We are here to help!
Whether you served 3 years or 23 years, as you prepare to transition out of the military, a mentor to provide advice and guidance will be helpful.
This podcast series was created to give you a platform to learn from mentors. By interviewing those veterans who have already traveled the transition path before you, we give you insight and information on what worked and didn't work for them, help you prepare for potential obstacles and plan for your own transition success.
Our goal is to give you actionable ideas every single week that you can use to guide your transition out of the military, no matter which direction you choose to travel.
Celebrating One Year of the Lessons Learned for Vets Podcast - Part 2
Surprise! I know I said that last week was our final episode of the season, but we had so much fun recapping the highlights of the last year, that I invited Bob Newlin and Jonathan Fisher to join me to share their favorite episodes. We highlight Episode 2 with Keith Forte, Episode 8 with Ben Killoy, Episode 15 with Misty Moreno, Episode 16 and 17 with Herb Thompson and we look at another clip from Episode 19 with Adam Braatz. Jonathan and I revisit my resume episode with Alfredo Torres and we wrap up Episode 50 with Matt Scherer and Episode 52 with Don Gleason.
Celebrating One Year of the Lessons Learned for Vets Podcast - Part 1!
Episode 58: We are welcoming back our friend and, now three-time guest, Chris Dreisbach to recap his favorite episodes from the last year. We are so grateful to have you as our listener and want to thank you for tuning in to all the episodes. These recaps will wrap up our Season 1 of the show. Be on the lookout for Season 2 in early January 2022. More details to come!
Growing Stronger Through Adversity with Lakeydra Houston
Episode 57: Lakeydra Houston is currently going through her retirement from the United States Air Force. She is in the SkillBridge program and offers some program insight and advice. Lakeydra talks about her experience with sexual assault in the military and how her avoidance of that experience and other tragedies led her to attempt suicide. Today, she is committed to advocating for other victims and she talks about how she fought her way through the darkness to thriving today. If you or someone you know is struggling or having suicidal thoughts, you can reach help with the Suicide Crisis Number at 800-273-8255.
Showcasing Your Personality with Charlie Wells
Episode 56: After retiring from the US Marine Corps, Charles Wells had an easy transition. He quickly landed a good job in the private sector through networking. Within a few months, he was able to secure a position with the federal government, where he gets to continue making a difference for military service members. He attributes his "easy" transition to his mindset. Charlie is known for his humor and outgoing personality, but he has so much great advice about the military transition in this episode including his 6 steps to success, creating LinkedIn content and the importance of being authentic.
Navigating the Veteran Benefits Process with Cheryl Mason
Episode 55: Cheryl Mason is the Chairman of the Board of Veterans' Appeals. As a military spouse of a former USAF officer and the daughter of a veteran, Cheryl understands the veteran benefits process, both from a leadership perspective and a personal viewpoint. Cheryl gives input on navigating the benefits process, both as you transition and throughout your life as your needs change. She discusses the transition process as a military spouse and the importance of mental health awareness as her father and brother, both veterans, committed suicide. She shares many resources as well as the Suicide Crisis Number at 800-273-8255.
Military Transition Q&A with Jonathan Fisher
Episode 54: Jonathan Fisher is preparing to transition from a career in the US Army in aviation maintenance into the IT career field. He comes on to ask me questions about transition burnout, pursuing SkillBridge opportunities, how often and what to post on LinkedIn, how to translate transferable skills and how to take advantage of all the Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) out there without getting overwhelmed. Jonathan also shares his news about landing two great SkillBridge offers and how he made the decision of which one to accept, even though the other one was his "dream" opportunity.
Focusing Your Job Search with Jason Willett
Episode 53: Jason Willett retired from the US Army as a Command Sergeant Major. He went from deployed overseas to retired in a very short period. That abrupt "full stop" caused some bumps in his transition, but after he focused on where he wanted to live and what he wanted to do, his networking efforts helped him land a great job. Though it was a good job, he found himself feeling unhappy and unfulfilled and he set out to discover his purpose. Jason shares his struggles and what he learned from that process as well as valuable insight into SkillBridge internships and networking.
Discovering Your Purpose with Don Gleason
Episode 52: Retired US Air Force officer Don Gleason knew exactly what he wanted to do with his career from a very young age. He had a successful military career and then a smooth transition to the private sector. However, his focus changed several years ago and he found a new purpose as a career coach and in serving veterans in transition. He walks you through his process of discovering your purpose, creating your life plan and shifting your point of view about the difficulty of your military transition.
Military Transition Q&A with Darwin Maull
Episode 51: Retiring US Army officer Darwin Maull gets the chance to ask Lori some of his important questions about the military transition. This episode touches on topics such as the most common pitfalls of the transition process, how to figure out your post-military career focus, when and how to use a "master" resume, how to learn to translate military terminology and "speak civilian," as well as tips for international job hunting and video interviews.
Leveraging LinkedIn with D. Matt Scherer
Episode 50: Matt Scherer retired from the Air Force from a career in public affairs. After completing his degree, he had a successful public relations career in the private sector. Today, Matt focuses his efforts on teaching LinkedIn profile creation and how to leverage your profile. He is the author of several books, including LinkedIn for Military: Your Interactive Transition Networking Guide. Matt and I walk you through creating your LinkedIn profile from top to bottom and then discuss how to effectively use this valuable job search tool.
Networking for Introverts with Quincy Harper
Episode 49: Quincy Harper landed and quit 4 jobs before he found the right position after he retired from the United States Air Force. Now, as a Military Recruiting Talent Lead with Accenture Federal Services, he shares some job seeker best practices and advice. We talk about how it felt, as a veteran who is naturally loyal, to quit those jobs and whether or not he regrets the path his transition took. For those of you who feel nervous about networking, be sure to tune in to hear Quincy's take on how he handles networking and seeking out mentors, even as an introvert.
Leaving the Safe Path Behind with Dr. Vincent Soto
Episode 48: Dr. Vincent Soto retired from the US Navy as a hospital corpsman. He knew his passion was teaching and training, but he chose the safe path and took a well-paying job in the healthcare industry. Though he stuck it out for 7 months, he knew from his first day that this job was not the right path for him. In this episode Vince talks about how he used networking to change career fields and he now uses his own experience to educate transitioning service members.
Asking the Right Interview Questions with Beau Higgins
Episode 47: Retired US Marine Corps officer Beau Higgins is a senior manager on Amazon’s Military Affairs team. He oversees a team of recruiters dedicated to educating, recruiting, hiring and retaining veteran talent and currently manages 30K job openings. After retiring in 2014, Beau attributes landing both of his post-military jobs to networking. As someone who has hired 1000s of veterans, Beau offers advice on job search strategies, resumes, job interviews, networking and finding the right culture fit.
Hitting the Pause Button with Lori Norris
Episode 46: With the events that have been unfolding this week in Afghanistan, I made the decision to hit the pause button on new episodes regarding transition. I want you to take this as your opportunity to remember that it is okay to take a break and hit pause on your transition efforts to take care of yourself and your family. Please take a minute to hear my message of gratitude and encouragement for all who have served - whether you directly deployed to Afghanistan or not. We will be back next week with our regular episodes!
Preparing for Post-military Culture Shock with Ryan Thuyns
Episode 45: After a USAF career that started in IT and telecommunications, Ryan Thuyns retired as a Command Chief. Ryan leaned into mentorship and accepted Lori's challenge to grow his LinkedIn network from <100 to 500+ connections in 6 weeks. In this episode, he not only shares his strategies for LinkedIn growth, he also talks about how he landed a leadership role at Amazon, 7 months before retirement! Stick around for the good stuff at the end when Ryan talks about the surprise culture shocks he has faced and wants other transitioning service members to prepare for.
Opening Your Mind to New Possibilities with Peter Cline
Episode 44: After serving 4 years in the US Army and being recognized as the 2020 NCO of the Year, Peter Cline made the decision to separate from the military and pursue his education. Along the way, he co-founded Boots to Books, a non-profit that is making a huge impact to service members in all facets of their transition - including college admission, certifications and trainings, grants and employment. Peter gives advice on starting a non-profit as well as tips on how to avoid undervaluing yourself and the importance of keeping your mind open to new career options.
Military Transition Q&A with Lisa Ceron
Episode 43: Lisa Ceron asks some great questions as she prepares for her retirement from the US Navy. We discuss mental health stigmas, being yourself in the job search and some of the "common denominators" of the military transition process. I ask her some questions about the lessons that she has learned about the transition process. Along the way, I share some coaching and insight about interview preparation, moving from "we" to "I" when discussing your accomplishments and much more.
Taking Control of Your Job Search Round 2 with Chris Dreisbach
Episode 42: You may remember USAF veteran Chris Dreisbach from Episode 25 when he shared with us the story of why he left his first post-military role within just 3 months. Chris is back to give us an update on what he's been doing, how he approached the next job search in a much more methodical way so that he had more control and tells us all about the great new role he landed. He changed his approach to interviewing and to researching his potential employer which he shares with you in this episode.
Going from Laid Off to Hired in 5 Hours with Marina Rabinek
Episode 41: US Navy veteran Marina Rabinek had a smooth transition. She started networking early, built a strong LinkedIn network, created a support tribe and participated in a SkillBridge internship that turned into a full-time role when she retired. Unfortunately, within 3 months her position was eliminated. That is when Marina's hard work and strong network paid off. Marina is a super-connector and master networker. In this episode, she shares how she went from being informed that she was laid-off to getting offered a new job in such a short time.
Simplifying Your Transition with William "Bill" Kieffer
Episode 40: Though his transition from the US Army was 20+ years ago, Bill Kieffer was unprepared for his transition. He had to quickly learn how to network, write a resume and market himself. He went on to build a successful career in human resources and is now a coach and mentor for service members and others in career transition. Bill discusses the upcoming launch of his book "Military Career Transition: Insights from the Employer Side of the Desk." He shares valuable insight, from the employers' point of view, into the job search and military transition process.
Growing and Sustaining Your Network with Clifton Clevenger
Episode 39: US Army veteran Clifton Clevenger served 10 years and has been a military spouse for 16 years. Cliff made some mistakes along the way, but he has become an expert networker. He is now dedicated to serving veterans and military spouses by providing job search support. He shares what he has learned along the way as he has had to restart his career 8 times due to military PCS moves. Listen in for Cliff's advice on networking, writing a resume, researching your potential employer and preparing for the job interview process.
Prioritizing Your Mental Health to Achieve Post-military Success with Ray Jokie
Episode 38: Ray Jokie had great success in the United States Air Force and his identity was closely tied to his USAF career. Unfortunately, when he retired, he struggled so much that he was not sure if he would make it to the next day. Thankfully, he found several sources of support and refocused on his mental health in order to pull himself out of a rough period. Now, as a talent acquisition specialist, Ray shares not only his struggles, but also his advice for connecting with recruiters, building your resume and networking to achieve success.
Networking Strategically and Knowing your Recruiters with Wayne Worthington
Episode 37: USMC veteran Wayne Worthington went from his 5-year service into the executive recruiting career field. Wayne gives us his insider's perspective on the different types of recruiters, strategies to optimize your success working with recruiters and even shares a few names of veteran-focused recruiting agencies. Additionally, Wayne has a great strategy for networking strategically and building your own transition accountability and support group.
Accepting Change and Practicing Gratitude - Even in the Face of Traumatic Events with Justin Constantine
Episode 36: Wounded Warrior and USMC veteran Justin Constantine was shot in the head by a sniper in Iraq and though he has had countless reconstructive surgeries, he has gone on to build his own business, enjoy a successful career with a workforce development company and launch a non-profit called Veteran Success Resource Group. In 2020, Justin was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer, but listen in as he shares how his attitude toward life has helped him succeed, despite all the setbacks he has faced.
Getting Comfortable with being Uncomfortable to Find the Right Fit with Greg Fischer
Episode 35: Greg Fischer served 4 years and 3 combat tours in the US Marine Corps. When he separated from the military, he went to school, completed his degree and took a job in insurance and finance. On the surface his transition looked seamless. However, he was not happy in this role. In 2020, Greg and a business partner started Burn Pit BBQ teaching people how to barbecue and selling rubs and sauces. Listen as Greg discusses what helped him make this change and all the times he had to learn to embrace discomfort in order to move forward toward a fulfilling career.
Making the Connection between Military Skills and Your New Career with Dave Poole
Episode 34: 21-year USMC veteran Dave Poole served as a combat engineer who successfully landed a post-military role in software development. In this episode Dave takes us through how he made this big career change. Networking and mentorship through a new connection he met on LinkedIn played a key role in him landing this new role. He also participated in the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (MSSA) SkillBridge program and shares some resources he developed to help other veterans interested in MSSA.
Improving Your Marketability and Enhancing Your Leadership Skills with the RBLP Certification
Episode 33: USMC veteran Mark Holman and US Navy veteran Marina Rabinek discuss the Resilience-Building Leader Program and the value of the Resilience-Building Leadership Professional certification. Listen in as Mark tells us how the certification program can improve your ability to communicate your value and Marina takes us through the program and how active duty service members can pay for their certification before they transition.
Bouncing Back from Getting Fired to Finding the Right Fit with the Federal Government with Cindy Dorfner
Episode 32: Cindy Dorfner retired from the USAF in 2013. She quickly landed a director-level role in the private sector and although she wasn't happy with the role herself, within 6 months she was fired from her first post-military job. Today, she holds a high-level leadership role in the federal government and has found that the environment is a better fit for her. She shares her insight on successfully applying with and working for the federal government, both as a job seeker and a hiring authority.
Honoring the Military Spouse in the Transition with Shelley-Rose Illig
Episode 31: In honor of Military Spouse Appreciation Day, we are hearing from Shelley-Rose Illig. Rose is the spouse of US Army active duty soldier and now US Army reservist. Rose is a business analyst and project coordinator with a financial institution. However, the transition out of the military was neither planned nor a smooth process for her and her husband. We discuss the challenges of the military transition from the spouse's perspective. Rose also has some great financial insight that you may not have considered yet in your planning process.
Pursuing Your Dreams After the Military with Chris McGhee
Episode 30: After retiring from the Air Force, Chris McGhee made the decision to pursue his lifelong dream of going to law school. Listen in as Chris talks about how his maturity and his military career has helped him get through the challenges of law school. In addition, Chris shares the lessons he has learned about networking, navigating the online application process and his own strategies for success in acing the job interview. Chris also highlights his podcast "20 Years Done" focused on aircraft maintenance.
Adapting to the High-tech Culture as a Veteran with Jerry Prochazka
Episode 29: A Navy veteran and a veteran of the gaming industry, Jerry Prochazka transitioned out of his military service as a nuclear engineer and is now the CEO and co-founder of Ganymede Games, a start-up game design company that is launching its first game later this year. Jerry shares insight into the different structure and communication style of the tech industry while also discussing the common factors he has seen among the veterans who achieved success in high-tech careers.
Negotiating the Salary You're Worth and Translating Your Skills with Mark Holman
Episode 28: Mark Holman retired from the US Marine Corps 10+ years ago. He shares the transition mistakes he made as well as valuable insight for job seekers that he has gained as an executive leader and hiring manager. Mark and Lori give advice about how to research your value and have the salary conversation with your future employer. Also, Mark gives a real-world example of how to translate military leadership into terms any private sector employer will understand.
Military Transition Q&A and a Bonus Success Story with Robert "Bob" Newlin
Episode 27: Bob Newlin asks some great job search and military transition strategy questions as he prepares to retire from the United States Air Force from an overseas location. In this episode we talk about value-add versus non-value-add job search tasks, who to connect with on LinkedIn and beating the ATS. As a bonus, Bob comes back for a follow up to share some exciting news and give you his "4 BE's" that contributed to his relatively new military transition success.
Finding Your Why, What and Where You're Going with Justin Pearson
Episode 26: Retired Army leader Justin Pearson has been a mentor and advocate in the military transition space since 2016. Justin has held senior leadership roles with companies such as AAFMAA and Wells Fargo. He discusses how he navigated the transition landscape before there were so many resources available, how he found his way to networking and mentorship and what he learned from his stumbles and struggles.
Finding out Your Dream Job is a Nightmare with Chris Dreisbach
Episode 25: On the surface, 21-year USAF veteran Chris Dreisbach had a seemingly perfect transition - from service to SkillBridge to multiple job offers and a great job above his salary goals. Within 3 months he was overworked and unhappy. He had the courage to leave his first post-military job that wasn't right for him. He shares what he learned along the way and highlights how this podcast helped him through it all.
Overcoming Early Trauma and Building Resiliency with Ericka Kelly
Episode 24: Ericka Kelly retired from the US Air Force Reserve where she was one of the top 3 Chief Enlisted Master Sergeants and from Federal Law Enforcement, working for the Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection Agency. This episode is a bit different in that it starts with stories of Ericka's earlier life that shaped her resiliency and built who she was in the military and is today.
Writing Your Military Transition Resume Part 2 with Alfredo Torres
Episode 23: In the 2nd part of the episode with US Navy veteran Alfredo Flores, he and host Lori Norris discuss the resume. They cover subjects such as should you pay for assistance with a resume and offer tips on what a good resume should include. To wrap up, Alfredo shares his lessons learned during his career as a veteran in transition, a veteran advocate and educator.
Adapting to Overcome Military Transition Barriers with Alfredo Torres
Episode 22: After suffering what he calls a "very painful transition," US Navy veteran Alfredo Torres has today settled into his role as the Virginia Transition Assistance Program Regional Coordinator. He dedicates his time and efforts to helping other veterans avoid the obstacles he faced. In part 1 of this two-part episode, Alfredo shares his thoughts on how veterans can adapt to achieve success.
Military Transition Q&A with Derek Moore
Episode 21: USMC veteran Derek Moore asks some great questions about the transition process such as the importance of SkillBridge and mentors, the best job search websites, the pros and cons of professional resumes and Lori's top 5 transition preparation action items. Additionally, he shares how he was able to prioritize his education while serving, as he will have almost finished a doctorate degree.
Following the Non-traditional Post-military Path with Amanda Huffman
Episode 20: After serving 6 years in the Air Force, Amanda Huffman traded in her combat boots for a diaper bag and focused on being a stay-at-home mom. Along the way, she discovered a passion for sharing stories of women in the military as a blog and book author and host of a podcast. In the episode, she shares some of her most important lessons she learned along the way.
Strategies to Fight Veteran Underemployment with Adam Braatz
Episode 19: After a diverse USAF career as a member of the USAF band and as a Military Training Instructor, Adam separated from the Air Force to pursue private sector employment, working for both corporations and non-profits. He learned the importance of knowing his value and networking to avoid underemployment. He gets candid about his struggle with depression and his lessons learned.
Expanding Your Post-military Career Options by Achieving Financial Stability with Patrick Weinert
Episode 18: Retired USMC officer Patrick Weinert discusses how to remove financial success road blocks in your life and how to achieve more freedom in your post-military career. He offers his advice on how to manage your finances and provides insight into how he successfully launched a financial coaching business.
Own Your Transition Part 2 with Herb Thompson
Episode 17: In the second half of my conversation with Herb Thompson, retired US Army Green Beret and Drill Instructor, he talks about how important it is to make your transition your own experience and truly take ownership of the process. Herb shares what he would do differently if he could go back and do it all over again and he closes the episode with his biggest lessons learned.
Deploying to the U.S. & Learning to Speak Civilian with Herb Thompson
Episode 16: Retired US Army Green Beret and Drill Sergeant Herb Thompson discusses his approach to planning for his military transition. This planning process was the catalyst for him to write his book "The Transition Mission." Listen in for Part 1 of the 2-part episode, as Herb discusses how he learned to "speak civilian" and translate his skills.
Landing your Next Role by Building a LinkedIn Presence with Misty Moreno
Episode 15: Misty Moreno is a LinkedIn "success story." As she was preparing to retire from the US Air Force, she followed all the steps, created a LinkedIn profile and strategically started building an online presence. She shares her LinkedIn strategy that landed her a position and many more great insights about post-military employment.
Navigating the Federal Job Search Process with Chip Lankert of FEMA
Episode 14: USMC veteran and recruiter for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Chip joins me to discuss federal employment. From the federal resume writing process to tips on how to succeed in a federal interview, Chip gives valuable insight into this process that can be daunting for many people.
Military Transition Q&A with MaryKate Soliva
Episode 13: US Army veteran MaryKate Soliva asks me some great questions about the military transition process such as how to leverage volunteer work in your transition, how to involve your spouse in the transition and networking best practices for introverts. MaryKate also practices marketing herself to potential employers.
Don't Be Afraid to Pivot and Start Over with Jennifer Foxworthy
Episode 12: After retiring from the US Navy, Jennifer decided to follow a non-traditional path of becoming a motivational speaker and launching a non-profit. The journey has not been without obstacles and Jennifer gets real about the pivots and changes she has had to make being self-employed.
Creating Your Long-term Transition Plan with Gregory Austin
Episode 11: As an analytical engineering manager trained in Lean Six Sigma, Greg leveraged these skills to achieve post-military success as a Process Engineer after retiring from the United States Air Force. Listen as Greg teaches you his next-level transition planning strategy.
The 5 Most Common Transition Obstacles with Michael Radynski
Episode 10: After retiring from the Marine Corps, Mike quickly found a job through networking. After 4 years, Mike left that job to follow his passion and live in his dream state. Mike also discovered the 5 most common obstacles of a typical military transition while researching his Master's thesis.
Transitioning Out of the Military with PTS with Kristin Scott
Episode 9: Listen as a retired Navy Chief shares insights on the SkillBridge program. She also gets candid about how she found post-military career success while dealing with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and opens up about a life-changing PTS treatment to manage her symptoms.
Discovering Your Legacy with Ben Killoy
Episode 8: After separating from the USMC, Ben spent 7 years in a corporate job before discovering his purpose to serve veteran dads as a podcast host, instructor and blogger. Ben shares an important lesson about focusing on your own personal legacy.
Leveraging Free Resources with Matthew Langseth
Episode 7: After serving in the Army and National Guard, Matt landed his first role after the military through the power of networking. In this episode, Matt shares his lessons learned about LinkedIn, Vets2Industry and other resources and VSOs available for veterans.
The Power of Mentorship with John Mazza
Episode 6: As a retired USAF Command Chief, John was looking for senior leadership roles. It took longer than he expected, but he landed a great job. John discusses what caused him to change jobs several times his first few post-military years.
Military Transition Q&A with Mark Gavin
Episode 5: In this bonus episode, Mark, an Army veteran in transition, asks transition questions such as resume length, interview prep, video interviews and more. Mark also gets the opportunity to practice marketing himself to potential employers.
Figuring Out Who You Are with Rob Rens
Episode 4: After separating from the USMC, Rob spent many years in corporate America before launching his own business. Rob advocates for taking the time to figure out who YOU want to be outside of the military as a priority.
Trusting Your Instincts with Wendy Brazier
Episode 3: Wendy landed an HR role a few months after she retired from the USAF and has continued to progress into higher level roles. Not only does she share how she did it, as a hiring authority, she gives great interview and job search tips.
Finding the Right Culture Fit with Keith Forte
Episode 2: After retiring from the USAF, and changing jobs 4 times in 6 years, Along the way, Keith learned the importance of finding your purpose and the best cultural fit. Keith advocates for giving your transition the time and attention it deserves.
An Introduction to Your Podcast Team
Episode 1: A quick intro to Lori Norris, your host, and Charlan Rieve, our editor and behind-the-scenes mastermind. In this introduction to us, we will tell you about the purpose of our podcast, what you can expect and why we both got involved in the podcast project.