Halfaker's CEO, Dawn Halfaker, Participates in Business and Professional Women's Foundation Employment and Careers Panel

Washington, DC—Halfaker and Associates’ CEO, Dawn Halfaker, participated in the Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation Joining Forces for Women Veterans: An Inaugural Summit on October 21, 2010 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. The BPW Foundation works to strengthen the capacity of organizations and businesses through education, research, knowledge and policy to create work environments that are inclusive and value the skills and contributions of working women. The summit aimed to help business, community and government leaders in helping support women during their transition journey from the military to civilian life. Serving on the Summit’s employment and careers panel, Dawn shared the inspirational story of her transition from the military to meaningful civilian employment.

In 2004, Dawn, a retired Military Police Officer, led a 32 member platoon in Iraq that worked to reestablish law and order in the Baquba community and rebuild the local Iraqi Police Force. During a routine patrol, Dawn’s convoy was ambushed and her vehicle was struck by a rocket propelled grenade. Her last memory of her tour in Iraq was flying over the city she had sacrificed so much to protect and rebuild in a MEDEVAC helicopter, fighting for her life. Roughly two weeks after her injury, Dawn awoke from a medically induced coma at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to realize the severity of her injuries and begin her journey as a disabled veteran. The most challenging aspect of Dawn’s recovery began after her physical wounds healed and she faced her imminent transition out of the military—the loss of her career, sense of purpose, and community of support.

She desperately wanted to stay connected, use the skills she obtained in the military and continue to be part of the fight. Dawn utilized the VA vocational rehabilitation program and began furthering her education at Georgetown in their Masters of Arts Security Studies program. After interning, developing relationships, and going on numerous job interviews, Dawn was able to connect with and begin independently consulting for an Army Colonel who was starting programs focused on saving lives on the battlefield for a DoD based research organization.

Through the guidance of mentors, the strength of her employees, and Dawn’s tenacity and drive, Halfaker and Associates has grown into a successful small business with 120 employees providing national security consulting, program management and IT solutions to the Federal Government. Dawn’s business has allowed her the opportunity to continue to serve and use the skills she obtained during her Military career. Most importantly, her civilian career has helped her to regain her sense of purpose and allows her to help fellow Wounded Warrior’s through her Company’s Wounded Warrior program.

Dawn was honored to participate in the enlightening BPW Foundation Employment and Careers panel alongside veterans Ray Jefferson, the Assistant Secretary for the Veterans' Employment and Training Service; Susan Schieren, the Manager for Military Programs at General Electric; and Erica Banks, the Director of Talent Programs at USAA. Dawn believes in the leadership of women veterans and the strength they bring to an organization following their transition from the military. She hopes that her shared story of success and advocacy for veterans helps to break down the barriers challenging women veterans during their reintegration into their communities and civilian careers.

To listen to the Dawn’s speech, please visit: http://connectlive.com/events/womenveterans/