Thomas Brenton is an active-duty Army officer and Kathleen Atanasoff is an active-duty Air Force officer. They are both working at
The following is a conversation between Tom and Kathleen about Veterans Day and their time with the military and at
Why do you think people should celebrate Veterans Day?
Photo: Amy Sparks
Speaking of service, you’ve been in the Army for 15 years. What misconceptions do you think people have about active-duty military members or Veterans?
Photo: Amy Sparks
Kathleen: Great point. I think people want to share their stories, so it’s just a matter of showing interest and asking them to open up about their experiences. There has been a lot of emphasis lately on helping military members and their families successfully transition to the civilian world after their time in the military. I think we are so fortunate to have the chance to dip a toe into the corporate world and get a taste of what that transition will ultimately be like, once we do leave the military. From what you’ve seen so far, what are some of the things you think you struggle with or that your family struggles with in this transition?
Tom: I struggle daily with the differences in language
What about you? Has this experience made you homesick for the Air Force at all?
Kathleen: I miss the camaraderie. People here are incredibly kind and have welcomed me into their network, which I truly appreciate. But there is a special bond formed between service members in the military that I don’t think can be replicated. It’s not that we all necessarily shared the same foxhole, rather that we share the same calling regardless of service branch, rank or any demographical difference. So when I am in the airport and meet a young sailor, I feel connected to him just because we are both in the service. Or when an older Veteran tells me a war story he hasn’t shared with his own kids because I’m the one in uniform, I know he told me because he knows I get it. I think that camaraderie is part of the military tradition. Related to that,
What have you learned so far at
Tom: I will definitely take back some communications industry best practices that the military is just not up to speed on. I think we have a ways to go, but I know there are a lot of great leaders I’ve worked with who are only a phone call away should I have a question.
What sticks out in your mind so far from your experience?
Kathleen: The ways
What do you think
Tom: Well I hope I have shown the value in working out alternatives in planning and also looking at strategy differently. I think goal-setting is extremely important in any organization, and it is one thing to make a goal and get the team moving that way. Great leaders see the “roadmap” and show where progress is being made, but also show metrics for how effective they are and where they need to make adjustments. Being adaptive and flexible are the best traits leaders can show, because as the old saying goes, “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.”
Kathleen: Said like a true soldier.
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