Thursday, November 07, 2013

VetsInTech National Launch in San Francisco

The Honorable Edwin M. Lee, Mayor of San Francisco, attended the national launch of VetsInTech at Rackspace in SoMa. I was privileged to stand with the mayor as veterans from all around the country launched this program via Google Hangout.  The mayor is in the photo below; I was next to him while the webcast rolled.

Craig Newmark was in VetsInTech's New York office and I recognized some former colleagues in the Portland, Oregon office.  Craig spoke briefly about engaging the human resource community so they could recognize the non-traditional qualifications veterans bring to corporate employment.  The Mayor also introduced venture investor Ron Conway of SV Angel.  Ron wanted to engage San Francisco veterans who had achieved success in business and venture investors who would fund veterans' startups.

I'm grateful that these distinguished leaders are taking action to help veterans succeed.  A lot of non-veterans believe that veterans are incapable of contributing to society.  Many successful professionals have thrown my veteran status in my face to disqualify me from employment.  I'll never forget the degrading career advice that my Notre Dame and USF alumni gave me to collect government handouts and find miscellaneous sources of income.  Recruiting firms told me my resume was an embarrassment because they just wanted me to go away.  It is going to be very difficult to change our society's attitudes toward veterans but someone has to try.  Respecting veterans is more than saying "thank you for your service."  It means ensuring they can function in society without handouts.  I am very willing to do my part.