One Way Conversation: LTG Bob Wood (RET) AVBEC Lecture

This morning I honed my listening skills and looked for an opportunity to engage in active listening from a speaker. While at an Alexandria Veterans Business Enterprise Center (AVBEC) morning networking breakfast, I was introduced to a few different people in a short period of time. With people of higher education, to include graduates of West Point, with more work experience, varied community involvement, and so on, I found myself shying away from talking about myself, and instead inquired about their positions with the local neighborhood business community.

LTG Bob Wood delivering a speech to an audience after a vet breakfast
LTG Bob Wood delivering a speech to an audience after a vet breakfast

Even as a U.S. Army veteran, I approached this multicultural military based setting with a childlike curiosity and refrained from going into deep with my own limited background experience (Bucher, Bucher, 2013 p.143). One of the first people I was introduced to was a founder of a nonprofit which had an interesting technique of alleviating stresses that some military members face, sometimes due to war. This entrepreneurial business leader’s nonprofit, which was based out of New Jersey, takes military personnel and gives them nonĀ  serviceable military uniforms, cuts them into tiny pieces, and then processes them into recycled paper. I was dumbfounded by the resiliency of materials involved and continued conversation with him over coffee that was provided by AVBEC. With art as a topic, I mentioned some other nonprofits events and venues, which included the Sunday Record Fair at Rosslyn’s Artisphere which was to host Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat, as a guest speaker.

Moving forward, breakfast, which was mostly fruits and pastries, mixed into LTG Bob Wood’s main speech, which was to continue at a professionally enriching 2 hours without a single distracting pause, aside from a few rounds of applause from the audience. There were so many topics touched on, that it was hard to remember all of the facts, truths, tips, and expert mentorship that he had gained from his thirty six years of volunteered service to the United States Army. I found these multicultural boundaries of military and civilian professional development to be somewhat beyond my immediate understanding and just tried to soak in the material covered. For example, LTG Wood mentioned his early beginnings as a public servant where he delivered a newspaper route to the local community he grew up in, while going through the famous T.C. Williams High School, which is located in my hometown of Alexandria.

Emily Macmahan giving closing statements at an AVBEC networking breakfast
Emily Macmahan giving closing statements at an AVBEC networking breakfast

As stated earlier, there were not any interruptions from LTG Wood’s speech. In the end, there was a Q and A with audience members who raised their hands for specific questions. With a brief background as a junior enlisted in the Army, I found myself still respectful of his outstanding rank, and rather than try to pick his brain for answers that I didn’t know, I just enjoyed my place at the table and listened to the responses and follow ups from other people at the table, while still considering the previously covered topics. Next, with the free coffee provided by AVBEC still settling in my stomach, I said good bye to the nonprofit founder to my right, and headed out so I could return to my parents office in Alexandria, Virginia.

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Aubrey Nesbitt

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Aubrey Nesbitt is a native of Northern Virginia who attended Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a veteran of the US Army and helps his family business by providing informational articles like this one. In addition to photography and blogging, Aubrey provides administrative support for the office. Aubrey is a service-disabled retired veteran and a part of our family. We give him the opportunity to work at the office and on the web as part of his recovery. The opinions and statements presented by Aubrey are his own and we don't necessarily agree with them.