Host “Iron” Mike Steadman has been talking to real veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs about their wins, challenges, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way for three years now on the Transition Podcast. In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re looking back at some of Mike’s favorite interviews and spotlight blogs from the past year featuring women founders.

We encourage you to hear and read the personal stories of these veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs, and follow and connect with them on social media!

Transition Podcast Episodes

Here are some of the incredible women entrepreneurs interviewed on the Transition Podcast over the past year.

Jessica Van Dop DeJesus

Marine Corps Veteran
Breaking Barriers Facilitator & CEO of The Dining Traveler
Episode 130: Finding Passion and Purpose Post Transition

Today’s guest, Jessica Van De Vop Jesus, left the Marine Corps as Lieutenant Colonel to follow her passion for food and travel. She shares intimate details about the difficulty of her transition to civilian life, and how through those struggles, she found meaning and purpose as an author and solopreneur. Jessica is also the new Bunker Labs facilitator for the Latinx/Hispanic cohort of Breaking Barriers in Entrepreneurship, read the editorial she wrote for our blog shortly after joining the Bunker Labs family.

Courtney Zaugg

Marine Corps Spouse
CEO of Plaka Associates
Episode 103: Entrepreneur-Led Economic Development

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 veteran husband. Courtney also served as a Bunker Labs Ambassador, and was featured in an Ambassador Spotlight on our blog!

Regina Rembert

Army Veteran
CEO of Think Veterans First
Episode 91: Think Veterans First

Regina spent twenty-one years in the Army as a Paralegal before becoming an entrepreneur. Her organization, Think Veterans First, is an Ohio-based nonprofit that promotes, supports, and advocates for veterans and veteran-owned businesses. She’s on a mission to challenge government agencies and large corporations to better include veteran-owned businesses in conversations for large government and vendor contracts.

Thereasa Black

Navy Veteran
Founder of Bonappé Sweet
Episode 85: Building a Sweet Brand with a Purpose

During a deployment, Thereasa was separated from her daughter for over a year, and discovered just how much processed sugar and sweets she was eating in her absence. She decided to find a healthier way to indulge her daughter’s sweet tooth. Bonappé Sweet crafts delicious, decadent chocolate bars that aren’t filled with processed ingredients, empowering you to enjoy sweet, tasty, satisfying treats without an ounce of guilt.

Bunker Labs Spotlights

In addition to the great business leaders covered on the Transition Podcast, there are many more Black-led companies in the Bunker Labs ecosystem with incredible stories of building their impressive businesses.

Symoné Gates

Air Force Family
CEO & Founder, Sincerely, Bädé
Read Symoné’s Story

Symoné built her line of wellness products on doing in-person direct-to-consumer sales at popups and events. When the pandemic hit at the end of 2019, she had to find a way to pivot. She found a way to partner with other businesses doing first online, and then in person mindful crafting experiences that have opened up amazing opportunities with household name-brand companies.

Joelle Choe

Air Force Veteran
COO, Aribaro Company
Read Joelle’s Story

When Joelle’s sister’s Boston Terriers, Ari and Baro, developed severe food allergies, Joelle’s sister struggled to find clean food and treats that were safe for them to eat. She grew frustrated enough to just make their food herself. The dogs loved her Korean-infused canine cuisine, and it wasn’t long before she teamed up with Joelle to turn Aribaro into a company selling clean, healthy, simple ingredient freeze-dried pet food and treats.

Daniella Mestyanek Young

Army Veteran
Author, Uncultured
Read Daniella’s Story

Daniella grew up in a cult called the Children of God, and escaped at 15. She put herself through high school and college before joining the Army as an officer. It wasn’t long before she started recognizing group indoctrination techniques in the Army that were part of cult life, sparking an interest in organizational psychology and exploring the line between cult and culture. She published her memoir in late 2022, and has been doing speaking engagements about her unique life experience and the insights its granted since.

Marlie Andersch

Air Force Veteran
CEO & Founder, RockIT Data
Read Marlie’s Story

In the wake of the pandemic and the work-from-home revolution, companies have had to undergo mammoth data management transitions to ensure not just workers, but customers, can still access companies. Marlie’s company was already positioned to help, and RockIT Data has been experiencing explosive growth ever since.

Monica Fullerton

Air Force Spouse
CEO & Founder, Spouse-ly
Read Monica’s Story

Monica has met a lot of amazing, talented military spouses, and in that process, discovered just how many operate a small business or work as solopreneurs. It’s one of the few careers military spouses can rely on, because of the frequent moves asked of most military spouses. She was inspired, and created Spouse-ly as a one-stop shop for people who want to support military spouse entrepreneurs, and create a platform for her peers to offer goods and services to the public.

Monifa Caines

Air Force Veteran
CEO & Founder, Queen of Spades Style
Read Monifa’s Story

Monifa Caines was determined to regrow her natural hair and restore its health from a lifetime of chemical treatments to get it to “lay flat”. When she was ready to reintroduce her natural hair to the world, she couldn’t find a single usable accessory for her type 4 hair. She decided to make her own, and in doing so, launched a business in women’s fashion accessories.

About The Transition Podcast

For three years, host “Iron” Mike Steadman has been demystifying entrepreneurship & small business ownership for his audience of veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs. Over 145 episodes are available to peruse featuring a wealth of knowledge and insight into entrepreneurship in today’s business climate. Start listening today! Sign up for the newsletter and never miss an episode.

Support Black Veteran and Military Spouse-owned Businesses

In addition to the featured entrepreneurs presented above, there are dozens of women-led companies participating in our Breaking Barriers in Entrepreneurship (BBiE) program today that could use your support. Browse the many women veteran and military spouse-owned businesses that have come through the program, including our most recent graduates, and show them some support and patronage.

Representation matters, especially in the entrepreneurial world. Through the power of community and connection, the BBiE program aims to help participants shatter society-erected barriers for entrepreneurs of historically underserved communities. Interested in going through the workshop? Fill out the interest forms for the next 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!