007 - Dwayne Paro welcomes Michael Zacchea to today’s podcast. Mike was a commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps in 1990. He deployed to Somalia for Operation Restore Hope and to Haiti for Operation Support Democracy. In March 2004, as a Major, he deployed to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom II. His team’s mission was to build, train and lead in combat the first Iraqi army battalion trained by the US military. The battalion participated in Operation Phantom Fury, the 2nd battle of Fallujah. Mike’s military awards include the Bronze Star Medal (with Valor device) (with gold star in lieu of 2nd awrd), the Purple Heart Medal, a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, a Combat Action Ribbon and numerous unit and campaign awards.
Serving our Great Nation (2:48)
Finds his situations to be a combination of opportunity and circumstance. He was in a position to take these opportunities. Understanding opportunity is very important in the military and transitioning out of the military. Fear is the primary obstacle for people take advantage of opportunities, self-image, not making enough money or how you perceive yourself.
Lifelong learning is key and the military encourages that. Both by nature and nurture provided the desire to have lifelong learning. Education doesn’t have to be formal, various resources in each industry that provides opportunity.
Transitioning to Entrepreneurship (3:35)
Started the entrepreneur boot camp for Veterans at UConn. Attended the MBA program and from there met someone who had the unique position of being the Dean’s wife and being on the dissertation board. She knew the guy who started the entrepreneur program at Syracuse University. Did a case study that showed no veterans in New England had ever attended such a program. They chose to be the center for this in New England receiving amazing backing, started in 2009.
No correlation between education level and success as an entrepreneur. Learning to start and run a business is new to everyone, they have all been successful.
Most entrepreneurs are part of a community of entrepreneurs in a vast network for support. Incubators and start up space with investors are a necessary part of being an entrepreneur.
Real demand for training and entrepreneurial access yet the percentage becoming entrepreneurs is reducing.
The program has had impact on two big veteran challenges. Homelessness and unemployment. They focus on complete reintegration of a veteran, there are several areas that have to happen at once. Mental health care is the single biggest obstacle that breaks the ability to have all these come to together at once.
Mike has authored several books. He met people through common connections and established relationships as a result leading to the opportunity to contribute to authoring and creating content of great value to veterans. Certain assignments in college lead him to writing major papers and doing significant research leading to his ability to create substantial content. Attended a Veterans Writer Symposium which supported his ability to write effectively.
“Veterans Advocacy: the fight for Social Justice and Healing Through Activism”
“Social Entrepreneurship Solution for Veterans’ Reintegration through Entrepreneur Training for Disabled Veterans”
“The Ragged Edge”
How to Contact Michael (32:30)
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