What image comes to mind when you think of a veteran? Actually, the picture is quite diverse. The men and women who served in the U.S. military come from all backgrounds. They are parents, neighbors, entrepreneurs and many of them continue to have a positive impact on their communities.

Here are some facts about the veteran population of the United States:

An interesting trend is that more and more veterans are contributing to the nation in another important way: as entrepreneurs.

From Military Veterans to Entrepreneurs

In the United States, about 5.9% (337,934) of all businesses are owned by veterans, employing approximately 3.9 million employees.

Additionally, military service exhibits one of the largest marginal effects on self-employment, and veterans are 45 percent more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans.

What makes military veterans great business people?

Perhaps it’s the combination of discipline and leadership skills, in addition to their desire to continue serving their communities.

In this article, we’d like to share four amazing stories: Wayne Atchley, a military veteran who has been an Herbalife Nutrition employee for more than a decade, as well as Terrence, Monica, and Jamie, three veterans who are now successful Herbalife Nutrition independent distributors.

At Herbalife Nutrition we’re proud to count veterans among our distributors and employees.

Air Force Veteran Terrence on Commitment

“I’m an all-in kind of guy: if I do something, I’m going to give it my best and see it through. I had just turned 19 when I joined the Air Force in 2001. My goal was to acquire useful skills ­ – teamwork, discipline, leadership – that could help me decide which path I wanted to pursue later in life. Then 9/11 happened and everything changed.

Though I was doing civil engineering work at first, I ended up as part of an intelligence squadron because I was one of the few ones that got a top-secret security clearance after they ran my background check.

I was deployed to Italy, Sicily, Spain, England, and Turkey. My job was to make sure that the surveillance computer equipment stayed in optimal conditions. It was a crucial job: many actions on-field depended on the accuracy of the information we obtained through technology.

Terrence Harkless_veteran

I returned to civilian life in 2005. I worked in the healthcare industry, but I was not getting the opportunities I wanted. I learned about the Herbalife Nutrition business opportunity through a friend of mine, whom I’ve known since we were 9-years-old. We both were athletes and we actually met running on the same track! He got me using the products and after getting great results from using them, combined with balanced nutrition and an active lifestyle, I started doing the business in 2013.

Many of my clients are folks who are still in the military. It makes perfect sense: a very important part of military life is staying fit, and they are willing to invest in products that will deliver results. Some of them have even taken up the business part-time since it’s a great way to make a supplemental income while staying healthy and active, which folks there already focus on.

The main lesson I learned from my time in the military and still apply today is: if you sign up for something, understand you may not know all the ins and outs, but you committed to a project, so stick to your word, deal with the good and the bad. Things are always going to change, and as long as you are willing to move forward, everything will work out.”

Military Veteran Wayne Atchley on Discipline and Integrity

“I served in the military for 20 years as a noncommissioned officer. It was the late 1970’s and, to be completely honest, I first joined because my two best friends did. They gave my name to the recruiter and I met with him (the pizza was really good). He painted a great picture of what the next four years might be like and I joined for what I thought would be four years only.  The military and its way of life have a funny way of changing your outlook and goals in many ways.

Veteran Stories - Wayne Atchley

I grew up in  a military area, so I wanted something different this time. While in the military I had eight professionally rewarding assignments: Montana, Delaware, Arizona, Texas, Turkey, North Dakota, Virginia, California and back to Virginia to retire.

What I learned in the military is what I am still doing: organization, discipline and making sure things get done correctly and timely. For most of my military and post-civilian careers, I’ve been in the administration and personnel management fields, so thoroughness and attention to detail are valuable skills. I’ve been with Herbalife Nutrition for over 10 years working as a Senior Executive Assistant supporting the CEO, the CFO, the President & Chief Strategic Officer and the EVP, Global Corporate Affairs. To get things done, you need method, hard work and a sense of humor.

The only reason I decided to retire after 20 years of service is because I promised my three daughters I would not uproot them during their high school years. In the military as you gain rank, you have to move approximately every 18 months because they need fresh leadership in your next assignment. This way, my daughters were able to keep their friends, pursue athletics and academic interests and have a foundation moving forward in life. Actually, my eldest daughter decided to follow in my footsteps and joined the military after 9/11 and served as an air traffic controller for six years on active duty, a job she has successfully been doing for the last eight years in Philadelphia as well.

If being a leader is already in your DNA, then the military helps you to take that trait to the next level where supervision and management come natural and taking care of the people who achieve the mission is an integral part of any success regardless if military or corporate.”

Iraq Veteran Jamie on Servant Leadership

“I served in the military for 13 years. During that time, I went overseas to Iraq in 2010. The military has been a huge part of my life. It has molded me into the person and leader I am today.”

Veteran Stories - Jamie Sieben

In Iraq I was an Aide-de-Camp to a General. That was my first experience with personal development: though the operation tempo was high, it was strongly encouraged to read. The leaders in the command group had several books on leadership and were kind enough to share them with me. But what really inspired me was the General’s style of leadership. He was a high ranking individual who listened to the soldiers and truly wanted to get to know them and understand from their point of view. He exemplified what servant leadership is.

When I returned to the U.S., I realized that I needed a shift in my priorities in life.  From work, work, and then family to God, family and then work. My family was involved with Herbalife Nutrition. My husband was using the products and my mother-in-law had opened a nutrition club. I tried the products, got amazing results and wanted to replicate the good my mother-in-law was doing in her community. She was changing lives, teaching and training coaches, and helping people become healthier and happier. I then left my corporate America job and jumped in with both feet into the Herbalife Nutrition business in 2010.

Today, I run a nutrition club in St. Cloud Minnesota. I get to help people transform their lives for the best while spending quality time with my husband and two amazing kids. For me, the core values I learned from serving in the military have helped me become a successful entrepreneur. These values determine how I run my business today:

I use the nutrition club to drive community engagement. We have held food drives and raised money for the Make A Wish foundation, women shelters, and ALS research. I’m excited for what the future brings. One of our goals is to have a Casa Herbalife in Minnesota and I am excited because I know it’s not “if”, it’s “when”.

We are also working on creating a program to support veterans in our town/state and provide them with healthy nutrition, a community and options for physical activity. “Healthy mind, body, spirit” is the motto for that initiative and also in my business and life.

Iraq Veteran Monica on Teamwork and Family

“I am a first generation Mexican-American. Both my parents are from Cuernavaca, Mexico. They migrated to the U.S. in 1980. They always talked about how important it was to support people who were aiming for a better life. So, since I was very little, my parents taught me about being grateful. That’s when I started feeling moved about helping others.

Veteran Stories - Monica Duran

I joined the military in 2006. I served for eight years and was deployed twice to Iraq. I joined because I’ve always been passionate about helping others. I had the dream of saving the world! I learned many valuable skills in the military. Teamwork and leadership were the most important ones. There, you lead by example and you take care of your colleagues like they are family.

I was deployed twice to Iraq. That meant too much time away from my son. The first time, he was nine years old, and I left for 15 months. The second time, he was 12 years old, and I left for a year. I missed spending quality time with him and watching him grow and thrive. I left the military in 2014 because I wanted to be with my family.

Health problems also influenced my decision. I passed my physical training test, but I didn’t meet my weight standard. The military required that I meet a weight-and-body-fat standard within 60 days. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to meet the requirements. That got me thinking about how I should care more for my health, and I decided to leave.

I started using Herbalife Nutrition products, along with diet and exercise, to lose weight. I lost 74 pounds.* It was life changing! I felt so energized and motivated I got into Business School, which the military paid for.

However, I wanted to earn extra income while studying. That is when I started doing the Herbalife Nutrition business in 2014. Herbalife Nutrition allowed me to focus on the two things that were more important for me: quality time with my family and achieving a healthy weight.

I used to feel anxious and have trouble sleeping, but this business changed the route of my life. I eat right, exercise, and have community support. I’m happy. Having lost weight is a plus, but what has really changed is my overall state of mind.

I look forward to what comes next for my husband and me. We are in the process of opening our own nutrition club in Spring, Texas, and I am so excited. I want to continue to fulfill my purpose of helping people be happier.”

*People who use Herbalife Nutrition Formula 1, twice a day as part of a healthy lifestyle, can generally expect to lose around half a pound to 1 pound per week.
Ibi Montesino

Ibi MontesinoExecutive Vice President, Chief of Staff

As executive vice president and Chief of Staff, Ibi Montesino helps the company deliver on its purpose of helping people live their best lives. In her role as Chief of Staff, she oversees all global distributor facing business, including sales, marketing and distributor operation functions, as well as all aspects of employee management and relations. Furthermore, she is helping the company achieve gains in productivity and impact, and execute on strategic, operational, and cultural agendas.