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Valerie Lavin Helps U.S. Veterans Become Entrepreneurs

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Valerie Lavin

Valerie Lavin isn’t your typical retired veteran.

She’s taken her experience and given back in another way. Today, she helps veterans start and build their own businesses.

And, fortunately, for all of us, she shared her wisdom in today’s interview.

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Give us a brief background of who you are for those that don’t know.

Valerie Ellis Lavin, retired Army First Sergeant, is the CEO of her own company Luminary Global, a healthcare staffing company providing locum tenens as well as healthcare products to government and commercial clients. Valerie is best known for her passion to help Veterans, and their families start their own businesses. A passion she has been pursuing and refining for nearly four years.


Retiring in 2014, Valerie has since woven herself in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Tampa Bay. She is a natural connector often referred to as a “person you have to know” in the Veteran and entrepreneurial communities. Valerie’s experience in startup education, program development, and event execution was sought out by the founders of Action Zone, Inc (AZI).

Upon it’s launch in May 2018, Valerie has been advising the development of AZI’s programming and community development in her role as Deputy Executive Director. AZI supports the military family to include spouses and dependent children of any age.

The organization strives to be the entry point into the entrepreneurship ecosystem providing support at the ideation stage preparing Veteran owned startups for successful and sustainable launches and is a proud community partner of the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program.

AZI is the entrepreneurial service organization feeding into existing incubators and accelerators not competing with them. Valerie is a certified Ice House Entrepreneur Program Facilitator from the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative as well as a certified CO.STARTERS Facilitator.

Valerie’s recognitions include:

  • 2017 Business Woman of the Year Honeree and winner of the “Roar” Award – Tampa Bay Business Journal,
  • 2016 Susie Steiner’s Community Impact Award – Hillsborough Community College,
  • 2015 Hero at Work Award – Tampa Bay Business Journal,
  • 2014 Army Noncommissioned Officer of the Year – Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

Valerie serves as Vice President for National Veteran Small Business Coalition – Central Florida Chapter, Program Director for Women in Defense – Greater Tampa Bay Chapter, USF’s Center for Veteran and Military Family Transition, Professional Philanthropy Network, and Mission United – Transition Committee.

In your current role, what do you help people achieve?

Learn to start their own businesses

How did you go about this career path?

The opportunity was presented to continue to serve veterans when I retired to start their own businesses.


Describe one or two moments in your life that shaped who you are today.

When I enlisted in the Army and when I was given the opportunity to continue to serve in retirement.

What are aspiring and current entrepreneurs and freelancers missing when it comes to your area of expertise? How do you help bridge that gap?

The fundamentals of running a business. We provide the necessary education in the ideation stage of the entrepreneurship journey.

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Regarding your core products and services, what can you tell us about it? Why should we care?

Luminary Global: Luminary Global provides superior pre-hospital products to military and first responders who are the lifeline between preventable death and hospital care.

Action Zone: We provide education and advocacy for the entire military community seeking an alternative to traditional employment. We support military spouses and dependents who create businesses that are impervious to the nomadic nature of military life for families.

If you were just starting your business today, what would be the first 2 or 3 things you would do to market yourself and your product/service? What would you do differently today vs. what you did to begin yours previously?

I would become more educated on business finance and government contracting.

What’s really killing it for you as a marketing channel today?


What is your biggest revenue driver?

We took a major shift in Luminary in January so we are still trying to figure that out.

Is there anything else you would like to share with Hero Story readers?

Your transition from service begins with networking.

About Valerie Lavin

Email address: valerie.ellis7@gmail.com

Company Name: Luminary Global and Action Zone


Social Media:

  • @luminarygloballlc
  • @globalluminary
  • @_luminaryglobal
  • @actionzonetampa
  • @actionzone4vets

Products or Services You Offer: Pre-hospital care emergency products/entrepreneurship education to veterans, military and their family members.