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So long, farewell. Auf Wiedersehen, adieu.

Hello Friends,

As many of you know the last 2 years have been a difficult journey for me.  My husband’s PTSD from 8 years at war finally reared its ugly head and changed our lives forever.   We went from living a safe, secure life in Germany to being civilians trying to navigate the transition while still putting food on the table.   It’s been a rough odyssey for all of us.

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Being back in the USA and being able to take part in the Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program has opened my mind to the possibilities of my life.  I don’t know if I would have discovered so many things about myself if I did not have the safe place of Dog Tag to do so.

Here’s what I’ve discovered.

  • Mourning the loss of being an active duty Army Wife is harder than I ever imagined.  Being a proud Army Wife was a label I was so proud to wear and did everything I could to fill the role with duty and honor.  It became not only what I did, but who I was and I truly loved every minute.
  • Since 2009, blogging has been a big part of my life.  It filled my spare time, it gave me a community of wonderful other bloggers to connect with, and it helped me travel around the world.  Most importantly, it gave me 7 years of experience building my own brand and social media & online marketing expertise which I am now cultivating as an option for the next step of my life.
  • Today, I have the label of Caregiver and although I take the role just as seriously, this role isn’t as fulfilling as I thought it could be.  I find myself wanting to do more and be more.  Caring for my husband is an important job, but it can’t be everything I am.
  • I want more.  I need more.   I no longer want the labels of my past to be who I am today or in my future.  The passions I had as an Army Spouse and Food Blogger are no longer as strong and I’m feeling called to do bigger and better things.  What those things are… I’m figuring out now.

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What does all this mean?  It means that I’m turning the page on one chapter of my life and opening it to the next exciting adventure.

The Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program has allowed me to explore who I am in a deep way.  I have began to realize my true potential and hone in on my strengths.  And to be honest, I’ve been shown my weaknesses and have been allowed to go through the process of figuring out how to change those behaviors.  I’ve done more growing and learning over the last 2 months than I have in the last 10 years.  I have never felt more alive!

I am Motivated.

I am Strong.

I am Capable.

I am Determined.

I am Passionate.

I am Worthy.

That last one is the biggest motivator for me.  I am worthy of success.  I am worthy of greatness.  I am worthy of chasing after my dreams.  I am worthy of being amazing!

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Going forward,  I will no longer actively be adding new content to The JavaCupcake Blog.  It’s been an amazing 7 1/2 years creating and sharing on TJCB.  I’ve created so many things, met so many incredible people, and I can honestly say I’ve been so fulfilled by the entire process.  However, it’s time for me to move on.  I never thought those words would come out of my mouth, but when they did I felt a sense of relief and I knew it was the right decision.   I have 4-5 recipes and DIYs I’ve already created that I’ll be adding to the blog this week, but after that I’ll be done.

I don’t know if I’ll ever come back to TJCB, but I know if I do… all my wonderful readers will be right there waiting for me.  You guys have been so loving, supportive, and loyal and I can’t thank you enough for all your love and support of me over these years.

Being able to be a part of your lives, your families lives and the special moments you have has been heart warming and I loved every photo and comment you shared about how my recipe made your party or event special.  I will never forget that and how your love made me feel.

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My future is still unknown at this time, but I am working fiercely on turning my passions into a paycheck!

Here’s what I’m working on now…

  • On September 1st, joined the team at the Yellow Ribbon Fund, a non-profit veteran service organization, to be their Family Caregiver Program Coordinator.  I’ll be planning and hosting events for caregivers & families of wounded service members & veterans in the Fort Belvoir, VA area!  Community organizing has always been a part of my life and a passion and I’m so excited to be working in the military community doing this!
  • I will be completing the Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program and in turn receiving a Certificate of Business Administration from Georgetown University in November.  Two great additions to not only my resume, but my life as a whole!
  • I began consulting with two local non-profit veteran service organizations to help them strengthen their social media & online presence.  With the encouragement of the staff at Dog Tag, I realized that I could turn this passion into a paycheck!  There is a need within this NPS VSO community for my services and I’m going to do everything I can to fulfill that need!logowithtagline
  • Which means… I started my own consulting firm!  Be Creative Consulting, LLC was born in July but wasn’t officially named or licensed until September.  I am in the process of setting up my online presence for this new venture and am excited to grow my client list in hopes to either get a full-time position doing this for a NPO or to consult full-time for many organizations.

Now all of this doesn’t mean I’ll be gone away completely.  I’ll still be sharing my life on Instagram and Facebook so you can keep up with my adventures there!

I have never been more excited for my future and I feel so incredibly thankful for the opportunities in front of me!  Love to you all!

So long, farewell. Auf Wiedersehen, adieu.

Betsy

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Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program – Week 5

This week was the end of the first round of classes and rotations of the Summer 2016 Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program!  I can’t believe it’s already been 6 weeks of the program, time has flown by and so many memories have been made.

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That handsome man in the blue shirt in the center of this photo is my Georgetown University Professor Charles Skuba.   I had the pleasure of being in Professor Skuba’s Principles of Marketing class and learned an incredible amount from him about branding, marketing, and so much more!

Top 3 Marketing Lessons I Learned from Professor Skuba

  1.  Your Customer is #1 – Everything you do as a business owner needs to be centered around who your customer is, what is important and valuable to them, and what they want.  Once you figure out those things, you can create a product or service that will not only bring more customers to you, but will give you repeat and loyal customers!
  2. Develop a Marketing Strategy – A business can’t just expect to open up shop and hope for the best.  Identifying your strengths and weaknesses as well as any external opportunities or competition are essential to helping develop an effective marketing strategy to grow your brand.   Then, you must decide what your objectives are and make obtainable, measurable goals.
  3. Branding is Key – Not only does the name of your company matter, but the colors, fonts and logos you create all become essential to creating equity in your brand.  Make sure to create a logo that means something to your customer that is not only ascetically pleasing, but is memorable as well.

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On Thursday morning, Professor Skuba gave us our Final Exam which I got 100% on! I was incredibly worried I wouldn’t do well on it and actually surprised myself with a perfect score!  I guess I really did learn a lot from this class!

I also found out that I passed the Principles of Management final exam I took last week!! We’re graded on a pass/fail basis only, so I won’t know what my exact grade was until I see Dr. McCabe again, but HALLELUIA!!! I passed both my finals!

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Monday, we had the fabulous Jackie Nedell teach our class how to speak in front of a camera for media appearances.  Jackie was a television news reporter for more than a 16 years and for the last 15 years has been a national communications expert with focus on broadcast media training/messaging and outreach.  She was also on two episodes of House of Cards on Netflix!

This training with Jackie came at the most perfect time because I am going to be the feature of a mini documentary put together by Boeing and the USO and that filming begins later this month!

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On Thursday afternoon, Dog Tag Bakery hosted a VIP! Mrs. Ellyn Dunford is the wife to General Joseph Dunford, USMC, the current Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Mrs. Dunford had 3 guests with her from Israel and were treated with a tour of the bakery along with a visit to our classroom.

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I was asked to give my final presentation (with my small group including Sharod and Meche!) for my rotation while Mrs. Dunford and her guests visited.  Kyle & Megan (our Program Director and CEO) wanted to give them a sense of what the program does and what better way than with our presentation!

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Our presentation recapped all the things we learned during our 5 week Product Development Rotation with Executive Pastry Chef Rebecca Clerget. I won’t hash through everything I learned, but you can check out the slides from my presentation if you want to get an idea!

Just so you can get an idea of how excited I was to work with Rebecca… check out her credentials from the Dog Tag website!

Rebecca has worked in Five Star restaurants, Relais and Chateaux properties, and luxury hotels in the United States and in Europe. Rebecca has worked with some of the most accomplished pastry chefs in England, France and Spain. She won “best young pastry chef” in the United Kingdom in 2006 from the Academy of Food and Wine and represented England in the first ever Roussillon Dessert Trophy in the south west of France. She has worked part time at The White House since the end of the Bush administration and spent the last four years as Executive Pastry Chef and beekeeper for The Fairmont Hotel, Washington DC, Georgetown where she ran a successful and creative pastry department. Rebecca is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America.

So yeah, she’s pretty awesome and I learned SO MUCH!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

Top 3 Bakery Lessons I Learned from Executive Pastry Chef Rebecca Clerget

  1. Running a bakery kitchen is no joke! – In all seriousness, if I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to work side-by-side with Rebecca to see how incredibly difficult it is to be a the head pastry chef but to be responsibilities for the management of bakery operations, execution and implementation of menu items for our retail bakery, and overseeing the baking and pastry training for our veterans and their spouses.  After seeing all she does, it became clear to me that being a baker as a profession is not something that I want to do.  I want to run a business, but not from the kitchen.  I need to hire someone awesome like Rebecca to do it for me!
  2. I’m flouring my work space all wrong. – As I was rolling out dough, Rebecca stops me and says, “The amateur way to flour is by sprinkling it around (and demonstrates how I just did it).  Instead we toss it across like this (and with the whip of her hand like she was skipping a stone across water) she flours the counter with perfection.  My mind was blown and my life was changed.  It’s a simple thing, but for someone who makes hundreds of cookies, pies and doughs a year… it’s a game changer. I even made a video about it!
  3. Yeast is no longer scary! – For the longest time I’ve been afraid of yeast.  I could never seem to get the dough right and to be honest, I never knew how to treat the yeast or what it should look like or smell like.  Rebecca changed all that for me.  On the day we made yeast dough for pasty, I think I wrote down everything she said about yeast! In fact, a yeast pastry was our final project for our rotation and this Peaches and Cream Danish will be sold in the bakery!

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This Fellowship has been so incredibly challenging, fun, and emotional.  I can feel friendships for life forming and I have a great suspicion that I just may be beginning a journey of a lifetime!

I can’t wait for next week!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program – Weeks 3 & 4

I have really begun to think about the direction of my life during the past two weeks. Asking myself questions like… Should I try to start my own business? Can I even do that? Do I have the money or the ability to get money to start a business? Should I work for someone else? What would that work look like? Would any of these jobs provide me with enough money to stay in Northern Virginia?

With all these questions circling inside of me, I find myself even more confused than ever. When I began this program at Dog Tag, my life goals were clear… get to Georgetown every day, put in the work, and pass the course. Now that I’m here I’m finding that there is so much more than needs to be decided.

After I shared my frustrations with being a care giver to a soldier living with PTSD, a shift happened. Life in my house was happy for about 2 weeks. I thought hey, maybe things are getting better. However, I was swiftly reminded that things are not better that the joy was just a facade and I realized something very key…

I can only control myself and my personal future.

What a revelation that has been. Almost like a weight off my shoulders realizing that I do not have to have all the answers for my husband. In fact, I don’t have to have all the answers for myself either, at least not today.

When I walked into class this morning, this quote by Socrates was on the white board. “The secret of CHANGE is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but building the new.” It’s like every day I come to the bakery, another thought or idea is offered to me that makes decision making more clear and somewhat easier to make.

I can’t fight the past and I can’t control the past, but I can do something about the future. So, from today forward, building the new… building my new future is what I am going to do.

Let’s recap some of the highlights from the program over the last two weeks!
Dog Tag, Inc was awarded the Veteran Business Mentorship Award from the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce!  Meghan Ogilive our CEO graciously accepted the award on behalf of the entire Dog Tag family.  It was a great honor to see all the hard work of Meghan, Fr. Curry and Connie Milstein paying off!

My cohort is still on it’s kitchen rotation with Executive Pastry Chef Rebecca Clerget and we were very busy in the kitchen!

We made 200 cookies that we then put into goodie bags that we hand delivered in a grass roots marketing effort to spread the word about our bakery and catering options! We went to 16 hotels in Georgetown and Rosslyn and will go to another 7 next week in Dupont Circle. It was a really eye opening hands on experience that taught me the power of community networking!

In the classroom, our Principles of Management class ended with our first final exam. Dr. McCabe taught us the essentials for being effective managers, skills for leading and motivating and negotiation skills. It was a really great class and I learned so much from it!

Dr. McCabe requested a class picture, so we all dressed up and he wore shorts! He’s a funny man, that Dr. McCabe!

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Our Marketing class is continuing on and I’m learning a lot about branding and how to position a company in a market with competitors.  It’s really interesting stuff and I’m beginning to think about how to incorporate what I’m learning to my blog now and a potential new business in the future.

Our CEO Meghan Ogilvie and her brother Dr. Chris Ogilvie were with us for a morning of Learning Labs. Meghan shared with the us the story of how Fr. Curry and Connie Milstein founded the bakery and where their vision started.

Father Curry passed away this last December and I never had the pleasure of meeting him in person. However, I do know how important his life’s work and his vision for Dog Tag were. I feel honored and blessed to be a part of this program.

Dr. Chris Ogilvie talked to us about nutrition and how we need to stop eating sugar and wheat and to start our day with more protein. We’re tying, but uhm… we work in a bakery. Ha!

Today’s learning lab with our great partners at Deloitte. Resume working 1-on-1! #bakingadifference

A photo posted by Kyle Burns (@illuminatelearning) on

Finally, we had one-on-one sessions with professionals from Deloitte who worked with us to perfect our resume. My challenges wasn’t figuring out how to layout the resume, but how to take what have done as a volunteer with the Army and my blog and put it into words that will best represent me on my resume.

This process has been a real eye opener… I found that I can actually call myself an Independent Consultant, a Brand Manager, and Consultant. Who know that my blog would translate into such great opportunities!

I’m really looking forward to seeing what next week brings me!

Catch up on Week 1 and Week 2 of the Fellowship Program!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program – Week 2

Another fantastic week of the Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program has concluded and my head and heart are about to explode with knowledge, emotions, and ideas!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016
Testing soups from a vendor to potentially be sold at Dog Tag Bakery.

This week began my second class at Georgetown University – Principles of Marketing with Professor Charles Skuba.  Before this class, I never truly understood what the term marketing meant.  I thought it was only about how to best advertise my product or service but quickly learned it is much more than just that.  Marketing is branding, identity, research, and knowing your customer and what they want/need.  It was a very eye opening first lecture and I am excited to learn more!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016
Fallon, Megan and Betsy SO EXCITED about marketing! Ha!

One of the guest speakers this week were two Marine veterans who started their own coffee shop.  Harrison & Michael of Compass Coffee began dreaming about a business in coffee during their Afghanistan deployment when coffee was the one thing they always had to keep them sane and happy.

Harrison & Michael gave us the no bullshit hard truth about starting up a small business and kept it 100% real.  It’s hard work, takes a lot of money and time and is incredibly rewarding! They definitely gave me a lot to think about.

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016
Harrison & Michael – Co-Founders of Compass Coffee

My favorite part of this week was the rotation in the kitchen with Kyle, the savory cook at Dog Tag.  Kyle taught us knife skills while making gazpacho soup.  I learned how to cut an onion the right way.  It was life changing and I totally plan to do a blog post with Kyle about it just as soon as he gets back from vacation!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016 Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

I love how the guys in this picture are already tired of me taking pictures of EVERYTHING we do.  Ha!  It’s only week two fellas… get used to it!!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016
Veggies ready to marinate overnight before being blended into soup

All those vegetables we learned to dice went into a gazpacho soup that was sold in the bakery this week.   I’d never made gazpacho before so this was really fun to see all the ingredients that went into making it.

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016
Thanks Kyle for teaching us your mad knife skills!

Of course for lunch on Thursday, I had to eat what I made! Chilled Gazpacho Soup with roasted baguette croutons and fresh bread.

Heaven.

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

Saving the best of the week for last…

During a reflection session, I was asked to think about the following question…

[bctt tweet=”What is your greatest barrier to achieving your dreams?” username=”javacupcake”]

I knew right away there were a few things that were holding me back

  • Money
  • Feeling scared
  • Lack of family support
  • Unclear what my dream is

That last reason was really holding me up from figuring out how to work through/around/with/over the barriers.   So I decided to write down what I did know about my dream… What it IS and what it IS NOT.

Here’s what my dream IS NOT: 

  • Working alone/being alone – I need interaction with people.  I crave it and it fills my soul and spirit.
  • Being a full time blogger – I know this may be surprising, but I do not feel fulfilled solely from blogging.  Blogging will always be a part of me, but I don’t want it to be the only thing.
  • Corporate life – Although knowing business and how to run a business are important, I know I do not want to work for a huge corporate company that has lost touch with the people.  No thank you.
  • Working for someone else – This doesn’t mean I don’t ever want to work for someone else, but I know that whoever that person is needs to share the same goals and dreams I do.  I am a self-starter and have a lot of great ideas that I’d want to become a reality, so I need to work for a person/company that can support that.

On the flip side, here is what my dream IS:

  • Helping others – In any shape or form
  • Being a part of a community – My neighborhood, the military community, the refugee community
  • Making a difference – I truly want to make a difference in this world, whether it be with an individual, group, company, community.
  • Providing a good/service that brings joy to others
  • Being a part of a team with like-minded people with the same goals
  • Being a leader – I want to inspire others to realize their own potential within the mission of whatever I do.

Learn To Create Your Dream | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com

It felt so good to put this all down on paper and to really give what my dream looks like a shape.  I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing, but I know that if it includes these things… I will be happy.

I am so excited to see how this Fellowship Program is going to help me shape what my dream is and in turn I will bring it to life!  Only great things are happening from here on out!!!

To learn more about the Dog Tag, Inc fellowship program at the Dog Tag Bakery check them out on the web and Facebook!

 

US Army Birthday Cake | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com

US Army Birthday Cake

Last month I had the privilege of making the US Army Birthday Cake for their 241st birthday party hosted by the USO Warrior & Family Center at Fort Belvoir, VA!

US Army Birthday Cake | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com

When the USO Warrior & Family Center at Fort Belvoir asked me if I’d be willing to make the birthday cake for the Army’s 24th birthday party, you don’t say no… even if you’ve never made a sheet cake before!

It’s not like I’ve never made a cake before, so I thought a sheet cake wouldn’t be too difficult.  I ordered an edible image from a vendor on ETSY of the official US Army birthday logo and bought supplies in yellow and black to match the Army colors!

US Army Birthday Cake | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com

If I were to do it again, I’d cut the image square and pipe a frosting border around it so it didn’t stick out as much against the frosting.  Also, I probably wouldn’t put the black sugar crystals on it because with the heat they ended up melting and just looking messy.

However, I was the only one who seemed to notice these things and everyone else raved at how awesome the cake was!

US Army Birthday Cake | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com

The Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander and her staff were on hand to celebrate the Army’s birthday and to officially cut the cake along with the President of the USO Metro and the owners of the Montgomery Inn Boathouse Restaurant from Cincinnati, OH.

US Army Birthday Cake | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com

The cake itself was dark chocolate cake on the bottom and classic white cake on top with fresh raspberry filling all covered in whipped cream buttercream frosting.  It was a HUGE hit and honestly one of my favorite tasting cakes I’ve ever made!

US Army Birthday Cake | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com

I also made 300 red, white and blue cupcakes for the party, but I already shared the details of those a couple of weeks ago.

It came as a complete surprise to me, but about half way through the event, the President of USO Metro and the owner of the Montgomery Inn Boathouse Restaurant presented me with a certificate of appreciation for all my time and work serving the military members of our community.

US Army Birthday Cake | The JavaCupcake Blog https://javacupcake.com

It has always been my honor and complete pleasure to serve the military community, especially at the USO.  The USO has done so much for my family over the years that it’s the least I can do to give back to them and our community.

If you’re in the military and are close to Washington DC, I highly recommend checking out the USO.  They are a great resource for the community and have so many amazing activities for service members and families!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program – Week 1

This summer, I have the pleasure of being involved in the Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program in Georgetown, Washington DC.  Dog Tag Inc. seeks to provide a transformative opportunity for veterans with disabilities, spouses, and caregivers by offering an education at Georgetown University and experiential learning in our small business venture, Dog Tag Bakery. Upon completion of the Dog Tag Inc. (DTI) program, transitioning veterans earn a Certificate of Business Administration from Georgetown University and are business ready, competitive, and employable.

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016
Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program – Summer Cohort 2016

Read about all the amazing fellows in this program with me here!

Although the program has just begun, I have learned so much already.  As I navigate through this journey, I want to share with you the highlights of the process and the bits of knowledge and understand that I have learned.  I’m going to try to write a weekly recap and summary of my time in the program and what I’ve learned.

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016 Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

The first few days were super exciting and were filled with a whirlwind of knowledge, introductions, and overviews of the program.

We met with Alumni of the program and were able to pick their brains about their experiences, good times and bad, attempt to get a sense of what we had gotten ourselves in to.

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

We were also fortunate to meet with the President of the Board of Directors of Dog Tag, Inc., Phil Cassidy.  Phil has had a long career in business including working for Jack Welch, CEO of GE as his Chief of Staff.

There were a few things that Phil said that have resonated with me.

[bctt tweet=”Control your own destiny or somebody else will. -Phil Cassidy” username=”javacupcake”]

“Control your own destiny or somebody else will.”  When Phil said this, I instantly knew what he meant and why I was in this program.  I was here to seize my life and make it into what I want it to be.  This is now MY TURN to control my destiny and not leave it to the Army or outside influences to decide for me.

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

Phil also advised us to “…make sure you surround yourself with smart people.  You will always be successful.” As I heard him say this, I looked around the room at the other fellows in the cohort and wondered what their strengths were.  I have begun to see them in these first few days, but I know by the end of the experience I will have gained so much understanding, insight and knowledge into myself and my life’s goals.   Phil also advised us that when we own our own businesses and start to hire employees, that we should always hire people who are smarter than us.  Surround ourselves with people who are good at things you lack in.  Creating a team is better for the business than creating competition.  Smart man, Phil is.

[bctt tweet=”…make sure you surround yourself with smart people. You will always be successful. – Phil Cassidy” username=”javacupcake”]

After the orientation was complete, we moved into the meat of the program… lectures, classes with Georgetown, and guest speakers.  My favorites included a talk about Intellectual Property Rights from Gail Lione (a professor of Law at Georgetown University) and the first day of our Principles of Management class with Dr. McCabe, a professor at Georgetown School of Business.

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

Gail provided so much insight into what it means to trademark and patent things as well as what “fair use” means and how it applies to my role as a food photographer and blogger.  I plan to write-up a short synopsis of what I learned for my blogging community in the near future.

Dr. McCabe’s class will teach me what it means to be a good leader and manager of a business.  I’m really excited to learn his theories and techniques and apply them to my life as a parent and in the future as an employer!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

Along with book learning and guest speakers, as Fellows we will take part in four rotations at the bakery with different executive members of the company.   We’ll be in rotation with the Executive Pastry Chef, the General Manager of the bakery, the Director of Development and the Director of Business Operations where we will learn their role in the company from the bottom to the top and getting hands on experience in their role.  This fellowship program is a comprehensive look what it means to be an entrepreneur and business person in a real-world way.

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016
My Rotation Group: Me, Executive Pastry Chef Rebecca Clerget, Merceditas, and Sharod

My first rotation will be five weeks with Executive Pastry Chef, Rebecca Clerget. At the bakery, Rebecca is responsible for the management of bakery operations, execution and implementation of menu items for our retail bakery and overseeing the baking and pastry training for our veterans and their spouses.  So not only will she be teaching me how to bake like a professional, but she’ll be teaching me how to run a bakery kitchen.

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

During our first two days in the kitchen with Rebecca, she has given us a tour of the bakery and talked about why things were placed where they were and how basic operations work as well as have us get right into making some of the products that are sold at the bakery!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

So far, we’ve made gingersnaps, snickerdoodles, sugar cookies and summer berry tarts!  If you’re in the Georgetown area this weekend, swing by the bakery and try some of yummies my team made!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

The summer berry tarts are seasonal and won’t be around much longer, so I highly suggest to get in and try one!! They are incredibly flavorful and so darn delicious!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

Final Thoughts:

As I look back on my first days as a Fellow, our program director, Kyle asked us to think about what our first impressions of the program and experience were.  Besides the specific content of the program that we learned, I also learned a lot about myself.

The transition from being the primary caregiver to my entire family to the one who leaves everyday for work has been a difficult one.  My ability to trust that my husband was adequately taking care of the kids and life at home really tested my faith in my husbands abilities.  I needed to learn to let go and trust that my husband is capable of taking care of things.  And you know what… he has been.

[bctt tweet=”This is the time to be selfish, to work on my goals & strengthen my life.  Not tomorrow. Today. ” username=”javacupcake”]

Finally, I came to realize that these 5 months are for me… and only me.  I am allowed to take these months to focus on what I want, what I need and let my family, friends and community support me like I have supported them.  It is finally time for me to be selfish.

I have ideas of what I want my life to look like, but I know this program will help shape what that will be.  I am so excited to see how I transform over the next five months!

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