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A retired United States Marine Corps Captain now serving as a Regional Director for FourBlock, Queta Rodriguez has devoted her career to being a servant leader in her community. This week on the FourBlock Podcast, Queta reflects on her military experience in an inspiring conversation with hosts Lindsey Pollak and Mike Abrams, recalling why she joined the military; the challenges and opportunities that arose from serving in the Marines as a mother of four, a woman, and a Latina; and what about her enlisted experience made her want to become an officer.
Queta shares some of the mistakes she made and challenges she faced during her own transition when she retired from the military and translates those lessons learned into actionable advice for service members who are preparing to transition today: “I always tell service members, prepare, prepare, prepare. Don’t underestimate the value of your network and leverage that. Build those relationships. Nurture those relationships. Even if you haven’t seen someone for a long time, you know that there are people that trust you, that you trust, that can help you when the time comes.”
A native of San Antonio, Texas, Queta enlisted in the Marines in December 1991 and spent 10 years as an Intelligence Analyst. During this time, she deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia in support of Operation Restore Hope and went on to serve in numerous locations in the Pacific and Southwest Asia.
Queta was selected to the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP) and attended the University of Maryland, College Park, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics. She was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in June 2001 and spent the next 10 years as an Adjutant and Manpower Operations Officer in support of deployed forces around the world. Her final assignment was as the Manpower Operations Officer at U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command, where she deployed extensively in support of Marine forces in Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East.
Following her retirement in January 2012, Queta served as the Bexar County Veteran Services Office Director, where she oversaw the county’s veteran services programs and served as an advocate for military and veteran families. Queta serves as Co-Chair for the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Community Veterans Engagement Board in San Antonio and volunteers with numerous veterans and community organizations. Queta currently serves as Regional Director for FourBlock, where she manages the growth and execution of the Four Block Career Readiness Program in Texas and the South-Central region. In 2021, she was named to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Women Veteran’s (CWV) 2021 Trailblazers. She is the proud mother of four beautiful children.
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, FourBlock founder, and author of two military transition books. He’ll be representing 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 will be representing the civilian perspective of this issue.
Veterans, explore new industries and make the right connections. Find a career that fits your calling. Join us at fourblock.org. Sponsor our program or host a class to equip more of our veterans at fourblock.org/donate.