Archive for category: editorial



I take great pride in announcing that Silhouettes for VETS is changing our name!

After many months of research and surveys with our Board of Directors and other Veteran organizations we have taken the first step in scaling our operations by changing our name to: VETERANS CAREER XCHANGE.


During our first two years it has become evident that there were some issues with our previous Brand name – Silhouettes for VETS. It was obvious that it is just too hard to spell but more importantly we saw that the brand did not effectively communicate the essence of who we are and what our mission is. It became obvious that it did not communicate to Veterans the quality coaching and educating service the organization could provide to them.

We wanted to distinguish ourselves from other Veteran Service Organization and preclude words or expressions that have, in some circles, been overused! Words like Heroes or Warriors were disqualified. We also did not want our unique services to be confused with other organizations that are also doing great work. Veterans Career Xchange, first suggested by Alex Mack, Executive Director, was the one name that stood out.

Transitioning military personnel who have been familiar with the Post Exchange (PX) or the Base Exchange (BX) can now work with the great coaches of the Career Xchange (CX)!

We are not just working to put Veterans in jobs! We are coaching and preparing each Veteran for a career position in the civilian workforce.

To that end we have also changed the descriptor for our core program from “GET YOUR JOB” to, “Xchanging a Military Uniform for a Civilian Career”. Our unique and customized model of educating, coaching and preparing Veterans for the workforce remains the same. Our other Programs (Veterans Improv and our Woman’s Veteran Program – WANTED) remain the same.

General Ruth Wong (Ret) Director Military and Veterans Affairs – County of Los Angeles and Mark Brenner

We are excited about our new Branding and how it will reach and impact the Veteran community. Our Programs depend upon you – our supporters! Our analysis has revealed that our cost to put a Veteran to work is right around $1000.00. Just imagine what $1000.00 can do? A Veteran working at or above a living wage decreases homelessness, decreases the amount of assistance they receive from the Government, decreases the suicide rate among Veterans, increases the taxes for both the State and Federal government and stimulates our consumer based economy by injecting spendable dollars.

We are asking for your continued support by making a donation (donations start at $5.00). Just as the presidential candidates receive millions of dollars through small donations, imagine if the Veteran Career Xchange could received just $20.00 from 50,000 supporters? That would put over 1250 veterans to work generating over 60 million dollars of spendable income for the economy. Donations to the Veteran Career Xchange are crucial to the goal of expansion throughout the United States and would enable the Veteran Career Xchange to all but eliminate Veteran unemployment.

Our mailing address and phone number will remain the same however our email and website will reflect our new name:


Veterans Career Xchange


Mark Brenner



Alex Mack



Thank you everyone for your support!


2015 in Review…

It has been a while since my last Blog and I wanted to update all of our supporters about all the great work we accomplished in 2015.

We have completed two years of working with Veterans throughout Southern CA. In twenty-four months we have coached and prepared over 200 Veterans for the civilian workforce. Our placement percentage of the Veterans we have coached is over 80%! In 2015 we coached 140 Veterans and placed 114 Veterans into positions that are at or above a living wage with an average annual salary of close to $50,000.

The results have been rewarding and far above those of other Veteran Service Organization. Our percentage of placement coupled with a retention rate of Veterans in new positions for over 6 months has exceeded our goals. The work of our Executive Director, Alex Mack a West Point graduate and former Army Ranger, our staff of Volunteers has allowed us to achieve our goals.

The Veterans we have worked with are working across all industries from aerospace, to entertainment to technology companies. Our 10-Component Program has shown that it works and we will continue to improve our process. Our Veteran Improv Program has been developed and we are undertaking a Pilot Program with the assistance of USC (CIR). Once completed, we are sure that this program will become an industry standard for interview preparation.

Over the course of 2015 we have added three key members to our Board of Directors. Sal Esparza, PhD and assistant Director of the Center of Health and Wellbeing for CSUN, Lisa Phalen a nationally recognized coach and motivational speaker and Mary Gomez, a senior executive and Human Resources expert. We welcome our new Members and are confident that together with the rest of our Board we can become the Premier Veterans coaching organization in the nation.

Due to other commitments two Board Members, Marvin Rapaport and Nancy Butler has decided to step down as Board Members. We wish them both well in their endeavors.

We are pleased to announce that we have received Grants from both The United Way and The MVAT Foundation. We have currently submitted 7 other Grants for consideration. Further we have received donations from over 100 individuals who have been generous and supportive.

And finally we are in the process of migrating to a new Brand… Silhouettes for VETS will be changing it name in the course of the next few weeks to “Veteran’s Career Xchange” – I am sure you all remember the Post Exchange (PX) or the Base Exchange (BX)? Well now every Veteran will have access to the Career Xchange (CX). I will be notifying everyone once the new name is official and the new Website in up and running. Of course we will soon have a new Facebook page and Twitter handle

For 2016 we have developed our goals and results that will further benefit and impact the Veteran unemployment rate. I will be sending out Blog each week to give you updates and our results.

Thank you all for your support. In order to impact today’s unemployed Veterans we still need your help. Based upon our analysis for every $1000.00 received in donations we can put a Veteran’s to work! Think about it. That a Veteran going to work for just $1000.00 decreases State and Federal assistance, adds dollars to the economy and improves to the health and well being our Veterans! Our donations start at $5.00 – please help us help our Veterans…

I will look forward to hearing your comments and receiving your donations.


Reflections of Veterans Day

sfv_vets_day2It has been over 4 decades since I returned from Vietnam. It would be trite if not unobserving, to simply say how the world has evolved!

After a 15-hour flight from Vietnam to McCord Air Force Base I can’t help but remember seeing protesters with signs and throwing rocks at our cab that would take us to the Seattle Airport so I could, after 362 days, finally go home. For the next 40 years I was shy (almost embarrassed) to let anyone know I was a Veteran –a Vietnam Veteran. It was a time that for so long I just wanted to forget! So the past 40 plus Veterans Days has just been another day when Federal Employees were given a day off! I had no desire to participate in celebrations or events because of how I was “welcomed home” by almost everyone (except maybe my parents) from Vietnam in 1969!

It was not until 2012 that someone casually said to me…”Thank you for your Service!” I am not sure how I responded but I do know that I was shocked that someone, anyone would recognize my contribution (no matter how insignificant).
But that was a different time in our history. Perhaps the lessons of the strategy of winning in Vietnam are not only embedded in history but have also set the groundwork understanding the sacrifice made by a few of us for our country. I was lucky – I came home! It was a different time and a sad time in our history.

So let’s fast-forward to the present…I can say without reservation that how we view those of us who have made these commitments has changed! Today understanding the Veteran community, it seems, it at the top of everyone’s “to do list”. Veterans are appreciated for their service and their commitment. It goes without saying that it is politically correct to honor a Vet – there is a feeling throughout the country that Veterans deserve respect for their service. Finally we can all stand tall and say that we “Served”!

Yet politically correct only gets us so far! Feeling and saying is not enough. It is time for a more concerted effort to make every Veteran whole! Let’s stop saying we are going to end Veteran homelessness, help every Veteran with a psychological or substance abuse issue and make sure we do something or anything to decrease Veteran unemployment! Let’s cut through the bureaucracy of studies and forms and get the work that needs to be done accomplished.

Unfortunately there are some organizations that take advantage of the political correctness of assisting Veterans – to those organizations I will say “go find another cause to support”! Let the organizations that are committed to the well being of our Veterans do our work and help to effectively end the issues facing today’s Veterans.

In 2014 I created Silhouettes for VETS with only one goal in mind…Coach and Prepare Veterans for the workforce. And by doing so I could impact the staggering Veteran unemployment rate. After over 40 years in the Staffing and Human Resources industry I am keenly aware that the population in general does not know how to look for a job (career) and that number is dramatically increased in the Veteran community. So I used my experience to give back! And giving back we have helped place 80% of the Veterans we have coached into career positions! Just think how much we could accomplish if our model is expanded. Can you envision Veteran unemployment at 5%? – now wouldn’t that be great.

But is not just Silhouettes for VETS. Many organizations in the non-profit sector have the same level of commitment to our Veterans. Organizations like NVTSI, Makeovers that Matter, The Gary Sinise Foundation, Hire our Hero’s, Easter Seals, The Salvation Army Haven, JVS, The Soldiers Project, PsychArmor, PATH and many others are having a profound impact as they work with Veterans to ensure that they can make a seamless transition to civilian life.

Let’s take a moment and know that policies, documents and plans don’t help the Veteran community. We need a call for results. Each of the organizations that are committed to work for the benefit of our Veterans already has a plan – let’s put our plan (s) into action without delay. So I challenge each of you who are currently working and supporting our Veterans to do just 10% more in the coming twelve months! The results, I can assure you, will have a profound impact in making the Veteran community a better place.

So as we celebrate, commemorate Veterans Day 2015 let’s all reflect and honor those of us that have served – let’s do more – let’s to everything we can so Veterans can be off the street, psychologically sound, drug and alcohol free and employed!

To everyone who has ever served…THANK YOU!


Hiring Veterans on Expert’s Corner

Silhouettes For Vets Founder Mark Brenner guest blogged on Read Marks blog on Expert’s Corner: Hiring Veterans — Preparing this talent pool for the workforce is critical.

By |May 1st, 2015|Department, Experts Corner, May 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 9.20.22 PM

Expert’s Corner: Hiring Veterans

Unemployment among US military veterans is substantially higher than that of working age civilians. In Los Angeles County alone, there are more than 43,000 unemployed veterans.

At the same time, there are nearly 45,000 nonprofit organizations throughout the country that work with veterans. Thousands of these organizations are dedicated to helping veterans transition from military to civilian life with the end goal of attaining employment. This is the good news.

The bad news is, many of these organizations are interested in putting veterans to work in the civilian sector without consideration of a living wage — which does not solve the problem. In fact, the repercussions can be more severe than one realizes.

It can lead to these veterans needing to seek out government assistance, facing the reality of becoming homeless or possibly contemplating suicide. The suicide rate for veterans is staggering, and the number of homeless veterans is also unacceptable.

Given this backdrop, it’s not enough for companies to establish “veteran hiring initiatives.” Yes, if implemented properly, a veterans hiring initiative is a great step toward decreasing veteran unemployment. Unfortunately, the issue with these initiatives presents a two-fold dilemma: On the one hand, a great percentage of these initiatives are created because it is the “right thing to do.” But most importantly, it is not the first step needed to ensure that veterans are employed at a living wage.

Preparing veterans. Veterans are highly skilled people. It is up to the staffing industry to adapt its HR policies and take a deeper look at how the industry fills jobs. By revising its approach, agencies can have access to a pool of talent with unique and valuable skill sets.

What is critical in this process is helping veterans prepare for the job search and qualify for the position before being considered by the company. The first step, therefore, in transitioning veterans into the civilian workforce is to prepare them for it.

The military has contracted with companies to assist in the transition of returning vets. A point to remember is however, many of these programs cannot effectively prepare veterans for the workforce in a one- or two-day workshop.

To that end, there are many nonprofit veteran service organizations that supplement these transition workshops. Some assist with résumés or interviewing skills. My organization, Silhouettes for VETS, takes a one-onone customized approach to educate, prepare and coach veterans through the hiring cycle in order to get a viable job.

The process. Staffing companies can work with organizations that empower veterans to navigate the hiring cycle including transition to civilian life, identifying companies and skill sets, the creation of a résumé, time management and interviewing techniques. There are some programs that address some of these requirements and others provide one or two elements. Some programs, such as Silhouettes for VETs, also include ongoing support after the veteran has secured employment.

Collaborating with other nonprofit veteran service organization allows companies and staffing firms to resolve issues faced by transitioning veterans. Here are just a few: The Salvation Army Haven helps address veteran homelessness, The Soldiers Project works with veterans struggling to reintegrate from military to civilian life and National Veterans Transition Services assists veterans as they move from military life to civilian life.

The goal. It’s on all of us to help transitioning veterans find employment in the civilian workforce. Through collaboration and better understanding of this ecosystem, all parties — including staffing firms — can better help to reduce veteran unemployment, and in the process, poverty and homelessness. This is a great opportunity to help the country and your business.



sfv_portrait_mark_brenner-1In the past 18 months Silhouettes for VETS has become a driving force in working with Veterans as they search for a job. Our Programs that educates, coaches and prepares Veterans for the workforce has resulted in an 80% success rate – 80% of the Veterans we have coached have gained an understanding of the hiring cycle and been offered employment. Not just a job but also a career as each of the Veterans who have completed our 10-Component Program is working in a position that is at or above a living wage.

Recently, Silhouettes for VETS has been featured in an interview on LATalkLive and received mention in a segment with one of our partners, Makeovers that Matter, on KTLA

And that is just the start for we are developing the outline for a one-hour radio call-in talk show that will feature Silhouettes for VETS, REBOOT and Makeovers that Matter. We all agree that it is time that we create a positive media image for Veterans who transitioning and are getting “job ready” – preparing each Veteran in every way for the workforce. Move to follow on our progress.

As I mentioned in a previous Blog, the synergy created by the partnership of REBOOT, Silhouettes for VETS and Makeovers that Matter is the entire package for Veterans who are transitioning from the military. This collaboration covers every aspect of transitioning Veterans so once the Programs are completed each Veteran will be “job ready”!

Silhouettes for VETS has also made some very important additions to our Board of Directors. In recent months we have added 7 new members who will be instrumental in our successes in the coming months. Along with our current members, Mark Brenner, Dennis Forst and Marvin Rapaport, MD, I am proud to welcome the following new Board Members:

  1. Anthony Cuculo, Major General (Ret)
  2. Stuart Gross, Retired TV Producer and M&A and Branding Expert
  3. Maurice Wilson, President of NVTSI (REBOOT)
  4. Melissa Metz, Director of Human Resources for Exelis Inc.
  5. Kelly Logan, Executive Director of Silhouettes for VETS
  6. Nancy Butler, Fundraising Expert
  7. Sari Drucker, Business Woman and Owner

A Board meeting with all our Directors will be held on Friday June 19, 2015 at Bob Hope Patriotic Hall at 9 am.

Silhouettes for VETS has been asked by The Chamber of Commerce – Hire our Hero’s Program to present our 10 Component Program to three military installations throughout the United States. We are excited for this opportunity to work with more Veterans as they transition to civilian life.

Stay tuned as we are producing a series of Videos that will run our Website and Facebook pages. These Videos will include testimonials from a few of our Veterans along with an introduction to our programs.

We have come a long way in a very short period of time – and this is just the beginning. Once fully funded, Silhouettes for VETS will be expanding throughout California so we can have a greater impact on decreasing Veteran unemployment…One Veteran at a time.

And of course, our efforts need your support. You donations will help us increase the number of Veterans we serve and expand our coaching capabilities. Donations start at $25.00. Thank you for your support




The Queen of Scream

The Queen of Scream

When Courtney Love calls you, you answer. We did exactly that recently, when Love—who’s been touring in Europe to promote her new scream-o-heavy, double A-sides, “You Know My Name” and “Wedding Day”—called us from her Nottingham hotel in the U.K. Our chat (which lasted for more than an hour) with the enthusiastic, focused, and seemingly very happy Love covered topics such as her getting back into acting; being Riccardo Tisci’s first muse; the hopeful Hole reunion; her absolute loathing of flower crowns; being Net-a-Porter’s number one client; why she ditched her “social media friend” Miley Cyrus’ recent party; and, of course, her cheese addiction. Above all, it seems, Love is set on a comeback. With her slew of forthcoming projects, the self-proclaimed “grande dame of rock” is looking to reclaim the throne.

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And now that at the proper time and place, after so long and wide a preliminary cruise, Ahab,—all other whaling waters swept—seemed to have chased his foe into an ocean-fold, to slay him the more securely there; now, that he found himself hard by the very latitude and longitude where his tormenting wound had been inflicted; now that a vessel had been spoken which on the very day preceding had actually encountered Moby Dick;—and now that all his successive meetings with various ships contrastingly concurred to show the demoniac indifference with which the white whale tore his hunters, whether sinning or sinned against; now it was that there lurked a something in the old man’s eyes, which it was hardly sufferable for feeble souls to see. As the unsetting polar star, which through the livelong, arctic, six months’ night sustains its piercing, steady, central gaze; so Ahab’s purpose now fixedly gleamed down upon the constant midnight of the gloomy crew. It domineered above them so, that all their bodings, doubts, misgivings, fears, were fain to hide beneath their souls, and not sprout forth a single spear or leaf.

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Welcome to Doha

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Takkt Nachhaltigkeitsbericht 2014

Takkt Nachhaltigkeitsbericht 2014

Donec at nisi molestie, imperdiet enim id, mollis nulla. Nullam lacinia nisi commodo turpis porta, eget luctus urna bibendum. Fusce egestas quis diam placerat porta. Aliquam adipiscing, urna in vulputate malesuada, nulla orci euismod neque, nec porttitor sem urna ac nisl. Ut vel orci ante. Donec et ante nec augue iaculis convallis. Donec venenatis mi a quam pellentesque, quis vehicula purus auctor. Morbi lacinia neque vel lectus ullamcorper tincidunt.

Praesent eu nunc tincidunt, convallis sem sed, faucibus odio. Suspendisse ipsum ipsum, lacinia ac gravida non, consectetur quis elit. In dui diam, tempor dictum suscipit ac, lacinia nec arcu. Morbi consequat vel lorem ut vestibulum. Nunc in commodo quam. Proin ut varius nisi. Morbi sodales laoreet nunc, a adipiscing mauris suscipit ac.

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Honey Hunters of Nepal

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A novel set in the medium-flung future, with a plot that hinges on the theft of a kind of super-book. A super-book that is engrossing, interactive, networked; with pages that change before your eyes; that knows more or less everything. A science-fictional object that served as the lodestone for Amazon’s efforts, in the early 2000s, to develop an e-reader.

In his chronicle of the company, Brad Stone writes: “The early [Kindle] engineers thought of the fictitious textbook in the novel as a template for what they were creating.” A palimpsest of influence, visible to all Amazon customers who log in to manage their super-book stolen from the pages of science fiction. The Kindle isn’t the only piece of technology with these roots, of course—far from it.

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