Waukon native Mollie Marti named Presidential Scholar in program focused on assisting U.S. Veterans and families

One of 34 nationwide selected to participate in Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program this year through George W. Bush Institute

Mollie Marti, Waukon native and founding CEO of the nonprofit Worldmaker International, has been named one of 34 Presidential Scholars as part of the George W. Bush Institute’s Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program. The program is a first-of-its-kind initiative aimed at individuals serving United States military veterans and their families who are motivated to broaden their skillsets, knowledge and influence across the country.

Participants were selected after a rigorous application and interview process. Throughout the five-month program, Scholars will meet with a variety of distinguished professionals, educators and experts in veteran transition and leadership development such as the eighth United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald and retired United States Air Force General Alfred Flowers.

Marti is a social psychologist and former lawyer who studies the individual and social dynamics of trauma recovery, resilience and growth. The THRIVE Resilience Model she developed is widely used in military and first responder health, crisis response, community and school-based resilience, and workplace wellness. She founded Worldmaker in response to a cluster of local suicides in Iowa, and has led its growth to partner with organizations and communities to help their people prepare for, adapt to, and grow through the emotional and mental toll of dealing with daily stressors and acute hardships. Marti’s leadership books have been translated into eight languages, and her Resiliency Matters TV show provides free resilience education to learners worldwide.

“My work with veterans and military families has been shaped by my father’s military service, my mother losing her brother to war, and other family members who have served,” said Marti. “I am honored to be part of a group of Scholars who have demonstrated such a sincere desire to learn and collaborate to create solutions and supports for those who sacrifice so much for our collective freedoms.”

The former Mollie Weighner, she is a 1984 graduate of Waukon High School and the daughter of the late Philip and Catherine “Kate” Weighner of Waukon. She is married to fellow 1984 Waukon High School graduate Monte Marti, son of Shirley and the late Harold Marti of the rural Lansing area.

The Veteran Leadership Program is part of the Bush Institute’s commitment to developing and supporting effective leaders, and it builds on the organization’s extensive body of work on veteran transition issues. Each participant joins the program with a personal leadership project, which allows them to implement what they learn in the program in service of improving outcomes in veteran and military-connected communities across the United States.

During the five-month program, Marti will develop an initiative focused on reducing mental health stigma in military-connected communities. She aims to help leaders actively promote connection and help-seeking as an essential aspect of resilience building.

Marti was recommended for the program by Jeff Buchanan, Lt. General, U.S. Army (Retd) and Colonel David Richmond, British Army (Retd), both of whom serve as Worldmaker board members. “Mollie is a bold and brilliant leader who has dedicated her life to helping others. We are thrilled she was awarded this fellowship and know that her leadership project will support even more veterans to thrive,” said Worldmaker Director of Programs, Maya Tadmor-Anderman.

The new cohort of Scholars joins an active network of more than 130 alumni from four previous classes that represent a wide range of sectors working to improve veteran outcomes. They hold a variety of roles including business and community leaders, members of veteran-serving nonprofits, leaders in government and academia, and active and reserve military service members.

The George W. Bush Institute is a solution-oriented nonpartisan policy organization focused on ensuring opportunity for all, strengthening democracy, and advancing free societies. Housed within the George W. Bush Presidential Center located in Dallas, TX, the Bush Institute is rooted in compassionate conservative values and committed to creating positive, meaningful, and lasting change at home and abroad. The Institute utilizes its unique platform and convening power to advance solutions to national and global issues of the day. Learn more about the Institute and its programs at bushcenter.org.