Sometimes moments in our lives change our trajectory. If Robyn hadn’t met a recruiter in high school, she might not have joined the Navy. If she had signed her enlistment papers before leaving for training, she would have likely served twenty years. Life would have been different. Hear Robyn’s story of an unexpected end to her Navy career this week on the Women of the Military Podcast!
Robyn Grable is the chief executive officer of Veterans ASCEND. Which she founded in 2018 to bring veterans and employers together, improving corporate bottom lines as well as the lives of America’s service heroes and their families.
Commitment to Veteran Employment
Her unwavering commitment to veteran employment is well-served by her corporate and military experience, including more than 30 years of private sector human resources after nine years of service in the U.S. Navy. Her ongoing study of America’s veteran workforce has made her a leading voice on the barriers and keys to success for their employment. She is a seasoned speaker and media resource, earning respect and praise from her peers.
A native of Richmond, Indiana, Robyn holds a master’s in psychology focused on Leadership Coaching. Her capstone project during her graduate studies emphasized coaching military veterans during their transition back to the civilian workforce. Committed to giving back, Robyn has volunteered for the American Red Cross, The MS Society, United Way, March of Dimes, Upstate Warrior Solution, IVMF Mentor Program, and Veterans Treatment Court. She is a member of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). And serves on the Workforce Readiness Council of the Greenville SHRM chapter.
Focusing on Veterans
Today she is focused entirely on ensuring veterans are recognized for their skills. Making sure they are valued for their talent and that America’s employers realize the full value and skills of America’s heroes, poised in the civilian workforce to truly ascend.
A recruiter came to Robyn’s high school and she saw the Navy as her ticket out of her small town and decided to join the military. It was 1979 and during the Cold War. People didn’t understand or want women in the military and she found that to be a challenge. When it came time to pick her career field nine out of the ten jobs she wanted were not available to her because of her gender. She ended up picking Data Processing and it was a good career field for her while she was in Iceland. In Iceland, she met her future husband and had to move to Florida for a year before being stationed with her husband in Maine.
Shortly after getting stationed together, her daughter was born. Her husband had just come home from deployment, they were finally living together and she was adjusting to being a mom. It was difficult, but they were able to make it work and she was able to segment her life in the military and her job as a mom. When they got orders to Pearl Harbor she asked to be assigned to a ship. At the time, women could not be on a ship with dependents. She would have had to give up legal custody of her daughter to do this. And this wasn’t something she was willing to do. Nor was it a requirement for her male counterparts.
She decided to become an officer so she could change the military. She got her package together and in the end, her package wasn’t even opened by the board. This crushed her. At the same time, she hadn’t signed her reenlistment paperwork before she left for training and decided after that event, she was ready to leave the Navy behind.
Because of that error, she didn’t have a plan to leave the military. She didn’t get any help with her transition and she made her way to Florida to start her new life. She walked away from the military and her veteran community. It was 22 years later that she got connected with the military veteran community.
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