Dara shared, “Both of my parents are veterans—my dad was a Marine and my mom was in the Air Force. A lot of our extended family served, too.
I grew up on military bases overseas—Japan, Germany, Italy. Then in 2005, when I was a junior in high school, my mom received an assignment in Mississippi. She elected to retire so I could stay in Europe to finish high school. It was an act of love.
I came back to the US when I was 18. I didn’t know how I was going to pay for college until I was offered an ROTC scholarship. Until then, I didn’t expect to follow my parents’ path.
Yet, time and time again, I’ve learned to keep an open mind. Once exposed to something new, I often find I like it.
Joining the Air Force was that way; I ended up staying for ten years and eventually became an intelligence officer.
When I started thinking of transitioning out, some colleagues said, ‘Dude, do BreakLine!’
I was admitted and worked closely with Shari Schussel, whom I loved from our first meeting. Over the months, she talked me through all my doubts and fears.
I met the Vannevar Labs team. Right away, I could tell they were a great company. They were also super transparent, which is a top priority for me. No matter what question I threw at them—even the most uncomfortable ones—they were honest and upfront.
For my fellow service members, as you think about your next step – be ruthlessly honest with yourself—and your potential employer—about what you want. Ask yourself if this position and company meet your culture requirements, your values, and your compensation expectations. Evaluate the opportunity against your wants and needs, and seek out what you have earned.”