For over a year, Bunker Labs’ Transition Podcast has been demystifying the entrepreneurial journey for Veterans and military spouses. Thanks to generous support from 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.

Today, in honor of Women’s History Month, we’re looking back at some of Mike’s favorite interviews with women entrepreneurs over the past year.

Courtney Zaugg

Marine Corps Spouse, Founder & CEO of Plaka Associates

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

Those of us who live in major metropolitan areas like New York City, San Francisco, or Austin are accustomed to world-class ecosystems and resources. What does economic development look like in smaller cities? Here to discuss is Courtney Zaugg, CEO of Plaka Associates, an economic development consultancy firm. She’s also the co-founder of Zinc Contractors, a commercial and residential general contracting firm she runs alongside her husband. Courtney was also featured in an Ambassador Spotlight last year on our blog!

Carrie Roeger

Marine Corps Veteran, Co-Founder & CEO of Rally Pointe Grille Franchising

Listen Now: Serving Our Nation’s Veterans, One Restaurant at a Time

Carrie Roeger and her husband Ralph are bringing the camaraderie and traditions of the American military to a family-friendly restaurant experience with franchising opportunities in Texas and the southeastern US. Carrie and host “Iron” Mike discuss the challenges of the restauranteur, feeding veterans, and giving them a place that feels familiar after their service ends.

Learn more about Rally Point Grille.

Alexa Modero

Marine Corps Spouse, Co-Founder & CEO of Backpacks For Life, Director of NYU Tandon Veteran Future Lab

Listen Now: As a Veteran, Have You Considered Veterans Future Lab?

Alexa Modero is the Director of the Veteran Future Lab at NYU, a no-cost incubator that houses early-stage ventures led by veterans and military spouses. Alexa is a longtime member of the Bunker Labs ecosystem, an alumni of our Veterans in Residence and Ambassador programs in NYC. She was also featured in an entrepreneur spotlight last year on our blog.

Reda Hicks

Army Spouse, Co-Founder & CEO of GotSpot

Listen Now: Breaking Down the Value of Small Businesses to Communities

GotSpot is an innovative company that helps small businesses generate extra revenue by leveraging space in their office or building for short-term rentals. Reda shares her passion for helping small businesses, and how she’s navigated the unique challenges of the pandemic to arrive at GotSpot’s business model.

Haley Marie Mcclain Hill

Air Force Veteran, Founder & CEO of Torch Warrior Wear

Listen Now: Creating a New Type of Athletic Wear for Modern Day Women Warriors

Hailey founded Torch Warrior Wear, an LA-based clothing brand for modern-day women warriors in the armed forces. On the show, “Iron” Mike Steadman learns about her entrepreneurial journey and discusses some of the challenges she has faced along the way.

Carla Bond

Navy Veteran, Founder & CEO of Upskill VR

Listen Now: Paving the Way in Virtual Reality Emergency Response Training

A former US Navy police officer and medic, Carla Bond founded Upskill VR after teaching herself the basics of virtual reality development. On the podcast, she discusses founding UpSkill VR and the many pitfalls that almost tanked her business. Carla shares the process she used to transition from a small business to a start-up, and licensing her technology to train the next generation of first responders.

Bunker Labs Entrepreneurs

In addition to the great business leaders covered on the Transition Podcast, there are many more women-led companies in the Bunker Labs ecosystem we are excited to draw attention to.

Sara Van Ells

Navy Spouse, Co-Founder & CEO of Hustle Trucks

Hustle Trucks Collage

Hustle Trucks is the third business Sara and Dustin Van Ells have launched. Unlike most truck rental companies, Hustle Trucks are customized to serve as mobile storefronts for pop-up events. Brick and mortar retail has struggled since 2011, and has been largely decimated by the emergence of online marketplaces. Hustle Trucks give small manufacturers of retail goods a way to have a storefront when they need it. Learn more about their trucks!

Melanie McClean Brooks

Air Force Veteran, Co-Founder & CEO of Flying Giant Productions

Flying Giant Productions has worked with household names and recently won a Heartland Emmy for their documentary work, but it was a journey. Learn how Melanie took her studio from making some silly videos with her future husband for a travel blog to working with Adidas and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. Explore their portfolio of beautiful work!

Melissa Green

Navy Veteran, Founder & CEO of Badass Coffee Causes

Melissa Green has is selling coffee that financially benefits and draws attention to a number of charities working to improve the lives of either military families or the LGBTQ+ community. Follow her experience with Bunker Labs programs as she underwent a journey to refine and grow her business. Shop Badass Coffee.

Monifa Caines

Air Force Veteran, Founder & CEO of Queen of Spades Style

Monifa started making her own hair accessories because she wasn’t able to find suitable choices in stores. It wasn’t long before she couldn’t walk down the street without fellow black women approaching her to find out where she was buying her accessories. Follow Monifa’s journey from Air Force Officer to hair and fashion accessory designer entrepreneur, and explore Monifa’s current collection!

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 every Thursday. Sign up for the newsletter and never miss an episode. The Transition Podcast is sponsored by MetLife Foundation.

Breaking Barriers in Entrepreneurship

Bunker Labs Workshop

Break through systemic barriers to success, together. Representation matters, especially in the entrepreneurial world. Through the power of community and connection, BBiE aims to help entrepreneurs shatter society-erected barriers for entrepreneurs of historically underserved communities.

Learn how to support the women-led companies participating in the current BBIE cohort today. You can also learn about last year’s cohort here. BBiE is currently accepting interest forms for its 23B cohort.

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!