By Jacqueline Jastrzebski, Logistics Officer Association Public Affairs

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland – The profession of arms and a stout sense of comradery go hand in hand. There is no shortage of high-class leaders and professionals in today’s military.

Any service member will tell you that one of the first lessons taught during initial training is that finding a quality mentor is a key component of success.

The digital age has made reaching out to likeminded professionals difficult and awkward. Mustering up the courage to place that initial phone call can be daunting. Text and email just don’t seem formal enough for such an important ask.

Enter Veterati. 

Diana Rau, CEO and co-founder of Veterati, spoke at this year’s LOA Symposium Thursday, November 16, to a crowd of more than 900 service members, veterans and industry partners.

In January 2015, Diana and her husband, Daniel, identified challenges faced by service members transitioning out of the military. Within a year, Veterati was born.

“We’ve created a networking community that is next-level, almost tribal,” said Rau. “We’re activating the military tribe across the U.S. to mentor and empower each other.”

Joining the Veterati tribe only takes a few clicks. You can choose to become a mentor, a mentee, or both depending on what you hope to gain from the network.

The platform requires you to fill out a brief survey and uses an algorithm to match you with professionals who share common interests and career goals. When a mentee requests a call with a mentor, Veterati sets up the rest.

No awkward emailing. No back-and-forth scheduling. Veterati doesn’t even share your phone number during mentorship calls.

“Eighty percent of jobs are gained through personal networks,” Rau said. “We wanted to connect our service members and spouses to a warm network of mentors, sponsors and champions.”

If you’re on active duty, not planning to separate, and thinking that Veterati isn’t for you, think again.

The program asks users to select one or more pathways in order to asses an individual’s professional goals. Not only is there an employment pathway, but there are also options for education and entrepreneurship.

One-third of the Veterati network reports that they use the platform for personal growth. Whether you’re searching for a job or not, Rau believes that it’s never the wrong time to expand your network.

“You might be a service member trying to narrow down a college search or decide on a major and Veterati can connect you with people involved in similar programs to help you decide what’s right for you.”

LOA is passionate about the benefits of mentorship and proud to partner with Veterati in an attempt to help the 1.5 million transitioning service members that are currently unemployed or underemployed.

Separating or exploring alternative professional options doesn’t mean that service members should stop supporting each other. Rau and Veterati just made it that much easier for active duty troops, veterans and spouses to expand their tribe.