Links & Resources
- Melissa's book Get Back to Work: https://www.amazon.com/Get-Back-Work-Real-World-Strategies/dp/1460244443
Women Veterans Alliance Website: https://womenveteransalliance.com
Women Veterans Giving Website: https://www.womenveteransgiving.org/
Scott DeLuzio: 00:00:00 Thanks for tuning into the Drive On Podcast, where we're focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community, whether you're a Veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I'm your host, Scott DeLuzio. And now let's get on with the show.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:00:22 Today my guest is Melissa Washington. Melissa is a Navy Veteran who after her time in the Navy went on to found the Women Veterans Alliance and the nonprofit Women Veterans Giving both of which offer women Veterans opportunities to gain valuable career experience and successfully integrate back into civilian life, which is a huge thing that we talk about a lot on this podcast, reintegration in that transition period. She's also the author of the book Get Back to Work. So welcome to the show, Melissa, why don't you go ahead and tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
Melissa Washington: 00:00:59 Absolutely. Thank you for having me. So like you said, my name is Melissa Washington. I am a Navy Veteran and I've been married to a Marine for 26 years. And my transition out of the military was when I walked off the ship. 30 days later I became a Marine Corps wife and 30 days later he deployed. So that was the beginning of our marriage. And yes, so we always talk about our transitions and how people have different transitions. So that was mine becoming a sailor and then still not even feeling like I was a Veteran because I became a spouse. So that took a while to, as far as the whole Veteran status, I really didn't embrace it probably until close to when I started the Women Veterans Alliance six years ago and saying, yes, I am a Veteran,
Melissa Washington: 00:01:53 as far as making sure to utilize all of my benefits. I live near Sacramento, California. That's where I started the Women Veterans Alliance. We are a national organization. And like I said, our primary focus is ways we can help women in transition ways. We can help women connect with each other and connect them with resources. And we do that. There's still such a need out there as you see, our women Veteran population is increasing year over year. So we want to make sure that we are getting women connected there. I do have a, going to be, 16 year old daughter and like many we've been going through the whole distance learning thing with COVID. I've worked in corporate America for a long time, as you mentioned, I'm the author of a book. I'm in the process of writing another book. Let's see, I was laid off back in 2009 when the economy crashed back then, which led me on a whole journey of career reinvention. So a lot of it's relatable to when someone transitions out of the military and where they transitioned to the military yesterday or 10 years ago we do go through different types of transition as we age or we become parents and there's all these other times of our lives that we transition.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:03:19 Right. And it seems like especially with your time getting out of the Navy, when you transitioned out, you had a lot of transitions going on all at the same time within that very narrow window of time. And you almost didn't even get a chance to recognize the fact that you're no longer in the Navy. And you're now a Veteran. And because you're now a Marine Corps spouse, and then the wife of a deployed Marine that’s a lot of identity changing going on all in a very short period of time. So it's no wonder that you didn't necessarily identify as a Veteran until years later, because there's just so much change going on in your life back then. So that does make sense.
Melissa Washington: 00:04:16 Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:04:18 Yeah. So, let's go back and talk a little bit about your time in the Navy. So what did you do in the Navy and how long were you in for before you got out?
Melissa Washington: 00:04:28 So what I did in the Navy, I was a storekeeper, they've changed the name. I was usually everybody's best friend, especially when it came to the end of the fiscal year. Because everybody wanted to purchase certain things and I spent my time on the ship. So my first ship was a rescue salvage ship out a Little Creek, Virginia. And our primary focus was to salvage things that crashed into the ocean. The majority of the people that were stationed on board were divers and that's what we did. And so with that, we also did a six month deployment into the Mediterranean. So going into Italy, Spain, France, Bulgaria I probably missed Greece and being able to deploy and travel there. I'm originally from California and I wanted to come back to California.
Melissa Washington: 00:05:23 I didn't want to stay on the east coast. And also before that, when I was in a school and that's where I would meet who would become my husband. So we met there and he went his way and I went my way and I wound up with the opportunity to come back to California. At that time you were able to do what was called a swap now. So your listeners understand, this was the early nineties. We didn't have Google and smartphones and other things to be able to look up people and find people. So it was like straight up the old fashioned way, utilizing the ship's phone, whatever phone I can use, looking up directories, anything I could find, because what they required me to do was to find another woman pretty much, same rank, and pretty much the same time left in service.
Melissa Washington: 00:06:14 So I found her, she was in San Diego and we were able to swap, and then we went aboard the USS Acadia, which is a destroyer tender, and they don't make those anymore, out of 32nd Street in San Diego which brought me closer to who would be my husband because he was stationed in Southern California at that time, in Alturo Marine Corps base. So I went out there and then a couple months I was there, like, oh, we're doing a six month deployment at Westpac. So I deployed again. And during this time was when we were heavily involved in Somalia. So I spent Christmas of 93 anchored off the coast of Somalia as we were supporting the destroyers and all the activity going on in Somalia, Hong Kong, Bali, Japan, and the Persian Gulf. It wasn't that bad as a deployment, just sitting off the coast for over 30 days in Somalia.
Melissa Washington: 00:07:17 So that was that part. And then my husband, he's one of those guys that grew up wanting to be a Marine. So he was going to spend 20 years in the Marine Corps and I didn't want us to get married and him to be deployed and me deployed. I mean, there were just so many factors. And President Clinton at the time was downsizing the military and I raised my hand and I said, I would like to get out, of course, there's resistance and they have to put a whole piece of paper, literally a piece of paper that had to go all the way up to be signed to allow me to get out early. And so I was able to get out early and then that happened to start my transition.
Melissa Washington: 00:08:03 But I always like to share, my first job we talked about transferable skills. You know, we talk about leadership and flexibility and perseverance. Well, my transferable skills were a little bit different. So this was back when we faxed our resume. So I had faxed my resume and I was interviewing for jobs. And so my first job that I got was at a floor cleaning company that sold floor machines and products and the only reason that I got the job over the others is I know how to operate a floor buffer because in the Navy we stripped and waxed the deck. So I knew how to do that. And that's why they hired me. So I got out of the Navy on Friday and I started that job on a Monday.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:08:49 Wow, that’s a real, real quick transition. So, all the different identities that you were transitioning through in that time period.
Melissa Washington: 00:09:00 Yep. And planning a wedding and then planning his deployment so it was just all this stuff trying to get all that figured out, when you get back here in six months, where are we going to be? What is your next year, his next transition, what are we going to do? You know, he's going to transition too, so it's just that there were a lot of things. But it was what it was. I mean, it's just one of those things where you just have to adapt and overcome.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:09:31 Yeah. So during that time when your husband was deployed and you're trying to figure out what, where the next move might be or things like that. I know a lot of times military spouses find it difficult to get a job and hold a job because the military does move people around quite frequently. Was that ever an issue for you during your early years there?
Melissa Washington: 00:10:05 You know, a little bit, but I was actually fortunate enough. So when he first deployed, I just moved back home with my parents because I didn't know where he was going to be stationed when he came back. That was in Northern California. And then of course he ended up being stationed in Southern California. So my job, the floor cleaning company, they promoted me to an area sales position. So I ended up selling floor cleaning products from San Diego to Los Angeles. So that was my flexibility. They wanted me to do that because I could get on the military base. Of course people want to do business with the commissary in exchange. So one night I went to the Los Angeles air force base to meet with her janitorial staff, to help them strip and wax the deck and show them our floor cleaning products. So nothing I'd ever want to get back into.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:11:03 Right. But, you did have a little edge on other people who maybe didn't have that sort of access to the bases and stuff. So that probably helped you out a bit. But you were laid off around 2009 during the economic kind of downturn. Were you able to fall back on some of your military training to be adaptable to that situation? Like how did your military background influence how you handled that situation with that unexpected turn of events?
Melissa Washington: 00:11:38 Well, I think that goes back to the flexibility piece. And of course so many things are happening during that time, and then still, also being the spouse, because we have to have that flexibility as well. And with our situation, my company prior to that had just relocated me from Southern California to Northern California. I only knew a few people in the area where I moved and my husband retired after 21 years and he was getting ready to retire. All these things are happening all at the same time. It just keeps going, not to say that maybe I'm more resilient because of being in the military, I feel that it is attributed.
Melissa Washington: 00:12:29 Because we hurry up and wait and we do all these things and we have no control over it. which can be very frustrating, but in the military you just know it. So, I mean, you can be upset and talk shit all you want. But it's just, there's nothing you could do about it. So, then you're a civilian it's like, okay can I have some control over this? And then sometimes you don't. So where do you just suck it up? Or whatever you do, but there's a reason everything happens. And there's times when you're like, dang, why am I in this situation? And then just other things start to happen and other doors start to open because of what happened.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:13:15 Yeah. So, then at some point you decided to start this women's Veterans Alliance, where did you get the idea to start it? Where did that come from?
Melissa Washington: 00:13:31 Well, part of it came from me. I come from corporate America and I've attended a lot of professional events, networking events some for women organizations or others. And there wasn't anything like that in my area. And I was really looking to network with other women whether I can help them or we can help each other. Before that, after I had gotten laid off, I started doing LinkedIn workshops. And part of it was also I live between two military bases and I would do training at the military base training our transitioning service members and their families on how to utilize LinkedIn. So I still have that connection with the military, and I'd also do the VetNet, the unemployment program and teach them. And it was just, it's just my nature.
Melissa Washington: 00:14:20 I'm a networker. I started a job seekers group in our area. I just connect people, I network. So I am trying to find an opportunity. So I called around because I didn't want to duplicate if there was something already in the area. And there was a MST support group about this, the VA I'm like, that's not what I'm looking for. And so in January, 2015, I put the word out and said, Hey, we're meeting here at El Cerrito and Sacramento for any woman Veterans, active duty, guard, or reserve. And I knew a bunch of women already, and then other people invited other women. Then they came. And six years later, we went from a group that met once a month to a national organization. And I didn't realize the need. And then I saw, oh my gosh, there was such a need for women. And I didn't even realize that until I started talking and listening to women and hearing their stories, which some of them are similar. And some of them are very different and we need to get some more support out there for women.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:15:24 Yeah. And that's one thing I've noticed through doing this podcast is as you talk to Veterans who are from different areas, different branches that they all have different stories. Obviously everyone's experiences are unique to themselves, but they all have a lot of similarities; some, a lot of them and that not every single thing is similar, but some of them will have a difficulty in transitioning kind of aspect to their story, or they'll have a difficulty with some mental health type issues or something, but there's always some underlying theme that's very similar throughout some of the different stories that I've heard anyways. It’s interesting to be able to hear that, and I'm sure you get a big sample with a nationwide group of people with the various people who are members of your organization to be able to tell what the differences are in their stories and everything like that.
Melissa Washington: 00:16:38 Absolutely well, great example. We just had our meeting here locally, we got together for dinner last night, and there are some women who knew each other, some didn't, but pretty much everyone concurred that I feel comfortable here. I don't have to filter, I don't have to explain because you get it. I've had women say before, I feel like I can take my mask off when I'm around other women Veterans, because you don't at each branch, we all have our different acronyms and lingo and stuff. And we all like to talk crap about the other branches, but you don't have to explain certain things that you would if you sat in a group with civilians, right? Because then you have to civilian it, you have to change the terminology. So they get it here. We can just say what it is.
Melissa Washington: 00:17:25 And it's like, okay, we get it. Or even the women last night, they said, that whole vulnerability thing, I can just share that I can feel. And I feel off too. That's also part of ways we can heal, even though we may not have a trauma, but these are just things that help us, whether we help to feel better, help fulfill ourselves to be able to be in a group like that, to talk about these things these are women that some of them transitioned out 20, 30 years ago, some of them recent, but a lot of the similarities but a lot of differences, but we can relate. And I think that's so important for our Veterans, male and female, to be able to have environments where we can talk and just talk.
Melissa Washington: 00:18:12 I mean, you're just shooting the shit, right. You're just talking about stuff or you're talking about something that happened and how healing that can be because civilians don't get it. I mean, they could say that they do but no, you don't get it. Or you say okay, my kid was in, or I get for women will say, my husband was in, or my father's and well, you don't get it. You haven't worn the uniform. It's very different, I've been a spouse I've been in, it's very different and there's still such a need. I wish this could just be everywhere. We need this everywhere for our Veterans.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:18:51 So, what is it that your organization specifically does for these women Veterans? You may have just sort of answered a little bit of it with bringing them together and being able to get together and talk freely amongst each other the way Veterans do, but is there something outside of that? Is there a bigger kind of overarching purpose that you know, helps these women in any particular way?
Melissa Washington: 00:19:24 Yeah. And in different ways. So of course we have our website which is an online source. It's kind of the portal to get women connected to other resources and each other. So it's having those resources there, some women are on Facebook, so they can get into our Facebook group or get on our other social media and connect. So that's kind of that whole online thing. And we've got resources that are on there. We have a whole Alliance directory of other Veteran organizations where their primary focus is women Veterans. So if you're in a different part of the country and you want to find another women Veterans group you can find that on our website. And we have the only online directory for women Veteran owned businesses.
Melissa Washington: 00:20:05 So if you're looking to do business with a woman Veteran, look in our directory, or if you're a woman Veteran owned business get on our directory so we can help promote your business. So, if you think about it, it's just this kind of navigation, this connector that can connect you. And then also we do Wednesday webinars. So another way to connect with women online we do have our annual event, which is called the unconference. It's our sixth one coming up in October. And that's our big in-person event for women. We do have women that this is like a reunion for them every year, they come from all over and to be able to be with other women and just have that connectivity. It's the same thing there. It's just having that, being able to just talk and laugh and cry and be connected.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:21:03 The Wednesday webinars that you were talking about, is that something where a Veteran who is a member of your organization, is able to come and present their own topic to your audience? Or is that something that you arrange with other providers and partners that you have?
Melissa Washington: 00:21:34 So with our Wednesday webinars series, we put out a call for presenters earlier this year and actually all of our presenters are women Veterans themselves. We are scheduled all the way until August. It is a free webinar. We do get people that are not women Veterans. They're just interested in hearing the information that is going to be shared. So it's a great opportunity for women and we record it, and then we put it on our YouTube channel. So on our YouTube, again, another way to connect with people is they can watch those previous webinars directly on our YouTube channel if they're not able to tune in on Wednesday.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:22:16 Yeah. I like that you do that too, because sometimes Wednesday may not work for someone to come and listen to the webinar. And it's not like they completely lose out on the content that was delivered there. I've spoken at several different conferences and they've all been recorded and put online after the fact. And so, even if you weren't at the conference, you can still watch the video of the presentation and it allows that to live a lot longer and reach a much wider audience than just to the attendees who were there in that particular moment. So that's awesome that you do that too. And so as I mentioned in the intro, you're also the author of the book Get Back to Work. Could you tell us about the book, what it's all about, who it's for things like that?
Melissa Washington: 00:23:15 Absolutely. So, my Get Back to Work book came from when I was looking for work myself being part of the unemployed crowd. When I was running the job seekers group, I come from a background of over 12 years of recruiting and human resources. So I've interviewed thousands of people, but one of the things that they would ask me when they would come to us is, Hey what do I need to do? It's the first time I've had to look for a job. I would always write this list down, same things, right. You know, do you have a LinkedIn profile? And half of them will say, what is LinkedIn? You know, I don't understand that. And that's where the workshops started to come from.
Melissa Washington: 00:24:02 And then it's just the whole, do you have your branding statement? Do you have your resume, do you have business cards? Just the same things. And I'm like, so, and I thought about, well, how can I reach a larger audience with this? So that's why I created the book. And actually that's one of the first appendix in the back is that whole list, which is a lot longer. And then in each chapter, it just talks about, of course, your resume piece, LinkedIn, social media, how to brand and market yourself, but also how to take care of yourself. And that's my first chapter, because that's important as we should take care of ourselves first, because then that will make you a better candidate, a better person that's going to be interviewed if you're making sure you're taking care of you.
Melissa Washington: 00:24:45 It's not a big book because when you're looking for work, you don't want to sit and read thousands of pages. I want to make sure somebody gets something out of each page. It's like, oh, I didn't think about that. Let me do that. And then I didn't call you. I didn't want to say, Hey, get a job or get back to getting the job, get back to work. Because not only for job seekers, my book is applicable to, but it's also applicable to anyone that has a business or doing business because it's the same concepts of business. Because when you're looking for work, you're marketing and selling yourself, just like a small business owner, whether you're selling lawn services or your Etsy jewelry or anything, you've got to market yourself. So it's the same concepts that can be applied. And I'm a business owner too, so I understand how we have to do it and I just want to make everything very simple and easy to follow and be able to implement it for my book.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:25:45 Yeah. And it makes sense why you called it what you did, like get back to work as opposed to get a job or something like that because work looks different for many different people. Like you were saying before, you might start a business and that's not necessarily a job that you would typically think of where you're working for somebody else you're working for yourself in most cases. And so that's a different situation and other people too, they may have taken time off of work for several years for maybe raising children or something like that. And so they're now looking to get back into the workforce. So it's, I think, a good title for what it is. And it does, it seems like the length of the book you don't want to have, people reading a thousand pages to get all the nitty gritty on everything. They're just looking to get back to work literally. And that's something that should be attainable rather quickly.
Melissa Washington: 00:26:53 Absolutely. And then also too, throughout the book, I have things that are specifically for Veterans or spouses or transitioning military members. And I have a whole appendix specifically for military Veterans in there, so they can understand too, as far as what they need to do with that, because it can be, I mean, of course now we're not a different time as well, but many of the core principles still apply when we look for work, whether it's post pandemic or pre pandemic.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:27:29 Right. And so what are some of the things that are in there specifically for the Veterans and the spouses that might without giving away the whole book, obviously, but what are some of the types of things that are in there? Are they like resources that are available to them or other strategies or what kind of things are you talking about there?
Melissa Washington: 00:27:52 Yeah, so of course, strategies, I have a whole list of resources but one of my biggest things is LinkedIn. I mean, that's just so important to have, not just because I taught it and then just so happens I ended up working at LinkedIn for four years. But just how critical it is to have that LinkedIn profile and have it set up correctly, and then how you can utilize LinkedIn to find your next opportunity, because they say 80% of jobs are never posted; of course, this might change with all the pandemic stuff, but it's all about that networking piece. And in our transitioning members, they should be on there before they even get out so it's that whole transition, not waiting. If they get out today or next week, okay. I better go start a LinkedIn profile. You know, it's starting to connect. Also too LinkedIn gives a free premium access, not only to our Veterans, but also to spouses and caregivers. So there's an opportunity to get an upgrade, which should give you a little bit more access than you would have just as a free user. So being able to tap into that as well.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:29:04 Yeah, and you're not the first person who I've heard that suggested to soon to be transitioning out of the military folks to get their LinkedIn profile up and running and start networking and reach out to people in the industry that you might be interested in working in after the military and making those connections. There's a number of reasons why that's a good idea. One of which is to find out what the industry is even all about. Is this even something that you are going to want to do? And I think it's a lot better to find that out before you start applying for jobs then it is three, four years after you started working the job and then realize that it's totally not what you want to do.
Melissa Washington: 00:29:52 Absolutely. And that's where I always tell people, another thing that I share, whether I'm teaching a class, or my book is don't focus on finding the job, focus on finding the company. And so don't focus on, okay, how many interviews you have, focus on people, call that informational interview, a meeting, whichever you want to call it, get into that company. Because it goes back to your point of maybe this is not the industry or type of company I want to be in. Well, why don't you just find that out before you even go for an actual interview for a job. You know, and be able to meet with someone. And of course pre pandemic people were in offices. So getting an opportunity to go in, to meet with someone, whether you just met with them for a half hour in the cafeteria or the lobby, and they could share about the company and so many companies now have Veterans resource groups. So you can connect with a Veteran that works at that company who I'm sure I'd be more than happy to share information about the company and you can do that online or by phone call or however you want to connect with them. But to me, that's so much more important than that job because when that job opportunity does come up, hopefully they'll give you a call or you'll be in the know,
Scott DeLuzio: 00:31:00 Right. And that's the nice thing too about LinkedIn is that you can find people who work for certain companies. If you're interested in applying for a job at a certain company you can find those people who are there and you can also see if they list their military affiliation, you can see that as well on LinkedIn. And then you have that kind of connection to that person. And it makes it a little bit easier to reach out to that person especially with the pandemic, like you were saying, people aren't necessarily in the offices all the time, the way they used to be. Reaching out online is still a thing that you can do and it's also useful too if that particular job happens to be far away from where you're currently located. You're not going to fly across the country for a half hour meeting over coffee or something like that, just to fly back.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:31:57 But so it might be worthwhile to just reach out to people online first before doing all of that.
Melissa Washington: 00:32:06 And one other quick little tidbit is for those that are currently serving, or have served, make sure you have your experience listed in the military and utilize the word Veteran. Make sure that you're changing your whole lingo from military lingo to civilian lingo because not every civilian is going to understand the lingo or even every branch. I mean, there'll be certain things I have no comprehension of, the Air Force, Army, I wouldn't even know. I mean, I could assume, but it's just just making sure that you change that up because of another thing too, and this is not only for job seekers, but especially for business owners as well. If I'm a recruiter, right. And I have or I'm maybe in supplier diversity, and I want to find a Veteran that owns a business that does this, or I'm the recruiter and I want to find specifically a Veteran for this job. What keyword am I going to use, the word Veteran? So if you don't have that in your profile, you ain't coming up. So it's one of those things where you have those keywords listed in your profile to make sure that whomever is looking for you can find you.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:33:18 Yeah. And that's important. That's important to do for anything that you have online whether it's a website if you have your own website for something, you want to make sure that the words you use will think like the person who you want to reach and use the words that they're going to use to find you whether it's going to Google and searching or any of the other search engines and searching for something that you don't know specifically who offers it or where it is they're going to use certain keywords and so you want to use those keywords to make sure that the right people are finding you and that the same thing holds true, like you said, for LinkedIn and a lot of the other social networks as well. So, having that nailed down is really important.
Melissa Washington: 00:34:08 Well, and another thing to another little tip that can just keep going on that stuff is Google index is LinkedIn, so you don't even have to have a LinkedIn account to find somebody on LinkedIn, because you can search their public profiles on LinkedIn. So like, my dad isn’t on LinkedIn, but he can Google me and see me on my LinkedIn profile, but he doesn't have to be on there. So again, it goes back to where you're talking about the whole, the website, the social media, making sure everything is search engine optimized. That's still the same thing. I know some people start to feel like, oh, this is so overwhelming, but you know, it also goes back to your online brand. What does that look like? And then your authentic brand.
Melissa Washington: 00:34:48 I mean, there's a lot of stuff and that's why it's very important to find someone whether they're coach or consultant or someone that can just give you or kind of guide you with that, because it is important and people are looking at your profile, they're looking at your profile before they even interview you. When you had reached out to me on Instagram, I posted something in years, you messaged me and then I looked at your LinkedIn profile. That's what I do for everyone. I want to know who they are, who they know that I know because there's also that credibility factor as well.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:35:29 Yeah, absolutely. And, the good thing too with that is LinkedIn, a profile is fairly simple and straightforward to set up. When you're filling out the profile just using those keywords, think like the person who you want to find you and use the words that they would use to guide you through the initial setup of your profile; make sure that you have a profile picture and all the relevant information is filled out. So, it does guide you through. So just because maybe for the listeners, if you haven't necessarily been on LinkedIn before, it's not like you know, a big, scary beast that you have to fear and run away from. It's something that is easy enough to do, and you could do that in a little bit of time and it'll really help your chances of increasing your credibility and also finding new career opportunities especially if you're looking for that after the military.
Melissa Washington: 00:36:40 Most definitely. Yeah.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:36:42 Well Melissa, it's been a pleasure speaking with you today. Where can people go to get in touch with you and find out more about the work that you do with the Women Veterans Alliance and also where to find your book?
Melissa Washington: 00:36:57 Absolutely. Well, speaking of Google, just type in women Veterans Alliance, and I one hundred percent guarantee you, we will come up on that first page. and you can also Google Melissa Washington. I'll probably come up on that page. My book is on my Melissa Washington website. That's also on Amazon as well. So that's the best way. And again, we're on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn through the different social media platforms you can like and follow us. And I just want to just end real quickly with the nonprofit that I started Women Veterans Giving. We have two programs. So we fundraise for our annual small business award. To date we've given over $10,000 to women Veterans to help them start or expand their business. It's very much a grassroots effort to raise money to be able to help her with that.
Melissa Washington: 00:37:52 And then also to our other program is we help get women to our conference that we hold every year, as well as other conferences. And so if any woman Veteran is interested, she'll definitely go on our website, get on our email list. So that way you're updated or follow us on social media. So when those application periods open, both of those will be opening soon because October is when we hand out the small business award at our unconference. So there will be time to get that. And of course there's always next year as well. And we provide training for our women business owners too. We just don't hand her the check. There's another that goes into that. So it's very important and we're always looking for other partners sponsors too, that want to participate in that. But we're grassroots when it comes to that, because there's such a gap when it comes to funding for women business owners and we're helping to fill that gap.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:38:56 Well, that's another great aspect of what it is that you're doing, being able to help out in that way. So I think the women who are listening should definitely go check out the Women Veterans Alliance and I'll have links to all the websites that we've talked about here and social media profiles and everything. I'll have all of that in the show notes. So it should be nice and easy for you to find but definitely go give them a follow on social media wherever you typically hang out and get on there. Like Melissa said, give them the email list so that you're aware of upcoming events and opportunities that are available to you if that's something that you're interested in. So again thank you, Melissa, for joining me and sharing what it is that you're doing with the women Veterans that you're helping. I really appreciate the time that you spent here and explained all of that to us.
Melissa Washington: 00:39:59 No, thank you. I appreciate your time and having me on your podcast. Awesome. Thank you very much. Thank you.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:40:09 Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website Drive On Podcasts.com. We're also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at Drive On Podcast.