Andrea & Gari, can you both share a little bit about your journey from your time in service to your current civilian career? Are there specific moments that stand out? How did you both get connected and involved with NBCUniversal?
- GARI: My time in the Army was a great experience, however, when I was discharged, finding employment was difficult. Here I am, a former Sergeant in the US Army who was responsible for warehousing millions of dollars in ammunition and I couldn’t get a job in a sneaker retail stock room. I eventually landed a role as a National Service Officer with the Disabled American Veterans and after five years with that amazing organization, I decided to use my Post-9/11 GI Bill and go back to college where I majored in Political Science and Minored in Journalism. While in college I landed an internship at the New York Stock Exchange in their Veteran Associate Program where I spent time in Human Resources and Corporate Social Responsibility. Prior to my current role, I worked at the New York State Division of Veterans’ Service as a Veterans Benefits Advisor. Last year, I attended the NBCUniversal BOLD Vets event where I learned about their Veterans Residency Program. While I didn’t get the opportunity to join the program, I stayed connected with a Director of Talent Acquisition, and we eventually found a role that suited my interests and skillsets.
- ANDREA: I served five years in the Coast Guard and then spent six years at Deloitte. Last year I had the opportunity to attend the BOLD Vets event. I loved learning about the opportunities in advertising and partnerships. I had always been interested in media and after attending the event, I was inspired to pursue a career at NBCUniversal.
Transferrable skills are something we hear referenced over and over again when discussing Veterans transitioning from service to a corporate setting/role. What are some of the top skills you’ve both been able to transfer over in your current roles at NBCUniversal personally?
- GARI: The top skills that have helped me thus far in my career at NBCU have been my ability to perform under pressure, practice effective communication, integrity, teamwork, and the ability to adapt quickly to new situations and surroundings. As a veteran, I often take my ability to quickly pivot for granted. We are trained to immediately jump into the solution instead of remaining stuck in a problem and that’s a fantastic skill to have when working in a corporate environment.
- ANDREA: Each military branch has a set of core values that are guiding principles in how we think, act, or respond. Some of these core values include service above self, integrity, honor, courage, and commitment. When I think about the skills that I have been able to leverage in my current role at NBCUniversal, three stand out: leading with empathy, being mission driven, and collaborating with gratitude.
You both are part of NBCU’s “Because I am a Veteran” PSA campaign, how did you feel when you were approached to be part of this project? What are you hoping veterans and brands take away from these PSAs?
- GARI: When I was approached to be part of this campaign, I felt honored. I’m hoping other veterans realize the skills they have to offer corporate America. When I left the military, working in a corporate environment seemed like a far reach. What I didn’t realize was that I possessed the skills and traits that many companies were looking for. I’m hoping that brands see the many skills veterans bring to the table. We are fast learners and our dedication and commitment to successful completion of any task is unmatched.
- ANDREA: It has always been a passion of mine to support transitioning military veterans. When I was approached about this project, I immediately raised my hand to volunteer. I myself had a very difficult experience in my transition so being able to provide support and guidance to fellow military veterans in transition is something I care deeply about. While at Deloitte, I supported their transitioning veteran program and coached 20 trainings for over 350 veterans. And, currently, I am a mentor with American Corporate Partners (ACP) and Veterati. This PSA has been such an incredible platform to not only shine light on the skills that military veterans can bring to the civilian work culture, but also be a voice for NBCUniversal encouraging others to understand and value the skills that veterans can bring to any organization.
Paula, as a DEI executive, why is it so important for companies to continue their commitment to welcoming Veteran’s into their workforce? Based on your HR experience in the hiring process, are there any details that stand out that will help entry to hiring veterans?
- PAULA: Every company should have an emphasis on and commitment to hiring veterans. Not only because of the sacrifices veterans make to protect our freedoms but the long list of transferrable skills they have that any business can benefit from. When looking at a veteran’s resume, I encourage hiring managers to see beyond the words. Think about the character, skills, and experience you get when you hire a veteran: integrity, technical savviness, grit, teamwork, and going above and beyond to finish an assignment with excellence - just to name a few.
Paula, with the “Because I’m a Veteran” Campaign and NBCU’s Advertising and Partnerships annual BOLD Vets Event, NBCUniversal has a long-standing commitment to highlight the importance of hiring veterans and supporting the community. What more can companies do to support and hire veterans across the board in all industries?
- PAULA: Companies can look to build an advocacy team of veterans, allies and hiring managers who attend events where veteran talent will be. They should come prepared to talk about company culture, job opportunities and strive to be a company that not only attracts and hires great veteran talent but also creates community for them once they arrive. Our Advertising and Partnerships’ BOLD Vets and NBCUniversal VetNet communities are evidence of how we support and provide resources to our vets across the company.
Andrea & Gari, if you both could give any advice to military veterans who are looking to make that transition into corporate life, what advice would you give?
- GARI: Utilize the many resources available to you for transitioning, such as FourBlock and the Wounded Warrior Project’s Warriors to Work program. Try to apply to as many veteran-related corporate internships as possible and engage on LinkedIn to meet other veterans who are working in careers or fields that you’re interested in. The key to my success after the military has been to ask for help from people that knew more in the areas I was pursuing.
- ANDREA: Be patient with yourself and trust the process. The transition is a process that can’t be rushed. Know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be and that it is also okay to reevaluate your goals and course correct at any time. Self-reflection is key to understanding where you are and deciding what changes you want to make to get to where you want to go.
This year’s NBCUniversal BOLD Vets event on Thursday, November 11th, is designed to honor, educate and inspire the importance of hiring vets. Click here to register.
Click here for more on the new “Because I’m a Veteran” PSAs and Comcast NBCUniversal’s commitment to the veteran community.