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Veteran Women Igniting the Spirt of Entrepreneurship

Veteran Women Igniting the Spirt of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE)

Veteran Women Igniting the Spirt of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE)

Veteran Women Igniting the Spirt of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) is more than just a program, it's a movement that empowers women veterans and military spouses to take charge of their business aspirations. When I learned that the D'Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) was hosting V-WISE conference in Jacksonville, I felt compelled to be a part of this transformative experience.

V-WISE Jacksonville not only promised, but also delivered, a weekend packed with learning, networking, and inspiration. Having worked alongside these remarkable ladies for three weeks during Phase I—taught by Crystal Wambeke, CEO of Wambeke & Associates, through a comprehensive online portion—it was exciting to finally meet them in person. This preparatory phase set the stage for a weekend that also featured many different speakers and instructors. 

One particular standout was Merryl Tengesdal, a retired military officer and the first, and only, Black woman to pilot the United States Air Force's U-2 spy plane. She remains one of five women, and became only the fourth Black person in 2004, to join the U-2 program. Maureen Casey, COO of the IVMF, engaged her in a conversation about her journey through the Navy and Air Force. The session was nothing short of inspiring.

Another highlight was the panel titled "Lessons Learned in Veteran and Military-Connected Owned Business." It featured IVMF Alums Venus Quates, CEO of LaunchTech; Rachel Bellamy, Vice President of Time Systems LLC; and Erin Roth, CEO and Executive Chef of Mrs. Jo's Petite Eats Patisserie & Cafe. Moderated by Crystal Wambeke, the discussion centered on challenges faced and insights they wished to impart to other veteran and military-connected entrepreneurs. This panel was incredibly insightful.

Beyond the scheduled sessions, the sidelines of V-WISE Jacksonville were full of energy. I had the opportunity to connect with a large, diverse group of ladies who shared their entrepreneurial journey, and even their military journey. Interactions like these underscore the importance of community and networking in our entrepreneurial endeavors.

V-WISE Jacksonville was a treasure trove of insights. From understanding business planning to mastering the art of social media and marketing, the event equipped me with tools, resources, and a renewed spirit. I won't ever forget this experience, and I'm excited for my next IVMF endeavor. I highly recommend women who are eligible for the program, those who have served, or are the spouse of a service member, to check out all the IVMF has to offer to make the transition to post-service lives more successful. 

Learn more about IVMF here: 


Meet our founder: CarrieRae

Undersummers Shortlettes were created CarrieRae's personal need for comfortable thigh protection when she was working as a teacher. In 2011, her thick thighs rubbed and she needed a comfortable solution.  Pants are blazing hot in the Houston spring/summer months, shorts are not acceptable to wear to work, so she was left with capris and dresses.  Her thighs did not support wearing dresses, thigh chafing was too uncomfortable.  The idea of wearing a breezy dress sounded so comfortable to her, that she created the solution to her problem:  The Original Lace Shortlette®️. She wanted something to wear that was a single layer, the legs stayed put, comfy, and most importantly, pretty.

CarrieRae Munson