VICENZA, Italy- More than 120 service members and community members attended a "Life After the Military" panel discussion at the Golden Lion conference center Feb. 28 as guests of the Vicenza Military Community Female 2 Female program.

Six female veterans: Berni Hanley, Adrienne Smith, Shannon Sterling, Kendra Buckingham, Liz Bergman and moderator Maggie Menzies discussed how their military experience shaped who they are and how they became the professional women they are today.

"In this second networking event they discussed how education, mentoring and military values and ethics shaped them and prepared them for the challenges in their lives," said Julia Sibilla, Army Community Service AFTB/AFAP program manager.

The purpose of the event was to create a welcoming environment for community newcomers to learn and grow from the panel discussion and casual conversation afterward.

Several agencies that provide guidance on career options for transitioning service members -- the career counselor, ACAP, ACS Employment Readiness and others --were on hand as well to answer questions and provide additional support.

"Many of the attendees had an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the event. We had many young female service members in attendance and I was so pleased to hear attendees say that they learned so many things from the panel of female veterans," said Sibilla.

"The event was also about individuals having, making and embracing choices in life. The women on the panel are all truly remarkable and I am proud to know them," she said.
F2F: Life after service

ACS Employment Readiness program manager Daphne Becker attended and was also providing information at her station after the panel discussion.

"The F2F event is one of many great initiatives for the Vicenza Military Community. Topics discussed during the event provided information to transitioning Soldiers on what to expect after the military, not only from an employment standpoint but a mental and emotional point of view," said Becker.

Becker said attendees approached her after the panel discussion with questions about building resumes and presenting themselves to their best advantage in negotiating the job market.
Becker explained what she called the four "P"s, being prepared and proactive, exercising patience, and planning.

"Planning is instrumental, it's key to leaving the military. The best way to plan is for the Soldier to use all their resources, like the Employment Readiness manager and ACAP. I strongly believe that a Soldier should use ACAP services one year before ETSing and two years prior to retirement," Becker said.