Women of the Military

BRAND Before Your Resume

Episode Summary

Graciela Tiscanero-Sato shared her story of being a Navigator in the Air Force on the Women of the Military Podcast in Episode 29. She recently launched her book Brand Before Resume that focusing on building a brand and helping you through life transitions. She shares her wisdom and insight she has gained from teaching various courses on transitioning and no matter if you are leaving the military, considering joining the military, or somewhere in between this book is for you.

Episode Notes

Graciela was lucky enough to connect with a few women who had served in the military and helped her transition and find a new career after leaving the military behind. They told her she needed to stop instead of driving forward and building a resume. Learn about what is available and then build a resume around what career you want. The military Transition Assistance Program pushes military members to speed through the discovery process and often pushes them to continue in the career field you are in. But it is better to stop and figure out what you want to do and find what will make you happy. Better to do this now than a year later when you end up in a place you don't want to be.

Brand Before Resume

The best part about this book and this process is you can use it over and over. It can also be used for different purposes. Building a business, launching a product, getting a job. All these things can be done by following the processes in this book. It really is a great resource. And you can use it over and over again.

For entrepreneurs, it is great because you can tell a story behind your business. People don't want to buy a product. They want to buy from a person. So, if you can incorporate who you are into your product it will drive sales.

Everyday examples

We discussed the challenges of the Transition Assitance Program and how it doesn't help members stop realizing what they want to do. Instead, it pushes members to meet metrics. Then we talked about my experience of using my brand and my vision to help me say yes or no to opportunities. Recently I went through an interview process and I ran past my goals and got excited about getting paid. My husband grounded me. He brought me back to reality. And he reminded me about why I started my business. It was easy to say no to the opportunity because I knew where I wanted to go.


We ended the interview talking about what the BRAND in Brand Before Resume Stands for Become Relevant Authentic Noticeable and Differentiated. I loved this interview because it was a mix of Graciela sharing her story while also covering my experience. I loved she handed questions back to me.

Connect with Graciela:



Check out the full transcript here.  

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Kevin Barba, Adriana Keefe

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Episode Transcription

Amanda Huffman00:00

Welcome to Episode 120 of the women of the military podcast this week, my guest is Graciela Tiscareno-Sato, she was actually on my podcast in season one, Episode 29. And she shared her military story of being an Air Force navigator. Then through that interview, we got connected and we've stayed friends and collaborated on a few different projects. And last year, she released her book brand before your resume. And since I'm doing podcast episodes, twice a week, I've decided to reserve some extra time to do some deep dive topics on things that I think both women veterans need to hear, and people who are joining the military. And I think everything that's in Grace's book brand before your resume is so important to hear and to talk about. So we decided to have a conversation about it. And I really loved how it turned out. And Graciela was generous enough to be on camera for this interview. So this episode is also on YouTube. And you can watch the full interview with both of us on YouTube on the new women in the military YouTube channel. You can catch newest episodes for the podcasts on YouTube as well, most of them won't have video. It's something that I'm working my way up to. And so maybe in the spring, we'll see more on YouTube, but just wanted to let you guys know that you can watch the video there. You're listening to season three of the women on the military podcast Here you will find the real stories of female servicemembers. I'm Amanda Huffman, I am an Air Force veteran, military spouse and mom. I created women military podcasts in 2019. As a place to share the stories of female service members past and present, with the goal of finding the heart of the story, while uncovering the triumphs and challenges women face while serving in the military. If you want to be encouraged by the stories of military women and be inspired to change the world, keep tuned for this latest episode of women on the military. to have you on today, we met when you were on my podcast way back in the first year. And so I'm excited to have you on I think you're my first repeat full interview guests. I just did a podcast earlier this month with some of the women who are on and we did like six, six interviews. But this is my first repeat guest. And so I'm really excited. And the reason that I asked you to be on the podcast is because you released the book that I think everyone should read called "Brand Before Your Resume". And so let's talk about how that book came to be. And then we'll go from there.

Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  02:52

Yeah, well, first, what an honor to be a repeat guest on on your podcast and look at look at you look at what you've built since that right? I was actually looking back at the episode, you know, getting booked on another podcast, they were saying the word view appeared before and I remember like, wow, I had to go way back to the beginning of your season, because you've created so much since then. So you know, hats off to you first for everything you've done since our first chat. So yeah, "Brand Before Your Resume." It's the book I should have written years ago. But I was too busy actually doing the authentic personal branding workshops to ever sit down and write the book. But it's based on a process that I've been teaching at university campuses and veteran serving organizations and public libraries for community members and places where maybe the members military veterans and transitioning military meet and spouses, of course. What it is, it's it's the written form of the process that starts with a person and it is my philosophy based on life experience that before you can go out into the world and impress people to you know, get an interview or even to ask to be asked for your resume is you have to say something unique and grab people's attention you have to cut through the noise and say something profoundly interesting so that people go Whoa, tell me more about that. And and by the way, do you have your resume because my cousin over at wherever is hiring, that's what you want versus sitting by yourself all day with generic resumes and uploading them like too many people do, right? So it's it's my philosophy that if we adopt a marketing mindset first and actually understand what that means that it doesn't, you know, it's not talking about yourself and bragging it's matching interesting bits about yourself who first going inside yourself and thinking about yourself and your achievements and what you've done and and not being afraid to bring those out. But then not to start communicating until you really stop and think about who needs to hear this message. And that process is what I've been teaching in the workshops for student veterans and first generation students and Latin x students and corporate professionals for eight years now, and then I turned it into an online course and then when COVID It happened. I was like, I'm not traveling anymore. And now the work continues, you know did for universities were able to pivot and continue doing the professional development workshops for the students. But I had the time Amanda to finally sit down and transcribe the entire online class into a book. And a lot of people make a book and then they make a class, but I had the class first it was like transcribe everything I teach in the class, and then actually structure it, the visuals and really go through that brainstorming process, I'm sure we'll talk about. That's how it started. It's It's literally the written form of the workshop I've done to serve 1000s and 1000s of people around the country.

Amanda Huffman05:34

That's awesome. And one of the things I think that I found most interesting was how Counter Culture it was to everything I learned in TAP class. Instead of being like, in TAP class, it was like everybody was like, go, go go. In your book was like, the first thing I did was stop and think about what I want to do. And I think for me, when I transitioned, I stopped because I became a stay at home mom, and I had the option and the time to figure out what I was passionate about. And so I started this hobby that turned into a business. And now I'm doing something I love. But had I just gotten out of the military, I would have been a civil engineer, and I never would have gone through that process of discovery, which you talked about. So why was that process of discovery so important for you? 

Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  06:22

Oh, well, you know, I'm just sitting here reflecting on what you just said, counter culture to the TAP class, I think I'm gonna start using that. Like, if you've been through the TAP training, then you know that the counterculture is something you need to go find out about, I love that that's a that's a great tagline. I just borrowed that, quote, you know, it's seriously, that was my intention. Because when I was going through the transition, I was hearing that and I was hearing this whole push to do a resume, because I think they were just assuming that I was going to be a navigator in the civilian world. What were they thinking? Right? Like there is no, there's not even a such thing, right? So how do you do a resume for a new world, a new organization that you don't even know what that is? You've never been there. You might not even know people working in that new place that you think about when it goes if you've had that thought at all? Right? So why is it important to me? Well, it was the the women veterans that I talked about in the book, who basically were, I always called him, this is my real Transition Assistance Program, I hear what you guys are doing with the women, we're doing farming, and then go to the tap class, because I basically hooked up with him the last six months just to save timing, and I just couldn't believe it. You know, I couldn't believe that the the contrast and so they're like, what are they gonna do like grade you on? If you bring back a resume? And like, I don't have a resume? Like don't do a resume, you're not ready, right? And so they sat me down, and they're like, here's what I remember. They said, they said, You have so much energy, so much talent, so much heart, that you have no idea what even exists out here for you. And I remember being told, what do you mean? I don't know. Right? Like, I'm an adult, I had no idea. I mean, my world was very small as military aviation and deployments and getting my master's degree. And you know, in that in that cocoon, and so having them tell me to just stop, you need to now do a self assessment, and understand the person that you are now and what matters to you, because you're not the same person you were when you went in. Right? And having somebody actually say that in that language that was so important. So eye opening, and I realized that Yeah, they were right. I didn't know what was important to me anymore. You know, I was just doing my daily thing. So that's why it's important in Amanda just to have somebody you know, maybe it's us this podcast at some says, No, just stop, do not speed ahead into the unknown and end up somewhere that you're gonna hate in a year or two. Because, you know, a lot of people do that. What is it 50% of transition to veterans who end up in a corporate role leave in a year, that's not a good statistic, right. And that's indicative of the gogogo. And you know, the way that they're pushing you, because they want their metrics to measure how successfully they've placed veterans, but if you want to be happy, then please stop and look inside yourself. And that's, I share that because that's what I did. And I would never have done that because I was in the gogo culture, and that's my personality. So I think it's really important to have those mentors who can look at you very honestly and say, No, the most important thing you should do is just stop and then let's assess ourselves. And you know, very importantly, it's not an assessment, it's not your skills, right? It's you already know your skills. It's not that it's more of, you know, what kind of people do I like to work with? Do I like to work in big groups, little groups do I want to be the you know, the, the big dog and the leader don't want to be the big fish in a little pond or the little fish in the big pond don't want to hide what kind of work is important and so these these questions that that were in the self assessment that they put me through, really opened my eyes to and you're gonna laugh, okay, I'm going to say this because it's millet, the military. The thing I will never forget them that self assessment, you know, after a decade of service, literally it said in this office, you can succeed in a highly higher in a very highly hierarchical organization, but you'd be going against your very nature to do so. Wow. And I remember going wow, that explains all those times I got called into the commander's office for being, you know, too vocal for being a captain. Right. And it was true. It's like one of the things that came out at assessments now you can be in that kind of structure of it. It's just record against your very nature,

Amanda Huffman10:26

I want to stop you because it reminds me of a story from the interview on the podcast when you got to pick your plane, but women couldn't be in fighters. And so you're like, I want to be in a fighter and they were like, you can't Lieutenant you're like, I know, but I want you to know, and that just goes right into your personality.

Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  10:46

Right, you know, the correct behavior, they would have expected that the lieutenant knows the rules, and she knows it, you know, combat exclusion is a thing and that combat jets are for women, and that she should just, you know, ask for something else. But I was never that compliant. And so yeah, that's so funny that you're.

Amanda Huffman11:06

So I mean, that part of the conversation and stuck with me, because I would never have done that I would have been like, I'm a little airman or a lieutenant and I'm supposed to do what I'm supposed to do. And I know the rules. And so to hear you say that you like stood up and stood up for what was right, and made a statement that way. I was like, that's so awesome.


Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  11:26

Well, I think it's like it comes back from my my whole rebellious way. I grew up in my Mexican culture, right? I was supposed to be a compliant, quiet little girl. And I never was. And I think that's just an extension of that. But yeah, and you know, what's funny that since since that conversation a year ago, right before we went into the whole shutdown, I was at the Women Aviation International Conference, and I got to meet the first woman who actually did select a combat jet, just a year later, right, a year and a month after my situation. She was Lieutenant Jeannie Flynn at the time. And she's now three star general Jeannie Leavitt. And she was running all of their Air Force recruiting service. And now she's writing all the education training commands, so I got to meet her at the conference. My Shiro, you know, from from back home, we're both serving. So cool. So yeah.So it's, but it's the same thing. It's the same thing. It's that desire to know yourself, and to know that, you know, you've had these experiences. Now, by the time you're transitioning, you probably, if you're listening to this podcast, chances are you've had an experience like we're talking about, you've had to stand up for something, right? And so what does that mean going forward? Does that mean that you want to be in a situation where you can continue to have a chip on your shoulder and you have to stand up and, you know, continue rebelling? Or maybe it's time that you make a different choice and a different kind of organization so that you're more aligned, your values are more aligned, and your personality is more aligned with who you now are. And that's, I think that's a really good way to summarize why it matters, right? Because you can continue to be an organization during smashing your head on a wall, or you can go, Oh, I don't wanna do that anymore. You know, let's try another way to work. And they got I had people that made me stop and really think that through before I wrote a resume before I went to a job fair. Yeah,

Amanda Huffman13:11

yeah, it's so important. And I think the military, it pushes you to be on that path of go go. And they don't, they don't want you to stop. Partly, I always thought it was because of like, the emotions, I felt like when I left the military, I had all these emotions come up about like not being part of the service, not having a mission. And so I felt like they were pushing me to get a job to fill that void. And I think that's some of it. But it's interesting that it's also so they can like have their shiny metrics. And like, it's not It has nothing to do with you and what's best for you.

Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  13:46

It's true, it's true. And obviously, you know, they don't want people to be in a long term unemployed situation, because then, you know, that does cause emotional problems and mental health issues. And yes, that's all true, right? But it's the way that it's done. I mean, that the people that were taking care of me on the outside the basically the Julia Hubble and Justine Nabi, you know, who were both military veterans themselves, when six months ahead of me and one from Vietnam era. So she'd been in 20 years ago, right. And this was her networking group of professionals. And then the captain who had just gotten out six months before me is the one who brought me in and having them really say, you know, the most important thing you can do right now is to make a decision that's going to set you up for you know, this kind of salary that you want for the next decade of your life or 20 years, whatever you want to do, and the kind of work that matters to you, because you've already you know, sacrificed so much and given so much just by being in the service. So time to be a little introspective, and you know, really draw some boundaries and make your wishes known so that you end up somewhere that you want to be and that's not what tap was saying at all. And so they had my best interest at heart. Of course, they did not want to see me long term unemployed either. But their approach the method, you know, which again comes back around what we're talking about the way that I approach it, the method by which you help someone transition makes all the difference in the world and how they see themselves during the transition, and then ultimately where they end up.

Amanda Huffman15:15

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that's so good. Um, I mean, it, it just adds more depth to the book, because I've already read the book. And I was just reading it. I was like, This is so good. People need to hear this.

Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  15:27

Well, and I guess, you know, what is it that that you that you liked most about it? Like, what is it that struck you when you read it? I'm curious.

Amanda Huffman15:36

I think it was the trick, the untraditional or the counterculture approach of looking at transition and like stopping, I don't think I realized it until you talked about like, the military is like, go go, go get the mission done. Do whatever it takes. And so I think that when you stop, you can figure out what you really want to do. And my husband is still in and he's like, five or six years away from retirement. And I'm already talking to him now about like, start dreaming big. Like, don't put yourself in a box, because the military puts you in this box. And this book talks about how like, there is no box or whatever. Yeah. And so I think it's just a whole, like, culture shift. And, and then importance of like, doing that personal work. And it really validated what I'm doing today. I think that's why I liked it so much. 

Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  16:33

Well, thank you, you know, my favorite thing is the 20, I need to go back and count them 25-28 examples of personal branding that has been developed and written by people like you and me, you know, by veterans, by military spouses, that have been through the training and the coaching and highlighting the examples so that people in transition, you know, maybe just for the first time, like your husband and a few years, right, or people who lost their job in the you know, this time for maybe people who want to transition and are afraid to like, because you're not going to be in the same job forever. I mean, this is something I hope everybody is clear on. So anybody in a transition, can use this repeatable process and be inspired by the stories that veterans have developed. And what they've chosen to bring forward into the next phase. And the very specific examples that they chose, from their professional experiences and their personal lives to reveal for a particular target audience. And those examples are really unique. And that's a lot of the message that I put forth in the world's the first marketing guidebook written by a veteran featuring 20 plus examples of personal branding, you know, written by veterans that's unique that has not been done before. And bringing those examples into the world is really important for us. So we can see, wow, look at the way veterans are talking about themselves, right? Look at the work that Rahul did to be able to save that about himself. You know, he doesn't sound like a, you know, Grant marine guy, he doesn't sound like that at all. He sounds like an aspiring engineer, who now has been very successful. And he's working at two different companies. Like he's two and a half and a half trying to figure out what he was going to do next while finishing school. And so when we see those examples for our own community, I think there's nothing more inspirational to help us understand why it's important to follow these processes.

Amanda Huffman18:23

Yeah, it's so important. And it and I like that you can use it not just transitioning out of the military, but like, as a business owner, or as just an employee pivoting is a part of life, you don't know what's going to happen. You could have kids, you could move and like military spouses move all the time. And so I like that it's a repeatable process, and that you stop and see, how has your life changed? Are you the same person? Are you going to the same path that you wanted to go to? Or do you need to stop reevaluate and pivot?

Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  18:57

Yeah, well, and and the, the exercise that I do in the workshops, and the class and the it's now written in the book, that exercise it is, and I say this all the time. It's like, I'm not just going to help you create your branding for right now. I mean, I the what I care about is that, you know, I'm, I'm teaching you to fish, because you're gonna need this again later. Because, you know, if you start a business, or if you move what and it'll, it'll happen, right? You can come back and it won't be as scary because you go, oh, okay, I just need to come back and think, Okay, what are the most interesting things that I'm doing now that showcase my talents? She goes through those questions again, and you're going to have different answers in three years than you have today. Because you're going to have done different things and be a different person. And that is what I care that people learn is the marketing mindset. It's a repeatable process that marketing professionals use every time that they're tasked with launching a new product, or a new service, you go right back to the basic things of what is the essence of what we're doing? What is different about this product or service, it's the parallel know what the exercise is. It's a parallel of the process that we use in corporate marketing to brand and message, whatever we're launching. And that's, that's what I'm bringing with this book is all that decade of corporate marketing experience that I had after the Air Force before I started my business and being able to take those processes and the methods and apply them to a person to bring out those attributes, as I like to call it, I like to use that marketing language, you know, what are the product attributes that you may wish to reveal. And that's the introspective work that if you're just jumping into resumes, and starting to plug them into, then you missed it, and then I don't know what it is that you're hoping is going to happen. Because you're not telling a story that's unique and amazing. And, you know, that's not how people get hired and get noticed. Right. And so that that is really important. So thank you for focusing on the fact that it is a repeatable process super important.

Amanda Huffman20:47

Yeah. And the other thing, you can use it for different stuff, like you mentioned, launching a product. So it's not just for launching yourself into whatever job you want, but also like you use this process for your book when you launched it. 

Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  21:03

Yeah, that's a great connection. And and it is because it is rooted in the marketing mindset. And I have to stop and explain in the book what that is, you know, because a lot of people think that marketing is advertising, let people think that marketing is selling. And that's not what marketing is, right. And so I always have to stop and I do this in the workshop and explain what the marketing process is and how it intersects with sales and advertising. But the truth is that no one's going to be selling an advertising until the marketing work is done. Right. I mean, that's it. So so the branding and the introspective work and the hard work of the marketer and the target audience and understanding what matters to them. And how do I get through to their minds, that always precedes a website, launching any product writing, press release? Those things are the deliverables, right? That's what you create, once you have your message. And you know what the best things are of your product, and you looked at the competitive landscape and you and you know how you're going to distinguish yourself, right? Then you go create those six. And what do we do in TAP is we say, go create your deliverable first, don't read resume and go do a LinkedIn profile and your back, you're like, well, what am I selling? I don't know. So you know, it's funny, because entrepreneurs, when I do this workshop for entrepreneurs, and I did this at downtown San Francisco, and the we work building, when I was in the bunker labs, better residence program, I went ahead and held one of these workshops for everybody in the we work community in San Francisco. So I had this room full of entrepreneurs. And I'll never forget, because it's like, it always happens when I just picked someone and like, okay, who has already launched our website. And so this woman comes up and she had a cannabis brownie business. And so it did show me your website. So she shows it. And I said, Show me the part where you tell us your story as the founder, because I was curious to like, how did she decide to start this business? And she looks at me and she's like, well, I don't have that. It's like, I just want you to buy my stuff. So you don't want us to know anything about you, or why you decided to start it or why we should buy from you versus the next cannabis store. You just want us to come in and buy your stuff. It's like that's not how people buy things. Right. And so it's that very that truth that anybody who's starting a business, the reason that you did, it matters, the story of why you're doing it matters. That is your opportunity to do your branding as a founder and attract people to your business. Right? versus that you sound like every other person selling fill in the blank. Right. And that is a trend I've always seen, you know, when I taught it v wise women veterans who had businesses, I'd say probably maybe 30% of them had something on their website where they were branding themselves as a founder, and the about section versus the about section is all about this stuff, right? And so that's another reason to be able to adopt this process is to go through the process, ask yourself the same questions. But now your audience is your prospective customers versus a hiring manager to company when you're transitioning. And so that's key is that this process is usable at any of those points. So thank you for pointing that out.

Amanda Huffman23:56

Yeah, and just with the podcast, I was really surprised that people cared what I thought because I was just the interviewer. And I wasn't the person being interviewed most often. And like sometimes I would do solo episodes. And I was always surprised that people would listen to the solo episodes. And then it like, made the connection that it's like, they know why I'm doing this. They want to hear my experience. And it's not just they're not coming just for the interviews, they're coming to hear me interview the guest and add my little clips and then share my experience and, and they know why I'm doing it. And they know I'm passionate and and all that's out there. And that's my branding. And I feel like I've told the story of why I started the podcast a million times every time people ask me, I'm like, how do you know this?

Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  24:42

Well, and that's like, you know, welcome to entrepreneurship in the business world. It's a big big world out here and you'll tell that story many times because a it's intriguing be it's yours. Right and see it attracts people to you. Right? And yeah, that's how the important thing is that you got there that you realize that Your voice matters versus the people who just struggle forever, a long time trying to figure out why is nobody buying my stuff? Why is nobody buying my book? Why is nobody buying my whatever, like, we don't know who you are. And we have all these other options. Now, here's that here's the thing marketers love to say, but not enough marketers. But this is something I've already said, you know, we, when we do competitive analysis, you know, I was in technology. So you get these detailed matrices of how many channels of video conferencing, our solution has versus Cisco versus Maya, Microsoft, so you do this technical analysis of competitive marketing so that you can say, Well, you know, we really have more channels for video, like, that's nice, but does your customer care? Is the person doing it care? How many channels? I mean, what do you do with 192 channels of video? I mean, really, what are you gonna do with that? Maybe now, today, we would, but you know, 15 years ago, we didn't need 192 channels. So you, you do this comparative analysis, right. But when you do it for yourself, as a person, it's harder to do that, you know, it's harder to really try to get the details of what you're doing that's different. So instead of trying to evaluate 10, people that sound like you and do an A matrix, just tell your story, tell your why. Right. And, and let that be the differentiator. Let that attract people to you versus, you know, all the other ways that you can try to compare, you know, which would be really hard to do as a person so that that's an important part of it, too. It's like compare, but not that way. Just realize that you are already on your own, so unique, and your voice is outstanding, and it matters. And that's how you attract people to yourself.

Amanda Huffman26:32

Yeah, so true. And I get a lot of pitch letters on like their LinkedIn or via email, and people are like, this is my product. And I'm like, I don't care. And like what you're saying makes so much sense. Because I'm like, I don't care. Tell me about yourself. And like, how you ended up where you are, and then have the conversation. So many people lead with the product and not with who they are and why they're doing it.

Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  26:58

And they're also pitching you without even knowing what your podcast is. Right? Right. Yeah. That's, that's classic. It's like, let me talk about my stuff. You know, it's the whole thing with the elevator pitch, I'm giving the elevator pitch, but I don't know anything about you. Why? Why do you waste your time, because if you don't know your audience, then whatever, however impressive, you think your pitches you just missed, because this audience doesn't care. And if you're pitching something that doesn't belong on Women of the Military podcast, then you don't care, right. And you also see their their branding is now negative, negatively affected because they came to you with something completely ignorant of you as the audience. And so that's a really good example in reverse of why that person needed to do their homework about you, and your podcast and what you care about who you're interviewing, and then they need to tailor their message so that they're unique and differentiated in your eyes. And that my friend is marketing. And that takes a lot of time to really think about the audience, and then come back and say, What value can I really add to her podcast, and then write your pitch, okay, people want to create one resume and feed it 500 times. That's what they're doing to you. And that's not marketing. That's spammy. Right. So that's a really good example of the process that really requires that work, you know, inside yourself that you actually do the branding itself until you think about your audience. And in workshops, I like to walk the room and you know, virtual, walk the room virtually, and people will always say no student veterans, especially, you know, we're ambitious people, we have lots of things we want to do, right? Once you actually start thinking about what you can do next, like all these things become available, and people are like, Well, how do I choose one audience? I want to do this and this and this, and this and this, and I go, Okay, well, welcome to the club. That's, that's been my life. But for the purposes of you actually getting your branding done today and understanding how to get to the finish line, pick one. And it doesn't mean that you have to do this and you're committed to this, right? It's like, I need you to choose one of these audiences. So that now we can think about that audience and get this done. Because if you're trying to be all things to all people you'll miss. And that, yeah, and that's hard for people, right to just pick one audience, right? It's easier when you're in business, because you know, who you're trying to attract. You know, like, if you're doing a pitch to get a sponsor, then that's your audience, and you're very focused on that you don't really care about impressing hardware store owners, doesn't matter. So. So that's really important to be able to have that focus. And that's actually a challenge for a lot of people is like, Well, how do I pick? I mean, I don't know just pick one, because you're going to learn the process. And then if next week, you say, No, I don't really think I want to go work for cloud computing company. I think I'd rather go work in a Creative Advertising Agency. Okay, we'll just you already have all your stuff you might reveal. Go back to your exercise. And now think about this audience and then choose different parts of what you came up with to pitch this direction, but you already have the core of it. figured out because you did introspective work. And then they go, Oh, Okay, I get it, right. And then they'll send me two versions. Well, this is the version if I go do this. Awesome. Okay, now you get to pick what you want to put on LinkedIn so that you'll start attracting those people. And then if you change your mind in a year, change it.

Amanda Huffman30:15

Yeah, that's it. So Oh, man, it's so eye opening. And even though I already I know this stuff, but it's just so good to hear it again and to and to think about people listening, who are either about to transition or if they have transition, and I just really get frustrated when I talk about tap, because I was eight months pregnant when I went through TAP. And I felt so out of place, I had to be there because the government made me be there. But it was a colossal waste of time. And now it's so frustrating.

Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  30:44

What's so interesting about that also is how the military approaches that like the difference between the different services, right, I was meeting with a group, an innovation lab at Travis Air Force Base here in Northern California, and the colonel there that came to talk to us, he was saying, I'm trying to stand up something that some Army bases already do. And what he wanted to do is when you put your paperwork in that you're leaving, instead of I don't know what it was for you, but I know that I was deploying up until two weeks before I got out. I was in Malaysia two weeks before getting out of the military. So you are still being utilized as The Aviator that you are the engineer that you are, you know, wherever you are, because the mission continues. Right. And we were so severely undermanned. I think we had 76% of our navigator manning and I was a senior instructor and everything. So they had me not only flying, but they they had me planning missions. And that's what I was doing Malaysia. So when am I supposed to really be networking and transitioning, right? Because you're gone. And you've heard people deploy come back, and then they have some mandatory a couple of days to transition back. And then they've got like two weeks to get out. So this Colonel what he was trying to do, and I'm still in touch with him, I hope he succeeds. He wants to actually have a transition squadron. So that when you put your paperwork in, you get reassigned you like PC, eight, into this transition Squadron, and then your job the next six months is to learn how to become a civilian. Like, Oh, you mean like actually put time and training, like when they turned you into a military person, but actually put time and training into like, bringing you back out? What a concept, right? So, but that's not what we have right now. Right? We don't have that. And so then we end up having you know, and the frustration that we share with TAP and just go on LinkedIn any day, you'll hear people complaining, right? people figure out after they've been through it after they get out, they figure out everything they weren't taught. And what I always say is come back around, like who is in front of the classroom teaching you during TAP Department of Labor employee, more likely than not, or somebody who's contracted by DOL because it's a DOL program, right? And for a long time, I was like, why are they making us go to the Department of Labor website and look at jobs that existed 50 years ago? Right, what is going on? That's the whole metric thing, right? What you don't have in front of you, Amanda, you don't have a person with a marketing mindset. You don't have a person who's even had to interview for a job in the last 10 years, 15 years? How long have they been working off that script, right. And then and then what they're doing with the program is they're being told that this is what they have to teach. It's very, very scripted. So where is the real help that you need as somebody that's about to go to college, if you haven't been or about to cross over into tech, or leave aviation to go into Cloud computing, which is what somebody I mentoring in the Central Valley is doing right now. She's a baby mechanic, and she wants to go work for Google and cloud computing, right? Where are the people teaching you during tap, that have done any of that? They're not there. So that's where the rest of us come in the rest of the network. And then my story of who helped me is, I mean, that's, that's the long line of how we've successfully helped each other transition. It's that outside networking, and then during tap, you just kind of you just have to go through it. Like you said, the government put you there until, until there's a new model until that kernel succeeds. And actually having all the people are about to get out in the next six months in one place. And he can really bring in professional development, and he can bring in these mentors, and he can get them away from the deployment schedule until he can do that, then, you know, it's not going to change. And then all of this other process that we're teaching, because we're already out, is even more imperative. So that's really, that's why the program doesn't change and everything and trust me with the work that I'm doing, I'm trying to figure out how to get into that program from a content providing subject matter expert kind of way, and the resistance to letting anybody in who's not already there. Let's just say it's kind of high.


Amanda Huffman34:40

Well, and that's just so interesting to think about the fact that you that that's true when I was in even though I was pregnant, so I wasn't deployed, I was still doing my normal job up until the day that I like left the military. I was doing my like out processing checklist as I was still working on the job that I I was doing until the final day that I was in and then I transferred everything over to the next person. But when does that give you time to do all the things that you need to do to transition and and to have the mental capacity to think about? How can you stop and think about Like, who do I really want to be when you're still doing that job that you're trying to do?


Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  35:22

So you know, what, what's the that's kind of fun to think about. Imagine that, you know, you and I went to college and did ROTC. So imagine that now we have our commission. And now we're in our first jobs in the Air Force, which for me was flight training, and you work for tech school of some kind, right? Imagine that you're doing that. But at the same time, you are still working at, you know, your local real estate office earning a paycheck over there for 40 hours a week. But then they also they're training you to become engineers. So you're doing both like, you know, you have to still have your civilian job. But now we're teaching how to be Lieutenant and engineer or, you know, in my case, I would do that, and then I would like somehow sneak into my flight classes, I get it, that doesn't make any sense, right? Because it's, it's like double double tasking your mind when your focus really at that time needed to be on learning to fly the airplane, learning your technology, learning your your leadership, everything you need to do, but what you're getting out, it's like, you know, right up until the moment you walk out, they want you to still be doing that. And then hopefully, you had enough time on weekends or evenings. You know, what I would do with that group that was talking about the way I did it is the base was about 12 miles from downtown Spokane. So I would drive during lunch, you know, like, I wasn't there all day, like if I was flying and my schedule was wack, but if I wasn't flying, that I had my I was running to training flight for for my Squadron, so I be on base. But I would leave like 1130, I would drive into downtown Spokane be there by 12 meet with somebody at lunch for an informational interview that I'd been connected with one of the women in the group, have an hour long lunch, and then turn around, drive back to the base, side, squeeze in probably at least one informational interview in person every week. And then I would do phone calls. And then once a month, the group met and so we'd have a lunch. So again, we base dive in really squeezing it in, and then all of a sudden, it's like, oh, 17 day mission to the Pacific sea, and I'd be gone. Right? So it's it's a time management exercise. You know, it's something that we know, we've all had to do, but it's just an extra strain. to like, like you said, it's the mental strength, where like, you have to kind of put that in there and say now, okay, now I got to get ready for this informational interview and ask you intelligent questions about telecommunications operations. So yeah, it's hard. And that is why I'm forever grateful that I was encouraged to just stop and then do the introspective work first. And, you know, I mentioned the women in the book, because they literally, they were like the transformation, the two transformational angels that I needed at that very important time. And they were like, we're not going to let you do this by yourself, you're not going to fail, you're not going to end up somewhere. And I don't know if I put this in there. But I had told them, you know, what I really want to do is I want to make my way into the telecommunications industry. And I don't know what role fits me best. I'm an ops now. But what does that even mean in a corporate function? Right? And so they said, Okay, we'll interview people and find out what they do. Okay. And I was very intent on the telecom industry, for reasons that, you know, places that deployed and master's degree work I did. So when I started interviewing Amanda, I came back and like, Hey, I just got a job offer with allied signal in Phoenix, Arizona. And they're like, what? I thought you said, you want to go to Telecom, what are you doing talking to defense contractors? Like, I don't know, I guess I just want to see how much I'm worth my top secret clearance. Because, you know, it was like the thing I thought I should do. And they're like you said you wanted to work in Silicon Valley in the telecommunications industry? What are you doing entertaining, moving to Phoenix, working for a defense contractor? So they were like my accountability partner, like, what are you doing? Right? And so again, back to the introspective work, they'd heard me, they heard what I said was important to me what I valued, and here I am off in the weeds, you know, just seeing if anyone's ever gonna hire me again. And could I get a job offer. And they were able to kind of pull me off the brink. And I was able to say no to that job offer and know that the real one was out there for me. And it was,


Amanda Huffman39:17



Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  39:19

Thats the power of that group with you. Right, that really is understanding your hearing your values, because you've done that work.


Amanda Huffman39:25

Yeah, it's so true. And I I recently got a job one interview for a job and it was totally not what I wanted to do, but I was like, I can't pay money and my husband's like, but you don't want to do that. And I was like, Oh, yeah, you're right. But it was just like, sometimes you get that like shiny object like, Oh, this is the path of least resistance and like it's shiny, and I want to go that way and then you have someone to hold you accountable. For me it was my husband who was like, but you don't want to do that. And I was like I'll make money and he's like, I don't know why that matters.


Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  40:04

And then our whole lives would go into disarray with the childcare and the kids and and you know everything? And it's like, is that really what you want? Like? Is that the job you want to do that for? Again, that's the opportunity costs that we talked about, what does it cost you to go get that shiny object and that paycheck? What does that cost you with the rest of everything else that matters for you? And what do you value? Right? Wow, well, Lucky, lucky that he was there for you to, to take you through that, you know, it's very tempting, and we just celebrated 10 years in business in October, as you know, because you were at the party, but you don't get to the 10 year point in your business by letting shiny objects distract you. Okay, what you do is you entertain the shiny objects that are in line with your business. And I've, you know, I've gotten contract work and ghost writing work that way where the opportunity came, and they wanted an employee, and I was able to say, well, I'll do that for you as a contractor, because I already have business, right? And so those opportunities are still worth looking at, because the needs are making themselves known. But then where it is that you can add value and you want to do it, that's when you can say yes, and that's when you can generate some business for your business. And that is actually let's let's call it an entrepreneurial tip, right? Just keep your keep your ear to the ground in terms of places that might want to interview you, but turn the conversation around and even get it as a contract.


Amanda Huffman41:22

Yeah, that was the main thing. It was like an actual, like, employee base job. And like, I was gonna have to ask for time off, and I was gonna have no control over my schedule. And I was like, wait, wait, wait. Yeah. And then it made it all. And I knew that I wanted to have that flexibility with my schedule. And so when that flexibility was taken off the table, and I was like, wait, it was really easy for me to make the decision. It just was funny.


Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  41:49

Well, and you know, I think you probably learned something by going through that process. Right? So definitely did. Yeah. And so will you be repeating anytime soon?


Amanda Huffman41:56

Well, I think I still would, I think I would take what you just said, and I would listen and be open for interviews, but also know what I want. I want the flexibility. So when he asked me that question, I was like, Oh, yeah, it would be okay. And said, now I know the answer. And so it was like, no, I don't want that.


Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  42:18

well, and that's a really good example of the introspection that we're talking about that taking that time to say the most important thing for me right now, you know, because I need to be real is I need a paycheck, and I'm willing to do whatever for the next six months, that might be a reality at some point, okay, then the know that but then say that in six months, you know, in that time that I'm working there, you're not going to be your best employee, you're going to be like a paycheck collector, right, because your heart somewhere else. But if you know that going in, then that helps you too, because you know, it's like a short term situation. And then you can work it on what you really want. But you can only do that if you've done that work to really understand what it is that you're looking for, and what it is that you want, bringing it back around and branding. And this is classic actually just helped somebody last week on LinkedIn with this she was, there was a some thread and someone says, Yeah, it's so hard, I can't even get an interview. Right. So I looked at this and as a young Latina from San Diego State graduate from San Diego State, and I looked at her profile, and I'm like, I have no idea what she's looking for. I'd love to say, Hey, I can help you with a connection. But I'm looking at her profile and I have no idea she's got like the fellowship, the something fellow and the other fellow like, you know, fellowship, I have no idea what that even is, right. And she doesn't say she's looking for work in or as or anything. So I don't know how to help her and from a personal branding point of view, and come back around to the woman that helped me once you can articulate what it is that you are looking for. Next, even if you don't know anything about it, you know, like I was saying I would I want to go work as a global marketing manager in a telecommunications organization. That's what I decided after interviewing ops and logistics and finance and everything, like people are like you are so clearly a marketing communications professional. Okay. And so now that I really see that, yeah, that is what I love right? Now I can go talk to people who do that work. And once I can articulate that I'm looking for a marketing, global marketing as always, from a global a global marketing management position, and a telecommunications company. Once I could say that, then guess what happened? My networks like, Oh, well, you should talk to so and so at Avaya. They're hiring and then my friend from the Cal ban, the saxophone player. She's like, Oh my god, you're not gonna believe the job requisition I just wrote here it is. And it was literally the job I was just describing. She just written that job requisition and she was hiring for Global Marketing Management at Siemens Enterprise Communications. And I was like, What? So literally, when you articulate what you want into the world, when you are branding yourself, with your wishes and your goal and how you see yourself in the next phase of your life, that's when people can help you. That's when you attract the LinkedIn algorithms. And that's when you attract the humans right and i have lived that multiple times, right? And so this woman who was saying, I can't even get an interview, I said, Okay, well, I'm studying your LinkedIn profile, and I have no idea what you're looking for. I don't know you, you're a stranger to me. But I'd like to help, so what. And so it's so basic. But she just thought, if I throw these awards that I got, then people will know what I want. And that's not how it works. So that's, that's the core reason why that process that I'm teaching is so important. Because you're bringing what you bring to the table, your value, your experiences, your uniqueness, and you're marrying it up with that future vision of who you are to a specific audience that needs to hear it. And when you bring that together, which is what we did in this LinkedIn thread, I'm like, okay, so tell me, tell me about these fellowships. What are they? So she's like, Okay, and so what do you want to do next? Do you see yourself in a hospital or like running a nonprofit or working for a congressman? Because I'm not following? So when she said it, like, Okay, well, there you go. This sentence, here is your headline for LinkedIn, and the rest of this development into a paragraph. And this could be the story you tell about why you should be called, right. For me, it's that simple, to cut through the confusion that people have about everything to try to communicate by asking some very pointed questions with my marketing mindset, to get them to tell their story. And at the end, she was like, Oh, my God, now I understand. Because how could you possibly know what I'm looking for? I don't know how you thought we could, right. But that's the frustration that so many of us have, leaving the military or any transition, especially when you know, we've talked to you're overwhelmed or out of time, maybe you're at a job, you don't even like or you're trying to get out of it. Or in her case, you know, she's trying to finish up the last of her finals. But it comes back around to that is what is your unique story and who needs to hear it. And please tell us so we can help you.


Amanda Huffman46:53

Yeah, and I think that's a perfect way to wrap up the interview. So I want to give a chance to say your website and how people can get in contact with you if they want to learn more about this besides getting the book because you mentioned you have classes. And so let's talk about that.


Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  47:09

Well, we made it easy, just brandbeforeyourresume.com and a brandnewbeforeresume.com, you will see a tab with a bunch of veteran testimonials in video and written format, just talking about the training, talking about what they learned talking about their experience and their success. So definitely take a look at that. The online class is also linked there. Also list of clients and then the press release that we did for the launch. You know, I never told you what brand stood for. I should just define that.


Amanda Huffman47:37

Oh, yeah. Because Yeah, we blew right past that.


Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  47:40

Blew right past it. So when I was putting this together, okay, I wanted brand to be an acronym. There it is. So while you're holding, and I'll read it, I believe that you must brand which means be is become are as relevant, as authentic and as noticeable and T is differentiated. So you must become relevant, authentic, noticeable and differentiated before your resume. That's what it means. In other words, relevant to your audience, then think to yourself, you know, like, Don't lie to us and exaggerate, we really yourself, because you're already interesting enough, be noticeable, which means please, please step into the limelight. Please tell your epic story. And differentiated is please don't sound like everybody else, figure out how to really extend out. So when you do that this is effective marketing, grabbing people's minds with something that's unique and fascinating. The skills you learn here will serve you for decades.


Amanda Huffman48:29

Now if I thought I thought we ended up good with the last bit of advice, but I think that you outdid yourself. So thank you so much. This has been a great interview. And I hope people listening can use the well, first they need to buy the book. And I'll have that linked in the show notes so that people can get it but just use the information and the wealth of knowledge that you've given to help. And I'll also have the links to the website so that people can head up to the classes and check it out.


Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  48:57

Yeah, and very importantly, you know, I'm doing group training. And so we do the group training for 60 minutes, you know, marketing mindset and the exercise that we talked about. And then after that, then there's the option, which I think about 100% of the people will take me up on to actually have the one on one coaching so that you can take the brainstormed content that you put together in the group training. And then we sit down together for 45 minutes. Literally, it's always an hour, because we talk you know about you and what you're doing next. And then by the time we're done, you have your branding completed. So that's how we do it. So no messing around, no dancing. No. You know, theory, it's all work to get it done. So that's the process. Thank you.


Amanda Huffman49:43

Thank you so much. I really appreciate having you on.


Graciela Tiscareno-Sato  49:46

Well thank you for sharing your stories of how you came to find your voice and your branding and tell your story. It's a great example of you know the power that you have when you decide to do it for yourself.


Amanda Huffman50:02

Thank you for listening to this week's episode of women of the military podcast. Do you love all things women in the military podcast become a subscriber so you never miss an episode and consider leaving a review. It really helps people find the podcast and helps the podcast to grow. Are you still listening? You can be a part of the mission of telling the stories of military women by joining me on patreon@patreon.com slash women of the military or you can order my book women in the military on Amazon every dollar helps to continue the work I am doing. Are you a business owner? Do you want to get your product or service in front of the women of the military podcast audience get in touch with the woman or the military podcast team to learn more. All the links on how you can support women in the military podcasts are located in the show notes. Thanks again for listening and for your support.