News

Nov 18, 2022

COMMIT Quarterly - Fall 2022 Edition

Gratitude is in the air, and we certainly have a lot to be thankful for here at The COMMIT Foundation: our incredible ...

Gratitude is in the air, and we certainly have a lot to be thankful for here at The COMMIT Foundation: our incredible sponsors, who consistently step-up to fund our work and take our services to the next level; our exceptional mentors, who selflessly share their experiences and advice to provide the one-on-one guidance our service members deserve and need; and our many passionate friends and advocates, who generously give their time, talent, and treasure to ensure supportive transitions are available for veterans across the nation. But most importantly, we are grateful for the men, women and families who serve this country with bravery and sacrifice. We are all indebted to you. We promise to continue to show our deep appreciation by providing the services and resources that create purposeful and fulfilling transitions. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. - The COMMIT Foundation Staff Sponsor Highlight: Brown Advisory Brown Advisory, a longtime supporter of The COMMIT Foundation, hosted both our Transition Mentoring workshop and “All Staff, All Hands” meeting in their beautiful, state-of-the art Baltimore office. Brown Advisory’s CEO, Mike Hankin has been a dedicated donor to our organization and service members, and he came through again with the offering of this incredible space. A special thank you to Chris Bartlett for graciously hosting the COMMIT team, workshop participants and mentors. COMMIT Achieves Great Nonprofit Status in 2022 It's official. The COMMIT Foundation is on the Great Nonprofits 2022 Top-Rated List! Great Nonprofits is the leading website for community recommendations of charities and nonprofits. With a 5-star average, we are truly honored to be recognized, and especially humbled by the thoughtful reviews we received. “The COMMIT Foundation was absolutely critical to my transition out of the military. Prior to COMMIT, I was unsure of what I truly wanted to do and how I could chart a path to get there.” - Tyler (Navy Veteran) “There is nothing that compares to what the COMMIT Foundation is doing for veterans. Their ability to help navigate this process and prepare for the next chapter has been incredibly valuable.” - Robert (Army Veteran) Read more here. > Support COMMIT in our Year-End Campaign Introducing COMMIT’s Year-End Fundraising Campaign! Kicking-off on Giving Tuesday (November 29) and ending December 31, we’re aiming to raise $50,000 in order to expand the reach of our programs, and give more veterans the assistance they deserve. We’ll be enhancing this month-long effort with two events - Colorado Gives on December 6 and the highly anticipated Army/Navy Game on December 10. Combined, we hope to rise to the challenge and meet this ambitious goal. Click here to make a donation or become a fundraiser on behalf of The COMMIT Foundation. Then, encourage your friends and family to donate as well. And don’t forget to spread the word on social media using #COMMITto50K. Together we can improve and change the lives of those who are owed it most. Transitioning Workshop Wrap Up Fall has been in a busy season at The COMMIT Foundation. We conducted workshops in California, Maryland and Montana, serving nearly 50 veterans. The session featured mentorship, planning and community building. It is exciting to imagine what transition might look like 6 or 36 months down the road! We also offered three Seminars in North Carolina, Virginia, and Germany! Combined, over 100 service members and spouses participated and learned about taking those first steps towards a successful transition. These seminars continue to strengthen our partnership with JANUS and NSW Development Group, and we are grateful for the opportunities! WORKSHOPS Menlo Park, Calif. - In September we hosted 18 service members in Menlo Park at a workshop hosted by Andreessen Horowitz. Along with an incredible group of mentors, we had several alumni, many of whom work with a16z, join us for the closing reception. It was inspiring to see what transition might look like 6 months or 36 months down the road!Baltimore, Maryland - Eighteen transitioning service members joined us in Baltimore at Brown Advisory for an amazing two day workshop. With stunning views of Baltimore’s inner-harbor, the participants had the opportunity to meet with incredible mentors as well as many of their coaches. COMMIT board members, staff, and co-founder Guy Filipelli were present as well. Bozeman, Mont. - In October, 10 veterans gathered at the Quiet Waters Ranch outside Bozeman. The participants and mentors embraced the shared experiences of transition and went away with a renewed sense of community. We are so grateful for the continued support from Warriors and Quiet Waters - another truly great veteran service organization.Charlotte, North Carolina - We wrapped up 2022 workshops with a strong cohort of 15 participants joined by nine mentors from the region at the McKinsey & Company headquarters in downtown Charlotte. What a beautiful venue in the heart of the Queen’s City! We are so grateful for the mentors and of course the participants who brought their whole selves to the workshop.SEMINARS JANUS (Germany) - In October, COMMIT was invited by Drew Stamp, co-founder of the nonprofit, Donovan & Bank, and creator of JANUS Project, to host a 1-day seminar in Stuttgart, GE for a group of transitioning service members. The majority of the 50+ attendees were Special Forces/Support and included spouses. COMMIT facilitated the group through a series of transition and values exploration exercises. Additionally, two COMMIT alumni, Brian Cunningham, Navy CAPT (O-6), and Charlie Slosson Amy, COL (Ret) (O-6), spoke to the group, sharing their journey and experiences working with COMMIT. Overall, the event was a great success with overwhelming positive feedback.JANUS (Fort Bragg) - COMMIT strengthened its partnership with the JANUS Project as we presented for a second time this quarter in Fayetteville, NC. The group of 48 participants in the 1-day event included transitioning service members and spouses. Since this group had a wide variety of timelines and ranks, the facilitators led the participants through a value based exercise on Authentic Leadership. Participants found the information to be immediately applicable and a great beginning to trying on their personal values. This program is shaping up to be highly successful and a thought provoking first step to transition. NSW Development Group (Dam Neck) - COMMIT continues its partnership with R4ST to support the Naval Special Warfare community in their transition needs. We presented on-site at the command in Virginia Beach for 10 participants. This presentation was part of their initial implementation of transition seminars that we are thrilled to support as it grows. Applications Now Open: Spouse Workshop Applications are now open for Cohort 3 of the COMMIT Foundation Family Transition Support Spouse workshop. Throughout the program, you will explore the topics of identity, alignment, values, and telling your story. The class will begin January 19, 2023 and will run for 3 months. If you are a spouse and want to apply, please fill out an application. Learn more > Questions? Contact us United Miles on Mission If you are a United MilesPlus member please consider donating your miles for service members to travel to our transition programs around the country in 2023. These miles directly help COMMIT improve the lives of veterans and military families as they transition out of uniform. The best part? Your miles will be doubled on Giving Tuesday, November 29. Good leads the way. Donate your miles today! >. Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) Calling all Federal Employees! COMMIT has joined the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). The mission of the CFC is to promote and support philanthropy through a program that is employee focused, cost-efficient, and effective in providing all federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all. Pledges made by Federal civilian, postal and military donors support eligible non-profit organizations that provide health and human service benefits throughout the world. We hope you will consider listing The COMMIT Foundation as your charity of choice! Our listing number is 88085 or you can pledge directly by clicking here.

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  • Oct 25, 2022

    The COMMT Foundation is looking for a new Chief Programs Officer

    Founded in 2012, The COMMIT Foundation’s mission is to empower service members, veterans, and their families through personalized programs, resources, and the support of our community to create purposeful and fulfilling transitions. The COMMIT Foundation is changing the way veterans and corporate America think about military transition by providing high touch transition support that becomes the standard nationwide so veterans in all communities can access services helping them identify their passions, build strong networks, and leverage their skills in civilian careers. The COMMIT Foundation seeks a full-time Chief Programs Officer (CPO) to join the team. The CPO serves as a critical member of COMMIT’s C-Suite. In collaboration with the CEO and COO, the CPO is responsible for developing and implementing COMMIT’s strategic programmatic vision, managing program execution, and supporting organization-wide efforts to evaluate program effectiveness and potential innovations. This position reports to COMMIT’s Chief Executive Officer. Applications are closed.

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  • Aug 16, 2022

    COMMIT Quarterly - Summer 2022 Edition

    Continued Partnership with Wounded Warrior Project COMMIT will continue its partnership with Wounded Warrior Project to help build and expand life-changing resources and services to America’s wounded veterans and their families. The needs of our veteran community are continuously evolving and our services have grown to meet people where they are. Learn more about what’s on the horizon for this partnership in the coming year. The Other Side: Flourishing in Life Beyond the Military COMMIT’s coaching team is full of incredible thought leaders. Jason Roncoroni shares his perspective on why transition is hard for people who are used to doing hard things and how COMMIT and our extensive network of veteran advocates surrounds each transitioning service member to ensure they do not feel alone during this major life pivot. His in-depth exploration of the transition mindset and the importance of community are insightful and powerful. For the full story, click here Nobody Walks Alone Virtual 5k Isolation can be one of the most harmful elements to a service members transition from active duty service. Unfortunately, self-isolation is a natural reaction when a warrior is struggling with identity and a sense of loss. That’s why COMMIT is dedicated to surrounding transitioning service members with a supportive community to provide encouragement, guidance, and meaningful connections. On September 10th, COMMIT will host our Nobody Walks Alone virtual 5k to rally and celebrate our community of vested veteran advocates. It’s not too late to sign up: click here to register! For the full story, click here A COMMIT Summer: Spanning the Nation COMMIT leveraged this summer to connect in new ways with our community. From Denver to New York City; Eglin Air Force Base to Bozeman, MT, we spanned the nation to deliver transformative transition services to some of the most deserving and incredible patriots. For the full story, click here 2021 Annual Report Our 2021 Annual Report is available! Take a look at some of the amazing things you helped us accomplish last year. It’s no wonder 2022 is on track to be one of the busiest and most successful years yet for COMMIT! 2021 Annual Report Just Combined Federal Campaign 2022 Calling all Federal Employees! COMMIT has joined the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). We hope you will consider listing COMMIT as your charity of choice this September when the CFC launches! Our listing number is 88085 or you can donate directly here.

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  • Aug 15, 2022

    The Other Side: Flourishing in Life Beyond the Military

    “How do you experience joy?” Seems like a simple question. Would you believe that this is one of the most difficult for military leaders to answer? This assessment comes from hundreds of intimate conversations with leaders from all services transitioning from the military over the past three years. Reintegrating back into society after decades of service is not easy. The evidence is in the numbers. Veterans have a higher rate of addiction, mental health issues, and suicide. Despite the vast efforts made by public, private, and nonprofit entities to abate these challenges through awareness and prevention, the incidence of these social challenges have remained relatively constant for the past two decades. We’ve been playing defense against these social issues and it hasn’t worked. Maybe it’s time to play some offense. Instead of averting failure, we should focus on a different objective: flourishing. Our approach to transition should not be restrictive but hopeful. Fortunately, we have many of the tools necessary to help veterans build a strategic game plan. Positive psychology, the study of how to apply what people do well to optimize performance and happiness, provides a playbook grounded in theory, research, and scientific evidence. We also have the supporting cast of coaches, family members, and citizens like you who believe those who sacrificed to secure our happiness and freedom deserve an opportunity to find their own after fulfilling their duty. We can inspire military leaders with the idea that their best days lie ahead. We can help them find joy. In order to find out what it takes to find joy, we need to understand what we are working with. We have to understand why a question about joy is so difficult for so many military leaders to answer. Joy becomes a difficult construct due to the nature of what it takes to succeed in the military. It is a challenge of intention, presence, and culture. Once we understand the problem, we can apply what we know about positive psychology to achieve the ideal outcome in life beyond the military: the opportunity to flourish. The Challenge of Intention Joy is a difficult construct for military leaders for a number of reasons. The first has to do with an intention to look for it. Research from the field of positive psychology shows that enduring happiness is not a product of significant life events. The satisfaction we feel from graduations, the birth of a child, a promotion, or a vacation tends to decay rapidly. Happiness is born from what we experience in our everyday lives. It is watching your children grow, feeling your partner’s hand in yours, and hearing your kids tell you that they love you. In order to experience joy, you have to be looking for it. The problem for military leaders is that we don’t look for the good things that are happening. In fact, we are conditioned to do the exact opposite. Our job is to identify and solve problems before they compromise the mission or endanger our people. We excel at finding vulnerability and weakness. Out of necessity, we become experts in risk management. Psychologists call this defensive pessimism - the ability to proactively identify obstacles so that you can take action to overcome these challenges. Leaders hone this skill throughout their military careers. Unfortunately, defensive pessimism becomes a habit that bleeds over into every aspect of life whether it involves a military operation or planning a family vacation. When you expect to see problems, you tend to find them. The ability to prevent failure is not a recipe for finding happiness. Consider a scenario where you are tasked to count the number of red cars that you see on your morning drive into work - a relatively straight-forward requirement. However, when you arrive at the office, your boss asks you how many green cars you saw. You know that there were green cars along your route, but you weren’t paying attention to them. Your intention was focused on red cars. Same applies to hunting potential vulnerabilities with an expectation to find happiness. It is not that the moments of joy aren’t there, but you just don’t notice them. You can’t expect to notice the green cars when you spend all your time looking for red ones. Because we focus on what’s bad, we simply miss the good. The Challenge of Presence Joy occurs in the moment. It requires presence to experience this emotion. As military leaders, we are always looking to the future to shape events to create an advantage. If not forward, we are looking back to apply lessons learned. It is easy to notice when military leaders are off duty because they are the ones constantly checking their phones at their son’s baseball game. If you are a military leader reading this, how often are you checking your phone or work email over the weekend? Do you notice the sunrise when you wake up in the morning, or are you too busy looking at your phone to see if you got any messages through the night. Let’s face it, being present is not one of our more endearing qualities. In the military, this quality is a strength. Given the nature of urgent, complex, and complicated problems we face, we value the ability to sift through large volumes of information, conduct rapid analysis, and make a sound decision in dynamic, constrained, and dangerous environments. Let me offer one example based on my experience: One of the first, critical lessons we teach pilots in flight school is the ability to cross-check their instruments and systems. This involves the ability to glance at a dozen different analog and digital displays to process what is happening inside the aircraft while maintaining your focus outside the aircraft. Then, we ask aviators to do it at night under limited visibility that requires learning a series of visual cues to estimate movement and maintain spatial orientation. Then, we add five radios speaking simultaneously. Then, we put you in charge of an entire flight of aircraft. Then, someone starts shooting at you. These demands are consistent for pilots and nonpilots alike. Our operational environment requires a state of cognition analogous to the frequency hop mode of communications - we are constantly shifting our focus from one thing to another every few seconds. Over the duration of a career, it becomes a habit. On a physiological level, our brains become more efficient by constructing the neural pathways to facilitate these processes of active cognition. Because of neural plasticity, we build a structure that is hyper sensitive and calibrated to frequency hop from one task to another. It becomes a new state of being that works in the military such that when we leave, our brains are simply not calibrated to operate in single channel mode. The Challenge of Culture According to renowned psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman, the concept of flourishing, the optimal state of performance and happiness, is a function of five qualities: positive emotion, engagement or a state of flow, positive relationships, a deep sense of purpose and meaning, and achievement - also known as the PERMA Model of subjective well-being in the parlance of positive psychology. Once we consider how the military nurtures these qualities through its culture, we can understand why transitioning from the service becomes such a formidable undertaking. The military culture fulfills the requirements for self-actualization through the rubric of Maslow’s Hierarchy. With a full suite of benefits and a paycheck that arrives on the 1st and 15th of every month, the military provides for the safety and security of the service member and their family. Military leaders face the prospect of losing this when we transition. In terms of psychological needs, the military provides a strong sense of belonging forged through a distinguishable and honorable group identity. Camaraderie is perhaps the most endearing quality of military service. Additionally, the military culture validates and reinforces esteem through the recognizable uniforms, customs and courtesies, rank structure, and rituals steeped in honor and tradition. We don’t have that in the civilian world. Finally, the nature of the work itself challenges leaders to push the boundaries of performance for themselves and the team. The military requires the very best of its people, and therefore pushes them to achieve the very highest level of their potential. We stand to lose a lot when we leave a culture that is familiar and satisfying on so many levels. On a neurological level, we feel this sense of satisfaction through the steady drip of oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins - otherwise known as the “happiness chemicals.” The oxytocin is the result of the trusted relationships, and love (especially love) that comes from that deep sense of camaraderie. The serotonin is fueled from the esteem that comes from doing meaningful work as part of a respected team. The novelty of achievement from complex problems provides the high we feel from mission accomplishment, and the endorphins allow us to push past the discomfort to realize the upper limit of our potential. The chemical resonance that comes from the flood of hormones and neurotransmitters provide that deep satisfaction and subjective well-being. We are satisfied despite the inherent danger of the work. We don’t need to focus on singular moments when riding a tidal wave of emotion that comes from engagement, meaningful activities, positive relationships, and achievement in the military culture. That wave comes crashing down upon leaving the military. There is a void that remains when the tide recedes. A certain emptiness that longs for the connection, sense of meaning, and engagement. Once you’ve been challenged to be your best self, it becomes difficult to settle for anything less. Flourishing is the standard because you know what that’s like. Secular pursuits in the name of profit or shareholder value simply don’t hold the same appeal. Over time, the emptiness is consumed by a sense of loneliness and despair. The idea of job placement against a backstop of resources - i.e. those designed to simply stop suicide - are not going to help our veterans find happiness in life beyond the military. A New Alternative: Finding Joy The challenge of transition is not to replace what is lost when you leave the military, but to find a new alternative - something better. We join the military for a number of different reasons - college money, an adventure, the opportunity to do something different, but choosing to make military service a career is so much more than that. It is a calling. We assume that service was the calling, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It’s not. The military journey is one path to fulfill that calling, but not the only one. Some of the difficult work in transition has nothing to do with the resume or LinkedIn Profile. It has everything to do with understanding a person’s internal drive. This requires an awareness of personal values, strengths, and purpose. Once you understand how military service aligns with this motivation, you have a template for understanding how another opportunity might align with that drive. This is how transitioning leaders find the engagement, meaning, fulfilling relationships, and worthwhile achievement in life beyond the military. What about joy? Well, positive emotion becomes the decisive factor in the transition process. Because we don’t see it while we are in the military, the ability to add this quality to our lives provides the potential of greater happiness and satisfaction in life beyond the military. The good news is that the science of positive psychology has already identified and researched interventions that can help set the intention to find joy and increase presence in the moment to experience it. We know what works need only to coach veterans on ways they can integrate these practices into their daily lives. Some examples of these interventions include journaling, acts of kindness, mindfulness, meditation, acceptance, and reframing. Unfortunately, integrating these behaviors into a daily routine is not easy. Building new habits is a difficult undertaking once an individual reaches their mid-thirties. Every retiree struggles to break free of the habits they formed in the military. According to Dr. Joe Dispenza, an adult’s personality is 95 percent formed by the time we reach the age of 35. When most of us joined the military, we were just kids, so the majority of our adult persona was shaped through the military culture. Now, we need that 5 percent of conscious intention to change our behavior. Furthermore, research suggests that the average time it takes to form a new habit can vary between 18 and 254 days with older adults tending to lean the right side of that scale. Given the physiology of the brain, it definitely takes more time to teach older dogs new tricks. It’s time to play offense. Choosing to flourish in life after the military is an ambitious undertaking, but one worth the effort. Imagine the value of injecting proven leaders who are committed to helping others and making a difference with a higher sense of purpose and drive than what they experienced in the military. Society benefits from the prospect of repurposing and empowering military leaders. This is the reason why tribal societies choose members of the warrior caste to become the chieftains and wise elders of the social order. However, the journey is not easy, and we’ve seen how veterans struggle to do this on their own. What we ask is for you to come down from your seat in the stands and join us on the field. With your help, the once difficult question of joy can become an easy one. Commit with us to provide more meaningful services such as coaching and an introduction to these interventions to help veterans be their best selves in life beyond the military. Be our partner. Together, we can do this. Let’s ensure that no veteran walks alone.

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  • Aug 15, 2022

    Nobody Walks Alone Virtual 5k

    On September 10th, 2022, COMMIT is scheduled to host the inaugural Nobody Walks Alone Virtual 5k. September 10th is not only the day before the September 11th Day of Service and Remembrance, it is also Suicide Awareness Day. Our community has been heavily impacted by the magnitude of both the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks and high rates of suicide. This event gives us the opportunity to rally together to help bring awareness to both causes while embracing the concept that together, we prevail. COMMIT offers non-clinical means to combat transition stress. Having a sense of community and belonging is critical to positive trajectories into post-service life and events like this are specifically designed to build community. COMMIT’s staff, coaches, mentors and advocates have had tremendous impacts on those we serve in helping them decrease their transition stress while building resilience through a very challenging life pivot. COMMIT is inviting all service recipients, alumni, allies, and advocates to join us in raising awareness on National Suicide Prevention Day while bolstering COMMIT's ability to impact and support more veterans in their post-service lives. Thank you to our incredible sponsors at NEUCOA, the only provider in Hampton Roads Virginia offering the next generation of FDA approved treatment for major depression, obsessive compulsive and other neurological disorders. We are grateful for the support of veteran owned and operated Cardomax with their game-changing hydration, immunity, and performance supplements. Also, we thank StickerMule for their contributions to this event! For more information and to register for the event.

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  • Aug 15, 2022

    A COMMIT Summer: Spanning the Nation

    This summer, COMMIT explored new opportunities to reach veterans across the country, making new friends and growing our network of advocates and allies at every turn. In June, the Marcus Institute for Brain Health hosted COMMIT’s Transition Mentoring Workshop at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. With twelve all-star experts from COMMIT’s alumni and advocate network, our service recipients listened to the incredible insights and sage wisdom they had to share while growing their own confidence through the transformative workshop. The sacred space created during a COMMIT workshop bolsters service recipients in a way that is hard to describe but also impossible to deny. We were so grateful to our mentors and hosts for joining us on this journey. Later in June, COMMIT offered two seminars to active duty special operators. The first, at Fort Belvoir, VA, had 41 participants and the other at Eglin Air Force Base, FL, had 54 participants. Connecting with this audience is always special to COMMIT because our very first service recipients came from the special operations community. COMMIT’s Michele Olive delivered presentations to these audiences and connected with service members on their hopes and aspirations for post-service success. Meanwhile, in Bozeman, MT, the weather took a turn for the beautiful while COMMIT’s partnership with Warriors and Quiet Waters grew during the Hunt for Purpose program. The elk hunting expedition 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. In the Northeast, COMMIT attended the unveiling of Freedom Alliance’s logo on a NASCAR manned by racer Santino Ferrucci at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA. Connecting with the veterans and gold star family members through the Freedom Alliance network was both touching and inspiring. Just East of the NASCAR event, COMMIT’s Corporate Programs partnered with Guggenheim Partners in the financial district of New York, NY, to deliver a three-part series of presentations aimed at bolstering the confidence, imagination, and information of their veteran interns. With lively discussion, candid insights, and guided exercises, the veteran interns were able to leverage COMMIT’s ethos as part of their internship experience. Finally, on the virtual front, COMMIT delivered two presentations as part of our webinar series: Values Based Decisions for Spouses and Michael Refuerzo’s Linkedin Networking. Amy Taft hosted an expert panel of three military spouses from very different paths who discussed what it meant to make values-based decisions through the challenges and victories in post-service life. COMMIT’s Mike Greenwood and Meagan Thrift hosted a discussion on personal branding on LinkedIn and then brought in the expert insight of Michael Refuerzo to provide insight and tactics on successfully leveraging LinkedIn. Both webinars were highly rated by participants and have since been posted on COMMIT’s Veteran Voices podcast. Summer of 2022 will stand as one for the record books in terms of COMMIT’s impact and reach and we owe it to our hardworking staff, beyond-deserving service recipients, and generously vested donors.

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  • May 23, 2022

    COMMIT Quarterly - Spring 2022 Edition

    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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