Veterans panels share experience

By Michael Lopez and Daniel Castellanos

Faculty, guests talk military, business

Veterans gathered on NW and SE Campuses to share their experiences and how the military has shaped their personal and professional lives.

SE Campus hosted a panel of faculty veterans to discuss lessons learned from their time in the military. NW Campus hosted a panel of veteran entrepreneurs who discussed their stories from the military to the business world.

During the NW panel, speakers preached the importance of taking care of yourself, especially as an entrepreneur. They said being an entrepreneur can be stressful, so it’s recommended to see a therapist or have a vacation now and then. 

“The formula I have come up with to be a successful entrepreneur is called the five F’s: faith, family and friends, fitness, funny and focus,” said founder and CEO of Harrtstone Management Lolita Sheriow. “These five things are important to me and help keep me going.”

Sheriow explained how experiencing tragedy in her life affected her deeply and stressed the importance of resilience, whether it is in business or in the military, being healthy in the mind and body is essential, she said. 

Found and CEO of Securing Life Today Brandon Burton said he was a product of a rough childhood and that his faith led him to the military.

“Military was God’s way of saying this is the way you need to go because of circumstances in your childhood,” Burton said.

Burton initially worked with many people to help manage their money. However, he stepped away from it to pursue a career in technology, which is a big factor in solving a lot of problems, he said.

The panel on SE was made up of SE faculty veterans: U.S. Air Force veteran Dianne Suarez, U.S. Air Force veteran Viola Lindsay and Texas Army veteran Daniel Flores. SE public services librarian and U.S. Air Force veteran James Foreman asked questions about the panel’s service and also opened questions to the group.

SE English instructor Suarez spent 11 years in the Air Force receiving the Airman of the Quarter award in April 1979 and talked about why she joined.

“When growing up in a small town, the Air Force meant a new life and a way out of the small town,” she said.

SE instructional associate Lindsay discussed what joining the military meant to her.

“The Air Force gave me a sense of purpose. When I taught CPR, that led me to my teaching career now,” she said.

The panel also told stories about the discipline and courage gained from being in the military during war times. The two veterans were asked what their opinions were about war.

“The people in the armed forces are not warmongers and will do what it takes to maintain the peace,” Suarez said.

SE student Natalie Gonzalez said she attended the panel because she is interested in joining the military.

“I plan on enrolling into the Air Force after I finish my associate degree so I can travel before I come back to school for the last two years,” she said.