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Lydia DaveyFull name: Lydia Davey

Age: 30

Location: San Francisco

Title: Founder, Moriah Creatives PR

Branch of Service: U.S. Marine Corps

As the founder of Moriah Creatives PR, 30-year-old Marine veteran Lydia Davey helps small businesses grow strong brands. With a team of six creatives, Davey’s firm does everything from redesigning websites to brand identity work to securing media coverage for clients.

As an entrepreneur, Davey loves the freedom she has to choose clients who are doing incredible and meaningful work. “My passion is to work on projects that bring life, color, creativity, hope, and justice to the world, and I think that passion is shared by the clients we work with,” she tells Task & Purpose.

Why she joined the Marine Corps

Davey joined the Marine Corps in 2003, and attributes this decision both to patriotism and needing to be kicked with a hard dose of discipline. She talked to recruiters from all the services, but settled on the Marine Corps because it was the one she viewed as the greatest challenge.

“I credit my self-discipline, toughness, and some of my best friendships to my time in the Corps,” Davey says. “It changed my life, for better and worse, in some profound ways.”

While she doesn’t idealize her time in the Corps, she says it enabled her to see the world, learn grit, courage, and good humor, and make some lifelong friends.

On transitioning out of the military

Davey worked as a military journalist and press chief for nearly a decade before launching her own business, and considers that experience part of the education that empowered her to start and grow a company. She also worked on her bachelor’s degree, in bits and pieces, for nearly a decade before graduating from Indiana University last year.

Looking back, Davey says her military service taught her that she was capable of so much more than she thought possible. “Each time I reached what I thought were my limits, I was able to push through. Human beings are freaking incredible, and I keep that knowledge with me in my daily life,” she explains.

Two pivotal moments in her life

Davey pushed herself to new limits in 2012 when she went on a dog-sledding expedition with Outward Bound. Davey had always equated compassion with weakness, but the trip helped her realize that it was possible to be a great leader who was also kind.

“After the expedition, I dove into a study on compassion, humility, and service, and it absolutely changed my leadership style and the way I relate to people,” she said.

Then in 2013, a friend challenged Davey to risk faith and stop living within the bounds of her control. Inspired, she moved from Indiana to San Francisco to establish her business.

“It was a huge leap, and it’s been challenging, but so rewarding,” Davey says. “I wake up every morning stoked about life and business, and thrilled that I get to live in a city packed with some of the most brilliant and creative people in the world.”

Her advice for transitioning veterans

Davey says the best thing transitioning veterans can do is to take ownership of their career now, even if they are planning to go back to school first.

“Figure out what you’re good at, and start doing it — as a volunteer, an independent consultant, or an intern,” she recommends.

“Focus on growing your personal brand so the fact that you’re a veteran is a secondary narrative, and not the first thing you tell people. Don’t hobble yourself to that identity. Your best, most adventurous years may be ahead of you yet.”