From Military to Civilian Life: A Conversation with Kathy Galloway
As a podcaster, I have the privilege of engaging in enlightening conversations with a variety of guests. In a recent episode, I had the pleasure of hosting Kathy Galloway, a veteran with a wealth of experience and insights to share. Our discussion revolved around the opportunities and support available for veterans transitioning into civilian life, and the importance of employers recognizing the value that veterans bring to the workforce.
Kathy Galloway: A Life of Service
Kathy Galloway’s life has been shaped by her military background. Growing up as a navy kid, she learned the values of service and giving back to the country. Her career in the air force spanned 29 years, during which she served as a nurse before transitioning into public affairs. One of her most notable achievements was establishing an outreach program post-9/11 to educate and engage civilians in supporting troops and their families, with a special focus on reserve component members juggling civilian jobs or full-time studies.
The Irony of Military to Civilian Transition
Despite the strong overlap of skills between military and civilian roles, recruiters and hiring managers often struggle to connect military experience with civilian job requirements. This is an irony that Kathy and I discussed at length. She emphasized the transferability of military skills and the importance of tools like military skills translators and crosswalks in matching military occupational specialties with civilian jobs.
The Value of Military Personnel in the Workforce
Veterans bring a unique set of qualities to the workforce, including adaptability, discipline, and motivation. However, transitioning from military to civilian life requires more than just matching skills. It also involves a cultural and behavioral shift, which Kathy believes needs better support.
Military Language in the Workplace
Our conversation also touched on the use of military language in the workplace. While it can be motivating and inspiring, it’s crucial to be sensitive to the cultural context and the recipients of the message. We also discussed the evolving initiatives and programs that support service members and veterans in their transition to the civilian workforce.
The Challenge of Underemployment
Despite the low unemployment rate among veterans, underemployment remains a significant issue. We highlighted the increasing number of programs and initiatives aimed at attracting veteran talent and the role of state governments in promoting veteran employment. We also emphasized the importance of shared experiences, storytelling, and building trusted relationships to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.
The Importance of Purpose and Mission
One of the key takeaways from our conversation was the importance of purpose and mission, both in the military and in civilian careers. We encouraged listeners to always have their eye on the ball and think about their legacy and what truly motivates them. As Mark Twain once said, the two most important days in an individual’s life are the day they were born and the day they figure out why.
Kathy’s Passion for Coaching Employers
Kathy shared her passion for coaching employers on how to source and retain veteran talent. She mentioned the Veteran Talent Academy, which offers courses on fundamentals and advanced individual training. She also discussed her book, “Beyond Thank You for Your Service,” which provides practical strategies for civilians to improve quality of life, workforce, and community.
The Transition from Nurse to Executive Officer
Kathy’s personal experience of transitioning from a part-time nurse to a full-time executive officer in the military is a testament to the adaptability of veterans. Despite her initial lack of knowledge in operational flying and running a wing, she was given the opportunity because of her character and values. This experience underscores the importance of hiring for character and training for skills.
Our conversation with Kathy Galloway was a deep dive into the challenges and opportunities faced by veterans transitioning into civilian life. Her insights and advocacy for veterans are invaluable, and I am grateful for her contribution to spreading awareness about the value of veteran talent. As we concluded the episode, I was left with a renewed appreciation for the sacrifices our veterans make and the unique skills and experiences they bring to the civilian workforce.
Retired LtCol Kathy Gallowitz grew up as a Navy ‘brat’ and served nearly 30 years as an Air Force Officer. She is the Founder & CEO of Vanguard Veteran, LLC, author of “Beyond ‘Thank You For your Service,’ The Veteran Champion Handbook” for Civilians and has Masters degrees in Nursing and Political Science. As an award-winning businesswoman with first-hand experience hiring Veterans, Kathy coaches employers how to excel with hiring and retaining Veteran talent in ways that strengthens their workforce. Her “Veteran Talent Academy” equips employers to find, hire and leverage Veterans’ skillsets. Kathy also equips volunteer faith community leaders to build Military Ministries to cultivate mutual support, a sense of belonging and spiritual resiliency for military-connected people. Learn more here.
Business community podcast show notes from Kathy Gallowitz at
Vanguard Veteran Overview:
Veteran Talent Academy:
Complimentary Veteran-Ready assessment:
Vanguard Veteran’s Employer Consulting and Training:
O*Net Online Mlitary Crosswalk Search:
Transition Career Resource Guide for Veterans and Military Spouses:
Invite Vanguard Veteran to Speak:
“Beyond ‘Thank you For Your Service:’ the Veteran Champion handbook for
civilians” on Amazon: https://bit.ly/BeyondThankYouForYourService
Women Who Lead: A monthly free hybrid Leadership Discussion Forum for
women Veterans and non-Veterans to empower women leaders and foster
mutual support. We hope you will join us!
Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/137542143253