Anne Meree Craig is a woman on a mission. She’s fighting to turn the field of battle into the field of dreams for post 9-11 military veterans.
“I’m a high extrovert which means making other people feel good makes me feel good.“
She’s been doing that with her husband who is an Army Special Operations Forces veteran, their three children and at her job, which would be a full plate for most people. But Anne Meree was moved by the veterans she met who were reentering civilian life. After serving the country and putting their lives on the line, out of uniform they were lost.
“I get emotional when I talk about it,” she says.
Veterans who were coming from a structured environment, with limited choices and a clearly defined job, were suddenly feeling insecure, a kind of separation anxiety.
“When you got them talking about their next steps out of uniform they actually became shy and lost some of that confidence they had in uniform. They didn’t know how their skill set would transfer. They simply weren’t broadening their aperture to consider the whole host of possible.”
So three years ago, Anne Meree partnered with a friend to start the COMMIT Foundation. COMMIT believes that veterans already have unique skills that are extremely valuable in the professional world. All they need is a fighting chance to use them and a passionate advocate like Anne Meree.
“What do we need to do? What do we need to bring into this person’s life to change it?”
COMMIT relies on its networks and resources to create opportunities that otherwise might not be readily available to the veterans. The veterans are offered quality services tailored just to them, including one-on-one mentorship, networking, camaraderie, inspiration, and even employment.
At the same time, the foundation works with companies to ensure they understand veterans’ skill-sets and experiences.
“We’re looking for high caliber individuals who want to have impact looking for that next mission,” says Anne Meree. In other words, she adds, people “who are in it to win it.“
The veterans spend two days with twelve highly-experienced professionals from the private sector. In workshops, the vets focus on goal-setting, life’s decision points, and potential paths built on integrity, family, and the passionate pursuit of a meaningful career.
“It’s bringing good people together to have an open and honest conversation so good things come out of it.”
So far, so good. In 2014, COMMIT programs served over 100 high value veterans and sent 27 veterans to Stanford Graduate School of Business for a General Management Certification. 34 vets are attending Stanford’s program this summer.
“National security is extremely important to me and I feel that by reinvesting in our most valuable veterans, I am making our great Nation a stronger place.”
As for Anne Meree herself, who gave up her civil service work with the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community Agencies to spend more time with her family, she says COMMIT is a way for her to continue serving both veterans and the country.
"I used to hunt bad guys; now I hunt good guys."
In addition to running COMMIT, Anne Meree currently serves as the President of Maxemi LLC, a small business that specializes in relationship navigation, strategy development, research and executive support. She is a graduate of Wofford College with a Master’s degree from Middlebury College.