Finding the Confidence to Move Forward
By Mindy Boulanger
My name is Mindy Boulanger. I’m originally from Saskatchewan, Canada and come from a family of entrepreneurs. After living in the United States for the past three years, my life has been based around appointments, adapting to a new living environment and lifestyle, and learning to be a mom while caring for my legally blind spouse.
I first learned about the Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship when I was living in the Operation Homefront Villages (OHFV). The OHFV is a place that provides transitioning veterans and their families with a free place to reside while they await their retirement pay, along with their final rating from the VA. OHFV hosts frequent events and group speakers for village residents, and it was through one of these events that I was told about an entrepreneurship program provided for caregivers and spouses by Dog Tag Inc. Being excited about the opportunity to further my education and gain experience I could use to pursue a career outside the home, I applied to Dog Tag’s program for the first time in 2015. However, after having my first interview and thinking more about committing myself to the program, I came to realize that my family needed me and I was not in a position where I could commit to the fellowship.
During the phone interview portion of the process, I was surprised how understanding, encouraging, and empathetic my interviewer was to my family situation. He encouraged me to see the opportunity of this program while advising me that the opportunity will still be around, and when I am ready they would be happy to have me. Knowing that this opportunity was always available gave me the courage to re-apply for the program again in 2018.
The Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program has provided me with an opportunity to learn in a small, comfortable, supportive, understanding, and hands-on environment. The biggest struggles for me while taking this course are finding the confidence to be around people, speak up, open myself up to a new experiences, and possibly join the workforce. Through journaling, practicing mindfulness, interpersonal discussion, compassion, excitement for my growth, and the educational courses provided by Dog Tag, I have learned a lot about myself. I am slowly finding the confidence to move forward with my entrepreneurial idea of one day owning and operating my own bed and breakfast.