Members of Cohort Five nominated Vince Loran to serve as their class’s graduation speaker on June 1, 2017. An Air Force veteran, Vince lives in Alexandria, VA with his wife Ana. Connect with Vince via LinkedIn. Please find his remarks from the ceremony below. Join us in congratulating all of the Dog Tag graduates!
Thank you! Dog Tag Inc. Staff, Board Members, Alumni, Georgetown University Professors and administration, learning lab partners, distinguished guest, family and friends; Welcome and Thank you.
I am truly honored to be speaking on behalf of the fellows of Cohort 5.
To the Fellows of Cohort 5, we did it!!! Here’s a celebratory round of applause! I call us the Perfect 10! Cohort 6 have big shoes to fill. Congrats to each and every one of you on this prestigious accomplishment. We embarked into this program on January 10th, 2017, that’s why we’re the winter class, as individuals and became a Team, a family, part of a wonderful community. Throughout our 5 month journey we laughed, we cried, we fought, we bonded, and embraced each other. A truly remarkable experience not only giving us the opportunity to be better suited for employment, entrepreneurship or to seek higher education. It gave us something far greater that: It gave us an opportunity to Accept and Believe who we are the way we are. We searched from within we meditated, reflected… boy did we reflect! “What are you doing”, experience finding your voice and Bo “AKA” Charles, said it best last night and I quote, “My future is much brighter, my dreams are back! My dreams shifted and changed a little now I dream of having 6 kids a large family.” I believe Bo is creating a children’s version of a Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship program. Watch out! We all shared the same sentiment of the importance of valuing Family- our immediate family, the Dog Tag Family and the military family. Bo also mentioned in his speech that he plans on taking everything he learned and go into the community of San Antonio, Texas and make a difference. This is what this program does (Pause) It transforms and empowers, it is truly a Rite of Passage.
Here we are on June 1st, and the first of each month I post a quote and challenge on Facebook which I call the monthly Q&C’s and today being that it is June 1st I added the following Quote-Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua J. Marine. We all have overcame several challenges throughout our journey and I hope they were as meaningful to you as they were for me.
Cohort 5- Let me share with you our class superlatives which are an exaggerated or hyperbolical expression of praise: Not terrible!
Most likely to show 5 videos of her cats in one hour- Rachael
Most likely to organize the classroom or your Life- Leslie
Most likely to Parachute through the Skylight and give a presentation on the Value Proposition Model- Mike
Most likely to turn a 5 min speech to a 30 min lecture- Victor
Most likely to get interviewed by 60 Minutes and every major news network- Cassaundra
Most likely to recite every VA Health Benefit and regulations- Aundrea
Most likely to be very active on social media with a huge following especially on Twitter or should I say Tweeter- Laura
Most likely to come to class in Jeans or gym attire or best Dressed- Nnana
Most likely to snap pictures any place anytime or bust out salsa dancing-Vince
To Racheal, to Victor, to Cassaundra, to Nnana, to Laura, to Mike, to Leslie and to Bo, I leave you with two words:
The first is one word Build:
Build yourself, examine and observe your mental and emotional state and processes. Introspectively build your inner strength and your inner self to allow yourselves to be a brighter beacon of light not only for yourself, but for others.
Secondly, build your professional relationships these are those connections that pays huge dividends for each of us personally and professionally. Go to those networking events and have a purpose. I’m proud to say Leslie is a perfect example of how she build herself and now is a professional networking ambassador, Great Job Leslie! Building these relationships because they will add value when you need to share an idea, a constructive feedback or get some, a shoulder to lean on or someone to vent to.
Lastly, Build your community involves lending a hand and more importantly, lending your Heart! Just look around the room. They invested in us, in the Dog Tag Fellowship program and in the Dog Tag cohort in some way, shape or form. They have taken the time to help us, groom us, support us, educate us, gives us praises and recalibrate us and of course, a swift kick once in awhile so we can be right on point. They did this all in the name of building this wonderful community because they care. They got our SIX- They got our back. One person comes to mind when I mention building a community at Dog Tag. Fellows…Any guesses? Kyle Burns. You embodied and personified building a community with your heart for us that is why I called you, Mama Bear. You looked out for each and every one of us each day and every hour, through the good and the hard times. Nothing but love for you Mama Bear and we thank you for that! Build a community with your Heart!
The final word I leave you with Is PASSION, and I want to break this out. It’s a powerful or compelling emotion or feeling I want each of you to continue your journey with that.
Let me break this down for you-
The P of passion, stands for personally committed to achieving your purpose, your goals with persistency and always staying positive!
The A Stands for Appreciation- Appreciation of all walks of life, people with different abilities and different personalities. To appreciate each other starts with being an active listener. That’s why we have to WAIT!-acronym “Why Am I Talking?” We have two of these (points to ears) and one of these (points to mouth) so we should be listening more and talking less. Listen with empathy without judgements. It will truly be appreciated!
The S’s of Passion stand for Service before Self the second Air Force core Value of the year folks that I must add-putting others first. The impact of serving others is like dropping a pebble in the water seeing the endless ripples it creates! We have seen that in Bo (AKA Charles) going down to San Antonio, TX after this beautiful experience and all of us will also reap those benefits, and you will see those creative ripples. Service before Self.
The I stands for Integrity- which we have learned and embodied from our time in the military, which are part of our core values and our warrior ethos. Integrity, doing the right thing, being honest, have strong moral principles.
The O stands for openness-being open to listen to others, open to admitting when you need help and open to accept the help. The letter O is in the form of a circle because it is a cycle that is constantly evolving and is a representation of the circle of your life!
The last letter in word Passion I want each and every one of you, all 9 of you, to continue to remember and repeat the letter N, because nobody, nothing will stand in your way! Thank you very much! ©