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April 29, 2013

IVMF to shine national spotlight on women vets through series of events in Chicago May 2-6

IVMF to shine national spotlight on women vets through series of events in Chicago May 2-6

Events include film screening on women in combat and panel discussion on civilian transition, V-WISE entrepreneurship training conference, national homelessness summit, comedy salute

Women represent an important and growing segment of the veterans’ community, and the post-service challenges facing many of the nation’s1.8 million female veterans can be formidable. Importantly, however, the potential inherent in efforts to empower female veterans as leaders in business, higher education, community and government is real and compelling.

In an effort to both cultivate and elevate dialogue related to opportunities and challenges associated with post-service concerns of female veterans and military spouses, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF)is collaborating with local-state-federal partners and the private sector to host IVMF Women Veterans Week Chicago from May 2-6.

Anchored around the IVMF’s Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE)conference, Women Veterans Week Chicago encompasses a series of complementary events which celebrate the contributions women veterans have made to the nation and are designed to bring attention to issues facing the female veteran population.

“We see this effort having far-reaching outcomes,” says Mike Haynie, IVMF executive director and founder and a U.S. Air Force veteran. “I’m convinced that female veterans represent an underserved and less understood segment of the veterans’ community. It is our goal to leverage our plans for Chicago as a means to jumpstart national dialogue related to the post-service life course of those women who have served the nation in uniform. At the same time, we will empower those participating in IVMF Women Veterans Week Chicago with actionable strategies positioned to advance the social and economic concerns of female veterans.”


IVMF Women Veterans Week Chicago Schedule

Thursday, May 2, 5:30 p.m.

Lioness Title Slide“Lioness” Film Screening and Panel Discussion: “Empowering and Supporting Women Service Members throughout Their Transition from Military to Civilian Life”
Pritzker Military Library, 104 S. Michigan Avenue

How did a group of female support soldiers (mechanics, supply clerks and engineers) end up fighting alongside Marines in some of the deadliest counterinsurgency battles of the Iraq war? “Lioness” (Room 11 Productions) is a film about female combat veterans directed and produced by Meg McLagan and Daria Sommers and winner Full Frame CDS Filmmaker Award (2008), Official Selection at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival and Official Selection at the 2008 Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

Following the screening, a panel discussion on empowering and supporting female service members through post-service will take place with:


  • Colonel Jill Willig Chambers (US. Army, Ret.), Former Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Founder, This Able Vet LLC


  • Command Sergeant Major Cynthia A. Pritchett (U.S. Army, Ret.), Near East South Asia Center Strategic Planner, Liaison , USCENTCOM
  • Colonel Linda Singh (U.S. Army National Guard), Managing Director, Accenture Federal Services
  • Erica J. Borggren (Captain, U.S. Army), Director, Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Thursday, May 2 and Friday, May 3, all day

Women-Vet-Homeless-SummitNational Summit on Women Veteran Homelessness

The Westin Chicago River North, 320 North Dearborn Street

A convening of local, state and national experts and thought leaders to address issues in the space, including prominent researchers, content and policy experts, program practitioners and individuals who have faced homelessness. Outcome of the summit will be an IVMF- produced white paper, “Recommendations on Prevention and Interventions to End Women Veteran Homelessness,” disseminated through federal, state and local networks.

Friday, May 3 through Sunday, May 5, all day

VWISE-logo-transparentV-WISE Chicago: Empowering the American Dream

The Westin Chicago River North, 320 North Dearborn Street

Created as a partnership between the IVMF and U.S. Small Business Administration, V-WISE is the nation’s leading entrepreneurship training program for women veterans, active duty women service members and female military family members, positioned to empower participants to launch and/or grow sustainable business ventures. The V-Wise experience consists of three phases:

  • Phase I: 15 days of online study designed to teach participants the “language of business” and provide strategies related to new venture creation
  • Phase II: three-day residency in the form of a training conference offered to cohorts of 200 women in locations across the country
  • Phase III: ongoing support and community-building opportunities focused on small business creation and growth

Friday, May 3, 5:30 a.m.

BOMFlogo_r_282_chi-(4)Morning 5K Run With IVMF, Back on My Feet, Team RWB

YMCA Lawson House 30 W. Chicago Avenue

IVMF staff members, Back on My Feet and members of the Chicago chapter of Team Red, White and Blue will join forces for an early morning 5K run before the start of V-WISE. Back on My Feet uses running to help those experiencing homelessness change the way they see themselves in order to make real change in their lives, resulting in employment and independent living.

Saturday, May 4, 8 p.m.

SC-orange-logo.revisedAll-Star Comedy Show: Saluting Service Women

The Westin Chicago River North, 320 North Dearborn Street

In partnership with The Second City, the world’s premier comedy club/theatre and school of improvisation, and Got Your Six, the IVMF will host a custom written, women veteran-themed comedy show.

Media are invited and encouraged to cover any of the above events. For scheduling and proper credentialing purposes, contact Jaime Alvarez, IVMF director of communications, at (315) 443-0177 office, (315) 558-7875 mobile (after April 30) or

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