Like many Veterans, Glenn Thomas, a Fellow of Special Operators Transition Foundation, realized that moving to a civilian career presented new challenges for which he had not been prepared. As Glenn recounts, “While serving, I took for granted the teamwork and purpose the military provided. However, when I started my transition to the private sector, I realized I was ill-prepared to navigate the process alone.” Many SOF members leave the military and find themselves in an environment that is divorced from the reality they had grown accustomed to during their service. After all, what does taking the fight to America’s enemies have to do with making PowerPoint presentations? What use would a world of air-conditioned, leather-lined offices have for somebody who spends their time in the world’s harshest environments? The Special Operations Transition Foundation (SOTF) is was founded to provide the answers to these questions and more for members of SOF.
SOTF, or the Special Operators Transition Foundation, is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting SOF members transition from their career in the military to one in the private sector. The foundation began with the simple question: “What are you going to do next?” SOTF grew out of this question and has consistently raised the amount of SOF members supported within their program and funds raised since 2013. A critical aspect of SOTF is their commitment to showing the members of the SOF community that the skills they acquired in the military have prepared them for leadership positions in the civilian world too. In 2019 alone, 68 SOF members enrolled as SOTF Fellows and successfully transitioned into the nation’s highest-performing companies.
America’s SOF community is home to some of the most capable leaders and problem solvers this country has to offer. SOTF recognizes that Operators possess experience and knowledge that cannot be matched elsewhere and which is in great demand across the civilian sector. 270 Fellows have completed SOTF’s four-phase program since its inception in 2013 and this number has only grown exponentially year on year. In 2020, 142 Fellows were accepted into the program. While the entire process costs close to $9,000, SOF members never pay a dime.
Once the fellowship application has been conferred, SOTF will begin a series of business and aptitude testing to ensure that your transition will be individually curated to your strengths and needs. They provide SOF members with the language to translate their SOF skillset into the value-based terminology of the boardroom. Once in the program, SOF members receive executive coaching and mentorship to support them through their transition, even after successfully transitioning into a civilian career. Impressively, SOTF additionally helps SOF members with everything from the interviewing process and professional networking, to negotiating their job offers. They continue to engage with their program Fellows after leaving the program, building a solid Alumni network for career transition assistance.
On top of their robust support services for Fellows in the program, what stands out to us at SOAA is that SOTF is more than a career pipeline. It is an organization built for the SOF community. In the service, we are vested with a team, a mission, and a deep purpose. This is not simply a habit of service, but an inherent drive that pushed us to become a SOF member in the first place. Civilian life can feel devoid of these, even once we have found a new job. As Glenn Thomas recalls the struggles of transition, he also remembers how the staff at SOTF helped restore what he thought he had lost upon leaving the military: “They became my team and they helped me build a strategy to succeed through assessments, coaching, and networking opportunities. YGN/SOTF’s tailored process helped me realize that I was not only looking for a new career but a new team as well.” For more testimonials and information, please check out the SOTF website.
If you would like to apply or find out more about the application process, simply click here.