More than 500 Veteran-serving professionals from across the country will meet Aug. 25-27 for the annual Warrior Community Integration Symposium hosted by America’s Warrior Partnership (AWP). The purpose of the symposium is to share best practices, hear from influential speakers, learn about new resources, and forge new partnerships to empower communities, Veterans and their families.
Atlanta hosted the event the last six years. This year, the symposium will be a virtual event, open to all attendees at no cost.
The switch to a virtual setting and the elimination of registration fees offers a unique opportunity. A greater number of professionals can network with each other and learn about the latest trends in empowering Veterans.
VA will have a strong presence at this year’s symposium. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie and Chief Veterans Experience Officer Dr. Lynda Davis will provide remarks. They will speak on how VA is collaborating with national and local service providers to strengthen community networks of resources and opportunities for Veterans.
Every general session has an influential leaders supporting Veteran services:
- Gary Sinise, Chairman and Founder, Gary Sinise Foundation
- William McRaven, ADM (Ret.), The University of Texas at Austin, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
- Mike Linnington, LTG (Ret.), CEO, Wounded Warrior Project
- Douglas Petno, CEO of Commercial Banking, JP Morgan Chase & Co.
- Harriet Dominique, Senior VP, Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Affairs, USAA
- Catharine Grimes, Director of Corporate Philanthropy, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation
- Mike Hall, Executive Director, Three Rangers Foundation
Here is a preview of the topics and speakers that will take center stage at this year’s event.
Veterans in Transition
Navy Lt. Cmdr. and NASCAR driver Jesse Iwuji will serve as the featured keynote speaker. He will share his experience balancing his military service with entrepreneurism and a career in professional sports. Iwuji graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, where he competed as an NCAA Division I-A football player for four years. He commissioned as a surface warfare officer and deployed for a total of 15 months to the Arabian Gulf on two Navy warships. After transitioning to the Navy Reserve, he debuted in the NASCAR Truck Series where he had a Top 25 finish.
Outside of racing and his Navy service, Iwuji owns a drag racing events company and a trucking business. He will speak about his experiences transitioning from active duty service to professional sports and the business world.
Veteran Suicide Prevention
As the nation continues the fight to eliminate Veteran suicide, the symposium will feature a session sharing the latest findings from Operation Deep Dive. The community-based military Veteran suicide prevention study takes place in 14 communities across the country. This four-year study is led by AWP and researchers from the University of Alabama with support from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. Dr. Karl Hamner of the University of Alabama will moderate a panel. The will discuss the study’s latest findings and what communities can do to empower Veterans through upstream public health policies.
Veterans in the Workplace
Several panels and breakout sessions focus on how communities and businesses can partner to create more Veteran-friendly workplace cultures. Barclays’ Program Manager for Military and Veterans Outreach, Tiffany Daugherty, will lead a panel major company representatives. She will discuss how organizations can improve their recruitment and retention of Veterans. In addition to employee engagement, the symposium will also address topics of interest for business owners. These breakout sessions focus on strengthening entrepreneurship networks for Veterans.
This year’s symposium will educate Veteran-serving organizations on the best ways to use technology to improve operations. AWP Director of Innovative Technology Dannielle Pope will lead a panel diving into how organizations can use technology platforms to maximize the value and impact of their data. Attendees will learn how to streamline data collection and entry into digital record systems. Attendees will also learn how to use the data they collect to drive strategic decisions and resource allocation.
A separate breakout session will cover the benefits to fundraising that technology can deliver. From social media to e-newsletters and donor outreach, this session will introduce attendees to new ways of using digital platforms. This session will help drive more efficient fundraising campaigns in the months ahead.
This is only a snapshot of the wide range of topics and speakers featured over the course of the 2020 Symposium. A full agenda for the event and information on registering for the free event is at AmericasWarriorPartnership.org/Symposium.
The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services on part of the VA.