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The FourBlock Podcast

May 31, 2021

This week, we welcome U.S. Army Veteran and XcelMil, LLC Founder and CEO Melody Gratic to the FourBlock Podcast. In an inspiring and informative conversation with hosts Lindsey Pollak and Mike Abrams, Melody reflects on some of the highlights and lessons learned from her longtime military service, her experience as a Black woman leader in the military, and her transition from the military to the civilian workforce. She recalls her path to becoming an entrepreneur and shares actionable advice for service members preparing to transition and organizations that want to hire them.

Melody’s story began in poverty-stricken apartments of Panama City, FL, where she developed several distinct qualities: discipline, passion, perseverance, and an unwavering dedication to achieve her dreams.

Determined to defy statistics, Melody resolved to join the U.S. Army in order to serve her country and pursue her education. She believes these two objectives fueled her desire to further achieve the American Dream by venturing into entrepreneurship.

Melody went on to serve for 24 years in the U.S. Army in a number of roles and positions in operations and training management to include the Operations Manager of U.S. Army Garrison Brussels and Instructor Facilitator of the 7th Army Noncommissioned Officer Academy.

Upon her transition, Melody served in the White House Transportation Agency under President George Bush, Jr. and President Barak Obama. She went on to start her own business, XcelMil, LLC, which offers a suite of professional and intellectual services to educate and develop leaders. Under her leadership, XcelMil, LLC supports the staff at Virginia Career Works and their affiliate programs. She is an active member of the Fredericksburg Society of Human Resources; Association for Talent Development; and The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.

Melody currently collaborates with Government Contractors in the Professional Services Industry on projects related to multiple generations in the workplace specifically, Millennials, diversity and inclusion, employee engagement and retention, workplace conflict and veteran/military spouse hiring initiatives.

Melody received a Master of Educational Leadership in Administration from Trident International University. She has also reviewed, edited and provided insight to a number of published authors. She is a proud wife, godmother, aunt and resides in the Northern Virginia area.



Welcome to the FourBlock Podcast, a show that examines veteran career transition and the military-civilian divide in the workplace.

General Charles Krulak coined the term "Three Block War" to describe the nature of 21st-century military service defined by peace-keeping, humanitarian aid, and full combat.

But what happens next? Veterans are often unprepared to return home and begin new careers. We call this the Fourth Block. 

FourBlock is a national non-profit that has supported thousands of transitioning service members across the nation in beginning new and meaningful careers. 

Mike Abrams (@fourblock) is an Afghanistan veteran, founder of FourBlock, and author of two military transition books. He represents the military transition perspective.

Lindsey Pollak (@lindsaypollak) is a career and workplace expert and New York Times bestselling author of three career advice books. Lindsey represents the civilian perspective of this issue. 

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Podcast episodes are produced and edited by the Columbia University Center for Veteran Transition and Integration.