020 - Dwayne Paro welcomes Duane France to today’s podcast. Duane is currently serving as the Director of Veteran Services at The Family Care Center, a private mental health counseling agency specializing in the unique needs of military service members, veterans, and their families. He is also the Executive Director of the Colorado Veterans Health and Wellness Agency, a 501(c)3 Nonprofit affiliated with the Family Care Center. Mr. France is a retired Army Noncommissioned Officer and combat veteran, having served in deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, North Africa, and Bosnia-Herzegovnia. After retirement, he served as Program Director for the Colorado Veterans Resource. In 2015, Mr. France was selected as one of five Military Scholars in the nation by the National Board of Certified Counselors Foundation, and in 2016 was selected as the awardee of the 2016 NBCC Foundation Capacity Building Grant, providing no-cost clinical mental health counseling to veterans in and around El Paso County, Colorado. He also writes for an audience of veterans, their families, and those who support veterans on his website, www.veteranmentalhealth.com. Mr. France is passionate about veteran mental health, and feels strongly that those who have served in the military can continue to provide value to their community long after that service has ended.
Serving our Great Nation (3:25)
Duane enlisted in the Army reserves for about a year before going active duty. He had various assignments overseas and state sides. He was then put on recruiting duty before deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan for several tours. He finished out with a tour Africa. He was in logistics based on starting in the reserves. The logistics field evolves to other duties as you grow in the career field.
Transitioning to Entrepreneurship (9:20)
As Duane transitioned out he decided to pursue a career in clinical mental health counseling to support veterans. He did all the way up to a portion of his Master’s degree while in the military in preparation for what he knew he wanted to do once he transitioned. Even while deployed he was working on course work while he had down time. When he first separated he had the opportunity to work with a volunteer group where he got a lead to a position, which allowed him to build his credentials in the field.
“You have to bridge that gap.”
This gave him non-profit and one on one experience. He was working towards being a mental health specialist vice social work. Personal awareness that the strengths he developed in the military are translatable to the civilian sector.
“A lot of people think that it’s black and white, one or the other, but it’s not really.”
In the Zone (20:30)
Problem solving has always been something he enjoys. He always knew he could assess and improve a situation. Those skills and abilities are what he utilized to start his non-profit.
Establishing a network is very key to the success of being an entrepreneur. Using tools such as LinkedIn can be instrumental in building a bigger professional based network. This also allows you to go to where your clients are.
“You can use a network not for your benefit but for the benefit of others.”
How to Contact Duane (30:42)
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