PenFed Military Women Startup Accelerator finalist
Valerie Lavin: Luminary Global CEO and Founder
Retired Army 1st Sgt. Valerie Lavin is a former signals intelligence analyst but also describes herself as a natural-born entrepreneur. Thinking on her current success as the founder and CEO of Luminary Global, Lavin arrives at her father’s story as a Vietnam veteran and business owner. To be near and support his family, Lavin’s father went back to Vietnam as a contractor and opened a bar.
“It was because of the money he had from the bar that he was essentially able to buy us a seat on the airplane to get out of Saigon in 1974,” she said. “It’s full circle and living the American dream…I wouldn’t be here in this country if it weren’t for an entrepreneur. And now, I’m an entrepreneur.”
As she transitioned into retirement, Lavin noticed a concerning number of service members who had trouble translating their military experience into civilian employment. In the true essence of a first sergeant, Lavin dedicated the early years of her retirement to developing and promoting resources for military-affiliated entrepreneurs. However, by 2019, Lavin and her husband Jeremy were ready to tap into those same resources for themselves.
The Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation recently named Lavin a finalist and grant recipient from their Military Women Startup Accelerator. She is among 10 entrepreneurs who received a $3,000 investment after attending the 10-week “boot camp” with more than 260 other business owners. Seminars or “modules” provided during the course focused on entrepreneur education and expanding a startup. Mentoring through the accelerator helped to broaden and validate Lavin’s vision for the company.
PenFed’s Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program also named Luminary Global in their fall 2021 cohort Master Program. Startups participating in the intensive 12-month incubator will grow their companies and develop a pitch for future investors.
Luminary Global serves citizens and emergency professionals by providing first-aid medical and tactical supplies in customizable kits.
“For example, we’re working with a local sheriff’s department to design a bleeding control kit specifically to fit in their uniform cargo pockets and on their body armor,” Lavin explained.
Private citizens can also count on Luminary Global for preparedness supplies with customizable hygiene and sanitization, automotive, and food and water kits. Find more information at LuminaryGlobal.com.