This is one of my favorite veteran non-profits. I'm excited to share my experience with you as they were critical to the success I had during my separation journey.
Elite Meet (EM) was founded in 2017 with the goal of helping specifically those in the special operations and fighter pilot communities. Check them out HERE.
I first heard about EM in the fall of 2019. I had just gotten back from my second deployment and was within 5 months of separating. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was well behind on preparing to separate. I heard of a local EM event in Raleigh and reached out to the coordinator Garret Harrell to see about attending (check out his leadership/team development consulting HERE).
The networking event was great for the Raleigh area, but it had limited help for me at the time as I knew I was going to be living further west in NC. It did however make me realize the importance of networking and how far behind I was. After being accepted into EM I saw a message on their Slack channel from the CEO asking if there was anyone who wanted to do a SkillBridge internship with them. They were looking for someone to help the COO for a few months. I jumped at the opportunity. The next day I was on the phone with Zack Hughes explaining my plans and willingness to learn. He took the opportunity to help me learn and agreed to the internship. Based on the approval process (which I was able to speed through thanks to a great commander and helpful education office) I was able to intern for two months, despite being so close to separating.
The internship was remote which allowed me to move where I was going to live upon separation and hit the ground running on learning and preparing for my separation. Since EM's goal supported my own, I was able to help grow the EM network while increasing my own and prepare for the right opportunity after active duty. I owe a tremendous amount to the opportunities EM afforded me.
So how does this help you now?
Well if you're in the special operations or fighter pilot community you need to check them out, seriously. EM has done great work pivoting in the face of COVID and continuing to provide that elite network and connection to their industry partners via virtual opportunities.
Some folks I want to highlight from my EM experience:
These guys are all doing great work for veterans in addition to the EM network.
Want to support this great veteran non-profit? DONATE
What can you take away from all of this if you're not in the veteran demographic that EM works with?
For me, this whole opportunity came from realizing I needed to kick my preparation into high gear. I was unsure of exactly what to do, but I took the opportunity to say yes. Your journey of leaving the military should make you uncomfortable, otherwise you're not growing. Take the opportunities when you see them. You never know what doors it might open. What do you have to lose?
Own your journey!