Syracuse UniversityChicago


IVMF Women Veterans Week empowers female veterans

IVMF Women Veterans Week

The Windy City shined a national spotlight on women in the armed forces when Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) hosted Women Veterans Week Chicago.

Held in May, the 5-day series of events included a film screening on women in combat and panel discussion on civilian transition, entrepreneurship training, a national homelessness summit, a comedy salute, and more. See photos.

According to the IVMF, women represent an important and growing segment of the veteran community, and the post-service challenges facing many of the nation’s 1.8 million female veterans can be formidable. However, the potential to empower female veterans as leaders in business, higher education, community, and government is real and compelling.

IVMF worked with the private sector and local, state, and federal partners to plan the events, which were anchored around the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) conference. Created as a partnership between the IVMF and the U.S. Small Business Administration, V-WISE is the nation’s leading entrepreneurship training program for women veterans, active duty women service members and female military family members, positioned to empower participants to launch and/or grow sustainable business ventures. See the complete photo gallery on flickr.

The conference included a full agenda of keynote speakers and course instructors from academia, industry, government, and the military who could help make business ownership attainable for women veterans. Chicago is among six cities V-WISE will come to this year. Watch the V-WISE conference highlight video.

“We see this effort having far-reaching outcomes,” says Mike Haynie, IVMF executive director and founder and a U.S. Air Force veteran. “I’m convinced that female veterans represent an underserved and less understood segment of the veterans’ community. It is our goal to leverage our plans for Chicago as a means to jumpstart national dialogue related to the post-service life course of those women who have served the nation in uniform.”

The complementary events presented during Women Veterans Week Chicago were designed to celebrate the contributions female veterans have made to the nation, bring attention to issues facing them, and offer actionable strategies to advance the social and economic concerns of female veterans.

For more information about IVMF or V-WISE, visit