Lessons On Engagement From My Native American Sister And Iraq War Veteran

October 12, 2017 by

Native American Sister Last weekend I went home to the Native American Indian Reservation in northern Wisconsin on which I was raised. I always find it so grounding to go home to the “Res” as it is known to the locals. It was especially grounding this trip because I got to spend two and a half peaceful hours with my Chippewa little sister, Melissa Doud, on her new pontoon boat. Although I am not Native American, and not her blood brother, we share kindred spirits and souls, and much family and Native American history, not the least of which was dancing in the “Pow Wows” for the white tourists in the summer.

Thus it was with great emotion that I listened to Melissa talk about her 20-year defense of our country as an active in the army, her one Iraq “tour” and the subsequent PTSD, and her divorce, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts. Melissa shared three key factors on how she made it through this challenging time of her life, all of which are also helpful to employees facing similar despair in their jobs:

– She kept forging ahead, trying to stay as active and positive as humanly possible.
– She asked for help, especially from fellow combat veterans, support groups, and therapists.
– She used her children for both emotional anchoring and inspiration, especially recognizing that restoring her state of mental health was essential for her kids’ survival.

Wow. No matter what side of the current kneeling or no kneeling NFL drama you are on, I hope you can salute military veterans like Melissa and what they have done to protect our rights to free speech and democracy.

As a special thank you to this special veteran, I implore you to vote for her song “Bullet Dress,” which is up for a Native American Music Award in Category 14. (You can listen to Bullet Dress on Soundcloud.) In the song, she references her Chippewa name, Animikiikwe, pronounced (Ah-nimi-key-kwe), which means “Thunder Woman” or “The Storm is Coming.” Lastly, I encourage you to share this link on your social media sites and ask your friends to vote for her song as well.

With unending gratitude to all veterans who have served our country,
Gaagige Nisayenh
(The Chippewa name given to me by Melissa this trip, which means “Forever Brother.”)
Native American Sister


Kevin Sheridan is an internationally-recognized Keynote Speaker, a New York Times Best Selling Author, and one of the most sought-after voices in the world on the topic of Employee Engagement. For five years running, he has been honored on Inc. Magazine’s top 100 Leadership Speakers in the world, as well as Inc.’s top 100 experts on Employee Engagement. He was also honored to be named to The Employee Engagement Award’s Top 101 Global Influencers on Employee Engagement of 2017.

Having spent thirty years as a high-level Human Capital Management consultant, Kevin has helped some of the world’s largest corporations rebuild a culture that fosters productive engagement, earning him several distinctive awards and honors. Kevin’s premier creation, PEER®, has been consistently recognized as a long-overdue, industry-changing innovation in the field of Employee Engagement. His first book, Building a Magnetic Culture, made six of the best seller lists including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He is also the author of The Virtual Manager, which explores how to most effectively manage remote workers.

Kevin received a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1988, concentrating his degree in Strategy, Human Resources Management, and Organizational Behavior. He is also a serial entrepreneur, having founded and sold three different companies.

Email: kevin@kevinsheridanllc.com