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Telling their stories: MVAA’s first Women Veterans Conference attracts 144 veterans
June 13, 2022
Women veterans from across Michigan gathered in downtown Lansing June 10-11 to learn about advocacy and resources, create new connections and share their testimonies.
The MVAA Women Veterans Conference successfully brought together women veterans from all walks of life with a goal of raising awareness of their contributions and sacrifices and improving women veteran services.
Erika Hoover, MVAA’s women veterans and special populations coordinator, was the driving force behind the first-ever conference. She encouraged women veterans to start identifying as veterans and to take their new connections into their everyday lives.
“It’s so important to tell our stories. It’s so important to connect to our identities. We put that away for too long,” said Hoover, a Navy veteran. “I encourage you to meet up and go create your own spaces in your own communities. Create something out of this.”
The conference included keynote addresses, breakout sessions and about 30 vendors offering resources and services to help women veterans thrive in all facets of their lives. The MVAA’s Veteran Resource Service Center (1-800-MICH-VET) was there to connect women veterans to the benefits and resources they earned for their service.
MVAA Director Zaneta Adams encouraged participants to work together in their communities to further women veteran causes, boost women veteran membership in veteran organizations and get the word out about the strength and resiliency of women veterans.
“Women veterans are over 43,000 strong in Michigan. We’re over 2 million strong and rising across the country. We are not small. And we are mighty,” said Adams, an Army veteran.
“Whatever you’ve been called to do, whatever your experience is, whatever your testimony, whatever you’ve gone through, that is something that can help someone else out, so use that,” she added. “We have to take the information to the communities where we live and carry that message and change the tide. It’s going to take all of us.”
One of the conference presenters, Lansing consultant Lisa Fisher, asked of the women veterans, what is your superpower? The answers came pouring out: Handling pressure. Empathy. Communication. Organization. Compassion. Analyzation. Resiliency. Leadership.
Women often forget their gifts and talents, Fisher said. They let society’s limiting beliefs get in their heads and hold them back.
“Don’t let those naysayers write your story,” Fisher told the group. “Write your own story.”
Call 1-800-MICH-VET (1-800-642-4838) or visit michigan.gov/MVAA/women-veterans to learn more about women veteran services and resources. You can also join the Military Sisterhood Initiative to connect with fellow women veterans in your area at https://www.challengeamerica.com/msi.