Season 2 Episode #39: Learning Transition is More Than Landing a Job with Dr. Destinee Prete
After serving 4 years in the US Army as an officer in the medical service corps, Dr. Destinee Prete transitioned to earn a doctorate in industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology, a field dedicated to finding data-backed solutions to human problems in work and other organizational settings. She has held various positions that have helped transitioning service members and veterans. Not only is she the co-founder of We2AreVets, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to honoring and recognizing women veterans, but she is also a full-time I/O psychology practitioner and the CEO of PG Strategies Group.
Although Dr. Prete’s transition from the military was several years ago, her experiences during that time launched her toward a career path dedicated to supporting the military community with special focus on women veterans. After giving birth to twins and juggling a dual-military family dynamic, Dr. Prete decided to separate to focus on advancing her education and caring for her twins. Her first job post-military was serving as a career counselor for TAP, a role she credits to fueling her passion for serving beyond the uniform. During this time, she made the decision to dedicate the research for her degree’s required dissertation to the field of transitioning.
While still pursuing her education and working in various roles, Dr. Prete had the opportunity to interact with thousands of service members. Although the transition journey is unique for each person, one commonality that Dr. Prete observed was how much pressure people put on the first job out of uniform. This is still true today. People want the job to do everything for them; provide financially, be a resume builder, have an impressive title, serve as a built-in family and satisfy their passion. Instead of focusing only on the job, Dr. Prete encourages transitioning service members to explore various opportunities and network. The transition is much more than finding a job.
When Dr. Prete started her research, she found that there was no usable data on the veteran transition experience. Pulling demographic data as a foundation, she observed that women are emerging as the fastest growing group of veterans. She conducted a multiple case study with particular attention given to the post-9/11 women veteran experience. 4 themes emerged from the data:
☑Many women veterans took a non-traditional transition route, meaning they did not pursue education, entrepreneurship, or a job right away.
☑Many women felt a loss in identity once they hung up the uniform.
☑Many women did not feel recognized while serving and experience the same as a veteran. As a result, some women do not self-identify as a veteran.
☑The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) needs a revision that is more inclusive to females.
Her research led her to launch We2AreVets, an organization dedicated to honoring, empowering and recognizing women veterans. Additionally, she seeks to educate and inform organizations, institutions and other entities working with women vets to better support them.
Head over to the Lessons Learned for Vets YouTube channel at https://tinyurl.com/llforvets22 to hear a bonus clip from Dr. Prete.
You can connect with Dr. Prete at https://www.linkedin.com/in/destinee-prete/
Explore We2AreVets by visiting https://www.we2arevets.org/
Review Dr. Prete’s research at https://www.proquest.com/openview/988ed18ab444c5340817cee196438b39/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y
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