Our Stories

The General Opens Up a New Front

Air Force veteran turns to Vanderbilt to boost transition to the nonprofit sector

Eden Murrie
CEO, Operation Stand Down Tennessee

Vanderbilt Executive MBA 2016

A graduate of the Air Force Academy, Eden Murrie spent the first part of her career navigating KC-135s, the flying gas-stations that refuel military aircraft mid-air. Through her 29 years of service, she commanded several organizations at home and abroad, liaised with Congress and the White House and oversaw billion dollar budgets, eventually rising to the rank of brigadier general.

But when she retired from the military, she faced a different type of challenge.   Wanting to establish a second career in the non-profit sector, she felt a more formal business education and a different type of  credential would help her be more successful.

After operating her own small consulting business, Eden decided to pursue an Executive MBA. “Vanderbilt’s reputation and ranking, overall program attributes and small program size — and especially their customer service — made them my top choice,” she says. “Also, their appreciation and understanding of veterans, and their Yellow Ribbon matching fund program, make them a very veteran-friendly program.”

Besides the business acumen she gained from her classes, Eden appreciated the opportunity to learn from the diverse group of executives on her C-suite team, which gave her new insights from a variety of different businesses. At Vanderbilt, she says, “I learned to better translate my military skills into business vernacular. This not only helped me better assimilate in the classroom but gave my civilian counterparts better appreciation for the skills that veterans bring to the table.”

Upon graduation, Eden achieved her goal of entering the nonprofit sector. First, back in D.C., where she ended her career on the Air Force’s executive management team,  she helped senior executives at federal agencies recruit and retain Civil Service employees. Now, in Nashville full time, she is the Chief Operating Officer at Operation Stand Down Tennessee, assisting veterans with all facets of their transition from military to civilian life.

In June 2020, Murrie was promoted within Operation Stand Down TN to Chief Executive Officer. Her vision is to "continue the great work already underway while creating more ways for Veterans to connect with this mission and with each other.”

“I learned to better translate my military skills into business vernacular.”