Jul 13, 2020

COMMIT Q2 Report: Make an Impact - Support our Veterans

The COMMIT Foundation recognizes that in unprecedented times we all benefit from connection, information, and guidance. ...

The COMMIT Foundation recognizes that in unprecedented times we all benefit from connection, information, and guidance. 2020 has been COMMIT’s busiest year to date. We are dedicated to addressing the challenges our Nation’s service members and veterans face as they transition from military into civilian life. We are uniquely positioning COMMIT to serve during COVID-19 and scale our services as the need for transition assistance increases. A Virtual Reception with USSOCOM Leadership On Thursday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. EST / 5:30 p.m. MDT/ 4:30 p.m. PST COMMIT will host a special conversation with Vice Admiral Tim Szymanski and his incredible wife, Marci where they will engage us in an inspiring discussion from the special operations community and share how military service impacts the physical, emotional, and mental health of not only our service members, but their families as well. We will also be joined by the Honorable Jared Polis, Governor of Colorado. Please support COMMIT and join us! COMMIT Launches Virtual Workshops In April and May 2020, The COMMIT Foundation hosted two four-day virtual workshops for transitioning service members and veterans. We were blessed to have outstanding COMMIT mentors volunteer their time to share stories and counsel in order to connect with our program participants. The COMMIT workshops focused on group discussions around transition and provided an opportunity for participants to share their concerns and experiences with other transitioning veterans. Participants gathered online twice after each workshop to share insights as to how their outreach efforts were going and to encourage each other to further develop their narratives and networks. “Well-being is made up of meaningful work and meaningful relationships,” said Lacey Sladky, a COMMIT facilitator and coach during her opening remarks at the April workshop. COMMIT is proud of the incredible work and lasting relationships that our programs make possible. “These were particularly interesting workshops as they were the first conducted via a virtual setting,” said Scott Walgren, Chief Programs Officer for The COMMIT Foundation. “We were worried about how participants would respond to an online platform, but were pleasantly surprised at how effective it was. We definitely see virtual workshops being part of our plans moving forward.” Staff commented that the online platform allowed participants to quickly engage with one another from the comfort of their own homes. Reggie Mills, Director of Veteran Services for COMMIT and a Navy veteran said, “I am truly honored to be part of an organization focused on assisting top-tier service members with their growth in the transition space.” He then summed up the event adding, “It’s exciting to see the information, imagination, and confidence gaps closing in our Nation’s finest.” Shaun McAndrew, a Navy captain and participant in the May workshop stated, “COMMIT has been phenomenal adding an outsider view with genuine, critical, and caring communication.” “I've tried other transition programs, and the first thing they ask for is my resume,” added McAndrew. “COMMIT filled in the gaps.” Members shared their appreciation for COMMIT’s work. “I just wanted to thank you and the whole organization for the opportunity to participate in the workshop,” said Josh Salem, an Army colonel retiring in January 2021 and a participant in the May workshop. “It was an amazing experience that definitely helped me construct a solid narrative (finally) and have more confidence asking for help from mentors.” COMMIT Offers Online Seminar to Naval Surface Warfare Operators The COMMIT Foundation was honored to host an online seminar May 19 for 37 Naval Surface Warfare Operators, Direct Support, and their spouses for a discussion on military transition and how The COMMIT Foundation can be of benefit in that journey. In addition to the information about our high-touch, individualized services, we walked the cohort through exercises and handouts to highlight our unique approach. Mimi Bock, mentor and board member, and Brian Ferguson, a former SEAL and COMMIT Alum, engaged the group with questions and answers from their impressive professional experiences and provided helpful insights. Brian shared a document with the participants that included answers to questions frequently asked by transitioning NSW members. Feedback noted that the seminar was “very focused, but open and exploratory as well.” Imagine how much benefit comes from ongoing assistance if COMMIT can make this much impact in a few hours. COMMIT Hosts Webinar - Hiring During COVID As COVID presented unique challenges to those in the midst of career transitions, COMMIT responded with its first-ever webinar on hiring on June 4. The webinar brought together talent experts to share their insights on how to interview and transition in the time of COVID. Matt Oberhardt, Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, Renee Whalen, Managing Director of Strategic Accounts for Robert Half, and Erin Scruggs, Senior Director of Talent Acquisitions at LinkedIn, spent an hour with COMMIT’s Scott Walgren, Chief of Programs, and shared tips and strategies for how candidates can better understand and navigate the current interviewing and hiring environment. 100 veterans transitioning from the military listened to the discussion and posed questions to the panelists. Feedback has been positive on the insight provided. Transitioning service member, Martha Foss, added, "Like everything else that The COMMIT Foundation puts its name on, this event, too, was extremely well planned and executed to perfection. The content was 100% relevant, informative, and timely. I am grateful for the additional knowledge this hiring panel armed me with that I will use on my transition journey. I continue to be both honored and humbled to be a part of The COMMIT Foundation." Panel advice ranged from recognizing the corporate culture that candidates are seeking and ways to evaluate culture in a remote environment, understanding the prevalence of and personal comfort level for remote work moving forward, as well as how to highlight soft skills to successfully stand out amongst other candidates. The panelists emphasized that hiring hasn’t stopped, but rather changed in terms of how candidates are being evaluated and what work may look like moving forward. Renee Whalen shared, “I recommend being open-minded and flexible to what’s available. Bring the confidence you currently have in your military role to the new environment. And, learn to be a video star so you’re comfortable being you on camera.” COMMIT looks forward to offering future panels on relevant topics. Thank you to United Airlines Miles on a Mission The COMMIT Foundation was chosen by United Airlines to be one of the nonprofits highlighted in their Miles on a Mission program. Through this program United MileagePlus members were able to donate their miles to COMMIT with a limited match from United. As a result 1,500,000 miles were donated to COMMIT for our service members and veterans. COMMIT will use these miles for our veterans to travel to programs and professional development. Looking Ahead Please visit The COMMIT Foundation events page to learn more about our upcoming fall workshops

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  • Apr 8, 2020

    COMMIT Q1 Report: Invest in Veterans & Make an Impact

    Dear COMMIT Friends, On April 8, The COMMIT Foundation conducted its Q1 2020 Board Meeting. The team was excited to share our 2019 audit results and report our busiest quarter since inception with 340 persons applying for assistance and 704 services provided to 304 of our Nation’s finest January through March. This represented a 48% increase from the previous quarter. COMMIT is poised to serve veteran participants during this time thanks to two incredible online products our team began building in 2018. The Pursue Your Purpose Online Transition Assistance Program and Digital Library are absolute game-changers for transitioning servicemembers and veterans. We are also running our first virtual transition workshop this week. Our unique curriculum offers a non-clinical approach to mental health that ensures our men and women leaving uniform are in the right headspace before they make their career decisions. We focus on our veterans being happy and leading meaningful lives and careers post-service. As we eagerly move into Q2, we are focused on 2020 Objectives, continuing to innovate our delivery model, and de-risking our business at a strange time in history. Above all, we are focused on taking care of one another with the qualitative level of care for which we are known. In light of our 2020 Objectives, COMMIT is expanding our Corporate Education Program. In the coming weeks, we will offer a series of virtual workshops for talent management professionals to help them become veteran ready employers. To our COMMIT Community, we are honored to serve you and yours during the transition from the military to the next chapter. If you are a like-minded organization that focuses on quality of service and the reinvestment of our men and women in uniform into the fabric of our Nation, please reach out to us. Yours in Service, The COMMIT Team

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  • Apr 6, 2020

    The COMMIT Foundation Launches Campaign on United Airlines' Miles Crowdsourcing Platform

    April 6. 2020 Bozeman, MT – Today, The COMMIT Foundation announces that United Airlines MileagePlus members can now donate their miles to help servicemembers and veterans travel to our two day Transition Mentoring Workshops. Through United’s Miles on a Mission crowdfunding platform, MileagePlus members can use their miles for good and contribute to campaigns that help support communities in need. The COMMIT Foundation is aiming to raise 1,000,000 miles by May 16, 2020 to provide airfare for our servicemembers and veterans to travel to our Transition Mentor Workshops hosted across the Country. These miles will help support The COMMIT Foundation’s broader mission of helping exceptional U.S. servicemembers and veterans transition into successful roles and careers post- service. To help The COMMIT Foundation reach this goal, United will match all miles earned for this campaign. “The miles raised through Miles on a Mission will positively impact our servicemembers and veterans to travel to our Women’s transition workshop this fall in New York City. Your donation will help build upon our recent uptick in programming, so far in 2020 we have had 340 people apply for COMMIT services and have provided 776 services to 304 individuals thus far,” said Anne Meree Craig, CEO & Co-Founder, The COMMIT Foundation. Miles on a Mission is a part of United’s Every Action Counts pledge, which aims to connect people, unite the world and serve communities by putting people and planes to work for the greater good. Eligible charities can apply for the chance to launch a 45-day campaign to raise miles that help them deliver on their missions through travel. “Miles on a Mission is another great example of the many ways United supports the communities where we live, work and fly,” said Sharon Grant, vice president and chief community engagement officer at United Airlines. “The program not only allows us to connect with even more organizations than before but also gives our customers the chance to donate their miles and support the charities and causes that mean the most to them.” For more information on Miles on a Mission or to donate miles, please visit ### Assisting America’s top-tier veterans in finding purpose as they transition from military careers to civilian life.

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  • Mar 17, 2020

    The COMMIT Foundation featured on NBC TODAY!

    Army veteran Les Craig, struggled acclimating back to life when he returned home after serving. His wife, Anne Meree Craig, started the COMMIT Foundation to help service members adjust to civilian life after returning home. The couple talks about how the organization assists veterans with the transition. See the segment HERE!

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  • Jan 23, 2020

    The COMMIT Foundation is honored to announce its second investment by The A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation!

    The A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation first partnered with COMMIT in 2018 with a two-year grant that focused on achieving additional scale through technology and partnership. With COMMIT’s continued success, the Clark Foundation has agreed to a second two-year investment, which enables COMMIT to continue its growth while not diluting the quality of its work. COMMIT is known across the veteran service space for prioritizing quality over quantity in delivering transition services for our Armed Forces. In 2020, The COMMIT Foundation will: Provide at least 2,000 programmatic services to more than 1,000 program participantsFocus on women, Special Operations Forces, and those with highly technical talentsFormalize and scale its mentoring and alumni programmingExpand Corporate Education programs to encompass workforce education and retention initiativesPartner with key sponsors to host 10 to 12 Transition Mentoring Workshops nationallyLeverage Pursue Your Purpose (PYP), COMMIT’s digital program platform, to achieve greater scale and impactBuild out its digital library of video resources to increase utilization and value to our participants and partnersLeverage our position as a thought leader, raise awareness and share best practices with other veteran service organizations nationwide to increase our collective impact“We are grateful to have found such a tremendous partner in the Clark Foundation, who continues to help us achieve our goals of changing the narrative in the veteran space. We have learned so much from our work with the Clark Foundation and it is hard to fathom a better partner.” - Anne Meree Craig, CEO & CO-Founder, The COMMIT Foundation “We at the Clark Foundation are continually impressed by how Anne Meree Craig and her team have thoughtfully grown their organization while maintaining and expanding COMMIT’s high-quality programs. We look forward to our partnership over the next two years and to their continued impact on the lives of the veterans they serve.” - Joe Del Guercio, President & CEO, A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation The COMMIT Foundation provides transitioning servicemembers and veterans with high-touch and individualized services to address his or her specific challenges, meeting them where they are in their personal transition journey ensuring a meaningful and purposeful transition both personally and professionally. Through COMMIT’s services, those served explore values, skills and life design fundamentals in order to identify individual sources of purpose and meaning. The COMMIT difference is making an impact on the way our Nation’s servicemembers transition out of uniform and into our civilian communities. The A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation partners with grantees who build practical, immediate and concrete connections between effort and opportunity, and focuses its investments in the following areas: educating engineers to solve society’s toughest problems, improving the lives of veterans and their families, and providing members of the DC community the best opportunity to thrive.

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  • Dec 28, 2019

    Happy 2020 from The COMMIT Foundation!

    A Marine’s Transition Story in 2019 - Gives back to COMMIT and other transitioning servicemembers and veterans Sean Forester retired from the Marine Corps in May 2019 and is now an Engagement Manager with Amazon Web Services, where they are lucky to have his talent, passion, and leadership. Sean’s transition planning began two years ago. Every week, he plugged into Justin Nassiri’s podcast, Beyond the Uniform. It was episode 154 that first introduced Sean to Anne Meree Craig, CEO of The COMMIT Foundation (COMMIT): COMMIT facilitates synergy between top tier servicemembers and veterans and seasoned professionals from industries in which they will thrive. Learning how COMMIT harnesses the power of networks and relationships, Sean connected with the organization in February of 2018 and attended a COMMIT transition workshop in Colorado Springs two months later. Sean knew from the beginning that COMMIT was not a typical Veterans Service Organization (VSO). COMMIT helped Sean identify his purpose and identity, expand his imagination, bolster his courage, and hone his skills in self-promotion. Anne Meree introduced him to Designing Your Life and thinking in the power of threes. He was connected with two of COMMIT’s fabulous coaches, Bridget and Laura, and was constantly on receive mode. Laura became his Executive Coach and engaged with him for a year. He worked through practically all of COMMIT’s online resources, to include CliftonStrengths. With the help of COMMIT, Sean knows what fuels his passion and his purpose in life. He lives each day focused on what he discovered during his transition from a Marine Corps Officer to a civilian. He’ll tell you his priorities are (in this order) 1. faith, 2. family and 3. work-life balance. This confidence of purpose and his faith allows Sean to pursue his path even when it’s difficult. In fact, when he left the military he had not one, but two false starts. Knowing the job wasn’t the right environment for him, he left one position after only five days. During trying times, Sean found comfort in one of his favorite scriptures: The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. -Proverbs 16:9 (NASB) Sean is an incredible advocate for COMMIT, and he hopes his story will encourage others to engage with the organization. “COMMIT removes the white noise to focus on the essentials of a successful transition. The operative word here is successful. Everyone ultimately transitions out of the military. One’s degree of success is a combination of deliberate planning, serendipity, and acceptance of uncertainty.” As we end 2019 and look to 2020, please take a moment to get to know the servicemembers and veterans in your life and consider supporting a veteran’s transition in 2020 by supporting The COMMIT Foundation. Sean Forester Amazon Web Services U.S. Veteran, U.S. Marine Corp COMMIT Alumnus To his brothers-and-sisters-in-arms navigating the turbulent waters of departing the military, Sean offers a quote from Frederick Douglas: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

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  • Dec 20, 2019

    "A Waterfall Effect" Jill Anderson

    Facing down separation from the U.S. Air Force, Jill Anderson’s feelings of being overwhelmed were in complete conflict to the “you’ll be fine; you’ll figure it out” mindset others in the Air Force espoused. When you meet Anderson, the first thing you notice is her vivacious and joyous personality and how she took transition head-on. A fellow Tuck School of Business Next Step Alumna, Maggie Ward, introduced her to The COMMIT Foundation. Anderson took advantage of COMMIT’s free, specialized services, and resources, including executive coaching and its selected transition handbook, Designing Your Life. By the time she fully separated from the Air Force in March 2019, she was well on her way to starting her next chapter at PayPal as an Engineering Program Manager. Anderson gives much credit to COMMIT for being a fully supportive, neutral party in her successful transition. PayPal’s values and culture are an excellent match for Anderson. PayPal supports her commitment as an Air Force Reservist, and they’ve highlighted Anderson in a recent video promoting veteran hiring. Another plus for Anderson is that at PayPal, she has her first female boss ever! Jill was worried about the financial burden an executive programs COMMIT gave her a scholarship to, Dartmouth’s Tucks Next Step Program. Anderson recommends COMMIT to friends, too. One, in particular, was extremely successful in his military career but had a tough transition, which is more common than most people know. He recently reached out and shared, “thank you for introducing me to COMMIT - I have a job.” Another of Anderson’s friends attended a COMMIT weekend program. Anderson knows that COMMIT offers servicemembers guidance and support that goes beyond one person’s transition. Anderson describes COMMIT as having a waterfall effect on individuals. “[COMMIT] is the gift that keeps on giving.” Jill Anderson Engineering Program Manager, PayPal U.S. Airforce Veteran and Reservist COMMIT Alumna Learn more about Anderson and her pursuit of purpose at every stage of her life: Article from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth Video from PayPal Thank you for supporting Jill in her transition journey.

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  • Dec 11, 2019

    COMMIT for 2020! By Justin Schaaf

    Entering the week of the 120th Army Navy game is a time where individuals from all over the world will rally around four words of their choosing with only the order of the words actually being of choice. These words will either be ‘Go Navy! Beat Army!’ OR ‘Go Army! Beat Navy!’ One of those mottos forever impacted my life in a way I never could’ve imagined. On December 10th, 2011 at FedEx Field, I, for the last time, wore shoulder pads and played in the Army Navy game - my last game. I was then deployed to Erbil, Iraq. Little did I know that almost 6 years to the day, I would’ve been wearing my uniform for the last time as an Officer in the United States Army and been wrapping up my first formal job interview for another football team in the Atlanta Falcons. This interview was made possible by many factors, but none more impactful than that of The COMMIT Foundation. Anne Meree Craig, The COMMIT team, 6th Wing, and many others helped create ‘Serendipity’ and afforded me an opportunity to ‘Pursue My Passion’ to work in the NFL. Today, because of them I am blessed to be in my 2nd season for the Atlanta Falcons and truly living out my lifelong dream to be in the NFL. The COMMIT Foundation is an organization I am forever thankful for and will always advocate for ‘every day, and twice on Sunday.’ Please make the choice to support COMMIT, so they can continue to help Veterans' transition experience. Thank you COMMIT, and in the spirit of Army Navy, I am going to also choose my four-word motto order as: GO ARMY! BEAT NAVY! Cheers, Justin Schaaf Special Assistant to the General ManagerCOMMIT AlumniVeteran, U.S. Army

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  • Nov 25, 2019

    Colorado Politics Top Story: Q&A with Shannon Kopp - Forging a New Path to Civilian Life

    Q&A with Shannon Kopp - Forging a New Path to Civilian Life Dan Njegomir, Colorado Politics Nov 25, 2019 https://www.coloradopolitics.c... Many in the U.S. military have faced challenges in battle that would be unimaginable in the average American workplace. Yet, one of the greatest challenges veterans will take on, sooner or later, is transitioning out of uniform — and into those same workplaces. It can be, in many ways, as much of a life-changing experience as it was to enter the military in the first place. And the nonprofit COMMIT Foundation in Denver is helping veterans cross that threshold in new, profound and far-reaching ways — distinguishing it from many other efforts serving veterans nationwide. "COMMIT provides a lifelong personal and individualized approach to the whole person, making sure they successfully transition both personally and professionally," the organization's Chief Development Officer Shannon Kopp tells us in today's Q&A. "It's not just about getting a job." Kopp, a veteran in her own right — not of the military, but of fundraising, in both politics and the nonprofit world — also talks about her work for some nationally prominent officeholders over the years. Like the late U.S. senator and 2008 presidential contender John McCain — and the "Governator" himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Colorado Politics: It’s a familiar image — the veteran who was a hero in uniform but is overlooked once back in the civilian world and especially on the career path. It’s why employers have been exhorted to “hire a vet” for generations. Where does COMMIT Foundation come into the equation? What does it do that other efforts in Colorado and across the country don’t or can’t do for veterans? Shannon Kopp: The COMMIT Foundation and its programming is about long-term happiness for our veterans; it’s not just about getting a job. COMMIT helps service members and veterans find a path that honors their service, skills, interests and long-term success. We give our program participants the tools to take a tactical pause, to have the confidence to imagine their best personal and professional life. COMMIT then supports that work with wrap-around services such as executive coaching, resume assistance, interview prep, and our online digital platform. These programs help reinvest our veterans into our communities and workforce in purposeful and meaningful ways. COMMIT’s difference, mission and vision is to serve the top 10% of service members transitioning out of the military each year, ensuring they design and live their best personal and professional life, meeting each individual where they are with an individualized approach. Additionally we work to ensure through our corporate education work that the professional world these veterans enter into is poised to recruit, integrate and retain them. Some might ask why investing in the top 10% matters. These men and women are force multipliers in our veteran population. They go on to lead in our companies and our communities. They go on to hire other veterans, run employee resource groups, and change the narrative about our veteran population. With more than 40,000 veteran service organizations in existence, many work in the transition space. Unfortunately, most programs tend to focus on the amount of people they serve rather than the quality of services provided. COMMIT does not tolerate mediocre programming. We do not accept a quantity over quality approach to transition work. We believe that the best approach is one where we build solutions around individuals. COMMIT does not focus on one branch of service, one military occupational specialty, or a particular rank; we serve all branches of service, all ranks, and all military occupational specialties. The requirement is that you show up committed to doing the work and investing in yourself. There is a sense of entitlement across the veteran population that we want to crush. We know the men and women who serve deserve the best but we also believe they need to put forth the effort to invest in themselves. This is what we screen for in our application process — fire in the belly! COMMIT provides a lifelong personal and individualized approach to the whole person, making sure they successfully transition both personally and professionally. COMMIT has built a team of teams made up of those who are the best in their fields to support and facilitate our workshops, to provide executive coaching, and to advise and mentor our participants through their entire transition journey. Shannon Kopp Named chief development officer of the COMMIT Foundation in July. Has been a consultant in nonprofit development and government affairs and has provided philanthropic advisory services focused on strategic organizational development, board cultivation and capacity building. Served in senior fundraising roles for presidential hopeful John McCain and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Holds a B.A. from the University of Southern California and a Masters of Science in Organizational Leadership with a specialization in Executive Leadership from Regis University in Denver. CP: What do you feel COMMIT has accomplished so far in serving veterans? Kopp: COMMIT has had a deep impact on the veteran service organization space and is poised to make an even greater impact in 2020 and beyond. COMMIT is a thought leader, changing the way veterans, civilians, corporate and philanthropic leaders view transition and support for veterans after their time in uniform. The COMMIT Foundation programs change the lives of individuals who are connected with us and are willing to invest in themselves for transition and the rest of their lives. COMMIT services are free to individual service members; we are authentic and truly meet people where they are. COMMIT has a footprint in the space having built the Stanford Ignite Program for Vets, Dartmouth Tuck's School of Business, Next Step for Veterans and Team USA Athletes. In 2016 COMMIT received an investment from Marc and Laura Andreessen Philanthropies to build strategic initiatives around veterans in Silicon Valley. There is programming at Facebook, Palantir Technologies, Breakline Education and Guggenheim Partners because of our work and our relationships. We have nurtured a powerful ecosystem. CP: By just about any measure, the American public loves members of the U.S. Armed Forces. If anything, it should be easier for a veteran to transition to a new career than for the population at large, yet that’s not necessarily the case. Why do veterans face so many challenges after life in the service? Kopp: What we have seen is that most veterans face gaps in three things or some combination of them. There is a gap in information; they don’t understand how their skills transfer. There is a gap in confidence, no matter what they did in uniform. And, there are huge gaps in imagination. The military doesn’t foster creativity. These men and women aren’t taking the blinders off to realize the host of possibilities. There are other problems we could discuss as well such as prioritizing paycheck over lifestyle or problems with certifications and the transfer of credentials. We also have many problems on the corporate side. With 99% of the country not serving in the military, there is a lack of understanding on the civilian and employer side too. Finally, and where COMMIT works to focus is that most programs try to hand jam our veterans into a job so that they can say they did or so that they can receive a referral fee. This is simply not OK. We have to give our men and women the time to decompress if necessary, take a tactical pause to determine the next best steps, and give them the resources to design, build, and live the lives they want to live. CP: What are some of the biggest misconceptions that lifelong civilians harbor about veterans?Kopp: The COMMIT Foundation Corporate Education Program addresses the following misconceptions about veterans: Veterans are highly trained and adaptable leaders while in uniform. Their highly effective leadership skills and take-charge attitude honed while serving may conflict with civilian organization culture and co-workers. Veterans are accustomed to high “operational tempo” and ever-changing environments. In slower-paced work environments, veterans may be perceived as disengaged or disinterested. The nature of military work is dependent on a strong leadership hierarchy. Without a clear line to leadership, veterans may be perceived as disempowered, unproductive and lacking self-confidence. Similarly, veterans are accustomed to highly structured work schedules and expectations. Without set goals, adequate training and a clear mission, veterans may be perceived as frustrated, and overly passionate. That every veteran who has served in combat has Post Traumatic Stress. This misperception results in stereotyping and potentially negative outcomes for veterans not only within their communities, but also in their place of work. CP: You have an extensive background in fund-raising and development, not only on behalf of nonprofits but also some partisan campaigns. Notable among those was the 2008 presidential bid of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain. What are some of the key differences between fund-raising for partisan efforts and non-political endeavors like COMMIT, which presumably must cast a broader net in growing its support base? Kopp: Fundraising for any U.S. senator is inherently political, of course, but with Sen. McCain, whom I was honored to know since I was a young girl, and later work for, it was always — always — about putting our country first. In this respect, that work was somewhat akin to my work for The COMMIT Foundation. It is such a privilege to get up each day and work on behalf of the 1% of our nation who has put their life on hold and on the line, to protect our freedoms. As a nonprofit organization, we are non partisan and non-political, as it should be. Our service members and veterans come from diverse backgrounds. Our generous donor base is similarly diverse. CP: What was it like working with former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger? Kopp: My first real exposure to the fundraising business was with Gov. Schwarzenegger’s reelection campaign . He had great vision for the state. He was also very kind and inclusive and went out of his way to make those around him feel comfortable. His warmth was genuine. I was afforded a great many exhilarating and often heady opportunities to learn on the job. A favorite memory of mine involved an event for Gov. Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver, and meeting the First Lady’s mother, one of the matriarchs of the Kennedy family, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of the late John F. Kennedy, founder of the Special Olympics. CP: What brought you to Colorado and what keeps you here? Kopp: I was living in Alexandria, Virginia, in 2009 and wanted to find my way west again. I love the West and grew up in Idaho, Arizona and spent my college and first working years in California. I was looking at jobs in Colorado when I heard former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton was running for the U.S. Senate. I had never met her but was inspired by her career path and public service. I moved to Denver in October of 2009 to work for her, and she has become a lifelong friend and mentor. After her race I was hired by the late Ambassador Marilyn Ware to run her philanthropic and political giving. Working for Ambassador Ware opened many doors which led me to where I am today. I met my now-husband, state Sen. Mike Kopp. Mike had lost his first wife to cancer, and I met our children on our first outing, eight years ago in November. We dated and were engaged and married in April of 2013. Our family (which continues to grow) and our great community keeps me in Colorado. I am inspired by the leaders in our community who put country first and strive to serve those who serve us. I am the proud wife of a veteran and mother of a son currently serving in the U.S. Army. Go Army. Beat Navy.

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  • Nov 11, 2019

    Change the Narrative, Ignite Imagination!

    Let's change more lives in 2020, together! The COMMIT Foundation is refining a high-impact, individualized approach to transition services for our nation’s high performing veterans. We are dedicated to addressing the many challenges US military servicemembers face as they transition out of the military and into civilian life and to helping servicemembers and veterans discover their purpose, both personally and professionally. When you provide information, bolster confidence and ignite imagination, you change lives for the better. Join us in changing the lives of our transitioning servicemembers and veterans! VIDEO: Emily Miller - Pay It Forward

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