This Licensed Psychologist Helps Military Veterans Transition to Civilian Careers

Patrick Powaser’s experience as a psychologist and executive coach helps him uncover jobs that his mentees are likely to enjoy.
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Turtles are fast and nimble in the water but awkward and clumsy on land. Patrick Powaser, who is a licensed psychologist in Hawai‘i and Texas and an executive coach, says that observation guides how he mentors.

“If you try to teach a turtle to climb a tree, everyone’s going to be frustrated,” says Powaser, the founder of Ho‘ohana Coaching & Consulting.

After working for large companies for nearly 25 years, Powaser traded it all in for his own consulting practice in 2016. He now coaches clients in 13 time zones, operating mostly remotely from his office in Līhu‘e. He also volunteers with American Corporate Partners, assisting military personnel transitioning to civilian jobs.

Powaser says part of his responsibility as a volunteer is to listen and to understand what the military people he works with appreciated about their service and what they are ready to let go. He also helps them find ways to take what they learned in the military and turn that into a marketable skill.

“Those retiring from the military … can be assets in Hawaiʻi’s civilian workforce.”

– Patrick Powaser, founder of Ho‘ohana Coaching & Consulting

“If I can help them make that transition a little bit easier – to find people to talk to, develop their network and find a role that’s going to make them happy in that next chapter of their career – that’s a win all the way around,” he says.

He says his main motivation for mentoring is his desire to give back. And, he says, it helps knowing that many of those retiring from the military have specialized skills that can be assets in Hawai‘i’s civilian workforce.

“That’s a largely untapped resource for Hawai‘i,” he says, and “many of them want to be here and contribute.”

Now is the perfect time to shift careers because of all of the unpredictability and change over the last few years, Powaser says. However, he adds, finding a position that fits can take trial and error.

“Treat it all as an experiment,” he says. “If it doesn’t work, you’ll learn something from it.”


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Categories: Mentorship