I am still spinning from my time at the 2018 VGL Leadership Summit. A year ago, I watched friends who were in the 2017 cohort boost their personal and professional lives and knew I wanted to be a part of this program!
During the application process, I had moments of doubt and uncertainty. Would I be selected? Had I done enough to establish myself as an emerging veteran leader?
Completing my application was not a solo act. Friends, family, co-workers, mentors, and sponsors provided me with their wisdom, support, encouragement. I was absolutely ecstatic when I received the email announcing my selection into the 2018–2019 VGL Fellow cohort.
I looked forward to the summit with much anticipation. As I learned who else had been selected, I was thrilled to find names I recognized and humbled to be included along with those names. Some I have known for a least two years, some I met for the first time at the summit.
Fast forward to the past few days. Being surrounded by the 2018–2019 VGL Fellow cohort and going through so many shared experiences and deep discussions on leadership made my cohort feel more like family than friends.
We came with the same goal in mind, to continue our service to make this world a better place.
We heard from a kaleidoscope of speakers and panelists, who took time out of their busy schedules to bring their messages to our cohort. To them I say enthusiastically, “THANK YOU!”
Here is just a taste of the messages they left with us:
“Challenge yourself against the norms”-James Anderson, Fulbright Scholar and Intelligence Officer, US Air Force
“Play another octave on the piano”-John Sexton, President Emeritus, New York University and Dean Emeritus Benjamin F. Butler Professor of Law
“Always be your biggest cheerleader”-Jalina Porter, Press Secretary at Truman National Security Project
“Components to a leader: attributes and actions”-Joel Garrison, LTC US Army, Inspector General at US Army
“Do windows and do them well”-Richard Fontaine, President, Center for a New American Security
“Take every meeting”-Fred Wellman, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, ScoutComms
“Seek to do something”-Scott Cooper, Director, National Security, Human Rights First
“Know the power of the cup/glass”-Kristofer Goldsmith, Founder and Chairman, High Ground Veterans Advocacy
“Leverage the greater purpose”-Scott Blackburn, Former Deputy Secretary and CIO At Department of Veterans Affairs
Even though the summit is over and we all have gone home, I know this is just the beginning and I cannot wait to see what our future brings.
Thank you again to everyone involved with VGL, from the selection process to planning the summit featuring an amazing range of speakers. I look forward to connecting with my VGL mentor and the propellant I know they will add to my career goals.
As an Operations Specialist Third Class Petty Officer, Tammy served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1995 to 2003 on board the USCGC Chase and VTS Houston — Galveston. Her most significant accomplishment was the Coast Guard Achievement Medal for her quick action in an incident which could quickly have become a Homeland Security Threat. To continue her mission to serve others, she completed a Mission Continues fellowship as a Policy Associate at Student Veterans of America. The fellowship provided the opportunity to continue her involvement with student veterans and reinforce her confidence within the political arena. Her motivation continues as a semi-finalist candidate for Ms. Veteran America 2018, Northeast Field Organizer for Minority Veterans of America, and a board member of the Delaware County Veteran Memorial Association.
This story was originally posted on Tammy’s Medium channel.