At Milken Global Conference, Military Leadership Circle advances receiving skilled, military veterans into private sector

Active-duty service members from Milken Institute's Military Leadership Circle (prominent veterans who have successfully transitioned into the workplace, and executives from companies that firmly support veterans' reintegration) held a breakfast presentation at the
Milken Global Conference, where some of the most knowledgeable people in economics, government, finance, and philanthropy convene annually. The Leadership Circle works to help veterans as they facilitate economic growth in their communities. The speakers also shared leadership lessons from the private sector that military personnel can apply to their jobs in the armed services. 

Military Leadership Circle's founder, Naval Lt Commander Matt Driskill (Pawtuxet River Naval Air Station in Maryland) discussed at a military-leadership breakfast, organizations helping veterans transition into the civilian workforce. 

U.S. Army Major Kelly McCoy (JointBase Langley-Eustis, Virginia) joined him in this interview with Democracy Broadcasting News. Transcription follows video:

Transcription of interview:

Military Leadership Circle's Army Major Kelly McCoy (right) and founder,
Navy Lt Commander Matt Driskill (left) speak at Milken Institute 2018 Global Conference

Lt Cmdr Matt Driskill:  We represent an organization called the Military Leadership Circle and that is an organization sponsored by the Milken Institute which is founded for the professional development of military officers from our various service branches, as well as to inform Milken programming with military and veterans perspectives and topics. 

Question by DemoCast:  What are your roles within this initiative?

Driskill: I founded the organization about four years ago and so and then I guess we have members like Kelly that have applied each year to be a member of the organization.

Q DemoCast:  What's the the goal the objective of the initiative?

A Driskill:  It really first and foremost is focused on the leadership development of our different military officers by putting them in non-traditional forums, such as this global conference. Military members can be often isolated and the places that they live from large population centers and the larger corporate culture. And this is an opportunity to get them into places where they can interact with leaders from fields very different and outside of their traditional military rank (and structure) as well as to provide feedback on military veterans perspectives. And also learn be in receive mode first and foremost so that they can hopefully take back some lessons learn, best practices, new approaches, innovative ideas, to adopt in their day jobs and and the organizations they lead in the United States military.

Q:  What sort of reception kind of reaction reception have you received from these business leaders from around the world?

A: (Driskill): People usually treat the Navy pretty well, I don't know how they treat the Army. 

A: (McCoy): It's very similar across they pretty much obviously all services with the and and how it generally has been in America that people are very friendly they thank you for your service and they're very interested whether it's finding more about you know the medals that that are on your chest and what that means or you know what what your mission is and and how you serve your country and why.

Q:  And why / how is it manifested so far has it turned into practical results thus far or how new is it? 

Driskill:  You mean the initiative and the organization yeah we're four years old and I would say every year we've sort of built on our past successes and so meaning that we have more people usually apply every year the quality of our applicants is improved the events that where we put on different we put on different events for education and inspiration and to connect different groups over different initiatives involving veterans issues and so forth those have just multiplied every single year, but again I think you should also ask Kelly because he's now seen at two years in a row . . . 

Q:  I mean, Kelly, what kind of steps for do you think we've taken from last year this year?

A: McCoy:  Well, this year that the programming has been pretty significant in terms of what we've been doing and then engaging with the private sector.  The year prior was definitely a development year where we we're really kind of just taking it all in - but then this year really felt that we were part of that conversation we're part of that dialogue. And it you could really tell the difference in terms of the people that you talk to and what they were taking away from it. It wasn't just oh it's nice to be here nice you know nice to see people in uniform I really truly felt that people saw value in hiring veterans and that you know it's not military leadership circle alone, but kind of the collective effort to help transitioning veterans get the the needed leg up that that they deserve with the job training and everything that they've gotten from service and and to have the companies who are out there hiring recognize that and that's been one of the primary things I've seen this this time that has some positive steps positive comments have really unfolded.

Driskill: I would say one more metric that I've seen change kind of complementing what Kelly said is there are veterans organizations and foundations - there are companies that want to partner with us for the purpose of having an event to educate groups sort of in their network to enable and empower their work. So you can see a demand to work with us, you can see a demand from people to come and be a part of those events, (and therefore be a part of the conversation and the dialogue that we're trying to promote) and if you think about it I think that's significant we're at a finance business economic focused conference and we've carved out a pretty significant niche for military and veterans issues that relate to to the corporate world and relate that our economic issues, if you will,  human capital issues is like as Mike Milken likes to talk about.

So I think that's definitely a metric of success that you can see has improved over the last couple years in our participation here the global conference I would just like to say I guess if there's somebody that hasn't been a part of this global conference and they don't aren't familiar with the military and the challenges of going from military service into the civilian sector in the private sector to be patient to listen have a dialogue get to know veterans get to know people that serve the United States military and figure out how we can help those veterans transition from a meaningful service on behalf of the nation to meaningful work in a company and therefore a meaningful life outside of the United States military service because I think that's what every veteran desires is to go from meaningful work wearing the uniform to hopefully a meaningful work outside of military service that that really builds our nation into a stronger one in our communities as well. 

McCoy:  I just like to add that this isn't just the US military we do have a member that's that's from the the British military and so it is a open international program and we encourage international participation the application process so if there's people out there watching this and and and are interested in growing themselves and helping bring that conversation back home to where they're from we'd love that leadership circle comm is our website and they can find out about, for example the the London Milken conference which is in December where there are applicants and opportunities for applicants from other foreign militaries to be a part of that dialogue as well in terms of bridging the civil divide.

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