This month we celebrate the service of our female Veterans with stories from our co-workers who also served in the military.  Sarah Nielsen learned a lot about leadership and diversity during her service in the Army.  She brings that experience with her to Consumers Energy.  Listen as she tells her story.  #sheisaveteran

Bill Krieger:  Hello, everyone. Welcome to “Me You Us,” a well?being podcast. It’s another well?being Wednesday her at Consumers Energy and I’m your host, Bill Krieger. Today, my guest is Sarah Nielson. She is the executive director of transportation, renewables, and innovation.

Sarah, if you’d introduce yourself, we’ll get that conversation started.

Sarah Nielsen:  Thank you for having me. My name is Sarah. I’ve been at Consumers for five years now. I do have a lengthy title, but we just went literal with what I do. I work on the customer’s experience organization and I get to work with those three teams.

Our electric transportation team running our electric vehicle programs here, our customer renewables team, and then most recently, our product innovation team. All three, I think, are very exciting future?focused groups.

I started here at the company in the corporate strategy group and have since moved over. Before that, I was in management consulting and before that, I was an active duty Army officer which I’m sure we’ll get into.

Bill:  Absolutely.

Sarah:  I’ve been in Michigan for six years. I started in Kokomo. We moved here because my husband got in medical school at Michigan State. Lived in Kokomo then Chelsea and now, Eaton. I have a two?year?old and a six?month?bathe?old, I guess. Three more months to go for number two.


Bill:  Well, congratulations.

Sarah:  Thank you.

Bill:  You’re going to very busy.

Sarah:  Yes.


Bill:  Let’s talk about those a little bit. You talked a little bit about what you do here at Consumers. You’re right. Transportation, renewables, innovation and that is a mouthful to say. I don’t have to say that on a daily basis. If you can give the audience just a little bit of an idea what you do for a living in each of those space.

Sarah:  I love this job because my work experience has bounced a bit between execution and strategy, the military is very execution heavy, but you always have this very strong mission. Then in consulting, it was very strategic heavy.

This job is an awesome blend of both where there’s a lot of strategic thinking around where electric vehicles are going, where do we need to be in five years, where are customers going with renewables expectation and then, of course, innovation is nothing but creation.

That’s really fun, but then at the same time, all three of those groups have very real deliverables for today. We have metrics that we have to be meeting.

We’re interacting with customers every single day, troubleshooting stuff in their garage, helping them sign multi?million dollar 20?year contracts, piloting things. It’s this awesome blend of the strategic work and the execution.

I think all three of them are, like I say, pointed towards future areas of growth for the company as we become more retail?focused and with that energy transition that all of us are going through.

Bill:  As you described it, it sounds like those three things fit nicely together if we talk about renewables, transportation, and then innovation which is important in this ever changing world that we live in.

Sarah:  There’s definitely a solid theme there around uncertainty.


Sarah:  A newness, but also just really exciting stuff, like asking questions around where are these things going to go. Often, the things that customers are asking for today are even going to be the things they in two, three years.

How do you stay ahead of that? As a utility too, we’re not a startup. We’re not a research and development organization.

It’s not our role to be experimenting with new to the world things. What’s our role? What are the things that makes sense for us to do and be good stewards of our customer’s dollars to deliver for them? It’s this really fun problem to solve every day.

Bill:  If I think about renewables too, you think about where we’ve come as a company and the 150 some odd years we’ve been around, a long time. There’s technology out there we don’t even know exist, but we know that’s what’s going to help feed some of these things that we’re doing as a company. What’s that like?

Sarah:  First of all, it goes back to what I was saying, you can read about something really cool happening international lab or maybe in a very small-scale pilot. The question is when does this gets real for us? When does this become something where we should spend customer dollars on. There’s always a question there.

A great example of that is the tinkering we’re doing, not we but the US is doing with small modular nuclear reactors. A lot of the world is still installing nuclear as a cardboard for energy source and the US for a lot of more policy reasons were not.

We’re looking at this small modular reactor where they can work in a lab, but I think they’re years away from being something that is fully scaled for us and something you would see in IRP. Still, when did we pay attention to those? When do we act on them? That type of thing.

I’m just throwing that up. There’s an example, but I think that’s always part of the fun. It’s paying attention, but also knowing when to act.

Bill:  Yes, because I remember years and years and years ago, probably in the very early 2000s I just want to talk about hydrogen fuel cell technology.

There were a lot of companies overseas that were powering their plants with hydrogen fuel cell technology. There was talk about having that in vehicles and so on that went on the wayside with some of the other things that are happening.

We think a lot about disruptive technology, but really, the idea of renewable energy is disruptive in and of itself and it causes us to think in different ways.

OK, audience, you can’t see this but Sarah is very excited when she talks about this. I think this is something that really does fit in your wheelhouse.

Sarah:  I think so. My undergrad major was in biology which is fondly referred to as the chaotic science. Compared to physics, chemistry where you can have predictable reactions, biology is pretty chaotic. I always delight in seeing that in the real world where things that as humans we would love to be very predictable and orderly.

They’re just not. Same thing with this technology. You mentioned the hydrogen. Again, on paper, in theory, that works great but there were massive issues with supply chain and safety and costs. There’s not a textbook solution that’s going to work. It’s timing and business models and personalities. I think it’s endlessly fascinating to me.

Bill:  The future sounds pretty exciting. Let’s talk about the past a little bit. You said you’ve been in Michigan for six years. Are you originally from Michigan? I know that you got here because your husband was in medical school. Where did you come from?

Sarah:  Not far away. I grew up in Ohio. [laughs]

Bill:  OK.

Sarah:  Yeah, but I had never stepped foot in Michigan until I moved here, honestly. My family was Cleveland and Columbus area. We were more oriented that way versus up this way. Yeah, Midwestern though. I haven’t come from too far. [laughs]

Bill:  All right. You went to school in Ohio.

Sarah:  I did.

Bill:  Then after high school, what did you do?

Sarah:  I went to University of Dayton for undergrad, also in Ohio, Michigan Biology like I mentioned. I did Army ROTC all four years of college. Then after that, the same weekend I graduated, I also commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army.

I served active duty for five years. I was lucky to get my first choice assignment at Fort Carson Colorado. I went out there for a wedding and got bit from the mountain bug. I put that in as my first choice and got it. I was stationed with the second brigade combat team for the infantry division out there.

Was there for three years, deployed to Iraq for one of those years. Came back, then I was stationed at Fort Meade Maryland which is very different. Fort Meade is the home of the NSA. I went from Fort Carson which is a combat base, tanks rolling down the street to Fort Meade where half the buildings, I didn’t even have the right security clearance to get into.

It’s very quiet, lot of fences. That was a big change, but it was fun to be on the East Coast. Once I got out, I stayed on the East Coast, lived in Baltimore, went to graduate school in Connecticut, and then got a job in Boston. Then moved here.

Bill:  Wow, a whirlwind. I’m stuck back where you said you asked to go to Fort Carson and you ended up there. Because in my 21 years in the military, 10 years in the Navy, 11 years in Michigan National Guard, I don’t think that ever happened.

Sarah:  [laughs]

Bill:  I think when I asked for something, they put that at the bottom and they said, “Oh, this is the thing he doesn’t want.” Very fortunate to end up at Fort Carson, what a beautiful area too.

Sarah:  There’s definitely a certain amount of luck involved with any kind of military assignment. The way ROTC works is that you end up with this national ranking with all of your cohort.

There was a certain group of people that got their first choice but then to your point, there was a second group of people right under that that specifically did not get their first choice because they had to spread around, talented people.

You never know. I was very lucky to get Fort Carson and absolutely adored it. It’s still one of my favorite places in the world.

Bill:  I want to talk about your military experience too. The reason is I have this good friend, Andrea Enorton. She served in the Air Force and she works at the VA. She does a lot of speaking with the MVA and different groups here in Michigan. I sat in one time and she said to the audience, “Close your eyes,” and they all closed their eyes.

She said, “OK, I want you to imagine a veteran. Picture in your head of what a veteran is. Now, open your eyes.” They open their eyes and she said, “I’ll bet none of you has a picture that looks like me.”

Because most of us picture a middle age, someone who probably served in Vietnam or maybe Iraq, and it’s male. We don’t think about women as having served in the military. Even I talked with some folks who are currently serving and they’ll go to a party or a function, and they’ll be talking about the military, and the people are talking and immediately look at the husband.

I think maybe you’ve experienced that. I don’t know. I don’t know if your husband is a veteran or not. Can you talk a little bit about what’s it like to be a woman in the military. I would even say, what was ROTC like because when I visit campuses, you see the ROTC, it’s mostly male still, male dominated.

What was that like for you and what made you make that decision to decide to join the military?

Sarah:  We could talk about this for a long time.


Sarah:  I was a senior in high school when 9/11 happened. That, to me, was the catalyst. I was already aware of ROTC through some family friends. On my radar, 9/11 was obviously a wake?up call for all of us. Just as a bigger awareness of what was going on in the world, America’s position in the world, and just a sign for me of a way to have some impact.

I looked more on the ROTC and still think to this day that it’s an awesome deal if it’s right for you. If you are into the outdoors part of it, the leadership, the physicality of it, it’s a fantastic deal.

That’s how I ended up there. The ROTC program at Dayton was fantastic. Those were my closest friends, all four years.

Actually, another woman who was part of that family friend group was there as well. We were the two women in our year group. That made a big difference, but we were the only two. The other 10 or so were men, to your point.

They are like our best friends the whole four years. We were all so tight. We were the weirdos who had to wake up at 6:00 AM on Thursdays and Saturdays. We had a different social calendar than everybody else. [laughs] We ended up hanging together a lot.

I had a fantastic experience with that. They became brothers and we all look out for each other. I feel like I was very lucky in that way and definitely felt that we were in the minority being women, but it wasn’t a negative thing.

Bill:  That’s good. I want to ask too. I went to basic training a long time ago, 1984, but I still maintained friendships with the people that I knew back then and all the way through my military career.

Do you find that as well that you still maintain some friendship and communication with the people that you started serving with?

Sarah:  Yes, definitely. Some of my closest friends either from ROTC or when I was on active duty are still my closest friends. Even more remarkable from that is…Maybe you’ve seen this too, even the people that you don’t regularly stay in touch with, if you do happen to run into them online or in person, it’s this instant camaraderie again.

Because you’ve been through some stuff together and so, you’re instantly back in there and know each other about. You ate meals together for a year nonstop. There are things there that time doesn’t erase. It’s a cliché but it’s really true.

Bill:  I can relate. I went to the VFW National Conference this year in Kansas City. We got there a day early because my wife loves the Farmers Market in Kansas City. If you’ve ever been there, it’s this amazing experience.

Sarah:  Wow, I have to go.

Bill:  It’s worth flying in on a weekend to hang out at the Farmers. I’m not kidding.

Sarah:  Awesome.

Bill:  It’s really cool. Anyway, she drives me to Farmers Market. Because I love the Farmers Market, but not quite as much as she does. I’d begrudgingly go and were walking around, we’re having a great time. We walk out this door. As we’re walking out this door, this person is walking in.

We look at each other and it happens to be one of my soldiers that I deployed with, that I haven’t seen since I got back. We’re talking about 15 years. We immediately recognize each other. Mary Short is her name. She listens to the podcast so I want to give her a shout out.

We went to dinner that night and it’s so true. It’s like we just pick up where we left off 15 years ago. I find that with many of my military friends. I don’t know the people who are civilians understand that bond and friendship with as many people as you can have that with.

Sarah:  Anyone who’s been through something really intense and emotional together, I think, probably can relate but it’s hard to say what’s it like. It is so true. What I’ve seen is a lot of Vietnam era veterans who have not gotten the public support that our generation has received have gotten a lot of comfort from that camaraderie within each other.

Even after decades of avoiding it, later in life, coming back and doing those types of events has created a lot of healing for people. There’s definitely something to that.

Bill:  Oh yeah. A lot of people come back and they pack up all their stuff and they put away and they want to forget about it for a while. Then at some point, you open that box back up and the memories aren’t quite as hard afterwards. I’m hoping that’s what our Vietnam veterans are seeing.

Let’s go back. You were at Fort Carson. Did you deploy from Fort Carson?

Sarah:  We did, yeah.

Bill:  Where were you at?

Sarah:  For the first seven months, we were in Diwaniyah, Iraq which is south of Baghdad, south central of Iraq. Then for the last five months, we went down to Basrah which is way in the southern end, in the marshland. That was actually when Britain was pulling out of Iraq.

We took over the British base on in Basrah. I never went north of Baghdad the whole time.

Bill:  I got the distinct privilege of being in the north, but we went to Baghdad a few times for meetings, of course. Because even in the military, we have meetings.

Sarah:  Of course. [laughs]

Bill:  What kind of things did you do when you were there, if you don’t mind talking about it?

Sarah:  Absolutely. I have two jobs. One was I was the Executive Director so second in command. I know you know that, but second in command of our medical company. It was about 90 medics, doctors to serve our combat brigade of about 2,000 soldiers.

We were the level two facilities so the level ones are out, boots on ground, if things happen and they would evac to us. I was the executive officer there. My primary roles were around maintaining equipment, maintaining readiness, training, making sure the vehicles are ready to go. We have the supplies we needed, all that kind of stuff.

That was a big part of my job, kind of like an operational role. Then the other half was my technical MOS, classic military… [laughs] OK, what are you training for. Was to be an environmental engineer, the mission there was to prevent anything from the environment to take, get soldiers sick and take them out for a fight.

I don’t know if you’ve ever interacted with those environmental engineers. We were the ones out there testing the water, getting soil samples, trapping mosquitoes. All those things, testing the food, making sure that soldiers weren’t going to get taken out from those environmental type of hazards.

Bill:  For the time I was over there, we really appreciated our medical folks especially the folks in the cache. Also, the people that did keep us safe. I have to ask though. The water we drank taste a lot like diesel fuel. I’m wondering what happened there.

Sarah:  [laughs] Where was your water parked?


Sarah:  That was a very cool part of my job is I did get to travel a lot because I had to go anywhere where we had soldiers living and working. I saw a lot of setups for the water. It depends where on the supply lines you were. The people at the fortified bases have straight up reverse osmosis water purification units.

We were testing filters and all that kind of thing. You go a little further out and you’ve got the people who had the water buffaloes. Those are the ones tend to start to not taste so good. [laughs]

Then further out, you got the people that guy like toss some cases of water bottles every couple of weeks. Depending on where those stored and what was near them, those could taste like a variety of things.

Bill:  Yes. We won’t name things, but I do taste a variety of things. I’ll give you that. It’s funny because I was on a fairly large ways. I was at FOB Marez, but our water was all bottled water. Funny story, when I went on my two weeks mid?tour leave, I left my XO in?charge.

I came back and I had a squad of my second platoon who decided it would be fun to fill a small pool full of water using the bottled water. I had to answer for a few things, but…Anyway, the water did taste funny but we all came back healthy. Nothing wrong there.

You do your deployment, you come back home, and you transfer out to the East Coast, it sounds like. Then what happen from there?

Sarah:  I transition out of that combat unit and landed at the headquarters training unit for the environmental engineer world. My job then became to travel around in the US and train up those teams that were about to deploy, which I found I was very qualified to do because I just done it. That was very rewarding.

We go out and do this field training exercises and evaluate them on doing the water sampling and the site inspections.

I found I had real?world stories to share with folks. That was really rewarding. Again, I got to travel around a lot. That was really cool. Going back to your original umbrella question of what was it like being a woman which we can definitely dig into more.

Just that jump made a huge difference. Coming out of a combat unit and going into that training environment, so many were women day to day, not only in the military but the civilian personnel. It was a totally different thing.

I think that’s something a lot of people don’t realize with the military is that it’s not as monolithic experience. Your story about what is everyone picture when they think about a veteran. There’s so much variety to that. People don’t realize. Even between the branches.

We like to joke about it. There are differences in experience between specialties, between bases. There’s a variety. It’s the most diverse place I’ve ever worked as well. There’s not one experience. I think that’s one of the most challenging things that I’ve had to overcome. That’s overstating it.

One of the things I had become aware of being in the military is overcoming some of those assumptions around what it means to be a veteran. You’re right. The first one is a physical one. “Oh, you?” [laughs]

Then there’s all those other things like I got great advice in business school from a veteran that was like, “They’re going to see in your resume that you’re a vet. There’s immediately going to be assumptions around that you’re assertive and hierarchical and takes charge and get things done.”

Don’t spend time on your resume with those things. Highlight the other things. That was a very physical example of you have one page, but I feel like that also has come about in my life too, just being aware of how I show up and what people are going to assume and what I want to lean into, and what I want to lean away from. It’s part of navigating all that.

Bill:  That makes sense. When you talk about the military being the most diverse place you’ve worked. Coming out of the military after 10 years of active duty myself, I didn’t look at diversity the same way as civilian companies look at diversity. It wasn’t anything that you talked about. It just existed.

Everyone was who they were and everyone brought something to the table. It was all that diversity of thought, diversity of background, diversity of ethnicity, diversity of color. When you were in the military, I don’t want to say it didn’t matter because it really mattered, but it wasn’t the first thing you thought of.

It was just how it was. Does that make sense?

Sarah:  Totally. It’s the phrase about like the fish don’t know what water is.

Bill:  Yes. Thank you. Wow, I’m keeping that one.

Sarah:  [laughs] Yeah.

Bill:  I hope I can reuse that at that time.

Sarah:  Absolutely. Many of us start when we’re young. I know chapter one for you, you were really young. You’re not just as aware of it. It’s your first working experience and so, you assume that’s how it is.

No, absolutely, you’re right. All those variables, religion, all those variables. It does matter, but it doesn’t because you all signed up for the same thing. You all have the same mission. You all need to keep each other alive. You’re all eating the same food, sleeping on the same ground next to each other. There’s no walls. [laughs]

The ones that there are, but it’s not the social constructs. You couple is stepping out of the normal social construct. It is totally different, and I miss it. There’s things there because you’re right. It just happens. Not effortlessly, there’s still issues but I learn so much from that.

My first platoon sergeant was a gay Black man. Then my second platoon sergeant was this rough neck dude from Arkansas. With both of them, I thought…As a second lieutenant, your platoon sergeants are your right?hand person. You two are working hand in hand.

Bill:  They’re training you. That’s what they’re doing.

Sarah:  Oh yeah.

Bill:  They’re training you.

Sarah:  Keeping you in line and yeah, exactly. My third platoon sergeant was this Hispanic man from Texas. That is the most close relationship you have and critical relationship as a second lieutenant. All three of them were so different from me.

My fourth one was weakened. We had struggles. I was 21, 22 years old and this intense job. Of course, there were struggles but I also even at the time, I remember having this moment of like, “I never would have met these folks if not for the military.” Let alone had to work with them in a high intensity situation to deliver and lead and keep people safe.

Even at the time, I remember being able to recognize that. This is challenging, but there’s a reason it’s challenging. [laughs] We are going to figure it out. There’s something about that force yet effortless diversity of the military that would be awesome to replicate elsewhere. I don’t know how, but it’s unique.

Bill:  I think we bring that to the table with the number of veterans that we have working for the company. I think that helps us in that journey.

Sarah:  I love that.

Bill:  It’s funny that you bring up platoon sergeants because I remember…I was a little bit older when I got my commission. I was almost 40 years old when I got my commission. I remember my very first assignment. Sergeant first class Lucas ?? I will never forget this guy ?? he had so much wisdom. He’d been around for a long time.

He would never embarrass me in front of anyone. He would always look at me and say, “Sir, you sure want to do that?” That was my key that he and I needed to go talk because I was about to do something that was going to screw it all up. You’re right.

These people don’t know you from anyone, but they want you to be successful. I think because if you’re not successful, no one’s successful. You’re the face of that platoon or that company. Yes, throughout my career, I had different first sergeants and different platoon sergeants.

I learn something from every single one of them. Without exception, something positive from every single one of them.

Sarah:  Absolutely. I mean totally. I went on active duty 2006 so right around when you said you were deployed. The unit that I was to with, they had already deployed twice to Iraq. These were already battle?hardened folks. Day one of being onsite with the unit, Sergeant Venegas, my platoon sergeant, we about in…I don’t remember if it was my office or his office.

He said, “I have a wife and three beautiful daughters. I need to know if you’re going to make sure that I come home to them.” That’s a day?one conversation and your first job ever. I will never forget that. He ended up being such a wonderful mentor and partner. Set the stage on day one.

This are the stakes. This is what we’re relying on you to do for us. Yes, that relationship is insanely important.

Bill:  I want to hold that thought because as you transition out of the military and you came into the civilian world, some of those things you clearly brought with you.

I think one of the things that I brought with me coming out of the military was that what we did was life and death. There’s no in between there. It was life and death. Sometimes we bring that intensity to our civilian work and sometimes it’s appreciated and sometimes it’s not appreciated.

Did you find that when you made your transition?

Sarah:  My first job was in Mentor Consulting which is intense, but not life or death. I think I had this actually conflict and I wasn’t leading people. I was part of this team. That’s a whole other identity struggle. When you have been a leader and now, you’re not. What is your role and your motivation?

That was a big challenge. Where I actually struggled was putting up that level of intensity for something that wasn’t life or death. Actually a little different from what you’re describing because in the military, we were very clear about…It’s three o’clock, there’s nothing important that has to happen today, go home, go see you’re a family.

There are going to be days that you will not be able to do that. [laughs] In consulting, it’s important work but you could say that about every day. I had some motivation struggles there where I had the work ethic and I could turn it on, but in the back of my mind, sometimes I was like, “Does this matter?”

I do think that is a common veteran struggle. It’s like where do you find a job where you still have that sense of purpose and you can turn on that drive. That can be challenging afterwards.

Bill:  It can. You’re here at Consumers Energy. How did you end up here? I know that you moved with your husband and came to Michigan, but why Consumers?

Sarah:  I had been in consulting for a couple years and it was right at the point where either you get on a partner track or not, or it’s diminishing returns.

I was already thinking I’d love to get back to energy and environment things. I was starting to look around, happened to go to the first kickoff meeting of this group called Advancing Women in Energy for women in Michigan working in energy.

They had their kickoff that night. It caught my eye because one of the founders was a female veteran. I was like, “Oh, cool. I’ll go to that.” Patty was the speaker and I thought, “Oh, I could work for her.” I met someone that night. He introduced me to someone at Consumers and then I got the job. That’s how I landed here.

Yeah, I think, directionally, I was looking for way that combine that strategy consulting work I learned with going back to my roots of the environmental and infrastructure things. Even though I’m far from being a line worker, I love that it’s a component of the company I work for. I really love that it is a mission and a big mission for a lot of my coworkers.

That, ultimately, our product and our mission is keep the lights on and heat on. I love that. My day?to?day, yes, is it related to that but I love that somehow I’m connected to it.

Bill:  Right. Because, really, everything we do supports what those men and women in the field are doing, putting wires in the air and putting pipe on the ground.

Sarah:  Absolutely. Ensuring that we’ll have supply, getting customers to sign up to help with new solar, making sure that the EVs joining the grid are not going to overwhelm the resources. I can make those connections, but I’m very aware that I’m not the person on the ground anymore. [laughs]

Bill:  That’s a tough transition though.

Sarah:  It is. I have done my fair share of going [inaudible 31:53] and bothered the field workers and learned about gas pipe installations and solar fields and stuff. I do still try and get out and be aware at least of all that work.

Bill:  Do you find that here, that you can turn that intensity on with the work that you do today at Consumers Energy? I know that you said like sometimes when you’re in a job that doesn’t really have that life or death behind it, it’s hard to surround an intensity.

While your job certainly doesn’t have that necessary life or death behind it, have you been able to harness that intensity in a way that makes sense for what you’re doing today?

Sarah:  I think so. I felt the sharpest when I immediately came out of the military. Over time, I think that life or death urgency has morphed what’s the long?term benefit here.

On the way over, I was listening to a podcast with Atul Gawande who’s the surgeon, the writer, the New Yorker. He was talking about how he’s moved from surgery which is literally life or death to now, he’s running the USAID office.

It’s the similar transition where you have that immediacy, but now, there’s also learning how there is definite impact that you can have a larger, longer term level. It’s just that evolution of learning and seeing that. I think I’m definitely there now. It just took some time.

Bill:  Good. We’re glad to have you here. For anyone who doesn’t know, Sarah is very intense. It’s very hard to get a hold of you and have you come and do a podcast. We’re very happy that you made it here.

Sarah:  I’m sorry about that.

Bill:  No need to be sorry, but it just speaks to the work that you have to do and the things that you have to get done. I’m glad that you were able to take some time out and sit here and talk with me and the audience.

We are getting close to the end of the podcast but before we go, is there a message you would like to leave our audience with?

Sarah:  Yes. Great question and I think I’d say two things. One is to cap the conversation of here being at Consumers. I’m so proud to be here and the mission that holistically all of us are working on and how my team is contributing to that. So proud to be part of this team.

To circle back to your reason for asking me on here with Veterans Day coming on, being a female veteran, and going back to your first story of how the woman made the point of like, you didn’t picture me. I try not to take offense to that because that’s how human brains works. We look for patterns and that’s how we get through the world.

I understand that. I think the message is you don’t have to feel guilty if that’s what you think or if you’re surprise when someone tells you they’re a veteran. Just having interest or saying, “Oh, that’s cool” and responding quickly. I feel you don’t need to feel guilt. I’m not out here trying to change the paradigm.

I get why our brains work that way, but keeping in mind hopefully from this, you’ve seen there’s a huge diversity in the experience in the people in the military. Keeping that in mind as we move into Veterans Day, I think, would be important.

Bill:  All right. Thank you for that. Thank you for coming. Hopefully, we’ll talk again soon.

Sarah:  Excellent. Thanks, Bill.