Dog Tag CEO Meghan Ogilvie was recently a guest on Bloomberg Chief Washington Correspondent Kevin Cirilli’s podcast, “Sound On.” Listen here.
The Dog Tag Fellowship Program is still going strong thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff and fellows.
A recent article for Eater DC explored how the program is continuing while the bakery is closed and our team is working from home.
“We went through phases depending on what was happening with the government to make sure everyone was healthy and safe,” says Claire Witko, director of programs at the bakery. “The [fellows] we work with joined this program for a reason. They’re speaking a greater purpose for themselves. They want to be connected to a community. They’re looking for that next step. We decided we can still deliver that with a virtual model.”
All guest speakers, including Georgetown professors and representatives from companies like Hilton and Boeing, have gone virtual, too. Witko says the virtual curriculum also lets family members join brainstorming sessions. Breaks encouraging people to get outside for “mindfulness sessions” are now regularly scheduled.
#DogTagPivot will be a temporary series highlighting how some Dog Tag alumni are adapting their businesses in light of COVID-19.
“Life doesn’t always go according to plan,” says Dog Tag CEO Meghan Ogilvie, “Often we have to pivot, both personally and professionally, and this unprecedented time is no exception. By design, our Living Business School provides our fellows the unique opportunity to see first-hand how we constantly adapt in order to ensure our mission is the driving force behind all our decisions. We strive to teach and model resilience and perseverance, equipping our fellows and alumni with the tools, resources, and mindset to navigate the changes and curve balls thrown their way.”
“Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.”
– Winston Churchill
This week, Dog Tag Bakery made the difficult decision to temporarily close our Georgetown store in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This wasn’t an easy decision for our small business, but it’s the right thing to do for the health of our employees, fellows, customers, and everyone who is part of our community.
The bakery will be unable to serve the public in-store until it has been determined that we can safely operate. However, the online store remains open and products can be shipped nationwide. You can also purchase gift cards to use in the future or to give to friends and family.
Also, our fellowship program will continue virtually so that the veterans, military spouses and caregivers who are part of the program can continue their education. And I know they will come out of this even stronger having had the experience of helping to run a business in these circumstances.
While we are all in uncharted waters at this point in our country’s history, what we do know is that the American people are resilient and determined and there will be brighter days ahead. That doesn’t mean there won’t be people who are severely impacted – even if they never get sick – and for many of our friends and neighbors, the recovery will be very difficult once the crisis has passed. We are keeping everyone who is going through a challenging time in our thoughts and prayers, and we will do everything in our power to lift up the people in our community during and after this tragedy.
Until then, we appreciate everyone who has supported our program and bakery over the last few years, and we hope you and your family stay safe and healthy. And we look forward to seeing you again soon.
Please visit the Dog Tag Bakery website for more information about the program and current operations.
In Father Rick Curry, S.J., I found a kindred spirit. We shared a passion for service and empowering others to build meaningful and purposeful lives.
Father Curry is no longer with us, but it’s important that we continue sharing his story. One of the ways we do that is to celebrate his life and legacy every year around his birthday on March 18.
When our paths first crossed many years ago, it was immediately clear that we were brought together to make a difference – or “bake a difference,” as we like to say at Dog Tag Inc.
We both have personal connections to the military community, particularly military spouses and veterans with service-related injuries. And we both believe in teaching a man or woman how to fish — providing a hand up, not a hand out.
It was a match made in heaven for a Jesuit father and this Jewish godmother to join forces and launch the Dog Tag program.
Father Curry was born into a middle-class Irish family in Philadelphia in 1943. At birth, he was missing his right forearm. That put him in a position of being uniquely familiar with the challenges faced by people with disabilities. Later in life, as a Jesuit priest, he was frequently called to counsel amputees. After 9/11, he was particularly inspired to help veterans with service-connected disabilities find meaning and gainful employment after serving our country.
Father Curry earned a doctorate in theater from NYU and founded National Theater Workshop of the Handicapped, a theater company and school that provided training and performing space for writers and performers with disabilities. He also founded the Wounded Warriors Writers’ workshop program. He truly lived a life of service for others.
Together in 2013, in the heart of Georgetown, we opened Dog Tag Bakery. But it was to be much more than a bakery. Soon after, we launched the Dog Tag fellowship program.
The five-month long fellowship offers military veterans with service-connected disabilities, military spouses, and caregivers a business education at Georgetown University (where Father Curry was an Adjunct Professor of Catholic Studies), hands-on learning and skills development in a real small business at Dog Tag Bakery, career exploration, business plan creation, and wellness practices. Fellows leave the program having had a holistic experience that prepares them for the next phase of their lives.
You can see Father Curry’s impact in the success of Dog Tag’s alumni. It’s inspiring to watch so many of these incredible individuals go on to find purpose as entrepreneurs, nonprofit founders, and community leaders. Their involvement in communities across the United States will produce countless positive outcomes for many years to come. Father Curry’s commitment to service continues to be an inspiration to us all.
Father Curry passed away on December 19, 2015. We miss him dearly, but his spirit lives on every day at Dog Tag Inc. In years past, we’ve celebrated St. Patrick’s Day and Father Curry’s birthday with a float in Washington, D.C.’s annual parade. We will be unable to have an in-person gathering this year, but many of us in the Dog Tag family will take personal moments throughout the day to honor his memory. On March 18, please join us in taking time to thank Father Curry for his service and contributions.