Anthony Woods is the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs. After serving two tours of duty in Iraq and earning a Bronze Star, Anthony was discharged from the US Army under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy. Through his work, and the work of many dedicated others, that law, which barred members of the LGBTQ community from serving openly in the military, was repealed and Anthony rejoined the US Army. Anthony shares the importance of using inclusive language when communicating with veterans, what to do to attract the next generation of leaders, and how his military service prepared him for a career in both the public and private sectors.
- To reach veterans where they are and to make the term “veteran” more representative of the full breadth of servicemen and women in this country, it is important to tell a broader range of stories that better reflect the experiences of everyone that has served.
- The widely held stereotype of a military veteran as a straight, white male that saw frontline combat is not wholly representative of the diversity of the men and women of all races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations that have sacrificed for the United States.
- One way to overcome this stereotype is by asking, “Have you served?” instead of “Are you a veteran?”. In particular, many women who have served in the military don’t think of themselves as “veterans” because of the connotations associated with that term.
- Only approximately 40% of female veterans utilize at least one of the benefits available to them, which they earned through their uniformed service.
- Companies competing for talent need to know that potential Gen Z job applicants value authenticity and can easily sense when being pandered to. This means that pictures of diverse groups of employees or promises about DEI on a company website won’t hold much weight in the minds of this generation. Companies need to make real efforts to back up their commitments.
- For those that are hesitant toward promoting themselves or their work, Tony’s advice is to focus on promoting their team or organization and the work they are doing. Promoting the great work of your team is a critical way to grow support for broader organizational goals among new and existing audiences.
Quote of the Show:
- “Take those calculated risks, do what you think is right, and if it doesn't work out, you'll bounce back.” - Tony Woods
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anthony-woods-22390978/
- Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs website: https://veterans.maryland.gov/
Creators and Guests
Anthony Shop believes in the power of people-centered branding and marketing to create a bright future. He chairs the National Digital Roundtable, the premier convener of digital innovators, leaders and policy shapers. Anthony also is the Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Social Driver, a digital services firm that helps companies and non-profits establish winning strategies with social media, websites, creative, and advertising. An enthusiastic presenter and teacher, he has led executive-level training for Amazon, PepsiCo, NASA, The British Embassy and the Bipartisan Policy Center. He has been recognized as an “OUTstanding LGBT Role Model” by The Financial Times, “40 Under 40” by The Washington Business Journal, and Business Leader of the Year by the DC Chamber of Commerce. A former newspaper reporter, Anthony was the first new media professional elected to the National Press Club’s Board of Governors. He currently serves on the boards of Leadership Greater Washington and LearnServe International. He earned his MBA from The George Washington University School of Business, where he teaches as an adjunct lecturer.
Anthony Woods is the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs. After serving two tours of duty in Iraq and earning a Bronze Star, Anthony was discharged from the US Army under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy. Through his work and the work of many dedicated others, that law, which barred members of the LGBTQ community from serving openly in themilitary, was repealed and Anthony was able to rejoin the US Army.
Robert is an Executive Director for The Communications Board, an organization with the mission of providing high-quality professional development for every communicator in every location. He is also the Global Lead for Partnership Communications at Gensler, the world’s largest architecture and design firm. Prior to his current role, he performed executive and CEO communications for Gensler, and was the senior director of public relations and social media at the Urban Land Institute. He obtained an MA in Communications and an MA in History from George Mason University. He did his undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia. In addition, Robert has taught communications at universities including George Mason University, West Virginia University, and the University of Florida. Robert currently serves as Immediate-Past President for the Public Relations Society of America’s National Capital Chapter (PRSA-NCC) -- the nonprofit’s largest chapter.