one would expect the first Captain of the Marine Corps Boxing Team to have. As she transitions off of active duty to pursue a Mixed Martial Arts career, Simon is working through COMMIT’s Pursue Your Purpose program along with executive coaching with Court Whitman. Having been an athlete and former special operator, Whitman instantly connected with Simon’s fighting spirit and hunger for challenge. He was also able to identify where her hesitancies were. Whitman encouraged Simon to start back-planning her move to Miami and encouraged her to start building up her network there through informational interviews and other networking activities. “A good fit between a coach and coachee at COMMIT means meeting certain criteria. Value alignment, shared experience, and value are important in building trust and a willingness to work together.” Whitman said. He and Simon were aligned in their values, were both athletes and veterans and she perceived value in what he had to offer upon their first meeting. Whitman is a seasoned COMMIT coach and is well known for his ability to challenge people in a way that will draw out the information they need to design their post-service life, successfully. One of the things COMMIT reinforces is the idea of taking a tactical pause while leaving active duty. Most transitioning service members feel very pressured and rushed to land a job and keep the momentum going from their military service. But with the tactical pause, Simon was able to redirect her energy into something she feels truly passionate about. Simon will continue her path as a trailblazer and has already signed on with First Round Management to help her navigate her fighting career. “For me when I look back the moments I was happiest was when I found out I inspired someone,” she said. In leading by example, earning titles, and conquering obstacles, Simon will continue trailblazing a path for young women everywhere. Back to Winter Newsletter

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