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From Uniform to Unstoppable: Reinventing My Professional Image After 30 Years in the Military

After dedicating 30 years to my military career in the United States Air Force, the transition into civilian life and the business world was a profound journey of reinvention. Leaving behind a uniform and stepping into a new professional landscape required embracing change, discovering new strengths, and building a brand that resonated with my true self. Here’s my story of how I reinvented my professional image and enhanced my personal brand.

Embracing the Need for Change

Transitioning from the military to civilian life was a significant shift. The structured, regimented environment of the Air Force was vastly different from the dynamic, often unpredictable world of business. Recognizing the need for change was the first step. I knew that to succeed outside the military, I had to reinvent my professional image in a way that reflected my new goals and aspirations.

Tip: Embrace the necessity of change. Acknowledge that what worked in one phase of your life may not be suitable for the next. Be open to new possibilities and willing to adapt.

Reflecting on My Strengths and Passions

The next step in my reinvention journey was introspection. I took the time to reflect on my strengths, passions, and the skills I had acquired during my military career. Leadership, strategic planning, and a commitment to excellence were among the qualities I identified. However, I also needed to align these strengths with my new path: empowering women professionals through my business, SLAY To Success.

Tip: Conduct a self-assessment to identify your core strengths and passions. These will serve as the foundation for your new professional image.

Defining My Vision and Goals

With a clear understanding of my strengths and passions, I defined my new vision and goals. I wanted to create a brand that resonated with women professionals, offering them strategies to step confidently into their memorable personal brands. My mission was to empower women to feel good, look good, and be seen, valued, and heard.

Tip: Define a clear vision for your new professional image. This vision should encapsulate your goals and reflect your true passions.

Updating My Appearance and Wardrobe

Leaving the military meant saying goodbye to the uniform and hello to a new professional wardrobe. I sought out clothing that was both stylish and representative of my new role as a business leader and image consultant. Investing in a new wardrobe helped me feel confident and ready to take on the business world.

Tip: Your appearance plays a crucial role in your professional image. Invest in a wardrobe that reflects your new brand and makes you feel confident.

Enhancing My Online Presence

In today’s digital age, a strong online presence is essential. I updated my LinkedIn profile, launched a professional website, and became active on social media platforms. Sharing my journey, insights, and the mission of SLAY To Success helped me connect with a broader audience and establish my new brand.

Tip: Ensure your online presence aligns with your new professional image. Update your profiles, share relevant content, and engage with your audience.

Developing New Skills

To thrive in the business world, I knew I needed to develop new skills. I enrolled in courses on business management, marketing, and personal branding. These new skills not only enhanced my knowledge but also added credibility to my brand.

Tip: Continuously seek opportunities to learn and grow. Developing new skills will keep you relevant and enhance your professional image.

Networking and Building Connections

Building a network of like-minded professionals was crucial to my reinvention. I attended industry events, joined professional organizations, and connected with individuals who aligned with my new brand. Networking opened doors to new opportunities and collaborations.

Tip: Actively network to build connections that support and enhance your new professional image. Attend events, join organizations, and engage with your community.

Showcasing My Expertise

To establish my new brand, I began showcasing my expertise through public speaking engagements, workshops, and online content. Sharing my knowledge and experiences helped position me as a thought leader in personal branding and image consulting.

Tip: Demonstrate your expertise by sharing valuable content and participating in speaking engagements. This will build your credibility and reinforce your professional image.


Reinventing my professional image after a 30-year military career was a transformative journey. It required embracing change, reflecting on my strengths, defining a clear vision, updating my appearance, enhancing my online presence, developing new skills, networking strategically, and showcasing my expertise. This reinvention not only helped me succeed in the business world but also allowed me to empower and inspire other women professionals.

To all the women ready to slay their personal brand, remember that reinvention is about becoming the best version of yourself. Embrace the journey, trust in your strengths, and let your true passions guide you.

Keep on SLAYin' until you can't SLAY no more!

With admiration and support, Rochelle "SLAY Queen" Hemingway

About The Author:

Rochelle "SLAY Queen" Hemingway is a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant 30-year veteran. Rochelle has a passion for empowering others which led her to pursue further education in strategic leadership and to become a certified image consultant. Rochelle combined her military experience with specialized training that offers a unique perspective and valuable insights to those looking to elevate their personal and professional presence.

Nowadays, people seek out Rochelle for advice about body language, conversation, networking etiquette, and wardrobe. She is a self-published author of 3 books:

1."SLAY To Success",

2."Own Your Power: Building A Memorable Personal Brand To Gain Opportunities for Women 40 & Beyond 

3. "Elevate Your Image: Personal Brand Strategies"

As a professional keynote speaker, she has conducted many presentations and workshops for the United States Air Force, businesses, and corporations. Rochelle helps women and organizations achieve professional success by working with them on their image and impact. She also works with women one-on-one on personal branding coaching, image consulting, virtual presence optimization, and executive presence development. Visit

Rochelle started SLAY To Success, LLC to create a world where women step into their authentic personal brand to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with men as influential leaders, decision-makers, and change agents across all sectors.

The word SLAY means to kill it, to dominate it, and to nail it; to dream and work hard until you own it; to be on point and to impress greatly.

The word SLAY is also an acronym that stands for universal life and leadership philosophies that she implements in her daily life: S-stay ready to be ready, L-lead out loud, A-a sense of family/community, and Y-you are built to last.

Subscribe to the SLAY To Success YouTube Channel for personal branding strategies

Book a free 30-minute call to chat with me about how I can support you and or your organization's goals. 

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