Knucklehead Podcast Ep 122: On The Brink Of Homelessness, Just Make It Happen.

Knucklehead Podcast Ep 122: On The Brink Of Homelessness, Just Make It Happen.

Adrianne Phillips (00:00): I thought that I was doing what I was supposed to do, and it did not render the results that I thought it was going to run. I'm either going to do this and I'm going to sink, like when you're about to lose a roof over your head, life looks a little bit differently. You start to figure out ways to just make it happen.

Intro (00:14): Choose not to live in a world of filters, realize your mistakes, set the foundation for your success. Get some wins knucklehead podcast.

New Speaker (00:27): Well, welcome to another edition of Knucklehead Podcast. You've got with you today, the Knucklehead Steven, and, uh, I'm excited about having yet another veteran organization on here, but for those of you who want to press that 15 second button and fast forward through the intro, I'm gonna encourage you to stop for just a second. There's different types of nonprofits that exist out there in the marketplace. And just because they're a nonprofit doesn't necessarily mean that they're not a business. I think that there's a common misconception, especially in the VSO world where veterans, we hear the messages, we hear the core values presented, and we want to get behind an organization. But quite frankly, when it comes to the execution, it leaves a little bit to be desired.

Stephen Colon (01:05): And here at Knucklehead, we work with a lot of different people. And so you hear a lot of names being thrown out. And so that's why we don't have just every nonprofit on the show. We don't have every business on the show. We want to have folks that have gone through a quasi vetting process similarly to the way that you would make a decision. So you, the listener, we want you to be able to leave this episode with some value of how to evaluate a nonprofit, how to be able to sniff out kind of some BS that somebody may be selling you and maybe some questions to ask somebody who's approaching you about where your donation dollars are going or that type of thing. So I'm excited about having Adrianne Phillips from SAVI, which leave it to the military to train us how to do acronyms. It's a very creative way and I'm going to butcher it. So I'm going to let her explain to you exactly what all of that is. And I'm excited about Adrian's time with us this morning. So, Adrian, I appreciate you taking some time. Welcome to the show. How are you?

Adrianne Phillips (01:55): Thank you so much for having me. I am super excited to be here and looking forward to being able to share a little bit more about my story and what SAVI does.

Stephen Colon (02:03): I appreciate that. So a knucklehead there, just to level set here real quick. No, go ahead is not, you did it perfectly. The first time podcast. This is not a business casual. There's no suspense here. There's a back and forth between two folks who have some shared experiences. And the fact that we served in the military, or, you know, we're familiar with folks who served in the military and it's not necessarily even predicated on you having military experience. It's just maybe a respect for work ethic, a respect for process. And knowing that you're going to screw up along the way. If you're a business leader out there in the marketplace, you understand that, although you want to present, like you have all the answers, the odds are either you just uncovered the answer or you've gone through the situation so often that you just want to train somebody along the way. So you could tell them what landmines to avoid all the things that they could just move past. If they could just pay attention to you really closely and listen to the things that you've screwed up. Maybe you can save them some time and frustration as opposed to hearing about what you did. Awesome all the time. Adrian, do you understand what I mean there? When I say that there's this tendency to want to lean towards what you do awesome, as opposed to what you've screwed up along the way?

Adrianne Phillips (03:12): Well, not only that, but we live in an age where social media, glamorizes, entrepreneurship, and granted entrepreneurship has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, or they're in a, for profit or nonprofit capacity, but there's some real work behind the scenes that takes place. There's a lot of commitment. There's a lot of discipline that's required, you know, all of these topics and themes that we are no stranger to. As veterans, as military members, we very much know what that looks like. So now taking that skill, taking that same structure and applying it into a business environment is really the only way that you're going to be able to succeed in a longterm perspective.

Stephen Colon (03:52): You just hit the nail right on the head and you hovered over it and then he hit it. So I love that you come from an experience of having planned for your desired outcome and then having executed that plan. And then when that plan met through what we call no plan survives contact with the enemy, right? So once you've executed that plan and you realize there's some resistance that you run into, you've made an integration. Can you walk me through here just real quick? And I don't know what your business was. I'd love to hear some more context around what that business was, but do you remember that feeling when you had this well articulated very crafted plan and you ran into some resistance, what did you feel that first time you ran into that? Oh, crap, this, this didn't work out exactly the way I thought it was going to.

Adrianne Phillips (04:35): Well, I will tell you that as much as I would love to say that my first attempt at this was very well crafted. That was far from the case. My first business was very much foreign out of necessity, and I'm sure we'll get more into that in a bit here, but it was really just kind of a, that whole concept of building the plane in mid flight. I had no idea what I was doing. I had no plan. I had no formal education. I was just like, Hey, here's this thing that I'm going to do. I'm going to take a stab at it. And, um, that was really that experience of trying to figure it out was really the catalyst that made me commit to the next time I do it. I'm going to do it right. And when I did it right, it was completely night and day the outcome, the ease of, and let me just say the ease of process, certainly not the ease of managing a business, but the ease of process for me to be able to really focus on the foundation, to be able to focus on making sure that I had the right people, the right cross us, the right resources, the right support mechanisms.

Adrianne Phillips (05:41): So that when I took that next step forward, knowing that there was going to be a learning curve, knowing that there was going to be trials and tribulations, I was more focused on making sure that the backend and that the people that were around me were solid so that we could overcome those obstacles together and know that I was going to make it out the other side. So it took the disaster in order to be able to get to the wealth oiled. Well thought out strategic process of launching a business.

Stephen Colon (06:12): I appreciate you talking about building the plane as you're flying. And I've heard that phrase quite a bit. I've used it myself. However, think about that. That just figuratively, if you're in flight and you're essentially hoping that this service, this survives in a very dynamic environment where, you know, you're getting tossed to and fro you have guests, wind guests and elevation, and then you got other obstacles that are out there trying to prevent you from making an app. And then you've got competition trying to throw you off your game and being a life circumstances, all of these factors that end up influencing the outcome of your project here, it's extremely frustrating. Whenever you're inundated with messages and flooded all the time, either on social media or through literature, or even observing other folks, who've been out there experiencing some success. There's very few examples of failure where the failure actually led you to the success that you're looking for, unless somebody was deliberate with examining where their screw ups were.

Stephen Colon (07:08): And so when I say screw up, some people get upset. They think, Oh, well, there's no such thing as a failure or a mistake or a screw up. I understand that thought process. But when it comes to the context of the mistake, we're choosing to pull apart the thing that didn't work. So you can not repeat that same mistake again, or you could extract the lesson and apply that lesson to a new organization all together to make that organization more successful. So it's either a personal growth opportunity or a professional growth opportunity. It just depends on your perspective. Would you agree with that? Or would you disagree that that's not the right way to look at it?

Adrianne Phillips (07:45): No. So I definitely agree with it and I completely see what you're saying in the sense that it was a failure in the, in the point of you had an attended outcome at a certain point and you failed at that point. And that doesn't mean that you failed at the big picture. You just failed at that space. If you said, I'm going to launch this business and make a million dollars by next month, you may have failed that, that specific objective. Now I think the problem is that a lot of us don't look at business as a longterm game, right? We look at it as a very specific point a to point B. Now, granted, some people come into business with the objective of I'm going to sell my business. And that's the, that's the outcome that I'm looking for. Great. You have an intended outcome, you know exactly what it is that you're aiming for.

Adrianne Phillips (08:31): So that's perfect. But for many of us, we're really looking to pursue a passion. We're looking to, to make the world different with our product, with our service, with whatever it is. That to me is a longterm game. But unfortunately we don't have that perspective when we go into it. Why? Because we're getting our advice. We're getting our quote unquote solutions from people that are charging us for it. And that have very specific agendas in terms of how they want us to move around using their product or service for their intended outcome. So this is, I tell people, listen, you have to get a mentor. Now, granted, that mentor may charge you. Sure that's fine. You're paying for their time. But the mentor is there to support you as a person from an overall perspective. They're not trying to get you into a specific funnel for a specific product or service.

Adrianne Phillips (09:24): They're there to support you as a business leader, as somebody that's going to go through phases of development and growing their company, that's the type of individual or individuals that you need around you. And the more that you can diversify that perspective, the better get people around you that don't agree with. You get people around you that have done it failed and done it again and failed. And maybe hopefully got some success along the way. You have to diversify where you get your advice from. Otherwise. You're going to be very, very limited in how you look at things which is ultimately going to lead you down a very limited path if he will. And that could be good or bad, depending on what type of resilience you have and what type of expectation you've set for yourself.

Speaker 3 (10:10): Have you ever asked yourself why you haven't started a podcast? Well, I already know the reason. So to you, you don't feel like you're tech SAVI. You don't feel like you've got your message wired site. And quite frankly, it's just, it's all this mystification going on. Quite frankly. Uh, our process helps to demystify that we're push button for podcast. We're not go ahead. Why knucklehead? What we lead with the fact that you don't know what you're doing. We do. We've been there. We've actually been in your shoes. We take your spoken voice. We literally give a human voice to your website. You want to bring dead leads to life. Well, then you need to talk to knuckleheads. Essentially what we're going to do is we're going to take you through our process and we're going to help take your human voice and increase the process for you going from dead leads to life.

Speaker 3 (10:52): How do I, how do I do that? Well, you essentially just take your human voice, put it in a directory and let people consume more of you. Give your audience the ability to Netflix on you. They want to binge watch you. They want to binge listen, give them the ability to take your voice along on that commute with them. So you can get in touch with us, Steven at knucklehead podcasts, or if you've got a really cool story stories at knucklehead podcasts, you can find us on LinkedIn and on Facebook and not go out promotions, LLC, and get in touch with us. Don't be a beta about the process. Don't let the fact that you don't know preventing you from getting some wins. So don't be a beta, get some wins and contact us today. Axiom. Yeah, it's interesting. There's somebody we've had on the podcast before it was episode 70, something like that. It would say max out chiller And he talks about, if you look at the successful businesses, who've gone through the VC model, right? Where they, you know, they measure success and losing money and the less money they lose, the more successful they are. But once they get to a profitable standpoint, it's almost as they don't operate under

Stephen Colon (11:54): The same ways that they did whenever they were losing money, right? It's, it's the most bizarre. I've heard other entrepreneurs who we've also had on the podcast. Describe it as using funny money to go and grow your business, as opposed to, as opposed to, to sitting in the awkwardness and that visceral gut reaction of, of screwing up when dollars and cents are literally flying out of your bank account your bank account, because you've earned it as opposed to somebody else's kind of controlled experiment, which is kind of what, what VC or bank money is. And it's bizarre the difference between the two and the shift in mindset necessary for that business owner to operate differently. And so to be specific here, I wanted to get your perspective, given the fact that you're a nonprofit and the, in the standing that you are, it's taken some time for SAVI to differentiate itself. Then the other nonprofits that are out there that maybe specialize in fundraising, but not necessarily an executing. And I'm curious, you know, given that there's two different environments that some businesses operate in, how do you look at nonprofits and recognize which phase they're operating in? I'm curious,

Adrianne Phillips (13:01): But first and foremost, let me say that I started SAVI with the intention of being a collaborative organization. So that's first and foremost, it wasn't a matter of comparison. It wasn't a matter of competition. It wasn't a matter of what's the latest trend on the blog. What is everybody else doing? That was not the goal of SAVI was established because we identified a very, very specific gap in the marketplace. And that's exactly what I wanted to tackle. I spent about seven to eight months suggested strategy and development before it was even formalized as a business and much less even go public. There was even still a period of time in which we didn't go public. So it was in during that seven to eight month period, it was calls. It was market research. It was surveys. It was feedback. It was, you know, putting it all together.

Adrianne Phillips (13:52): So I knew that if I was going to do this, that it had to be in the same perspective of a business, because a nonprofit is still a business. Nonprofit is a tax exemption. It does not mean that you are not a business. You still need to approach it very much like a business, except a lot more creatively, because guess what? There is no VC money. There is no startup capital for nonprofits. There is no bank loan that you're going to get to be able to launch this venture. It's something that you have to completely bootstrap. Now, when you start looking at the, just the nature of relationships and nature of networking, and you start realizing the true value of people, you remove the element of needing funds because you realize that people are the ones that have the skills, right? People are the ones that are going to show up and make it happen.

Adrianne Phillips (14:45): So similar to being in the military, listen, now, if you're on a deployment, you're not going to survive by yourself, right? It's the same thing. If you're in business, you're not going to survive. If you're by yourself and SAVI needed support, SAVI needed buy in, not just because of what we were doing as a nonprofit organization, but because I knew that there was going to be a lot of storms that we were going to have to weather. Now, we have the very, very fortunate, um, you know, aspect of being a nonprofit. So therefore we can take on volunteers and absence of having funds as a transactional currency. How else can we operate as a business? And that was the fundamental question that I was looking to answer. Now, granted, have we spent money as a nonprofit organization? Absolutely. But I came into this slowly prepared to fund it fully prepared.

Adrianne Phillips (15:35): And knowing that having a business cost money, nonprofit is no different, right? Whether it's just getting the legal structure of it, set up, whether it's, you know, equipment, whether it's, you know, software, whatever it is that you need to operate, that takes money. And although we would love to have discounts and all of that things for free, sometimes it works out. Sometimes it doesn't, you can't completely stop operations when it doesn't. So we went through a process of completely leaning out and guess what? Besides the one person, we are a volunteer organization, we operate by the kindness and contribution of the individuals that are within our organization that see the vision that see the need for what we do, you know, and, and they, especially right now in the middle of a pandemic, you have to get creative. You know, I see so many of our partners, unfortunately, that are currently having to close their doors, programmatically.

Adrianne Phillips (16:32): Some of them are shutting down completely and they have amazing causes, amazing programs, and they can no longer operate because there's a huge impact now, economically. So you have to be able to get creative. You have to be able to set yourself up for longterm success and not just do what's the latest trend, what, you know, what everybody else is doing. You can spend your life focusing on what everybody else is doing, or you can just make things happen because you know that they need to happen in that way. So that was really my focus.

Stephen Colon (17:04): That brings me to my next question, Adrian, because I think you just covered over a sentiment that gets shared. You can't really dive. It's almost as if it's measurable. Although the book that I'm reading right now, how to measure anything by Douglas Hubbard would disagree with that notion that you can't measure anything. You can use small datasets to potentially draw conclusions against things that are intangibles within your business, but you sure can. It was suggested to me by somebody else who we've had on the podcast trace Johannes. And he's a good friend of mine also primary, but I'm interested in, like when you look back at Adrian as a young woman, how did you drill into focusing that passion, that energy, that purpose, what was it about entrepreneurship or what was it about business ownership or in control or leading an organization? What was it about your makeup that made you that way? Have you examined kind of what that makeup was?

Adrianne Phillips (17:57): You know, I always say wherever there's challenge, there's always opportunity. And, um, you know, I, I decided to join the military at 17. And so that right there was already an introduction to doing something that was different. Uh, most people at 17 are not really considering joining the military. And I actually spent my entire senior year of high school in the delayed entry program. So I, I knew even back then that I liked to challenge the norm. I like to challenge what the perspective of me as an individual was, what people thought my capacity for certain things were, um, my friends, family, they can attest, they didn't think I was going to join the military up until like an entire year, my entire year, year of, uh, last year of high school, again, going to monthly meetings. And the day before I was going to leave, people still didn't think I was going to do it.

Adrianne Phillips (18:45): So that was really the starting point of challenging what people just kind of deemed as normal or deemed as acceptable and just doing things a little bit differently. And of course, through my experiences in the military and all of that, my transition out of the military was really an eyeopening experience. You know, being on the brink of homelessness, despite doing everything the way that I was told that was the first kind of introduction that I had to, I guess, what would be deemed entrepreneurship. I started commission-based positions have no idea what being in business for myself was again, born out of necessity, right? I couldn't find a job. And this was right before the recession in 2008, I was getting off into active duty. So again, these situations were really more of like, I didn't go seeking these things. It was just more so there's circumstances that allowed, um, the opportunity for me to be challenged. And I stepped up right. Fight or flight. Cause like, I'm either going to do this or I'm going to sing, like when you're about to lose a roof over your head, life looks a little bit differently. You start to figure out ways to just make it happen.

Stephen Colon (19:52): I remember that. And you helped me out here. I've heard that transition and that being on the brink of, you know, I mean your back literally is up against the wall, which induces a reaction, the fight or flight the logic would tell you. And it told me, cause going through this, I, I had a Sergeant major that sat down with me for those of you who are listening, who aren't Marines and [inaudible] is this the largest enlisted rank or the highest enlisted rank that you can earn when you have the opportunity to, uh, to join the military. Right? So to a certain extent, not everybody is able to make it to that rank. And those that do not, everybody's always able to go and, and be put in positions where they are in control of their own command. And when I say in command, they're supporting the XO and the co uh, in that capacity as the highest enlisted ranking soldier, Marine airman in that particular, uh, regiment, battalion unit.

Stephen Colon (20:43): And so the reason why I draw this conclusion to you is because I was told right before I got out of the military and it was a suggestion. He said, why don't you, why don't you Regan list? Why don't you just stick around for a little bit longer? So you can look to kind of cauterize some of the wounds potentially. And he was just being very general in his advice. And he had, I guess the perspective of this specific situation that I was in, where I did not have a job getting out of the military, but it was also moving my, my pregnant wife from Okinawa back to the States. So I hadn't had very little network, uh, set up to where I could go insert myself into some type of role or extract that professional network and his, his suggestion. It was merely a suggestion.

Stephen Colon (21:26): And the way that my brain interpreted, what he had to say was I wasn't ready to hear your advice Sergeant major. So therefore, whatever advice you give to me, I'm going to do the exact opposite. And that was my ignorant, you know, almost immature decision making process. At the time when I look back at it, I could have saved myself years and years of just flailing around simply just by taking his advice. Did you have a similar experience or did you, did you go through that thought process too after you examine that? I mean, I, you know, hindsight's always 20, 20, but did you ever look at your experience and examine it that way?

Adrianne Phillips (21:59): Well, I looked at it in the perspective of, um, I actually prepared, I, I had six months, I did the transition assistance program. I did the resume writing. I did everything that I was told I was supposed to do, you know, and having years of following instructions with positive outcomes and then being in a scenario where you follow instructions and it leads to me still flailing and not knowing what in the world I'm doing. I was thoroughly confused. I was like, where did I go wrong? What checklists did I miss that made me end up in this situation kind of a thing. And not realizing that obviously the civilian sector is structured very differently and it really is the land of opportunity, but the opportunities that you need to create for yourself. So I didn't understand the concept of a network. I didn't understand the concept of, you know, it's who, you know, and, uh, diversifying who you speak to, you know, LinkedIn really wasn't a thing back then, you know, like you don't get told these things.

Adrianne Phillips (23:01): So I thought that if I did the resume writing and I had the right suit on, I applied for everything. I mean, literally everything federal and state. I mean, again, commission-based like I was applying for everything and because I had no desire to do any more of what I was doing when I was in the military, which was being a police officer, I wanted to do something else to me. I was like, that's not a, exactly a transferable skill other than me, and like a security guard or something. And I even tried applying for that again, this is right before the recession in 2008. So I thought that I was doing what I was supposed to do. And it did not render the results that I thought it was going to run when it comes to, when it comes to

Stephen Colon (23:46): The, uh, that helpless feeling. Right? So those of you who are listening, uh, we want to put yourself in a scenario where, where you were, where you feel as if you had a choice, it's easy to examine the outcomes of your decisions and examine them and say, Oh gosh, you should've done this instead. Right. But when you're in the moment and you're, you're being relied upon to go and produce when you're, you're hungry, there's no money in the bank account. I mean, I can remember a time ago. I ran a business down in Austin with my wife. And there was a period of time where we had no money. When I say no money. I mean, we didn't have any savings. We had no dollar amount in our bank account and we have thousands of dollars worth of bills that were due within a 72 hour time period.

Stephen Colon (24:30): And now we, we also had invoices out that could have been paid, right? So as soon as the invoices are paid, then it offsets all the outgo happening at the time. But being able to try to keep it mentally together to go perform services when you're hours away from your family, not necessarily having a place to live, if things don't just fall in line, it's difficult to keep your head about you. And so those of you who are listening to Adrian's talking about that, that timeframe I personally can relate to it, I've been there. It's a nauseated feeling, given the fact that to your point earlier, when you're given a set of tasks or a set of things, and the outcomes actually end up working in your favor and it doesn't this time, it's a helpless type of feeling. So talk through a little bit about how you, what you discovered about yourself when you reach down, or what did you do, like walk us through what happened whenever you'd made that change?

Adrianne Phillips (25:20): Well, you know, it, it was really a point of, uh, self discovery and looking at the fact that again, you know, hindsight, obviously you're very limited in your perspective, you only know what you're feeling and you only know based on the experience that you've had up until that point. So looking back at it, you know, now I know that the average veteran takes about six years to transition out of the military. So to have an expectation that the day I became a veteran was the day that I was going to be transitioned was certainly not realistic. And again, when you're there, you certainly don't conceptualize it in that way. Um, you know, you no longer have the rank on your arm that would, uh, distinguish you and say exactly what level of respect, so to speak that you deserved. Um, you're now kind of a very small fish in a big pond.

Adrianne Phillips (26:10): And, uh, although there are very attractive opportunities, you're trying to really figure out which opportunities going to be the best for you. You want to be effective in your decision making and that process, you know, being in the military, obviously nobody really asks you like, Hey, what is it that you want to do with the rest of your life? Right? It's like, it's very mission oriented and you know exactly what the mission is and what the expectation is. So going through that process, I knew that I had to take a point, um, you know, maybe not immediately, but I had to take a point to really start asking myself those questions. Nobody else was going to ask me, so what is it that I want to do? What do I want life to look like? And I very fortunately ended up getting my first opportunity to work with in a nonprofit, serving the veteran and military community.

Adrianne Phillips (26:59): So that put me right back into a service mindset that, uh, quickly replaced my purpose and the sense of what I was doing in service. It felt like home, right? I'm still going on base. I can still like, I actually, where I was, was actually a military base where I separated from. So still being able to work in that installation, see people that I knew, it felt very familiar to me. So that quickly ended up becoming an area of comfort and, um, you know, kind of moving forward. My commitment was now to make sure that I was, uh, giving back and that I was making sure that other veterans experience, if I was working with them during the transition process, or certainly not going to be as scattered and hopefully as complex as mine.

Stephen Colon (27:45): Well, I mean, it sounds, it sounds as if too, even if, even if, even if it was you, you were in close proximity, you could literally lay eyes on them and say, right. I just, I just came through that. I don't know exactly what you're. I know exactly what you're about ready to experience. And it difficult sometimes to you feel as if like, as we've gotten older through the years, you always look back at the younger generation and say, you know, I wish the younger generation would do whatever. And when you were the younger generation, you always hear the older generation say, Oh, the old folks, they have no idea what the hell they're talking about, what you do. We're not gonna, we're not gonna, we're not going to listen to them. However, there's a significant amount of wisdom. And relate-ability to what it is that you're talking about.

Stephen Colon (28:27): There's less new factors into your decision making process. When you start being able to go back to the installation and see familiar faces and, and, and use jargon and terminology and words that make sense instead of create confusion. Right? And so you don't have a, you have a different environment that you have to adapt to. I'm curious, Adrian. So through that process and through the healing that you, that you were able to experience, and I use the word healing in the context of there's less flailing in the wind now that you've kind of developed a sense of now there's a common mission that you can share with the folks that you're providing services to. And your mission now is to pay it forward and to provide service. I'm curious, how did you take that next step and that integration, and what did you learn about yourself through the self discovery when you realize there was another level that you could go to after you, after you stabilized?

Adrianne Phillips (29:19): Well, I I've used this analogy often that, um, giving back has certainly aided in my own recovery and there's levels to giving back. Well, when I first started, I was obviously working for a nonprofit organization. So I was supporting somebody else's mission. So that was kind of phase one for me of really just kind of getting my feet on the ground, making sure that I knew as, as I needed to know, so that I could be effective. And the individuals that I was serving, um, you know, these aren't, these are people's lives. These are their livelihood, their families, like this is a very important, uh, mechanism of support that has existed for a while. And for a very specific purpose it's to give back and to support, you know, our military community. So I, I didn't take that lightly. So that was kinda my phase one.

Adrianne Phillips (30:07): And then as my career continued, um, I started, you know, kind of moving up the ranks and started doing other things and still in the same kind of benefits capacity, but I started removing the external element of working directly in the community. And I went, um, you know, internal, I became a federal employee. And so I started having a whole different level of comprehension as to how to put benefits together. And so now my purpose and my role became different, right? I had, as I was certainly a sense of advocacy, but in a very different capacity, I wasn't working directly with veterans, but I was still influencing the decisions that were ultimately impacting the veterans that I was serving. And then I decided to launch my own company. And that was kind of a point of self discovery of like, let me go out and do something for me, you know, in a way that's not under duress, I'm not losing the roof over my head.

Adrianne Phillips (30:58): I'm I'm I, you know, it was something that was going to be fun for me was related to travel and something that I had done, you know, from a very young age. And of course a completely expanded my horizons when I was in the military. So I ended up going on that venture spent a lot of time, effort and money, just trying to figure out the process of business. And then at that point was when I made a new commitment that if I was ever able to figure out the business thing, that I would use that business thing to behave, what to give back in a way that I felt was much more impactful. And so it's been a journey of challenging growth and challenge and growth, and then phasing up, if she will gain a certain level of knowledge, a certain level of experience working on myself as an individual, making sure that my wounds are healed so that I have a tank to be able to give to others.

Adrianne Phillips (31:49): And it's been a progression. So I've moved up and this form of a, you know, kind of formalized education, I moved up in the form of just life experience and business experience, and then taking all of that and then transferring it into now what SAVI is. So SAVI is really kind of the, the product, if you will, the fine, I won't say final because I still have hopefully a lot of life ahead of me, but it's been up into this point, the new conversion of, again, time experience, hardship, quote, unquote, failure, challenge, tribulations, um, support all of that. And it's like all been put now into this nice little pretty package that is it's called Tabby. So it's definitely been a journey line up into this point. So it's exciting to, to think of what, what can be next.

Stephen Colon (32:41): No, I'm sure. And those and those that are, that are listening to that would be interested in supporting that particular cause that journey event, that new veteran who's about ready to run, smack dab into all of the experiences that Adrian just talked about that now could have Adrian as that guide or Adrian's organization. I'm curious, how can people find out more? How can people support you and how can people support SAVI?

Adrianne Phillips (33:04): So first and foremost, our website And that is S a V as in Victor, I V E T S it always comes down to time, treasure and talent. Again, we are a volunteer organization with the exception of one person, but the majority of us. So 99.9% of us are all volunteers. So we absolutely rely of the generous contribution of skilled individuals from across many industries, different backgrounds, but the community that we support is the actively transitioning community. So one year pre separation to one year post separation, um, about 90% of our program participants are still on active duty right now. They are all seeking new economic opportunities. Whether it's in business, whether it's pursuing a new education, maybe they're looking for a new career or they're looking to retire. Those are the four categories that we focus on. So anybody that's looking to support in the sense of giving their time, their skills or energy, to be able to give back to this amazing community, please contact us again.

Adrianne Phillips (34:10): That was our website. You can send us an email, or you can certainly give us a call eight four, four, four zero zero SAVI. So pretty straightforward. Um, again, we, we are certainly so privileged and grateful for the amazing support that we've gotten come our committee from our board of directors each and every one of these individuals, I can't say enough great things about them. We really wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them. So get involved. And if it's not, what SAVI directly look to support, you know, another nonprofit, there's a lot of amazing organizations and causes right now that could really use your leadership that could use your business sense that can use, you know, your network and your connections to really help them move forward.

Stephen Colon (34:56): What does SAVI stand for? You may have said it, but,

Adrianne Phillips (34:58): Oh, I'm sorry. I did not. It stands for the Strategic Alliance for Veteran Integration.

Stephen Colon (35:04): Okay. Alright. There you go. Yeah.

Adrianne Phillips (35:07): So we are an Alliance of a nonprofit of veterans services. We are here to essentially make sure that veterans get the benefits that they deserve, whether it's federal benefits from the department of veterans affairs or whether it's local state benefits, there's, um, over 600,000 different resources that are available to our veteran community. So it's a lot of noise to shift through. And SAVI's job is to essentially make sense of all that noise and deliver that throughout a 12 month program. So we take a very customized approach to transition. We make sure that there's an accountability process and that our veterans understand exactly what it is that they're eligible for. So there's a lot of great programs out there. And again, um, you know, let us know if you're a partner, if you have an amazing program and you want to connect with the transition community, let us know. We would love to learn about what it is that you guys are doing.

Stephen Colon (35:58): Fantastic. It sounds like, um, it sounds like for those of you who are listening, you're going to be in a similar situation that when I'm in right now, which is you want to be able to book another time to get with Adrian, because there are things that we do as an organization that, uh, uh, that speak to the heart of that particular mission. And we want to help. If you find yourself in that scenario, my suggestion is to, don't be a beta about the process. It gets them wins, right? So simply follow the steps that Adrian just outlined for you. I mean, we spent the last 30, 35 minutes, you were talking specifically about her journey, but you, the listener, you have a, a similar scenario or, you know, somebody who could potentially go through that self discovery process that Adrian just talked about, and maybe they want to hitch their wagon. So to speak in a volunteer capacity in an organization like SAVI to go and, and find their cause, find their mission, find their purpose or support somebody else's. So that's my encouragement go out there and connect with, with Adrian. So Adrian with that said anything else that you want to leave these folks with? We're going to be essentially wrapped here right after this, but I'm curious. Anything else that you want to leave these folks with any say Brown, so to speak?

Adrianne Phillips (37:03): I do. I just wanted to say one last thing. Um, you know, as a leader, as a business owner, don't underestimate the value of giving back. Um, it does not only feed your soul, but it does amazing things for your network. It does amazing things for your growth. Um, you know, as a leader, as an individual, as a community representative, uh, people want to do business with good people. And so don't just do it for that reason. But again, know that when you are getting involved in philanthropy, when you're giving of your time, the universe, whatever you want to call, it definitely gives it back tenfold. So, um, you know, take that and, and especially now, like I said, it's really a time of collaboration. It's a time to get creative. It's a time to really just join your resources and look at the way that we transact and work with one another outside of the scope of just financially.

Stephen Colon (37:57): Fantastic, fantastic, well, challenged accepted those of you who are listening to Adrian, uh, go out there and do that. So my encouragement to you is to get in touch with her or find, find a way to go in and give some of your time. If you don't have any, maybe change what you have been doing, and you might be pleased with the outcome, so to speak. So Adrian, we appreciate you for those of you like listen, knucklehead every Tuesday, we got new episodes coming at you. So with that, have a good rest of the day, gentlemen and ladies, and we'll see ya, Adrian. We are done. Have a good rest of the day. Okay.

Adrianne Phillips (38:28): I appreciate it. Thank you so much. Bye bye.

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Military life is tough, difficult, and dangerous. But the transition from active duty to civilian life also brings forth challenges on the majority of veterans in dealing with benefits, retirement path, and setting up a new career.

In today’s episode of the Knucklehead Podcast, Stephen shares another inspiring conversation with our guest, Adrianne Phillips. They talk about how Adrienne came up with the creation of a nonprofit organization, how it works, and eventually into the foundation of SAVI.

Adrianne Phillips is a service-disabled veteran, who founded Strategic Alliance for Veteran Integration (SAVI) as a reaction to the immense need for support of veterans transitioning to civilian life. After serving in the U.S. Air Force as a combat service-member and Security Forces, Adrianne transitioned out of the military and into civilian life. In 2017, she harnessed her experience as a veteran, benefits manager, and entrepreneur to found the Strategic Alliance for Veteran Integration with the goal of supporting every service-member’s transition.

The Strategic Alliance for Veteran Integration (SAVI) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Veterans thrive post-separation. They help transitioning service-members navigate their VA benefits entitlement and post-transition goals by providing customized support, services, and proprietary programs.


Favorite Quote:

“Being on the brink of homelessness, despite doing everything the way that I was told. I couldn’t find a job. And this was right before the recession in 2008. When you’re about to lose a roof over your head, you start to figure out ways to just make it happen.”

                                                                                         –  Adrienne Phillips

In This Episode

4:49 – The catalyst that sparked the birth of her first business

8:26 – Her perception when it comes to the context of making the mistake

12:38 – How SAVI started as an organization

17:54  – The underlying rationale of why Adrienne focuses on creating a nonprofit    organization

25:56 – How she figured out the opportunity that fits her effectively

30:05 – Her step by step progression from working for a nonprofit organization to launching her own company

34:10 – Understanding The Strategic Alliance for Veteran Integration (SAVI) more profoundly

38:09 – Her words of advice to leaders or business owners

Get in touch with Adrianne Phillips



Call    (844) 400-SAVI (7284)

Connect with Knucklehead Media Group



• Knucklehead Media Group is your “push button” for podcasts. We help companies and organizations tell their story using podcasts and best practices for content distribution. Home to some of the top podcasts across multiple categories, captivating coursework on gaining traction with your show, and consulting to those companies BOLD enough to get some wins. We believe your mistakes set the foundation for your success, those stories help customers beat a pathway to your doorstep, and the myths from bringing business online shouldn’t hold you back from getting yours.

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