Hello Combined Arms Community,
My name is Mia Garcia, the newest member of Combined Arms, and I am excited to be joining the organization as the Texas Veterans Network Director. I formerly held the role of Programs Director for NextOp, so I am familiar with challenges endured by transitioning veterans and over the years accumulated knowledge to help individuals move forward into civilian life. I am a native Houstonian that grew up in Friendswood and currently reside in The Heights. During my childhood, I was primarily homeschooled through middle school and high school, so I was not the type of kid that anyone thought would join the Marine Corps. After graduating early from high school, I started junior college to get a head start on my collegiate coursework, as I was driven to keep moving forward to success. Upon completing a two year degree, I found out my cousin joined the Marine Corps which developed an intrigue and passion for the challenge of becoming a Marine. Prior to fully understanding the immense undertaking with joining military service, (just knowing that the Marines has the reputation for being the most challenging branch) I visited the recruiter the following day and began the process of enlisting as soon as possible. This was literally two weeks before September 11th, so the timing of my decision further supported my commitment to serve our great country. I really enjoyed my time in the Marine Corps and believe that my enlistment helped me become the person I am today - a hard charger that gets things done!
After separating from the Marine Corps I completed my undergrad in Health Sciences at the University of Houston (Go Coogs!). While working on my degree plan, I learned about Lone Star Veteran Association (LSVA) and started working out with some of their members. I learned about a program called the Veteran Career Transition Program which focused on helping prepare veterans for careers and connecting them with employers. Knowing absolutely nothing about the veteran employment space but being motivated to help, I became a volunteer for this particular program. Within a few months I learned the ropes and gained experience which presented me the opportunity to lead the program. This is where I became familiar with veteran transition, military recruiting, and building community relationships. Our ultimate mission was bringing employers and veterans together with the goal of veteran employment. After about a year of managing this program, I was recruited by Baker Hughes to help develop their military recruiting program. In this role I saw first hand what veterans encounter when applying for industry positions. The corporate background helped me tremendously once I transitioned to NextOp as it enabled me to provide first-hand knowledge of what transpires on the other side of the fence. I spent 5 amazing years with NextOp, leading a team to recruit, train, and help place over 2,200 transitioning service members and veterans.
As the Texas Veterans Network Director for Combined Arms I will oversee statewide operations and lead a robust expansion of Combined Arms methodology and technology. As we prepare to serve additional veterans in El Paso, DFW, and Austin my team will combine community leaders, member organizations, stakeholders, state officials, and key agencies to positively impact the veteran community.
I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to serve the veteran community and work alongside some amazing pioneers. Combined Arms is revolutionary and much needed in the great state of Texas. I am very excited to help accelerate our mission statement and unite the community to accelerate the impact of veterans!
If you are a veteran in Texas or moving to Texas looking for services, learn more about Texas Veterans Network and fill out a form here.