The Lady Veterans Connect is an organization that supports female veterans with transition from military service to merge into civilian work force. This organization is primarily volunteer members with no pay. The volunteers are participating on their own initiative. They are always involved with all decision-making regarding the organization as they are enthusiastic about the success of this program. The members of this organization are initiative-taking and assume ownership of their work. They need little direction as they are self-directed with their projects. The motivation for their participation is driven by their view of their work as fulfilling and challenging. The events that are hosted to raise awareness and funds for this organization are well attended. Some examples of the events are Gala Event, Quilt Raffle, Week of Valor, Veterans Job Fair, Christmas Fair, and Veteran, Caregiver and Family Appreciation Event. It is evident that the passion and drive of these members ensure the efforts of this organization are successful.
Vision, Mission and Strategy
This organization encompasses core values that are upheld by each member, employee, and volunteer. These core values have established the vision and mission that these members are so enthusiastic to adhere to.
The Core Values Are:
Honesty, Integrity and Transparency: First and foremost, we will always strive to do what is right for our veterans and to ensure their best interests are at the forefront.
Respect: Women veterans are unique, and we must recognize the special sacrifice they have made in service to our country. Each resident in Lady Veteran Connects program will be served with respect and dignity.
Excellence: LVC strives to attain the highest level of care and service while caring for our women veterans. They will be served with compassion, competence, and commitment to ensure their success in LVC’s program.
Team: We recognize that to accomplish these values will require teamwork, communication, and cooperation by the volunteers, staff, and partners.
The core values are the basis for the vision that Lady Veterans Connect boldly upholds. This vision is as follows:
“LVC is an advocate for all women veterans, educating local communities about the issues women veterans are facing and creating a space for them to identify as veterans and be honored and recognized for their service” (Lady Veterans Connect, 2021). This vision has derived from real people and their true stories. The commitment of this organization to provide a safe home for these female veterans to heal and rebuild their life is profound and much needed. The female veteran population experiences differing needs than their brothers in arms. Many have been away from their families and thus have experienced loss. They have lost relationships and time with their children, family members, spouses, significant others, and loss of their community. This is a time of rebuilding for many of them and they deserve to be honored for their service and allowed to have the time to reset their life course as needed. “The Lady Veterans Connect (LVC) is committed to providing a home where women veterans can heal from the trauma in their lives created by homelessness, post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), and military sexual trauma (MST). As these traumas can affect all areas of a woman veteran’s life, LVC provides the opportunity and environment where she can address her unique situation. Additionally, LVC facilitates access to all services and resources available to women veterans and fosters helpful relationships and connections” (Lady Veterans Connect, 2021).
The mission is supported by all communities that have of those who have veterans in need. Often, a female veteran will hail from a distant community, and they are welcomed. This need is far greater than distance can deter. If there is room, then a member will always be accepted on a first come, first served basis.
The traits and characteristics of the team leader within this organization are many. Most prominently is the servant leadership attitude of the founder, Phyllis Abbott. She works tirelessly for any event that Lady Veterans Connect is hosting. Her honesty and commitment to excellence with this endeavor has been evident with each phase. She has a loyal respect for not only the veterans that she strives to help, but also to the workers, volunteers and community members that share the common goal for the success of this program. This leader exists to serve the people. Phyllis demonstrates characteristics such as empathy, listening, stewardship, and she is committed to the growth of everyone on her team. She is well respected by all and is a motivating leader within the community.
The effect of power and influence that the leader have on followers in this organization is inspiring. The followers are inspired and motivated with the vision that they all embrace for Lady Veterans Connect. The freedom to brainstorm together and then use their talents to bring each endeavor from vision to fruition motivates them to be quite collaborative as a team. The chosen strategy for this team works and has been proven quite successful.
This organization is absolutely a tribute to all who have a heart and vision for advocating for all women veterans and educating local communities about the issues women veterans face. The Lady Veterans Connect is committed to creating awareness for female veterans and enabling them to identify as veterans and to be honored for their service. Changes that should be considered for progressing to further potential might include a more detailed strategy to include an action plan with goals to create long term support both financially and human resources. The organization is primarily planning month by month as the opportunities arise. As the organization grows and the direction and strategic goals become more static, a strategic plan will be more evident. The recommendation that would foster the growth of the leader in this organization is development of essential skills for strategic leadership. The greatest need is a strong mentor with proven strategic leadership qualities. The following needs would be necessary to hone to perfection as this team is moving forward:
Anticipate – Complete an assessment of what is needed in the female veteran community and determine what Lady Veterans Connect can offer.
Challenge – Focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the team and the resources available to meet the needs of the veterans.
Interpret – Practice zooming in on the details of the overview of female veteran needs; and then zoom out to see the big picture of what Lady Veterans Connect can offer.
Decide – Determine the needs that the organization can be directly involved in and accomplish; this will influence success of decisions.
Align – Identify key internal and external stakeholders and pinpoint any misalignment of interests. Determine any misunderstandings or resistance.
Learn – Establish action plan reviews, document lessons learned from major decisions and track milestones. Communicate all insights and include any termination or failing projects.
These strategic goals will ensure that this team is moving forward with a purposeful strategy. The team dynamics may evolve to be more transactional as they navigate the differences as they create a strategy. This reiterates the truth that the ideal organization will drift from transformational to transactional and then back again as needed. This is expected to be a sliding scale between the two as the organization expectations deems necessary.
Leaders of this organization, Lady Veterans Connect, can improve processes for a successful outcome with implementing change by following Kotter’s eight-step change theory. The eight-step change theory components are listed below for reference, additionally, I have provided suggestions for each step that explains how leaders can implement it to effect change. The changes are less daunting if the process is established with a sense of understanding and acceptance before beginning the transition and implementing change. Employees and volunteers will accept change greater if they participate in the process of determining what changes are necessary.
Kotter’s 8-Step Change Theory
Create a sense of urgency
Recognize the need for urgency and express this urgency in staff meetings, newsletters, and other sources of communication.
Build a guiding coalition
Create teams for managing projects and monitor the progression.
Form a strategic vision and initiatives
Create the action plan and begin the process of establishing teams for categories and initiatives.
Enlist a volunteer army
The army is already there for Lady Veterans Connect; they need only to establish a plan and a “battle rhythm” for progressing.
Enable action by removing barriers
Identify any barriers or hindrances and address them to either remove the barriers or cooperate a compromise for moving forward.
Generate short-term wins
Break long-term goals into SMART short-term goals; celebrate all successes.
Keep moving forward; have a regularly scheduled team meeting, status updates, and continue to move forward despite any failed endeavors.
Embrace change and tailor the team, resources, and time available to implement change, as necessary.
The Lady Veterans Connect team is a mighty force to be reckoned with. Their vivacious energy and their creativity and passion are the driving force of this organization. This group of founding members came together with a heart for caring and compassion for their fellow female sisters. These women are true “she ‘roes” and deserve to be treated as such. At minimum they deserve to be treated with respect and provided a safe home to live in while they rebuild their life. This organization is comprised by a team of great members who will ensure that they do everything they can to make this possible for all of veterans who choose to call their place home.