MSEJ August 2018 - Page 10

Market your hard-earned experience. Many women don’t actively market the incredible skills they gained in the military; I see it every day. Self-promotion is tough, and not just for women who are Veterans—it can be an uphill battle for women in general. One of the distinct advantages women in the military have is that promotions happen based on set standards and performance: you show up, you work hard, you meet the goals on a set path, and you make rank. Your rank is on your sleeve, you don’t have to promote yourself. In the civilian workplace, your rank won’t be clearly visible, and

you’ll have to learn to walk the line between humility and the ability to advocate for yourself. Failure to do so can lead to women falling behind their male counterparts in the workplace.

Build camaraderie with other women Veterans. Connect with other women and women Veterans. Join groups, build relationships, celebrate each others' wins, commiserate over the losses. Find a mentor and be a mentor to someone else. We all need a sense of community, to be with others who have shared similar experiences. No one should walk this Veteran journey alone.

Inspire others. Women Veterans like Kayla Williams and Major Hager are just two examples out of the thousands of women Veterans dedicated to leading change on a national and global level. So many women Veterans are silently creating transformations in their homes, workplaces, and communities. It’s time to share that success, and to inspire others to do the same.

As a result of your life and your service, you’ve been wired with grit and grace. Recognize yourself, value your service, and see the sacrifices you’ve made for what they are. Your journey and ability to own your status matter more than you know to the women who will follow your lead, looking for an example.

Charlie M. Palumbo is the Director of Transition and Employment Programs at the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS), where she serves as primary lead on developing and overseeing the creation of a transition and employment programs at the DVS. She leads the Virginia Values Veteran Program (V3), Military Medic and Corpsman Program (MMAC), Virginia Transition Assistance Program (VTAP) and the Skills Bridge Program; all of these programs create opportunities and pathways for employment for veterans and their spouses. Prior to DVS, Ms. Palumbo spent three years at the Virginia Employment Commission, as the Veteran Program Manager, where she oversaw the Bridge to Employment Program and the Jobs for Veterans Program. She also worked for several years at the Office of Personnel Management, as a Program Coordinator at the Federal Executive Institute. She spent four years in the Navy stationed in Yokosuka, Japan and then accompanied her husband as a military spouse for a four year tour in Naples, Italy. She is staff for the Virginia Governor’s Workforce Board, lead on the DVS Workforce Steering Committee, and sits on multiple veteran focused committees in Virginia. Ms. Palumbo is a published author of The Face of a Memory.