Christian Chisolm MBA '24: A Flourishing Transition from Military Service to Executive Success

Christian Chisolm, MBA '24, is a great example of resilience, growth, and success regarding career transitions. As a participant of William & Mary’s Veteran-to-Executive (W&M VET) Certificate Program: Flourishing Through Life Transitions, Christian shares his transformative journey and its profound impact on his transition from military service to the executive realm in a brief Q & A.

How did W&M’s VET Certificate Program contribute to your professional growth and successful transition from military service to the executive realm?

The VET Certificate Program played an instrumental role in shaping my career management program as I entered business school. The program became a compass, guiding me to identify the fields of work I enjoy most and the essential aspects of work that contribute to my overall job satisfaction.

What specific skills or knowledge did you gain during the program that you found most valuable in your career transition?

I would have to emphasize four key elements: skill and experience articulation, mental health and stress management, storytelling, and executive public speaking. These skills became the pillars of my foundation as I navigated the challenging terrain of transitioning from military service to a civilian executive role.

In what ways did the program's structure and curriculum support your unique needs as a veteran seeking an executive role?

I credit the program, aptly named "Flourishing," for boosting my confidence and helping me to articulate my military experience in a relatable manner. Recognizing the unique challenges veterans face in conveying their experiences to civilians, helped further bridge the gap and foster a better understanding of the nuances of military service.

Were there any particular aspects of the program that significantly impacted your post-military career journey?

The career design labs, storytelling sessions, and emphasis on physical and mental health are pivotal components that significantly impacted my post-military career journey. These elements provided me with the tools and insights necessary to navigate the complexities of the executive environment.

How did the VET Certificate Program help you overcome challenges commonly faced by veterans entering the corporate or executive environment?

One of the critical challenges veterans often face is a lack of confidence in their place at the corporate round table. I can attest firsthand to the transformative power of the VET Certificate Program in reshaping this perception. The program opens veterans' eyes to diverse opportunities beyond government or public sector roles, empowering us to pursue executive positions confidently.

Would you recommend this program to other veterans considering a transition to executive roles, and if so, why?

I am unequivocal in my recommendation of the program to fellow veterans contemplating transitioning to executive roles. I cannot emphasize the program's richness in lessons and opportunities enough. I urge those willing to embrace ambiguity and challenge the status quo to consider this holistic approach to building their future.

Is there anything else you would like to share or include that might help someone decide if this path is right for them?

I encourage prospective participants to consider the VET Certificate Program as a guiding light, steering them away from blindly accepting roles that may not align with their true values, and thereby, not provide life satisfaction.

My story is not just one of individual triumph but a testament to the transformative potential of programs like Flourishing in supporting veterans on their journey from military service to executive success.

About the Program

William & Mary’s Veteran-to-Executive (W&M VET) certificate program — Flourishing Through Life Transitions — emphasizes a holistic approach centered on wellness and self-discovery. This distinctive and comprehensive curriculum taps into the strengths present across William & Mary’s campus.

Jonathan “JD” Due, Executive Director of the Center for Military Transition, helps to address the profound questions that individuals face when transitioning from the military to civilian life. As Due emphasizes, “Participants in this program are seeking to connect their rich military experiences with top-tier education and meaningful connections to empower their next mission. It's an honor to witness William & Mary's commitment to excellence intersecting with the dedication of our nation's finest individuals as they embark on their new chapters of service.”

Kelly Crace, Associate Vice President for Health & Wellness and Director of the Center for Mindfulness & Authentic Excellence, underscores the transformative journey undertaken by program participants. “Through collaborative efforts, individuals courageously engage in developing a deeper and healthier relationship with their values, uncertainty, and self-care. The result is an authentic, purpose-driven approach to navigating life transitions with resilience and hope.”

Individuals participating in this program will not only gain new skills and perspectives but also become part of a supportive community dedicated to personal and professional growth.

For more information on applying, and to learn more about this program, please contact