Celebrating Heroes

Dog Tag Bakery is a Frontline Leader Baking a Difference for the Military Community

OpsLens Deck of 52 Most Wanted Post 9/11 Frontline Leaders

In 2018, as a spin-off and salute to the original 2003 deck of 52 Most Wanted playing cards, let’s honor post 9/11 frontline leaders here at home. Once a week, for 52 weeks this year, OpsLens will post a card highlighting one of the 52 Most Wanted Post 9/11 Frontline Leaders. You’ll learn the top facts about their business or organization, as well as why they made the list, which comes down to impact, scalability, health, and unique value proposition.

I encourage you to look for these weekly updates, share the card with your network, and support or buy the products and services they offer. See the 52 Most Wanted Post 9/11 Frontline Leaders launch story here.

5 of Diamonds | Dog Tag Bakery

Dog Tag Bakery Founders

This is the week families and friends will celebrate coming together and giving thanks at dinner tables across the nation. Those tables will most likely include a beloved family recipe or baked goods that we look forward to eating all year long. The comfort and unity that Thanksgiving Day represents for Americans is the spirit that is felt daily in a small bakery tucked away in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington DC. Since its founding in 2011 by two lifelong ardent supporters of the military community, Constance “Connie” Milstein and the late Father Rick Curry, Dog Tag Bakery has been baking a difference. Their mission is to empower transitioning service-disabled veterans, military spouses, and caregivers to discover personal and professional fulfillment in the civilian world through an innovative five-month business and entrepreneurship-focused fellowship program.

For perfect clarity, the emphasis on disabled veterans is one that is not exploitive to perpetuate a “broken” narrative about veterans—Father Curry was born disabled and had a true perspective and understanding. And the sweet and savory treats originate from the inspiration of Connie’s Baking Company. Father Curry and Connie had, as their website states, “a shared conviction that no veteran, military spouse, or caregiver who wants to work and pursue their career goals should be unemployed. They drew on their experiences as social innovators and advocates for veterans and persons with disabilities to create a national model that convened educators, experts, and leading entrepreneurs to ensure that Dog Tag would be a robust, enriching, and sustainable social enterprise.”

As if this powerful duo was not enough, the loving direction and inspiration from Connie and Father Curry was complemented by a unique partnership with Georgetown University. Upon completion of the 5-month fellowship program, fellows earn a certificate in Business Administration from Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies, as described from their business page on LinkedIn: “The Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program combines business and entrepreneurship coursework, ample personal development opportunities, and hands-on rotations throughout Dog Tag Bakery, our small business venture. Over the course of five months, Fellows explore a variety of career paths, learn about and how to utilize available resources, and establish vast personal and professional networks as they develop a strategic plan for achieving personal and professional fulfillment post-service. Hands-on experience working within different areas of Dog Tag Bakery and Dog Tag Inc. Learning Lab series with guest speakers discussing lessons learned running a business, workshops on resumes, and specialized courses on telling your story. Networking opportunities with business leaders and members of the veteran service organization community allow for soft skills development too.”

Yes, you’ve read that correctly, that from the early hours of each morning, Dog Tag Bakery is mixing up batches of handmade baked goods while providing valuable work experience for disabled veterans, military spouses and caregivers. This social enterprise has a loyal following in the DC area, not only because the heart behind the endeavor is deeply moving, but because the food is absolutely delicious (if you are a cookie lover, you must try theirs!). This venture is a one-of-a-kind model that has been unmistakably impactful, and a slew of awards and recognitions have honored their work. Yet you don’t have to be local to DC to purchase a pie for the holidays. Their delicious baked goods and gifts can be purchased online for Americans to enjoy at dinner tables throughout the country. Dog Tag Bakery is making it deliciously simple for you to empower the lives of our veterans and military families.

Dog Tag Bakery is a frontline leader that should be on your list of most-wanted businesses and charities to support in 2018.

Frontline Leader (Founder): The late Father Rick Curry, SJ, and Constance “Connie” Milstein.

Name of Company/Organization: Dog Tag Bakery, founded 2011.

Location: Georgetown, Washington D.C. (3206 Grace St NW, Washington, DC 20007) with opportunities to purchase their items online.

Post 9/11 Service Connection: Passionate champions of the military community.

Tours of Duty:  Countless examples of volunteer service and servant leadership.

One sentence tagline &/or mission statement: Baking a Difference. The Dog Tag Fellowship program combines education with hands-on experience to create a living business school, building a bridge to employment and helping veterans and military families find fulfillment in their professional and personal lives.

Website: https://www.dogtagbakery.com/

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Marjorie K. Eastman

Marjorie K. Eastman is a US Army Veteran. Eastman served 10 years in the Army Reserve, including two combat deployments. She received a Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, and has her MBA from Vanderbilt University. She is on the 2018 list of Top 25 Influencers supporting the military community and also a 2017 National Independent Publisher Award winning author of The Frontline Generation: How We Served Post 9/11.

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