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Career Coaching Helps Female Veteran Discover Entrepreneurship


Hardworking veteran Elis Salamone relies on leadership skills she gleaned during her 27-year tenure with the military to help people pursue entrepreneurship as a Career Ownership Coach with The Entrepreneur’s Source.


Seeking adventure and a path to a college education, Salamone joined the U.S. Army directly out of high school. After she was discharged, Salamone spent a short stint working in the civilian world as a nurse practitioner. Long hours, high stress, and a taxing work environment prompted Salamone to return to active duty by joining the Air Force. 


“Nursing is a tough profession. It’s easy to get burnt out. You work hard and don’t get paid for the amount of work you’re doing. Management is more concerned about numbers than about patient care,” Salamone said. “I missed the adventure of military service.”


Veteran Saves Lives, Heals Soldiers

During her more than 20-year tenure with the Air Force, Salamone provided patient care at bases across the globe, including combat tours in Germany and Afghanistan. Shortly after arriving on the ground at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, Salamone saved the lives of at least 13 U.S. soldiers and coalition forces during a training exercise. While she was on an open field receiving weapons training, Salamone spotted part of a rocket sticking out of the ground and alerted the team sergeant. Upon further inspection, 25 live munitions were discovered buried in the training field. 


“It’s quite a miracle we all walked away safely that day,” said Salamone. “It opened my eyes to the reality that you’re really in a war zone, and you can get hurt.”


In Afghanistan, Salamone trained eight U.S. and Afghan soldiers on safety and trauma assessment to improve patient care. During her tour in Afghanistan, she increased the medical capabilities by 65 percent. When she accompanied the special forces teams off the base, Salamone often set up a tent to provide general healthcare services to the Afghan people. The makeshift doctor’s offices helped cure common ailments and enabled the military to build relationships with the local community. 


Civilian Life Misses the Mark

Salamone retired from the military in 2014 as a Lieutenant Colonel and immediately hit the ground running with a new role as a nurse at an Army medical center. “One of the biggest mistakes I made was going straight to work after I retired. I really spent most of my adult life in the military and hadn’t taken time to explore and figure out who I was as a person,” Salamone said.


Lack of work-life balance left Salamone feeling defeated. After several different jobs in healthcare, Susan Scotts, a Career Ownership Coach for The Entrepreneur’s Source, opened Salamone’s eyes to a new future where she could be her own boss. TES uses education-based coaching tools to help open people’s eyes to different opportunities. 

“I thought it would be really interesting for her to explore some new possibilities that would empower her to have what she wants out of her life,” Scotts said.


Entrepreneurship Allows Veteran to Shine

Working with Scotts helped Salamone discover she needed a career offering flexibility and work-life balance. Salamone’s son has epilepsy, and a work-from-home opportunity would improve her ability to care for him. 


“At the time, his epilepsy was unstable. I was constantly worried he was having a seizure while I was at work,” Salamone said. 


To achieve her goals, Salamone decided to pursue a franchise opportunity where she could use her leadership and training skills to help people pursue business ownership. Franchising provided Salamone with a proven system she could follow to succeed, similar to her time in the military. She started her new career as a Career Ownership Coach with The Entrepreneur’s Source two years ago and is thriving as a franchise business owner. 


“You have to decide whether you hustle for someone else or invest in yourself,” said Salamone. “I know that if I bet on myself, I’ll always win.”