For two years, Bunker Labs’ Transition Podcast has been demystifying the entrepreneurial journey for veterans and military spouses. Thanks to generous support from the MetLife Foundation, host “Iron” Mike Steadman is able to reach out to real entrepreneurs and talk about their triumphs, tragedies, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

In honor of Military Spouse Appreciation Day, we’re looking back at some of Mike’s favorite interviews with military spouse entrepreneurs over the past year.

Courtney Zaugg

Founder & CEO of Plaka Associates

Courtney Zaugg

Listen Now: What Does Economic Development Look Like Outside of Major Metro Areas?

Courtney Zaugg is a Bunker Labs Ambassador for Indianapolis, and also runs Plaka Associates, an Indiana-based economic development consultancy firm that collaborates with innovators to design entrepreneur-led strategies to shape talent, community, and industry ecosystems. She’s also the co-founder of Zinc Contractors, a commercial and residential general contracting firm she runs alongside her husband.

Learn more about Courtney Zaugg’s journey.

Alexa Modero

Director of the NYU Tandon Veterans Future Lab

Listen Now: Opportunities for Support at NYC’s First Incubator for Veterans

Alexa Modero is the Director of the Veterans Future Lab at NYU, a no-cost incubator that houses veteran- and military spouse-led early-stage ventures. Alexa is also a Bunker Labs Veterans in Residence alumni with her nonprofit venture she co-founded with her husband, Backpacks For Life. She’s also a former Bunker Labs Ambassador for NYC.

Learn more about Alexa Modero’s journey.

Sarah Van Ells

Co-Founder of The Van Plan & Hustle Trucks

Listen Now: Building Out Custom Vans and Popup Shops on Wheels

Sarah Van Ells is a serial entrepreneur with a background in marketing married to a veteran Navy aviation electronics technician. Together, they sell custom vans and run a business that rents specialized vans and box trucks designed for entrepreneurs to use as pop-up stores. Sarah is also a Veterans in Residence alumni.

Learn more about Sarah Van Ells’ journey.

Monica Fullerton

Founder & CEO of Spouse-ly

Listen Now: Building an Online Marketplace for Military Spouses

Monica Fullerton is the mastermind behind Spouse-ly, an online marketplace to shop military spouse-led businesses. In addition to a rapidly growing retail empire, Monica is a Bunker Labs Ambassador for Las Vegas, and the Director of Member Experience and Relations for the Southern Nevada Veterans Chamber of Commerce.

Gabriela Bell

Founder & CEO of Organized Q

Listen Now: How to be an Effective Executive

Gabriela Bell runs Organized Q, a team of veteran and military spouses that provide virtual executive assistant services for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Gabriela is also an instructor at NYU Tandon Veterans Future Lab, passing on her hard-won experience to other veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs. Gabriela was also more recently a finalist at Bunker Labs’ USAA 100th Anniversary Pitch Competition, taking home the prize for Crowd Favorite after winning runner-up at the Chicago Regional competition.

About The Transition Podcast 

Demystifying Entrepreneurship & Small Business Ownership 

“Iron” Mike Steadman interviews veterans and military spouses with businesses and startups from all industries and stages. Listen each week to dive deep into their stories and lessons learned. New episodes drop on Thursday. Sign up for the newsletter and never miss an episode.

About the Transition Podcast Host “Iron” Mike Steadman

“Iron” Mike Steadman the Founder and CEO of IRONBOUND Boxing, a nonprofit that provides free amateur boxing training, entrepreneur education, and employment opportunities for Newark youth & young adults. Mike and his partner Keith Colon, oversee the legendary IRONBOUND Boxing Academy, their free boxing gym for youth in Newark, NJ. He also runs IRONBOUND Media, a podcast production company that produces branded podcasts for veteran-owned businesses.

Mike is a three-time National Collegiate Boxing Champion from the United States Naval Academy and Marine Corps Infantry Officer, with deployments to Afghanistan and Japan/Philippines. He’s currently a Hoover Veteran Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, a public policy think tank promoting the principles of individual, economic, and political freedom. His goal is to raise 1.5 million dollars to build the first ever IRONBOUND Courage Academy, a 5,000 sqft boxing facility and small business incubator space for Newark’s youth and young adults. Through his efforts growing IRONBOUND Boxing and IRONBOUND Media, Mike has established himself as a high-profile veteran advocate and the new face of social entrepreneurship.

To learn more visit www.IRONBOUNDBoxing.org and www.IRONBOUNDMedia.com

Bunker Labs Ambassador Program

One thing you might notice about many of the military spouse entrepreneurs highlighted here is that many serve or served as a Bunker Labs Ambassador! The life of a military spouse includes moving every few years from duty station to duty station, and successful spouses learn how to network and build community and relationships quickly.

These are the exact skills Ambassadors wield to develop their local entrepreneurial ecosystem and make it more friendly to the veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs in Bunker Labs programs. If this sounds like you, fill out an interest form for the Ambassador Program to get an alert for when applications open!

Bunker Labs is Now Part of IVMF

As of January 2024, Bunker Labs is now a part of Syracuse University’s D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). In addition to ongoing Bunker Labs programming, we’d encourage you to browse IVMF’s deep wealth of entrepreneurship programming, much of it available virtually or at locations across the country. Find the program to help your business take the next step today!