Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program Module One: The Beginning of Collective Impact

Learn more about Michael Bailey.
Michael Bailey
Senior Program Manager, Leadership Programs
George W. Bush Institute

Leaders from across the country recently met at the Bush Center to begin a life-changing experience that will increase their impact in serving our Nation's veterans. Michael Bailey, Senior Program Manager of Leadership Programs at the Bush Institute, gives an overview of the 2022 Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program's Module One.

The Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program Class of 2022 recently met at the Bush Center in Dallas for Module One – the first of five modules the class will complete this year. There’s nothing like seeing a room full of remarkable leaders come together to begin an experience that will change their lives and increase their respective impacts for years to come.

The Class of 2022 includes 50 Scholars from across the country. Each of them brings a diverse set of experiences and expertise to the table, but together they share one commonality: They’re all improving the lives and outcomes of our Nation’s veterans and their families.  

Throughout Module One, Scholars participated in various activities and conversations to promote relationship building and trust amongst the cohort. From icebreaker exercises and cooking competitions, to reflection and personal journaling, Scholars began building not just professional relationships with their fellow cohort members, but lifelong friendships as well.  

Veteran Leadership Program alumni joined the Scholars for a discussion in which they shared personal impact stories from their participation in the program and why it is so important to make the most of the experience. They amplified that time goes by in a flash, so Scholars must make the commitment to themselves and to their fellow cohort members to dive fully into the program and the outcomes they want to achieve.  

The class met with Chris Cassidy, a former Navy SEAL and NASA astronaut, as well as the newly announced President and CEO of the National Medal of Honor Museum. Cassidy’s experiences and ideologies related to his personal leadership style inspired the cohort to think strategically about their work. “My job [in the Navy SEALs] was to work in a strategic way to make the decisions two steps ahead of time… It’s also important to have that strategic vision when making decisions in your organization,” he said. 

Each Scholar came into the program with a personal leadership project. These projects range in terms of scale and topic, but they all strive to address an important issue of personal interest to each Scholar. Throughout the program, they will continue to refine their projects, taking the skills they learn and applying them in a tangible manner to achieve the impact they want to see. As Chris Cassidy shared, “A mission is about the people…it’s about people showing up to work every day and getting something accomplished.”  

The sense of energy at the end of Module One was one of family, vulnerability, and excitement for what’s to come. The Scholars will spend the next four months with their cohort during modules at the Bush Center and in Washington, D.C. The culmination of their Veteran Leadership Program experience will come together during Module Five in October, where they will each present their personal leadership project to an audience of peers, funders, and Bush Institute staff.  

The Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program seeks to engage bright, driven, and humble leaders in the field to create an environment and experience that will ultimately touch thousands of individuals through the various projects and collaborations that will come out of the network. We believe the world is a better place because of our Scholars and their commitment to improving outcomes for veterans and their families, and that is certainly true of the Veteran Leadership Program Class of 2022. We’re excited to follow along on their journeys as Scholars and see both the individual and collective impacts this cohort will create in the months and years to come. 

View Module One photos here.