This blog post was written by our Chief Operating Officer, Meaghan Keeler-Pettigrew.
This week marks eight years since I started as the COO (and very first employee!) of Global SOF Foundation. I’ve been reflecting more than usual this year for many reasons.
First, of course, due to the war in Ukraine. We started this organization with the goal of forging a “good guy” network among the world’s special operators and their supporters. And I can absolutely say that it’s making a difference. I have been fortunate to meet many brave Urkainians through our work, and the Global SOF network is mobilized right now to support them in their essential battle against Russian tyranny.
Second, I am incredibly proud of the team that Stu Bradin and I have built. You will not find a more hard-working, passionate, creative, and FUN crew than Chelsea Hamashin, Ranae Grehl, Jennifer Brooks, and Kaitlyn Geercken. Plus we have FOUR amazing Skillbridge Fellows right now: Christina Powell, Jason Maglathlin, EJ Irvin, and Dave Hubler. And a fantastic Board of Directors and Advisory Council! I am so lucky to work with people that I genuinely enjoy and respect– it is a true privilege.
Third, Global SOF now has 120 Corporate Partners! We started in 2014 with six Founding Corporate Partners. Stu Bradin and I had a vision for what this organization could be. And we gradually convinced many others to share our vision. And yes, they spent money on it. But they also gave us their time, energy, and commitment. So many people and organizations did that! I am so grateful for this support over the last eight years. We couldn’t have built this organization without it.
Fourth, Global SOF does so much with so little. We have a small team, and we don’t have millions of dollars in the bank. But we consistently punch above our weight. We’ve expanded in every way that matters – membership, events, SOF for Life programming, and partnerships with other organizations that work to make a difference for the special operations community.
Fifth, I’m grateful to be able to serve SOF in the small way that I can. I did not serve in the military myself, but I have family and friends that have and continue to do so. I am continually in awe of the service and sacrifice of our warriors and their families around the world. And what’s amazing to me is that I get to meet and support an international network with members from 60 countries.
Lastly, (and I know this is long so thanks to those of you who are still reading), a big thank you to Stu Bradin. I am humbled that he asked me to “run this thing” over eight years ago. I wasn’t even supposed to work at USSOCOM back in 2011, but a series of events led me there unexpectedly. And in late 2013, when Stu told me that he wanted to start a professional association for SOF and that he wanted me to help him “run this thing”, I replied very quickly: “I’m in.” And here I am. Still working hard. Still having fun. Still grateful for the opportunity.