Tag Archives: military

Key Benefits of Usability Testing in Virtual Sales Training

Usability testing is the best way to gain a better understanding of how your learners (also known Virtual Sales Trainingas “users”) interact with your virtual sales training course materials. During, testing users are asked to complete simple tasks while being observed and often recorded. User testing can be done in-person or remotely, and when well designed, it will provide you with some great benefits.

When you make usability testing part of your e-learning or virtual sales training development process, you will be able to:

Save money.

Development costs can add up quickly and when you can see how your users are interacting with your content, you can ward off potential mistakes. For example, you can remove items that they do not care about, and you can fix areas that confuse them, such as navigation issues and other functionality issues that may frustrate them. Understanding what the user experiences allows you to focus on development time and money on what is most important to them, and will improve your learner motivation and program efficiency.

See where your learners get stuck in the Virtual Sales Training

When a button, link, or any other interaction item fails to work properly, it can frustrate the user. Vague instructions can also create problems. You may think you have accounted for all the possible issues, and you may think you know exactly how the user will interact with your content, but chances are you have made some mistakes and the user will find them. Usability testing will help highlight what you have missed and allow you to fix issues before they become a major problem, and impact learning outcomes.

Get an unbiased perspective.

It’s hard to take a step back and view things with fresh eyes, especially after we have spent so much time working on a building out content and assessments. Even our own teams will harbor certain biases when reviewing, performing quality control checks and testing course modules. But we have to keep in mind who we are creating for, and we have to be able to view things through the user’s eyes in order to create anything of value. Usability testing allows you to see what the user sees and experiences, so you can make your e-learning course better.

Improve user experience and increase learning outcomes.

The goal is to engage the user, provide them with the material they need to learn, and ensure they complete the lesson. You may have great intentions but if you are not providing value and making it easy for the user to access and interact with the content, then all your hard work is for nothing. Usability testing can help you see barriers to success such as poor navigation, improper branching, interaction issues, unclear content, etc. so you can fix them and make the user experience as easy as possible for them. It is also important to make sure you are testing on multiple devices, and that you get a proper user sample to ensure you are not missing anything.

Lower support costs.

When you provide the user with the ability to self-solve problems during the lesson, you can lower your support costs and decrease learner frustration. Review your most frequently asked questions and most frequently encountered support requests. Fix them immediately so they are no longer support issues, and make sure you have resources or a knowledge base that the user can access anytime throughout the module to help get quick answers to potential questions. Make sure the information is always up to date and easy to find.

Keep in mind, building a virtual sales training course right the first time, can save you significant time and money in the long run. Not to mention help ensure better learner engagement, motivation, and outcomes. Usability testing does not have to be complicated, and it should be a standard part of your e-learning development process. Remember to test often, and make sure you are delivering the best user experience possible.


Tina Indalecio is the Director of Learning & Development at Tech Qualled and has over 25 years of combined education, design, business operations, sales, and marketing experience. She has developed and delivered educational courses for K-12, higher education and adult learners. In addition, she has been an Adjunct Faculty member at The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) and a guest lecturer/speaker at The Art Institute and UCSD Extension. She has taught marketing, communications, business, and creative design courses, as well as assisted students with portfolio development and reviews.

My Technology Sales Journey: Lauren Gurski

Five months ago, I was contacted by a recruiter from Tech Qualled asking me if I was interested in a career in the technology sales industry. Not knowing anything about sales, the technology sector, or what Tech Qualled was, I listened to the recruiter’s pitch with an open mind. My transition out of the Army in 2012 hadn’t gone as expected and I was looking for a career change. After 4+ years in health insurance collections, it wasn’t bringing me the fulfillment I needed on a daily basis.

I completed a thorough application and interview process with Tech Qualled of which only 15% of applicants are accepted; after that, I didn’t think about the training program much further. I continued my daily routine as a “corporate zombie” until I quit my job in December of 2017. I was going to dedicate time to really focusing on what I wanted to do for a career and not just a job. With two days left at my old job, I received the call. Jim Sheriff (Co-Founder and former CEO of Tech Qualled) informed me I was selected for the program. I flew out of my seat and started jumping up and down! I had no idea what I was going to do once my job ended and was grateful to have a direction and purpose in my career. I didn’t really think much of what was to come. I was just happy that I would not (hopefully) be unemployed for long.

During the seven weeks of training that Tech Qualled calls the Launchpad Academy, its technology salesflagship training program, it became apparent what an opportunity and gift this training was. I learned about the sales process, common technical terms, and products, current industry trends and insights, etc. The program fosters a spirit of cooperation amongst its alumni (similar to the same comradery experienced in the service). Fellow veterans who graduated from the program graciously took time out of their busy schedules to help mentor and guide me. I sharpened my industry knowledge and sales skills taking advantage of every opportunity the program presented. As a result, I’ve recently been hired as a Regional Vice President with nCino Inc., the leader in cloud-based operating solutions for the financial services industry.


I wouldn’t have been able to successfully transition to technology sales without the superb guidance and coaching of the Tech Qualled team!

Army Ranger’s Career Change from the Cubicle

Transitioning from the military is one of the most difficult things I’ve done, and I’ve put myself through some grueling crucibles. From the time I was six years old, I’d always known exactly Army Rangerwhat I wanted and how I was going to achieve my goals. I wanted to be an infantry officer, lead soldiers in combat, and ultimately become a Special Forces team leader. Admittingly, I never thought beyond that. Eight years of service, an extended stay at Army Ranger School, Special Forces training, and three deployments later I’d already accomplished everything I’d set out to do. Now what? I’m only 30 years old.

Recruiting agencies wanted to place me in an operations or project manager position because it’s a very smooth transition due to my leadership background. I’d already excelled doing that so why would I want to take a pay cut to do it at a lower level? As a Special Forces officer, my job was to connect with people, demonstrate value, solve problems and deliver for stakeholders and set the conditions for those around me to be successful.  I’ve always considered myself a servant leader and treated my soldiers as if they were customers. I wanted them to be successful while having an enjoyable experience. Additionally, I’m competitive, goal-oriented, and want to be rewarded for my performance. A future career in sales was an obvious path for me based on what I love to do and because I’d be able to leverage my greatest attributes.

Due to family reasons, I took a comfortable job in the Oil & Gas industry which helped transitioning veterans acquire skills to become future leaders of the company. It only took about six weeks of sitting in a cubicle to know that this wasn’t my future. I knew it wasn’t for me, but once again, family reasons. Exactly one year prior I was working alone in an African country executing my own plan, holding myself accountable, responsible for my own actions, and I had only myself to blame if I didn’t deliver. About ten people knew who I was, where I was, and what I was doing, but I knew I was going to crush the task at hand.

I’ve always known what I wanted, and at that moment sitting in the cubicle, I wanted an immediate change. After looking at sales openings I realized that almost every job required up to 10 years of experience, and then I remembered Tech Qualled had reached out to me nine months prior, but I just didn’t know what they were selling at the time. After consulting with several colleagues who had graduated from the program, I contacted Justin Ossola and immediately started the application process.

Army Ranger Joins Check Point

The program exceeded my expectations. You will learn the sales process, know enough about the IT industry to be dangerous and you will get an incredibly rewarding job. Additionally, you will be confident, competent, and eager to compete immediately upon graduation. The staff is incredibly passionate about your success, and you will never find a transition agency more invested in your success than Tech Qualled. They took a chance on me since I was restricted to Houston, and they delivered.  I landed a dream job just three weeks upon graduation, a Global Account Manager position with Checkpoint Software Technologies.

With this role, I’ll have the fast-paced, stressful, and financially rewarding lifestyle that I need. If you are self-motivated, goal-oriented, love interacting with others, and want to earn what you deserve then I’d insist you look into what Tech Qualled has to offer. I completed Tech Qualled while working full-time, earning my MBA on the weekends and all while taking care of two toddlers because I knew it would be worth it; I couldn’t have been more right. Completing Tech Qualled was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made; I frequently recommend it to almost every veteran who reaches out to me that I believe could thrive in tech sales.

Do you really know about high tech sales?


High Tech Sales: Info Session


Thu, April 12, 2018

@ 10:00 AM PT

You might have heard about Tech Qualled’s Launchpad Academy and the amazing successes our graduates are having in high tech sales. But what do you really know about high tech sales? Tech Qualled’s Brian Wiktorski will be hosting an informational session for veterans looking to break into high tech sales. We have worked with veterans for the last 3 years helping them break into tech sales and are now breaking silence to share some of our insights and lessons learned with the veteran community. In this informational session, we will discuss:

  • How to leverage your hard and soft skills to achieve success in the IT industry.
  • How to break into the IT industry and get noticed by recruiters and sales leaders.
  • What being an account executive looks like on both a day-to-day and long-term perspective.


High Tech Sales

TQ’s (First) Sales Pitch Competition!

Tech Qualled’s (first ever) sales pitch competition!

Tech Qualled is excited to announce our newest course, LAUNCH, by hosting our first ever sales pitch competition! LAUNCH is a two-week, instructor-led virtual course designed specifically for early-in-career sales professionals.

How to Win: Similar to an elevator pitch, your goal is to provide 2-3 key selling points on why you are the ideal candidate to win and support these qualifications!

Prize Details: LAUNCH is an elite sales training program that is comprised of one week of self-paced sales training and our famous one week virtual sales boot camp! For more on LAUNCH or to request a syllabus, see below.

Who is Eligible? Anyone who considers themselves an early-in-career sales professional (anyone with less than 3 years of selling experience).

Timeline: All videos must be uploaded by April 6th and winners will be notified the following week.


Submit Pitch


More Prize Details: LAUNCH is an elite training program for the front lines of your business. Designed for early-in-career sales professionals, LAUNCH is a two-week, instructor-led virtual course that focuses on the following critical sales competencies:

  • Running customer meetings
  • Listening skills
  • Sales process & planning
  • Needs discovery
  • Extensive complex role play
  • Personality styles & prospecting
  • Objections, closing & negotiations
  • Gatekeepers & targeting
  • TSND planning
  • Presenting storytelling & proposing
  • Qualifying & investigating
  • Financial justification




“Los Angeles Veteran Job Placement”

When I first left the Army after five years of jumping out of planes, I thought I was one of the lucky ones. I wasn’t worried about my veteran job placement. I had great leads on two jobs in San Francisco and both were interested in hiring me. Neither worked out. My wife and infant daughter then spent the next two months crammed into a single bedroom at my mother’s house in Texas while I searched for work all over the country. Veteran Job Placement


No answers to any applications or resume submissions. I have an M.S. in Personal Financial Planning and a Law degree in addition to my five years of military service and I couldn’t even get an interview for entry-level work. Luckily, my brother in law in Los Angeles offered to get me a job on film sets and live with his family while I searched for full-time employment. After arriving, one of the first actions I took was googling various forms of “Los Angeles Veteran Job Placement Services”.

A LinkedIn profile for Meredith Davis popped up that would change my life forever. It said she worked for a company called Tech Qualled that prepares veterans to enter the world of B2B technology sales. I spent the next 3 days stalking the program because I was skeptical. The program’s website stated that it was free for veterans, they would help with job placement, and they would provide all the training. It seemed too good to be true. In this day and age, everything is a scam until proven otherwise.

I researched the founders and instructors and all their credentials checked out. They were senior executives and systems engineers at Cisco, sales consultants at Oracle, and military veterans. Program graduates were working at Blackberry, PCM-G, Soft Choice, etc. After three days, I was satisfied this wasn’t a scam.

I reached out to Meredith on LinkedIn and after introductory phone calls, online assessments, resume submissions, video interviews, and waiting for the selection board to convene I get a phone call from Meredith…I wasn’t selected. I was devastated.

I got a job a few weeks later working in a call center selling cruises.  Money was good but I wasn’t challenged. The phone would beep and I’d speak to someone about Amsterdam, Prague, Paris, or whatever city they were interested in. It quickly got to the point where it was a script and every day was the same.

After two months, I couldn’t stand it anymore and I reached back out to Meredith about reapplying. It was a gamble to leave that job for this program. I was miserable in the call center, but every two weeks money was deposited into my account, bills were getting paid, and my daughter was being fed. Still, I had a feeling that this program would provide a better life for my family.

The entire application process started from scratch and this time I was accepted. Apparently, the selection board liked the fact that I didn’t take no for an answer and reapplied. The classes began a couple weeks later and everything they told me was true.

  • They told me it would be an intense workload and it was. I spent 20-30 hours a week reading and completing assignments.
  • They told me costs would be minimal to the veteran, and they were. I partially paid for a few books (they provided an Amazon gift card to help offset the costs) and a plane ticket to Fort Worth, TX. That was it.
  • They told me there would be job placement assistance and there was. They provided interview coaching, resume writing assistance, and actively sought to place me in positions.

All told, I believe I interviewed with eight companies scattered across the country that sold either IT Veteran Job Placementsolutions, internet security, software, or hardware. After considering my options, I accepted a position with a company called Tektronix based near Portland, Oregon. Through my conversations with customers, I get to help some of the brightest engineers in the country make the next leap forward in innovation. The people I work with have been fantastic and no one is ever too busy to answer a question or talk strategy about a potential lead.

None of this would have been possible without Tech Qualled.  The training that they provided and the support they showed throughout the entire job search was nothing short of first rate.  If you are like me and you just stumbled across the program by happy accident and you are wondering if it is something to consider…it is.

Differentiation Among Tech Sales Roles

You’re probably wondering, what does football have to do with veterans in tech sales roles?

This past weekend was marked by an event I have come to look forward to annually: the Army-Navy Football game. Although this year’s outcome left me on a “high,” it wasn’t the same type of joy experienced as a Cadet; it was neither the final score nor the game itself that I appreciated most. As the lead-in video preceding the opening kickoff highlighted, the best part of the Army/Navy rivalry is the community off the field. Rivalry Weekend has become a special event to me because, for one weekend, college freshman and corporate CEOs, stay-at-home moms and others who are Senior Military Officers, people who have gone on to lead very unique lives, all unite in one simple, passionate desire. Come Monday, each of these distinct people continues to pursue their own unique ambitions.

Tech Sales Roles

There is a wealth of information written about the common characteristics of Veterans that correlate well to professional sales. However, I have noticed that even in a group of individuals with similar professional backgrounds, our Candidates’ interest in the tech sales roles with our Partner companies can seem as varied as the paths Academy graduates take in life. Specifically, three key differentiators in opportunities tend to influence preferences and play a key role in the employment opportunity each graduate accepts as they begin their career.

  1. Corporate Structure: Graduates of our Launchpad Academy have chosen to accept roles as the first Account Executive for a company with less than 30 employees. Others decided to join a sales team of 100s within a company with over 20,000 employees. These different corporate structures and sizes offer distinct roles with varying training and development opportunities.
  2. Technical Resources: Some understand and are excited by the challenge of working remotely, while others look forward to learning and developing client solutions in an office-based environment alongside their engineers and product developers.
  3. Portfolio of Offerings: Some Tech Qualled Partners are vendors of a single, proprietary hardware or software product, while others offer a wealth of solutions of varying complexity to solve different business problems. Our graduates understand the distinct difference between hardware and software sales, and one or the other tends to more closely align with each candidate’s interests.

Just as the Academy Football teams meet each year to “Beat Them!,” our Tech Qualled Partners and Tech Sales RolesVeteran Candidates each come to Tech Qualled exploring for a long-term, mutual fit. As a high-touch firm on both sides, we pride ourselves in the ability to parse through the apparent similarities between all “Veterans” and tech sales roles in order to truly understand the uniqueness of each opportunity so that we can successfully accomplish our mission: to bridge the gap between capable candidates and technology companies in need of specific talent.



Jennifer served as a US Army Medical Service Corps Officer. She brings a unique perspective and passion to the mission of helping veterans transition into the high-tech industry as a former dual-military service member. Jennifer is responsible for ensuring and enabling the success of Tech Qualled’s partnered companies from the point of onboarding through the hiring process. Jennifer graduated near the top of her class at the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in both Business Management and Spanish.

Are You Ready to Hire Veterans into Sales Roles?

Over the past eighteen months, Tech Qualled has trained and helped place over one hundred veterans into their first technology sales roles.  We have learned some valuable lessons that apply to all Early in Career (EIC) sales hires.  Below are some of our key takeaways if you have the option to hire veterans.

Structure:  Most technology companies are structured to support experienced sales professionals.  In reality, that means that most companies do not have a support structure to make hiring less experienced salespeople viable.

Some companies use their inside sales organizations as a training ground for new salespeople.  The challenge with this model is geography.  If you centralize your inside sales organization, your sellers will get established in the community surrounding your sales center and it often proves difficult to get them to move to the cities where you need coverage.  Another challenge with this model as it applies to veterans is that the on-target income for most inside sales roles is less than the veteran’s military compensation.

Other companies use a Senior-Junior model.  They take a high performing and consciously competent senior sales person and they pair them with a junior sales person.  Many companies have seen the territory yield from these pairings to be 30-50% higher than the yield from the senior sales person operating solo.  The key is to make sure that there is a fair value exchange between the two sellers.  The senior person must provide coaching and guidance but she must be able to delegate some lower value activities to the junior seller.  The junior seller must be willing to accept a reasonable level of grunt work in exchange for valuable coaching.

The last model that we occasionally see is the “Yoda” model.  These companies take a strong sales leader that loves to develop new talent and charter him or her to drive programs and to mentor the veterans and other early in career professionals.  These leaders typically work in parallel with the actual hiring managers and provide coaching to both the new hires and their managers.  The key to this model is that this centralized coach must be credible and very organized.

Patience:  Front line sales managers often get very mixed messages regarding hiring EIC sellers.  On one hand, they are encouraged to bring in fresh talent and to stop hiring retreads.  On the other hand, senior sales leadership sometimes forgets that it takes several quarters to ramp up an inexperienced salesperson.  If you decide to expand the use of EIC sellers, you must set realistic time frames and productivity expectations for those early months and quarters.

Training:  EIC hires need lots of training.  The good news is that they are usually much more open to learning new concepts than their experienced peers.  We have learned that any training program for EIC hires must contain three core elements:

  • Sales Training with significant and realistic role-playing
  • Technology Training that gives students a broad understanding of the IT market and the business impact of technology
  • Business Acumen Training that gives students a strong foundation on business drivers and key financial metrics

Raw Talent:  If you hire the wrong person, none of the earlier actions will matter.  Before you invest in developing a veteran, you must make sure that you have hired the right person.  We have seen the following attributes as being particularly important when hiring veterans:

  • Coachability
  • Loyalty
  • Curiosity
  • Drive, tenacity, and resilience
  • Written and verbal communications skills
  • High gratitude and low entitlement

The battle for talent in the market is more competitive than it has ever been. Veterans inherently bring leadership, diversity of thought, and reliability that is hard to find in other EIC hires. With the right qualification and training process, they can become a fresh source of talent and a new weapon in your talent arsenal.

If you would like to hire veterans or improve your capabilities to onboard and develop other early in career sales professionals, Tech Qualled has some proven programs to help.  Please reach out to Nick Breedlove at Nick@staging.techqualled.flywheelsites.com.


Hire Veterans

Taking the Guesswork Out of Hiring Sales Talent

It is no secret that sales are not meant for everyone, but did you know 13% of all jobs in the US are full-time sales positions? According to Inc. , only 20% of this sales talent regularly meet their quota. ThatSales Talent means one in 10 of all employees in the US are not meeting their goals. The reason these sales reps are not meeting their quota is that most of them do not have the right skills to be successful. At Tech Qualled, we take our candidate selection process seriously so we can figure out if sales are the right career path for you.

In order to become a candidate for our Launchpad Academy, there are multiple steps you must progress through. At each step, we evaluate you and decide if you have the right characteristics to progress further. First, let’s look at our process and then we will cover the characteristics we know are best suited for a career in high tech sales.

Selection Process:

Informational Call: After your resume/LinkedIn profile has been screened, a member of Tech Qualled’s recruiting team will conduct a 30-minute informational call with every candidate to see if there is a potential fit. The majority of this conversation is to identify your communication style, career aspirations, and some background information. Additionally, you are interviewing us!

Behavioral Interview: The first interview of our process is a 30-minute long interview focused
on determining soft and hard skills, experience in the military and passion for technology. Do you hold some of the traits we believe to be successful in sales and do you have the drive to outwork and outlearn the competition? This interview is a video interview that is eventually reviewed by all members of the selection committee.

Sales AP Test: The Sales AP Test is a test we administer to our candidates that grades a variety of skills based on your personality. This includes (but not limited to):

  • Sales Disposition
  • Initiative/Cold Calling
  • Sales Closing
  • Achievement
  • Competitiveness

Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test: This test is a fast-paced test consisting of 50 questions in 15 minutes. The CCAT test helps us determine if you are quick on your feet and have the brain power to be successful in tech. In addition to an overall evaluation, we receive individual scores on:

  • Verbal Ability
  • Spatial Reasoning
  • Math & Logic

Final Interview and Written Assessment: The final interview is used to determine why you think you should be in sales and to discuss examples of overcoming adversity or dealing with tough problems. Sales are not easy, so we need to know how you react when someone tells you no. This interview also consists of some written responses so that we can evaluate your written skills and make sure you are on par with what it takes to be successful. Professional writing skills are critical in a solution selling environment.

Selection Board: The final phase of our process is our selection board. All members review your interviews, test results, and written sample to determine your overall fit, ultimately narrowing down our sales talent.

Characteristics for Account Executives

Now that you know a bit more about how our process works and why we are so selective, we can talk about some of the defining characteristics that we believe lead to success. Every member of our selection committee brings a different perspective and looks for different things, but in general, these are the traits we focus on for sales talent.

Connectability: In sales, sometimes you only have 30 seconds to make an impression on someone. How you use those 30 seconds could be an immediate “no” or “tell me more”. In this regard, we look for candidates who can make an instant connection with people and have a knack for building relationships.

Sales TalentResilience: Resiliency is key: you will be told no A LOT. How will you react to it? Does it fuel you to do better the next time and focus on self-improvement; or does it shut you down and ruin your day?

Ability to Deliver: The most successful sales talent are those who deliver on their promises. If you tell a customer you will do something, you better do it. You’d be surprised at how rare this is outside the military.

Follow-up: Did you know that 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the meeting. 44% of sales reps give up after 1 follow-up. Are you someone that gives up or do you take things into your own hands?

Leverage Resources (“Be a Quarterback”): Both internally and externally, it is important to leverage your connections and resources. Salespeople who actively seek out and capitalize upon referrals earn 4-5 times more than those who don’t. As an account executive, you will be working closely with technical engineers. These engineers are incredible resources who play a critical role in supporting your customers. Understanding how to properly utilize and collaborate with them is essential. Check out our video on the Account Executive and Technology Sales Engineer relationship here.

Hopefully, this article gives you a good idea of why we are so strict on the types of candidates we bring into the program. We want to make sure that we are setting our graduates up for success while ensuring that our partners are hiring top tier talent. If you would like to learn more about becoming a Tech Qualled candidate or partner to hire qualified sales talent, please make sure to let us know!

The Serious Comedy for Transitioning Veterans

For transitioning Veterans, two things are needed: re-skilling and re-connecting.

While re-skilling may seem obvious, reconnecting can be less so.

Transitioning Veterans

In his book Tribe: On Homecoming And Belonging, #1 New York Times best-selling author Sebastian Junger masterfully lays out a compelling argument for the deep need for all human beings to cultivate a mentality of responsibility for one another. In the military, we belong to a unique “tribe,” and that sense of belonging can be lost as we shed the uniform. The loss leaves many disillusioned, grasping for a new identity, or mourning their old one.

How can we get connected to our larger human tribe before our post-military world crystallizes?

Engagement in the arts, particularly improvisation or “improv” training, can help us to develop a sense a meaningful connection with other human beings and happens to provide relevant social skills for success in the industry.

“The improv training forced me to perform outside of my comfort zone.”–US Marine Corps Non-Commissioned Officer

There are only four rules in improv:

  1. Agree
  2. Say “yes, and”
  3. Make a statement
  4. There are no mistakes, only opportunities

The rest is listening and flowing with your partners, or “troupe.” It’s that simple.

According to Sam Pressler, Founder of the of Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP), improv is the simplest performing art to unpack. It’s very natural because you’re performing as part of a team, not alone. You also have agency over your words, actions, and leading the scene. Improv rewards initiative and everyone’s contribution is accepted. He also shares an added benefit, “People are so

used to being serious all the time, so it’s good to just break through and be yourself with no repercussions.” To sign up for ASAP classes, fill out a form here.

BJ Lange, an Air Force veteran, comedy helped him to hyperfocus in his work as a medic. It also brought him through a traumatizing cancer scare.

He now teaches a veterans-only improvisation class at The Second City in Los Angeles. He reports that his veteran cohorts learn to trust each other and build lasting friendships even after the class ends.

One of my close friends and Infantry Marine stepped on an IED and was immediately shot in Afghanistan. After his long and painful recovery, what did he do with the vertical striped scar down the center of his stomach? He tattooed a corkscrew handle at the top. He’s still one of the funniest people I know, and I hope he goes into stand-up one day.

Improv training provided by the Dallas Comedy House remains part of the Tech Qualled Launchpad Academy, both for building camaraderie and for sharpening sales skills like listening, thinking fast, and responding with mental agility. Here are some of our veteran candidates’ reactions:

“Improv does an excellent job of breaking down the barriers that exist between people who have never met in person before.”  – Air Force Officer

“The improv training was incredibly uncomfortable but really very helpful in the end. “ – Army Officer

If you’re still in the active duty military, you can still benefit from the arts through organizations like Adam Driver’s Arts In The Armed Forces (AITAF). Clare McLaughlin, AITF’s Executive Director,

Transitioning Veterans

explains that we all have a shared human experience that goes beyond what culture or job we are engaged in. As the AITF performers travel around the world to various military bases, they arrive early, learn about military culture and life, and develop relationships with their soon-to-be audience. If you want to book a performance at your base, you can fill out a request here.

And if these things don’t float your boat, you can at least follow David Gale’s veteran-centric media group We Are The Mighty for some laughs in between your daily digest of the Duffel Blog and/or Terminal Lance.

So here’s to not taking yourself too seriously. As testicular cancer survivor  BJ Langue likes to say, “When life takes one of your lemons, you make jokes.”

Do you have stories of how the arts and/or comedy helped you cope in your military career or transition? Let us know so we can all laugh!