20-year military veteran, James Van-Prooyen, joins The Brave Files to share how he transitioned to civilian life and built a business helping other veterans become entrepreneurs. We learn how the constant problem-solving associated with military life prepared him for the ups and downs of being a small business owner. James Van-Prooyen. Podcast.

Creating Community

With Featured Guest

James Van-Prooyen

Unconventional • Free-Spirit • Driven

Top Takeaways From This Episode

  • Surrounding yourself with a collaborative, like-minded community that supports you is key for success.
  • Forge your own path, see what works. Be audacious. You don’t have to do things a certain way.
  • Failures can be a learning experience and can sometimes yield better results than what you originally planned!
  • It’s easier to be brave when you have people you trust by your side.
  • You have the power to create your own community!

The United States military is very good at is creating community.  That's one of the things that attracted this week's guest, James Van-Prooyen, to sign up in the first place. This week he shares how he found himself searching for the deep community and connection the Air Force provided proved upon his retirement. 

How it all began

James joined the Air Force in 1995, having always been drawn to the sense of camaraderie portrayed in popular culture. Originally, he only anticipated staying in the military for four years.  

Meanwhile, James felt a kindred connection with his fellow soldiers and, suddenly, everything changed. Feeling part of something much bigger than himself, James chose to stay enlisted and was, eventually, deployed to Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. 

The Transition Was Challenging

James felt very lonely upon his retirement.  In other words, he was searching for something to replace the camaraderie and community that was so deeply forged in the Air Force.  Most importantly, he knew his feelings were not unique and he believed creating a community among veterans and entrepreneurs would be a valuable resource.

Creating Community

James, subsequently, put his IT skills and passion for podcasting to work and created an entire podcasting community for veterans. Starting a new business, Is not for the weak of heart In fact, James told us that doing so was one of the bravest things he's ever done. That says a lot for a man who put his life on the line for our nation for 20 years!

The Military Podcast Network is born

For James, creating community, meant building the Military Podcast Network. The network is part of the Veteran and Residents Incubator Program at Bunker Labs in San Francisco. In short, James is helping veterans and military members build their own businesses, start their own podcasts and grow their impact.

Want to learn more about James? Check him out by visiting his website, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter

Giving is Good

Due to a devastating house fire when he was a teenager, James’ favorite charity is the Red Cross. He says the Red Cross was essential to his family’s recovery and survival after they lost their home and he will never forget the support they provided.

"It's okay to think, "I don't know how to do it but I'll figure it out.""

- James Van-Prooyen

Meet your Host, <em style="color:teal">Heather Vickery<em>

Meet your Host, Heather Vickery

Heather Vickery is an award-winning business owner and global leader with over 20 years as an entrepreneur. She leverages her entrepreneurial skills and expertise to coach individuals towards greater personal and professional fulfillment by helping them leverage their fear into intentional bravery. Heather says “When we choose bravely, on purpose, we choose bigger, have bigger successes and it’s contagious” A celebrated public speaker, Heather inspires audiences and empowers attendees with the tools they need to live bold and successful lives through creating balance, time management, mindfulness, as well as countless systems, strategies, and boundaries. She’s the author of Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus and Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families. Heather is also the host and executive producer of The Brave Files Podcast.

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