March 29, 2016

A member of the Los Angeles 1st Platoon breaking down walls for the Stevenson Project
A member of the Los Angeles 1st Platoon breaking down walls for the Stevenson Project.

We are days away from the inaugural Women Veterans Leadership Summit in New Orleans. Soon 50 women leaders from the Mission Continues network will gather to share insights, challenges, and wisdom with other women “in the trenches” of service and business. Today we are taking a closer look at what inspires and drives our peers to be leaders in their communities. For Army veteran and Service Platoon Member Nicole Thomas, attending the summit is a unique opportunity to connect with like-minded peers.

“I love the sense of fulfillment I feel when I am providing assistance to individuals that are less fortunate than myself. I am currently a communications soldier in the Virginia Army National Guard. The communications field in the Army is a male dominated field, so I have always had to work harder than my male counterparts in order to prove myself.

I am always given the side eye by male soldiers until I actually start executing and getting things done. Being a female veteran has given me a different perspective of the Army; I have always been the underdog and have always been perceived as weak or not smart enough.

I think these experiences as a female veteran has taught me to be resilient. Serving in the Army has helped to build my confidence and help me succeed not only in my military career but in my civilian career as well.

I decided to attend the summit because I always jump at the chance to network with other females. It allows me to hear about other perspectives and aids in my ability to think outside the box. I would like to learn more creative ways of thinking, and networking with other women will allow me to learn other ways of getting things done.”

This year’s featured speakers are Suze Orman, Michele Flournoy, and Brig. General Helen G. Pratt. Summit participants get to look forward to a private dinner at the National WWII Museum and a walking tour of the famed French Quarter in addition to panels, open discussions, workshops, and a service project.

We are pleased to thank our sponsors, Carmax, the Schultz Family Foundation, and Southwest Airlines, for making this summit possible.