In a panel discussion moderated by Taylor McLemore, founder of Techstars Patriot Bootcamp, Mark Morris, CEO and Founder of MyGigline, Tameesha Desangles-Wilson, CEO and Founder of Wedding Worthy, and Jen Pilcher, CEO and Founder of Military One Click, gave us some real, in-depth insight about what it’s like to have military DNA and work in the civilian world. The following are quotes from Taylor, Mark, Tameesha, and Jen.
Jen (on some of the challenges facing veterans and families of veterans): “Every two years you’re moving, and that’s a ton of turnover…I have a team of 7 different virtual teammates, so we can work whenever and wherever we want.”
Taylor: “…Veterans are generally over-educated and under-employed.”
Mark (on his experience getting into startups in his transition back into civilian life): “When you’re in the military, that’s all you focus on…When I started getting back into the transition into civilian life, they told me ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, just go to the SBA and they’ll help you out.’ That didn’t work.”
Taylor (on qualities of veterans): “I’ve heard people say, ‘Don’t be afraid to tackle the general.’ They’re not afraid to make things happen.”
Tameesha (on qualities of veterans): “There’s no question that the mission has to be accomplished…There isn’t a rule book you can follow, so you have to be creative…”
Jen (on qualities of military spouses): “Military spouses don’t take no for an answer, either.”
Jen (on starting to build the company): “I just wanted to get it going because we didn’t know if we were going to be moving in three months.”
Mark (on what makes veterans different): “Creative problem solving. We’re used to operating with limited resources and under extreme stress, so you have to figure out how to get the job done…You learn both leadership and followership…You’re thrown in the fire as soon as you start [in the military], and I had 20 guys 20 years my senior under my wing. I had to lead.”
Taylor (on hiring veterans and military spouses): “The turnover rate is a lot lower…You’re building truly loyal entities.”
Mark (on stereotypes of veterans): “We don’t all have PTSD. Just get us incorporated into the world…back into civilian life. Don’t treat us differently.”
Tameesha (on Military-based leadership): “Military people have very high expectations for what leadership looks and feels like. If [the boss] isn’t living up to those standards you’re going to hear about it.”
Jen (on hiring veterans and military spouses): “They want to work. And you don’t have to look far. They’re all around you.”
Jen (on how military DNA operates when it comes to tech): “The military community is very tech-based because we have to use it. That’s usually the only way I can talk to my husband.”
The moral of the story: veterans are extremely loyal, hardworking, and versatile potential employees, and you don’t have to look far to find them.
Follow each of them here: Mark and MyGigline at @mygigline; Tameesha and Wedding Worthy at @WeddingWorthy; Jen and Military One Click at @military1click; and Taylor and Patriot Boot Camp at @T2theMac.