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Joining the Air Force was a family tradition for Empower AI’s Bridget Medeiros. Her father served for 25 years as a security investigation officer, and her mother was one of the first women to join the Air Force in 1953. 

So, soon after high school, taking the oath seemed like a logical next step. But Medeiros explained that the decision was more complicated. 

“Honestly, I wasn’t quite ready to go to college,” she explained. “Joining the Air Force was a way for me to have a safety net under me and go explore the world on my own. The experience propelled me into figuring out what I really wanted to do with my life. It gave me the freedom to find who I was and what I wanted to become.” 

And what a journey it has been for Medeiros ever since. She served for three years as a security officer in the Air Force’s military police, and like her mom before her, Medeiros broke her own “glass ceiling” by becoming one of the first women ever to serve as a security police officer in the Air Force. She was also the first female to be promoted to desk sergeant, and if that wasn’t enough, she was selected as the “Airman of the Year” for the Air Force Security Police in 1982. 

“The military was a really interesting experience,” said Medeiros, adding that she spent most of her time in uniform at two Royal Air Force bases in the United Kingdom. “It was pretty much an all-male force at the time, which presented a lot of challenges, but it motivated me. I had a strong aptitude to direct and understand critical mission, whatever it happened to be, which is why they promoted me. It drove my sense of mission every day.” 

Today, Medeiros’ mission is different, but her idea of service is the same. She is the Executive Vice President and Chief Growth Officer at Empower AI, a company that has supported the U.S. Armed Forces for more than 30 years. That long history supporting the military was definitely a selling point when she joined the company in 2016.

 

“Understanding the military culture is really important to understanding one of our largest customers,” Medeiros explained, noting proudly that more that 60 percent of Empower AI’s business portfolio serves the Department of Defense. “And for many of our veterans here at Empower AI, we still have that sense of mission with the work we do for the government. It brings a great sense of pride to me.”  

Medeiros said she learned many things during her military service, but without question, the most important lesson was figuring out what kind of leader she wanted to be, and just as important, what kind of leader she didn’t want to be.  

“From the time you enter basic training, you get a lot of lessons on what leadership is all about, as well as a sense of community,” she said. “For me, the best leaders were the ones who took care of their people they served with, and how they treated others in their community. That’s what I strive to do every day.” 

 

During November, to honor Military Family Appreciation Month and Veterans Day, Medeiros said it’s an important time to reflect and think about all the great work the military has done for the nation and our freedoms. 

“We get to live in the greatest nation on Earth, because of the freedom provided to us by the great men, women and their families in our military,” she said. “So, it’s a time to say thank you, and a time to reflect on the idea that regardless of political, religious or any other belief, we are one nation, one community, and we all serve together.” 

 

★★★

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BRIDGET MEDEIROS

U.S. Air Force Veteran, and now Executive Vice President,

Chief Growth Officer, Empower AI