Q&A with Dog Tag, Inc. CEO, Megan Ogilvie


1.     What inspired you to become involved in Dog Tag Inc ? Was there a specific catalyst or was it more of a general organization addressing a social need that you sought to be a part of?

 I came from a Marine Corps family. My father and sister both served and attended the Naval Academy, and I’ve always had the passion about service that comes with being part of a military family, but knew that serving wasn’t the specific route for me. My dad always told me “You’ll find your way to serve." I heard about Father Curry and the program he was starting from a friend, and having always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit, I decided I wanted to be a part of it. His and Connie Milstein’s commitment to not only veterans but their spouses as well really inspired me. I also liked that the program combined an educational piece with job experience.

2. Can you tell me about a specific time or instance in which you felt your mission was really being exemplified?

 As a start-up, we essentially grew with our first class of fellows. It’s really meaningful to see them come back to the bakery after having graduated from the program.  We’ve had vets say that they’ve come back because they feel like it’s their place. Knowing that we were able to provide them with a vehicle through which they can succeed has been very meaningful, as well as hearing them say how some of the things they learned in the classes (like the importance of being able to tell your own story) have been vital to them post-program has been awesome. Seeing them put their skills into use makes me feel very fortunate that we were able to be the launching pad.

Thousands of dog tags comprise a chandelier at Dog Tag Bakery

Thousands of dog tags comprise a chandelier at Dog Tag Bakery

 3. What challenges does your role with Dog Tag present and how do you handle those challenges? 

 One of the challenges is thinking about both the mission of our program and the needs of the business at the same time. We are always thinking of recruiting, how to market the bakery, how to drive traffic, but also having to make sure that the program is effective. There are also challenges with being a start-up and having to figure many things out for the first time, and not knowing all of the answers. We’re very lucky to have a staff that gives their 110 percent as well as such inspiring founders with a great vision and passion.

4. What has your work with Dog Tag taught you that you carry into the rest of your life? 

The importance of showing up and pushing the mission forward. Everyone here has a reason for being involved and a passion for the mission and it’s important to have the drive to come back and face challenges day after day. Watching our fellows succeed has reinforced the importance of what we are doing and why our mission is important.

Close up on the chandelier

Close up on the chandelier

About the Author: Marisa Weidner is a graduate of The College of William and Mary. She has volunteered as a teacher in Belize, and in homeless shelters in the United States. Marisa chronicles her explorations of DC on her blog, The Curated City