The Raymond A. Mason School of Business at William & Mary recently hosted a transformative two-week event in June, the Flourishing Through Life Transitions program, as part of their Veteran-to-Executive (W&M VET) certificate program. This unique initiative focused on empowering veterans and members of the intelligence community to make successful transitions to high-level civilian management positions while prioritizing their wellness and self-discovery.
The Flourishing Through Life Transitions program emphasized a holistic approach, centering on integrative wellness, mental and physical well-being, and developing essential business skills. Engaging faculty from William & Mary's highly-ranked MBA program and subject-matter experts from the Center for Mindfulness and Authentic Excellence, the participants experienced a rigorous and intensive curriculum.
Kelly Crace, associate vice president for health & wellness and director of the Center for Mindfulness & Authentic Excellence, expressed his admiration for the participants' courage and willingness to delve into developing healthy relationships with their values. "This has been one of the most meaningful professional experiences for me," Crace said, highlighting the program's inspirational impact. “To see these individuals be so courageously vulnerable and so willing to do a deeper dive into developing a healthy relationship with their values was inspiring."
One of the participants, William Booth, a military veteran with 29 years of service, described the program as an "extraordinary learning experience" that stands out among Veterans Executive Transition educational opportunities. The event provided an environment for veterans to connect their military service with a world-class educational opportunity and forge meaningful connections for their next mission.
Jonathan "JD" Due, executive director of the Center for Military Transition, spoke highly of the quality of participants in the program. “The joy of this program lies in the quality of its participants – all of whom are seeking to connect their unique military service with a world-class educational opportunity and meaningful connections that will empower them in their next mission.” He emphasized how the transition from military service to civilian life often raises profound questions, and the Flourishing Through Life Transitions program helps them find answers and empowers them in their new chapters of service. “It is an honor to work with William & Mary’s best as they work with some of our nation’s best as they pursue their individual journeys to new chapters of service.”
Michael B. Lewis, a senior project construction manager at Dominion Energy, shared his own life-changing experience with the program. After 23 years of military service, Lewis found himself terrified of the transition ahead. However, the program's exercises in designing dream jobs, communicating visions, and managing stress provided him with guideposts for his journey. Thanks to the program, Lewis embarked on a fulfilling post-military career aligned with his personal values and strengths.
Participants engaged in integrative wellness activities, including mindfulness, creative art therapy, gyrokinesis, nutrition, and various fitness activities, all designed to foster a deeper level of effectiveness in leadership over the two-week-long program.
The Flourishing Through Life Transitions program at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business demonstrated the commitment of William & Mary to empowering veterans and intelligence community members for successful civilian careers. As the event concluded, the participants not only gained valuable skills and knowledge but also formed a strong transition network that will support them throughout their future endeavors.
The program's success in helping participants embrace new opportunities and navigate through life transitions highlights its lasting impact, ensuring that what they learned will indeed last a lifetime.