Post 9/11 Female Veteran Workforce Experience

This week, in honor of June 12, 1948, when women were formally allowed to serve in the military, I wanted to change up the focus on the podcast and share the work that Destinee Prete, Ph.D. has done through her research. Her dissertation:  The Post 9/11 Female Veteran Workforce Experience: A Multiple Case Study was recently published and I wanted to spend an hour talking to Destinee about what she learned and what her findings were. 

women who leave the military Destinee Prete

Listen here.

In all aspects of my personal, academic, and professional life, Destinee has an undeniable, strong motivation, and passion to help Service Members, Veterans, and their family members succeed. Destinee grew up as a military ‘brat,’ she is an Army Veteran and a military spouse. She worked for the Soldier For Life – Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP) as a career counselor and as Site Lead/Manager for the VA-TAP Benefits Advisors on Fort Belvoir and Quantico. Destinee also worked with our wounded warriors as a transition coordinator. 

Certified Veteran Developmental Coach

She has such a drive that she even continued her professional development and became a Certified Veteran Developmental Coach (CVDC), specializing in transition and development as well as career and life mapping. Through her doctoral degree, she has dedicated all her studies to further understanding Veteran transition and her dissertation topic is: The Post 9/11 Female Veteran Workforce Experience: A Multiple Case Study. 

She is the President and Co/Founder of We2AreVets 501C3 and is the volunteer Director of Women Veterans Programs and Resources for VETS2INDUSTRY. In her ‘free’ time, she is a very active mentor and coach.

Active Duty Army

From 2008-2012, she was a Medical Service Officer/Healthcare Administrative Officer in the Army. She spent 4 years active duty in the 44th Medical Brigade in several different units (Area Support Medical Company, Combat Support Hospital, Dental Unit, Brigade Staff).

Her friends and previous co-workers call me “Wonder Woman”. She is a mother to three sweet, energetic, smart little men – twins, ages 8 & 7. They also keep her motivated to be the best role model she can be.

Destinee’s Dissertation

In this episode we talked about Destinee’s recently published dissertation: Post 9-11 Female Veteran Workforce Transition Experience. We talked about how the dissertation topic came to be, the research process, how she found women to talk to, the four themes that came out of her research, and what she is doing today.


When she began her research, she found that there hadn’t been any research done on women veterans in the post 9-11 era. She knew that her experience didn’t fit the traditional transition and felt so alone. She had left the Army to be a military spouse and stay at home mom. Beginning her Ph.D. was something she decided to do for her. And she wanted to focus on women veterans and their transition process. She wanted to know if her experience was an anomaly. 

Participation – Women Sharing Their Stories

She put a call for women needing between eight to fifteen to participate. Within a day she had 72 women signed up to share their experience. This excited and encouraged her to continue her research. Women wanted to share their stories. She followed up with the first 15 women who signed up. It was a wide range of ranks and included four of the five branches. 

From her research, she took away four primary themes. 

Non-Traditional Route

Identity Shift


Traditional Program and the need for reformation

We discuss the overall themes and a brief overview of what she learned. 

A Piece of Advice for Women Veterans

We ended the interview with advice for women veterans and women planning to join the military. For women veterans, get involved in the veteran community. Connect with other woman veterans and you will find a unique connection and build lasting friendships. Both Destinee and I ran away from the veteran community post-transition and coming back to the veteran community has been so welcoming and healing. 

A Piece of Advice for Women Joining the Military

For women looking to join she offered the advice of not losing yourself. The military molds and changes you, but that doesn’t mean you need to lose who you are and what you want. You should also connect with a mentor. If you don’t know anyone or need help finding a mentor both Destinee and I are happy to help. You can also check out my free Girls Guide to the Military that will help answer your questions toward military life. 

Are you considering joining the military? Have you signed up to join the military but still have questions? Check out my free guide to help you prepare for military life. Check out a girls guide to military life today. #militarywomen #joiningthemilitary #military

Connect with Destinee:


Mentioned in this Episode:

The Post 9/11 Female Veteran Workforce Experience: A Multiple Case Study


A Girls Guide to the Military

Related Episodes:

Military Women and their History – Episode 70

Do You Know the History of the original Woman Pilots? – Episode 49 

Advice from the 23rd Secretary of the Air Force – Episode 40

Listen to Destinee share about the research of post 9/11 female veterans into the work force. Even with vastly different experiences there were four main themes. #miltiarywomen #femaleveteran

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