2020 Virtual Veteran and Military Families Summit Recap

Our first-ever virtual Summit was a huge success! The enthusiasm and commitment shown by presenters and participants alike to serve veterans and military families made the event memorable and informative.

Special thanks to our partners for their professional guidance and support of our veterans and military families, especially during the pandemic and throughout these difficult economic times: U.S. U.S. Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training (VETS), Indeed, Comcast, AmericaServes, Hiring Our Heroes, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, U.S. Chambers, American Association of University Women (AAUW), The Mission Continues, National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA), Grow with Google, Center for a New American Security, Onward To Opportunity, Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), Veteran Court, and local Goodwill organizations.

One thing we know for sure is that we are better together.

If you missed any part of the Summit or want to hear the compelling conversations again, check out the information and recording links below. If you have any questions, contact Pamela Johnson, GII’s veteran and military family program manager.

Relevant Documents

Day 1

Opening Ceremonies
Remarks from Steve Preston, President and CEO, Goodwill Industries International; Pamela Johnson, Veteran and Military Family Program Manager, Goodwill Industries International; Wendi Copeland, Chief Mission and Partnership Officer, Goodwill Industries International and Nancy Rice, Operation: GoodJobs Program Participant

  • The Second Annual Veteran and Military Families Summit kicked off with the National Anthem by Ursula Yancey, remarks and a fireside chat with Nancy Price, an Operation: GoodJobs program participant: View session recording

Keynote: “The Road Ahead for Organizations that Serve Veterans and Military Families”
Presented by John Lowry, Former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor

  • Lowry discussed the economic impact and what lies ahead for veterans, their families, and the role organizations can play for their path moving forward: View session recording

Conversation with Brynt Parmeter
Presented by Brynt Parmeter, Senior Director, Military and STEM Programs, Walmart

  • Parmeter discussed Walmart’s success in serving veterans and military spouses and how they support their needs in the workplace: View session recording

Plenary Session: Examining Veteran Challenges through Four Life Domains
Presented by Kayla Williams, Senior Fellow and Director, Military, Veterans and Society Program, Center for a New American Security (CNAS)

  • Williams presented findings from their Minority Veteran Needs Assessment, research that examined the challenges facing veterans who are racial and ethnic minorities, women, and/or LGBT in New York State and nationwide through the lens of four life domains: health, housing stability, financial stability, and social support: View session recording
Concurrent Sessions

Concurrent Session 1: River Walk to Success “Pathway Training”
Presented by Angela Arbitton, Director, Military Relations and Strategic Initiatives Office of the Chancellor, Worldwide Campus; Anthony Cosby, Director, Network Operations & Southwest Market Lead, AmericaServes; Jermain Husser Vice President of Mission Services, Palmetto Goodwill (North Charleston, SC)

  • The panelists spoke on the importance of connecting the dots to help veterans grow their skills to improve their financial capability of landing a good job: View session recording

Concurrent Session 2: Empower Veterans to Recover Stronger
Presented by Christina Petrossi, Director of Workforce Development Operations, Goodwill Industries of Houston (TX) and Mike Hall, Manager of Training Programs, Goodwill Industries International

  • The Houston Goodwill discussed the challenges and steps to pivoting its in-person mission services to virtual platforms. Learn how they leveraged technology to meet job seekers where they are through various technology tools and resources: View session recording

Concurrent Session 3: Strengthening the Value Proposition – Business Engagement
Presented by Dennis Menejhini, Veteran Product Specialist, Indeed; Mona Dexter, Chief of Staff USCCF Hiring Our Heroes at U.S. and Edward Carr, Director, Military & Veteran Affairs at Comcast NBCUniversal; and Angela Williams, Digital Careers Program Director, Goodwill Industries International.

  • The industry experts discussed the value proposition of hiring veterans and military families to employers. They broke down the key components of employer segmentation, in-demand skills, and industry sector councils. Lastly, they featured Goodwill’s role in connecting veterans and military families with hiring employers: View session recording

Concurrent Session 4: Overcoming Challenges through a Growth Mindset
Presented by Elizabeth McCombs, Project and Reporting Manager, Goodwill Industries International and Jomaira Ortiz, Youth and Young Adult Services Program Manager, Goodwill Industries International

  • The hallmark of a growth mindset is being able to stretch yourself through learning and sticking to it even when it’s not going well. In this session, participants learned how to overcome challenging obstacles in meeting grant outcomes for their veteran programs through cultivating a growth mindset: View session recording

Concurrent Session 5: The Ripple Effects of COVID-19
Presented by Gloria L. Blackwell, Senior Vice President of Fellowships and Programs – American Association of University Women (AAUW), Bronagh Friel, Program Lead for Veterans and Military Families, Grow with Google; Ilario Pantano, Senior Director, Community Services –IVMF at Syracuse University; Lisa Murray, Program Manager, Community Based Services – IVMF at Syracuse University and Vincent DelSignore, Program Manager, Community Services- IVMF at Syracuse University

  • The session detailed the staggering impact of COVID-19-related unemployment on military spouses and minority groups. Speakers discussed how to prepare for post COVID-19 job market and the trajectory change of veteran and military families’ employment: View session recording

Day 2

Keynote: More Than A Role: Diversity as a Pathway to Equitable Access
Presented by Deshauna Barber, CEO, SWAN

  • Barber delivered a message about diversity and the role it has played historically in the military to help bridge racial, social and cultural divides. She explored how diversity helps to build more effective, innovative, and efficient teams that can serve as a blueprint for organizations looking to provide equitable access.: View session recording

Fireside Chat: The Role Organizations Play in Providing Access to Opportunities to Underserved Veteran Populations
Presented by Deshauna Barber, CEO, SWAN and Steve Preston, President and CEO, Goodwill Industries International

  • Barber discussed the role organizations play in providing opportunity access to underserved populations (veterans and military families). They will also discuss the challenges veterans and military spouses have faced with adjusting to new remote work: View session recording

Keynote: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Study Reveals How to Serve Veterans Holistically
Presented by Pamela Johnson, Veterans and Military Family Program Manager, Angela Lee, Manager of Advocacy Outreach and Engagement and Bryan Keller, Goodwill Industries International, Impact Analytics Manager, Data Strategy

  • This keynote presentation delivered a high level overview of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Pathways to Sustainable Employment study. DEI plays a large role in economic mobility for everyone, but especially for underserved populations like women veterans who are women or minorities and minority veterans in achieving long-term financial stability: View session recording

Concurrent Session 1:Leveraging the Collective Power of Partnerships
Presented by Lori Adams, Veterans Policy Director at National Association Workforce Agencies (NASWA), Kathy Mackie, Advisor, Service Leadership Corps, The Mission Continues and Katherine Kelley, Operation: GoodJobs Program Manager, Goodwill San Antonio (TX).

  • Learn more on how Goodwill partners use their resources, talent, and services to support their veteran communities: View session recording

Concurrent Session 2: Transforming Communities with Equitable Opportunities
Presented by Sandra Preciado, Opportunity Accelerator Program Manager, Goodwill Industries International

  • Learn how Goodwill designed and advanced solutions for all veterans and military spouses to help them find better employment and career advancement opportunities: View session recording

Concurrent Session 3: Advancing Veterans & Military Families through Policy
Presented by Mike Adams, Vice President of Business Development & Government Relations at Goodwill Upstate/Midlands South Carolina (Greenville) and Mitch Coppes, Government Relations Senior Specialist, Goodwill Industries International

  • The speakers reviewed Goodwill’s recommendations for policymakers for helping veterans and military families: View session recording

Concurrent Session 4: Applying an Inclusive Lens to Serve Holistically
Presented by Mike Eisenhower, CWT Program Coordinator at Veteran Administration (VHA-Vocational Rehabilitation); Phillip E. Weiner, Deputy Clerk at the Forsyth County Clerk of Superior Court Office at Veteran Court; and, Tara Thompson McCracken, District Director of Workforce Development, Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina (Winston-Salem, NC)

  • This session explored promising practices and challenges related to veterans with disabilities and who were impacted by the criminal justice system histories. Speakers presented an overview of services and promising practices: View session recording

Reflections from the Conference
Facilitated by Pamela Johnson, Veteran and Military Family Program Manager, Goodwill Industries International and Mercedes Castro, Digital Engagement and Engagement Specialist, Goodwill Industries International