This is part of WTOP’s continuing coverage of people making a difference from our community authored by Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. Read more of that coverage.
When Xavier Bruce retired from the military, he said he put on his suit and tie and went to work the same way he had when he was an officer, as if it was an extension of his military career.
It was a decision he says he regrets, “Because now I realize that having my own business is really [about] control, creativity and impact.”
He says it’s a control he didn’t have in the military or in the civilian workforce. The retired Air Force lieutenant colonel is the founder and CEO of Uplift Energy Coaching LLC, vice president of the Retired Military Officers Association in Bowie, Maryland, and executive director of the RMOA’s Business Institute in Fairfax, Virginia.
He’s encouraging other veterans to start their own businesses, “I think it’s an outstanding opportunity to align passion and purpose.”
Uplift Energy Coaching along with NABVets/NAMVETS, and Unite Us are holding a care coordination and claims clinic called The Conduit. “And the whole idea is to give veterans, not only entrepreneurship opportunities, but also employment opportunities,” said Bruce.
He says a lot of veterans leave the military with high ranks and a lot of experience in the military but they are not financially savvy. The U.S. Air Force Academy grad says their goal is to help veterans become more financially literate in a psychologically safe space where information can flow.
He says that sometimes veterans, especially minority veterans, feel left out — “We feel disenfranchised, marginalized.”
He said what veterans need now more than ever is a way to have control over their lives, and having their own businesses is one way to do that. He says it’s also a way to impact the community because when veterans own their businesses and are able to show their unique skills and values, “That’s when we’re really taping into the lives we were designed to live.”
The Conduit is being held Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 6303 Ivy Lane in Greenbelt, Maryland.
To find out more, go to the EventBrite page for the conference.