News & Events

Operation Reinvent Workshop at Fort Bragg is a Huge Success

On March 5th, Operation Reinvent staged a day-long workshop at Fort Bragg for 50 women planning their transition from the military to civilian life. The topics were: Creating a Professional Image and Nailing the Interview.

This short video captures the workshop.

Here is coverage we received from the Fayetteville Observer:

Posted: Thursday, March 5, 2015 2:17 pm | Updated: 11:46 pm, Thu Mar 5, 2015.

By Drew Brooks Military editor

Fort Bragg workshop

An organization aiming to help reinvent female veterans is helping nearly 50 service members prepare for the civilian job market.

Operation Reinvent hosted a workshop Thursday at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fayetteville.

It featured an image makeover and interview coaching sessions. The goal was to help prepare the women, mostly soldiers, for an upcoming Fort Bragg job fair.

Much of the workshop was dedicated to making sure the women make good first impressions with potential employers.

Part of that preparation included makeup, hair and clothing tips.

“There’s no such thing as a second first impression,” said Operation Reinvent founder Julie Lewit-Nirenberg.

Soldiers said they hoped the workshop would give them a leg up when it comes to finding jobs outside the service. For some, the thought of leaving the military is daunting.

“It’s different,” said Sharalyn Saliger, who retired as an Army first sergeant in December. “There’s a lot of unknowns.”

Saliger, who lives in Sanford, said she spent nearly 22 years in the Army but now hopes to become an advocate for a nonprofit.

She said she’s still adjusting to a civilian job search, which bares little resemblance to what she faced in the Army.

“It’s hard to transfer military terminology to civilian terminology,” Saliger said. “I want to help understand the interview process.”

Part of the workshop was aimed at helping the women understand their personalities, strengths and weaknesses. Being self-aware will help in the interview process, said Kristin Harcourt, a senior consultant with The McQuaig Institute, which specializes in employee assessments for hiring, retention and development.

“You have to be aware of yourself before you’re aware of others,” she said.

OpRe Ft Bragg

The assessment and interview sessions were an opportunity for 1st Lt. Emily Von Der Linden to add more tools to use in her job search. Von Der Linden has served four years in the Army, most recently with the 44th Medical Brigade, but is transitioning out of the military.

She hopes to find a job in the federal government so she can continue her service, albeit in a different way. She said it’s important for her to learn how to promote herself, especially as she prepares to take off the uniform.

“I’m very excited,” Von Der Linden said.

Officials said they hoped the women take away lessons that help them not just find new careers, but find jobs that suit their skills, education and goals.

“It’s not a classroom setting, it’s experiential,” Lewit-Nirenberg said. “The whole thing is to experience what it’s like instead of just talking about it.”

Lewit-Nirenberg said Operation Reinvent was started about a year-and-a-half ago, but the Fort Bragg-focused event was its first day-long workshop.

She said the organization hoped to make them a quarterly event and spread to other military installations.

“We’re here to help them step across the threshold,” said Nancy Northrop, who serves on the organization’s board of advisors. “It’s a day of reinvention.”

Military editor Drew Brooks can be reached at brooksd@fayobserver.com or 486-3567.

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