This sharing is to demonstrate the power of access to others and networking through the internet.
I am a veteran. My twenty one years of service are connected with Vietnam and Desert Storm Era forward. A service connected accident that created major back problems and combined medical issues created a situation which left me unemployable and homebound for many years. The past several years created major challenges and narrowed my outside contacts, leaving me a recluse and struggling to keep up with other than "disabled" being my mantra.
Having a high tech background, it was a natural transition to embrace the internet, the ability to research health resolutions, and the many networking opportunities offered through social networking.
Homebound, I volunteered to work with the WA State Women Veteran's Advisory Council based out of Olympia. After a selection process, I was welcomed into the 14-member Advisory committee as being one of two members this side of the state.
It was not till we were months into the tele-meetings, and another member, Christine Haas, was added from the Spokane area that the realization that this committee gave strength in Veteran contacts across Washington and the US. The women we work with from the committee are dynamic, inspirational, and concerned about making change from the problems and offering solutions to grow. Our advisor is the Deputy Director of WA state Veteran Affairs - Alfie Alvarado.
Along the way, established presence in MySpace, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc. An inquiry about interest in promoting Spokane as a destination for a technology conference, lead me to launchpadinw through a new friend, Mark Meyers.
To me Launchpadinw, was the best of all combinations. It offered ability to meet and network on a business and friendship scale positive focused individuals from my LOCAL community. The connection taking the online meeting into real life was phenomenal! Being an old school sales and marketing person, there is amazement at how the walls preventing the link to valuable contacts literally melted away. Launchpadinw offered a whole new world and possibilities of becoming vital once again in my local community and life pursuits.
As a moderator for the Veteran Community on Launchpadinw, opportunities to meet other Veterans from areas that would not normally connect, became a strong point. Veronica Evans was at one of our meetings. It was instant friendship and connections. She is developing her own photography business with some very creative and breathtaking photography. She complimented her degree pursuit in photography with establishing her business equipment and presence. Graduating with her degree this year, she has her studio and web presence ( http://www.fossastudio.com/
). Believing in networking and referring, I have shared as much as possible to help strengthen her business. (She is always running some creative packages and location shots - contact her for your family, senior, or event photography. You will love the results)
Another woman veteran of our community, Marie Rosenthal, sent out an announcement about her business grand opening. After getting together with her at her business, recognition of the misconception many would have about the services and knew how important it was to get the word out on this incredible offering healthy choices and spoiling (massages, oxygen stations, skin therapy, etc) for your body in a very affordable membership program. Helping her was awesome. An amazing meeting on Thursday during the Grand Opening developed from all these connections. Veronica was connected for photos, online outreach was accelerated and valuable small business needs became evident. That motivated me to develop a package (I call the V.I.P. W.I.S.D.O.M. program) that will provide training, strategic planning, and actual business support services via many of the contacts here and other social networks.
One day, realization of how powerful the three of our connections were in positive forward movement at this time of many pulling back and concerned about our economy. I mean, think about it ... three women veterans from three different eras, helping each other strengthen their business pursuits with positive beliefs, actions and passions. How else would we have met?
The current news over veterans is not all that positive ... high suicide rate, homelessness, PTSD, etc. This was a complete flip side of the news - the rest of the story. Do not get me wrong, in my own story, I faced the monsters and overcame ... PTSD, injuries, medical complications, empty cupboards, near foreclosures, etc... something inside would not let them win. A huge help in pulling me out of the darkness of PTSD and homebound disability was the outside contact and growth through the internet and social networks like Launchpad. In other words, there is hope and there is a way to find positive connections in a world of challenges.
When I was contacted by Alfie to meet for lunch while she was in town, at first I was inclined to turn it down because it was the same day as the Grand Opening. Then it occurred to me, that was exactly something worth her visit and invited her to join us. She got the instructions and joined us around lunchtime. It was awesome. There was Alfie, Marie, Veronica, Christine, and myself ... in a historical meeting of Professional women veterans demonstrating the power of networking and positive entrepreneurial spirit. How cool is that?
As soon as I get the "official" photo of the five of us, it will be forwarded to Alfie in Olympia and put on the Washington Department of Veteran Affairs Web Site with example of inspiration and growth of Women Veterans. What an honor!
And all this from the internet ... just think of what you can accomplish with these far reaching possibilities through the virtual world. Good luck and positive results!