An Amazing Adventure: From Chocolate Chip Cookies to Georgetown University
By Michael Gephart
The Dog Tag Fellowship program is an amazing adventure. The pillars of the program are interwoven and support multiple learning mechanisms. The academic pillar through Georgetown University provides the technical and theoretical learning in the major disciplines of business. The major areas discussed are Management, Finance, Accounting, Communications, Business Policy, Entrepreneur and Marketing. I enjoyed the classes on entrepreneurism and finance.
The rotation pillar supports the fellow by providing practical experience from working with the different directors and managers in Dog Tag Bakery. The fellows work on challenges faced by the directors and managers they encounter as they perform their various tasks. They are able to apply the theory learned in the morning with the practicality of the rotations, thus learning many different ways small business overcome those challenges.
The directors gain creative and fresh perspectives on their challenges as the fellows seek solutions paths to improve Dog Tag Bakery operations. At the end of each rotation each small team presents their recommendations to the Directors and peers. Some of the challenges approached by this cohort had many levels, allowing multiple teams to work through all aspects of the solution.
The real treat of the Dog Tag Fellowship is the learning lab pillar. This is the most inspiring and influential part of the program. The guest speakers who grace the fellows are professionals who come and share their story. Through many different aspects of business success, growth, and taking risks. The breadth and depth of speakers who come to share their story is amazing. Some of the speakers share knowledge about critical skills to make us more effective during our interactions in the business world. This network of presenters offers a plethora of network contacts who want to assist us in moving forward after our service and finding success on the next chapter of a Fellow’s life.
My adventure in the Dog Tag program started with two chocolate chip cookies and a discussion with Meghan during a hiring fair in DC. I had recently transitioned from the US Army and was in a bit of a haze trying to figure out what I wanted to do and where I could do it. I am a military spouse and veteran of fourteen years. Through that conversation, I decided to apply, Meghan’s description of the program intrigued me. The program sounded rewarding and rigorous compared to what I had experienced through the Army’s transition program. I had very little understanding of the trail I would venture down.
There were many who came to talk with us about a myriad of topics. The topics ranged from stories of perseverance, survival, finding success, how to Network, and other professional soft skills. The speaker that inspired me is Wendy Moomaw. The way she broke down her person. She put it in the context of how it woven into her work, motivation and dedication to achieve success. Her drive is evident in how she describes the many facets of her professional journey and her future goals. Her humble approach and comfortable discussion was very inspiring. The work she does coaching and mentoring other professionals to improve their leadership skills and professional persona.
The Dog Tag fellowship program is an amazing adventure. The pillars of the program are interwoven and support multiple learning mechanisms. How each fellow chooses to unwrap the gift of a learning lab is their own to choose, each fits what they learned into their life journey.
Michael Gephart is an Army veteran and Army spouse, currently residing in Vienna, VA with his wife and 3 boys. Connect with Michael via LinkedIn.