Monica McNeal is a nationally renowned veteran and military family advocate. In addition to being a Gold Star mother, she has held key executive leadership roles at corporations such as Nordstrom, Lafayette and Magaschoni. Her passions include developing talent and coaching those she supports to be “career ready” at all times. She has focused her talents and utilizes her leadership skills as an advocate and navigator for Microsoft. As a contractor on the Microsoft Military Affair Team, she is the program manager and supports the Military Spouse Technology Academy (MSTA). Additionally, she is the National Operations and West Coast Program Director at FourBlock a military veteran career readiness non-profit. There, she works to empower veterans and eliminate transition anxiety by filling the skill gaps needed for Four Block students to secure new and meaningful careers. Monica sits on Congresswomen DelBene’s Veteran Task Force, volunteers with the King County Veterans Consortium, Snohomish Veteran Housing Committee, VetsInTech, Heroes to Hometown, Washington State Military Transition Committee and other local military family causes. She is serving her 7th term as the President of Washington State American Gold Star Mothers and 2nd terms as the District President of the American Gold Star Mothers of Washington, Alaska and Oregon. The organization is currently fundraising for a Gold Star Family Memorial Monument to be placed in Lynnwood, WA. She is the recipient of the 2018 Senator Cantwell’s Women of Valor Award and 2016 Volunteer of the Year by the Washington State Dept of Veterans Affairs for her commitment to military veterans and their families. She believes and personifies that, despite the circumstances, you can make a difference every day.
Eric Lazar is a United States Marine Corps veteran as well as a highly accomplished professional with 30 years of combined experience in entrepreneurship, sales, leadership, custom marketing, client strategy and project execution in both traditional media and mobile realms. Mr. Lazar has lived in Chicago since 1999, hailing from Port Jefferson, New York, the son of a Jr High School Principal and secondary school teacher. In 1986, at the age of 17, he enlisted in the Marine Corps, where he was accepted into the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterrey, California and trained as an Arabic translator. He went on to further schooling in Dam Neck, Virginia where he became an Intelligence Analyst. He spent the majority of his enlistment serving in an Intelligence Specialist capacity with both a Combat Engineer Battalion and Electronic Warfare Squadron gaining an expertise in South East Asian affairs; he was honorably discharged at the rank of Sergeant in 1994. Eric’s professional career is broad and varied, while mainly operating in a sales leadership capacity within the advertising and marketing fields, he has had ‘bouts’ with entrepreneurship and is now into his third owned start-up venture as a franchisee within the SpeedPro Imaging organization.
A weekly podcast hosted by Angel Torres and Shalom Klein featuring leaders in the veteran community.