November 11, 1919 marked the first anniversary of World War I’s end, commemorating the armistice signed between the Allied Powers and Germany. The U.S. Congress passed a resolution for an annual observance of “Armistice Day” in 1926, and by 1938, November 11 had become a national holiday. Years later, President Eisenhower declared that Armistice Day would henceforth be referred to by the name still in use, and so “Veterans Day” was born.

Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day exists so that we can pay tribute to all American veterans — alive or since passed. Each year on November 11, we come together as a nation to honor our armed service members and to remember their tremendous dedication and sacrifice.

In celebration of the millions of astounding men and women who have served our country, IVY is hosting a series of panels to help our members learn more about veterans affairs and the critical work of reintegrating our troops back into civilian life. In each of our seven cities, we are bringing together a diverse group of community and corporate leaders, nonprofit advocates, and experts to discuss the most pressing issues faced by veterans today and the innovative ways they are being welcomed home. We encourage anyone interested in learning more about how they can support these efforts to attend by visiting their city’s events page!

Veterans Affairs

The U.S. military is the largest in the world, spanning five branches and approaching a near-trillion dollar budget. In spite of this fact, returning veterans face a myriad of issues, from acclimating to life as a civilian to healthcare concerns, with many of these issues receiving considerably less attention than they deserve. Specifically, the number of women veterans is growing dramatically, increasing the demand for services designed to support single mothers, caregivers, and victims of sexual assault.

According to a study conducted by RAND, of the veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, 50% of those who suffer from PTSD do not seek treatment, and 25% receive only “minimally adequate” treatment. And to make matters worse, a number of our veterans who do receive care have been affected by the national opioid crisis, and run an increased risk of addiction and fatal overdose.

Thankfully, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has taken steps to address this problem. As the federal agency responsible for providing healthcare and support to returning service members, the VA has hospitals and satellite locations throughout the country that provide home loans, insurance, rehabilitation, and education in addition to health offerings. Since 2012, the height of the department’s opioid prescribing, the VA has reduced the number of veterans receiving opioids by 20% and has cut dosages for about 17,000 patients. It has increased its mental health screening services, and is working to offer a more holistic and comprehensive approach to its patients’ well-being.

“Their methods vary, but most rely on the same guiding principle: the experience our veterans receive in the armed forces is invaluable, and widely applicable across different facets of civilian life and society.”

A Team Effort

With millions of veterans and limited funding, the VA has a lot on its plate. Certainly, we have a long way to go when it comes to providing our veterans with the resources needed to thrive, and an even longer way when it comes to providing our veterans with the services they deserve.

Fortunately, there are several organizations, companies, and individuals also striving toward this goal. Their methods vary, but most rely on the same guiding principle: the experience our veterans receive in the armed forces is invaluable, and widely applicable across different facets of civilian life and society.

Leadership, management, organization, patience, resilience, grace under pressure — just a few of the many skills cultivated by our service members. The secret to veteran reintegration is putting these skills to use.

Deloitte, for example, has introduced “a more integrated, comprehensive approach that looks at military members and veterans more holistically (through both an emotional prosperity and career prosperity lens) and better aligns with military members’ and veterans’ needs.” Their Career Opportunity Redefinition & Exploration (CORE) Leadership Program at Deloitte University in Texas helps members of the armed forces and veterans translate their skills, knowledge, and experience into a business environment. They are just one among many companies that is realizing the broader benefits of supporting our veterans. Across our events, we’ll hear from major companies to learn their dynamic approach to hiring veterans.

The nonprofit sector, too, has a lot to offer our veterans, and continues to innovate ways to support their reintegration. Often these organizations are founded and run by veterans themselves, who know firsthand the challenges associated with this kind of work. During our panels, we’ll meet Jim Wong, a former Marine Officer, who chairs the National Veterans Transition Service, Inc., a nonprofit whose co-founders, retired Navy Rear Admiral Ronne Froman and Master Chief Petty Office Maurice Wilson, have been recognized by the White House as a “Champion of Change.”

Looking Forward

We’ll also learn from Justine Evirs, a Navy veteran and spouse who has dedicated her life to changing the narrative of what it means to be a veteran in contemporary society. She is the Founder & CEO of The Paradigm Switch, Executive Director of Bunker Labs, Bay Area, and a Regional Manager at the world’s largest idea-stage accelerator, The Founder Institute, each dedicated to supporting veterans. Similarly, William McNulty, former Marine Corps Reserve member, is the cofounder of Team Rubicon, a disaster response veterans service organization that offers veterans incredibly meaningful work to support their reintegration.

These are just a few examples of the inspiring individuals and organizations we will hear from in honor of Veterans Day. It is our hope that our panelists will share their journeys and inspire each of us to take up the mantle of supporting veterans going forward.

We hope to see you there!

IVY is the world’s first Social University. Our mission is to educate and inspire future leaders. To learn more and attend live events near you, please visit IVY.com.