This week, we celebrate Liz McLean, an Air Force Academy alum who improves lives for vets in a multitude of ways. She is proactively involved in veteran enablement and employment and also coaches several wounded warriors. Her goal is to inspire people to believe that they are capable of doing anything they set their mind to.
Fairygodboss of the Week: Liz McLean
Senior Director, Veteran Employment of Military.com and President, McLean Veteran Solutions
FGB: Tell us about your career. How did you get to where you are now?
LM: Mental and physical grit and genuine passion. I lead the veteran employment space for Military.com, the largest military and veteran membership organization — 10 million members strong. In 2015, I launched the first ever Veteran Consultation Company for corporate hiring in the United States. I’m also a fellow for the U.S. Department of State and am on the Board of Directors for USA Cares. After graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2006, and obtaining my master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology, I spent five years as a Logistics Readiness Officer.
Additionally, my career took me abroad to work as an event and travel coordinator for top military and civilian leaders, the State Department and other esteemed politicians from around the globe. I’ve acted as a liaison between foreign embassies and the United States Government, forming ties to solidify international bonds. I joined the civilian recruiting world in September 2010, helping both the military and civilian populace find their roles in the workforce. I have worked in corporate HR (Booz Allen Hamilton, CACI and Hewlett Packard) and individual staffing agencies to create robust programs and collaborations between veterans and employers. I currently write for multiple resources, provide consultations to such organizations as Military.com, cover corporate partnerships for US Military Endurance Sports (USMES) and travel for speaking engagements to both the employee and veteran community. I’m also a competitive Ironman triathlete, ultrarunner, Wounded Warrior triathlon coach, proud representative for Ms. Veteran America, co-author of a completed manuscript on using fitness to combat PTSD and am an active veteran transition advocate/career coach.
FGB: What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
LM: Ironmans are great. Ultramarathons are great, but I am most proud of caring for my dad until the end of his life, and also being a leader in the military and civilian population that truly cared about people. I've used the ultimate lows in life to embrace all the good we have each day without regret.
FGB: What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?
LM: Multiple items, varying from being a caregiver for my dad with cancer who recently passed away.
FGB: What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?
LM: Be proactive and do not ever settle. Being positive and persistent, no matter the odds, will take you so much further than you anticipate.
FGB: Why do you love where you work?
LM: Because we embrace the military culture and know what "work hard, play hard” truly means.
FGB: Who is YOUR Fairygodboss? Why?
LM: Allison Hickey, a retired General and first in the class to graduate from the first class of the U.S. Air Force Academy.
FGB: What do you do when you’re not working?
LM: Triathlons! Ultramatharons! Inspiring others to push themselves to new limits with positive attitudes.
FGB: If you could have dinner with one famous person - dead or alive - who would it be?
LM: Henry David Thoreau or Sir Edmund Hillary.
FGB: What is your karaoke song?
LM: Amish Paradise by Weird Al Yankovic. (I know every word!)
FGB: What is your favorite movie?
LM: “What's Eating Gilbert Grape” or “Fried Green Tomatoes” (down to earth, Steinbeck style).
FGB: What book would you take with you on a desert island?
LM: “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Ruben and "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert.
FGB: What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?
LM: I don't need any "things" or "possessions.” I would treat the people I care about most (and that genuinely care about others) to a vacation where they could feel healthy, happy and alive when needed.
Fairygodboss is all about women helping other women - so each week, we celebrate a woman who made a difference in another woman’s career. Is there a woman who has made a difference in your career? Celebrate her and thank her by nominating her here.