In my search for more phenomenal women veterans to spotlight, I discovered Moniek James. Moniek created 3 businesses shortly after her release from the military. I found her story inspirational because she was able to take her passions and make them profitable and helpful to others through planning, bootstrapping and hard work.
Tell us a little bit about your military career.
I join the Army at 20 years old, and I would have never pictured myself being a soldier. I served from 1999-2007 as a Cryptologic Linguist, my language was Korean. I was in training for my first 2 years in uniform, and by the time I arrived at my first "official" duty station, I was a SPC.
Please share an obstacle you faced in your career and the lesson you learned?
Learning Korean was a definite struggle for me. There haven't been many times where I struggled with grasping something during my entire academic career, but learning the language that allowed me to stay in my MOS was very challenging. Being a black woman in the already small intelligence field, and in my language category, I dealt with pushback from my counterparts as well that didn't believed I'd earned my place. In the face of those pressures I believe I developed my thick skin and willingness to push through obstacles. These days I enjoy proving people wrong.
"count up the cost of my decisions, Luke 14:28-29"
What are your current endeavors?
I own 3 businesses - my event planning company, Distinctive Soirees, was started in 2010 while I was working full time and pursuing my Bachelor's degree. After my husband received PCS orders to Arizona I started my second business, The Confetti Collective, after seeing a hole in the market for natural hair and lifestyle resources. We host live events and have an e-commerce store where we sell fashion tops and tees for women and girls. After completing my MBA I started my personal consulting brand where I help small businesses and local organizations leverage the power of digital marketing. Since launching Moniek James in August 2015 I've partnered with my local SBA partner office to teach social media classes and I have a biweekly column in my local newspaper covering social media for small businesses.
"my mom, who told me that if something is important to me I'll make time for it"
What is the best advice you have received from a mentor, leader, colleague or subordinate?
The best advice I have received comes from two people; my mom, who told me that if something is important to me I'll make time for it. Also my Bishop reminded me to count up the cost of my decisions, which comes from Luke 14:28-29 in the Bible.
"Don't allow yourself to get caught on your last day in uniform with no plan for what your next move will be."
Do you have any employment advice for those who are transitioning out of the military?
Make a plan!!!! When I re-enlisted after my first term I had a plan for what I would do when I separated from the military. Don't allow yourself to get caught on your last day in uniform with no plan for what your next move will be.
Where can our audience find you?
Entrepreneur Consultant: Moniek James
Event Planning: Distinctive Soirees
Apparel: The Confetti Collective
YouTube: Moniek James