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Army veteran says military background makes her a different kind of mother

Army veteran Lia Coronado sitting on brick steps
Lia Coronado's entrepreneurship photoshoot, hosted by FGCU. Lia took what she learned in the entrepreneurship program and applies it to her business daily.

Lia Coronado says she was not the most responsible person in high school.

"I wasn't going down the right path," recalled Coronado. "Through my high school years, I was partying a lot and doing some things that I really shouldn't have. And the military really took me out of that situation, and forced me to kind of get on the right path. Man, if I wouldn't have gone into the military, who knows the person I would have been today."

And the person she is today is a mother. Her first daughter arrived when she was just about to deploy.

"I was actually about to get deployed to Djibouti Africa," said Coronado. "And I didn't get to. But I did make sure that my platoon and my section were ready to deploy."

Coronado says that her military background makes her a different kind of mother.

"So with my three kids, like I am not the nice Mom," said Coronado. "I'm like straight to the point, 'we're waking up, I'm turning on the lights, you guys need to get up,'" said Coronado. "It's definitely given me a lot of discipline in the workplace too. So every job that I've had and even with my business, I've always have been very disciplined in everything that I do. I pay attention to detail, which is something that they like, instill in you a lot."

When she looks back on how the military changed her, Coronado says she wishes she could send a message to her younger self.

"I wish I would have had somebody there to tell me like, 'hey, Lia, like you can do whatever it is that you set your mind to, you can literally be the president, if that's what you want,'" said Coronado. "I never had that growing up. So, I would definitely tell little Lia to aim high."

Coronado now owns a studio in North Naples called Contempo Dance Club. She credits her studio success in large part to the courage her military training instilled in her.