The purpose of this military/civilian initiative, officially supported by the VA | CWV and Sheryl Sandberg's LeanIn.Org, is to help women veterans make a successful transition from active duty to rewarding work in the private sector. It is our firm belief that a successful transition will include the military and civilian community coming together for those who have so bravely served our nation.
The LIWV Initiative is comprised of two essential parts: the military-to-veteran program (M2V) and a civilian community-to-veteran program (C2V). The military program, led by LIWV co-founder Lt. Col. Erika Cashin, is primarily a virtual program that allows any woman veteran to participate, no matter where she is located. The civilian community program, piloted and developed by the Lean In Seattle Chapter (that's us!), is an innovative hybrid of women veterans and non-military members who are all looking for a community and environment in which to learn and share leadership skills and reach for their goals.
On May 21, Lean In Seattle held a kick-off event where a group 35-40 veterans and civilian supporters gathered to generate enthusiasm and provide feedback for the LIWV pilot program.
At this event, Captain Kathleen Carroll, who now leads recruitment for Amazon Operations, shared a personal story about the transition from activity duty to the civilian workforce. Shortly before she visited with us, Kathleen was on stage at the White House with Jeff Bezos and First Lady Michelle Obama where Jeff Bezos announced Amazon's commitment to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses over the next 5 years.
Over the next six months, the Lean In Seattle Chapter will be creating a pilot program full of events, workshops, resources, campaigns, and materials with the intention of creating a turn-key program that can be propagated to the 27,000 Lean In Circles and Chapters in 140 countries who may also want to welcome veterans into their community. This is a big initiative and we need the help and participation of the entire community to make it a success.
One of our biggest Build Community efforts will be Lean In Chapter events. The proposed Seattle schedule is as follows:
And finally, there are many, many ways in which you can contribute to the growth and success of LIWV. If you are a veteran, civilian supporter, CEO, hiring manager, recruiter, or someone with specific mad skills - we need all hands on deck! Please let us know if you'd like to participate in any of the below ways:
We will keep you posted of our progress over the next six months and can't wait to share stories from our chapter members - civilians and veterans alike - as we all grow in our leadership capacities and achieve our goals.
Cordila + the Seattle Leadership Team
We would also like to give a huge thank you to our sponsors who have generously supported the Lean In Women Veterans Initiative.