When people leave their careers in the armed forces, it can often be a difficult transition on many fronts, especially finding a suitable career. But since I started at Blue Shield in 2014, I felt like my talents and skills I’d honed in the Marines were welcomed—and I want to hold the door open for other veterans who come into our fold.
I learned to be a leader in the Marine Corps, and even before that in college, via the UC Berkeley Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program. My current mission is to help create the most veteran-friendly environment possible at Blue Shield. If we have someone onboarding, we’ll make sure they have a mentor or they’re partnered with another vet. We want to help them in their career path. For reservists, we want to make sure they’re supported financially, that they can count on their job being there when they get back from duty, and anything else they might need.
But I’m not alone in this quest. Our veteran employee resource group (ERG), Operation Vet, is over 800 strong—the largest ERG in the company with the highest employee engagement. It is diverse and spans virtually every corner of our operation. We also welcome veteran spouses or parents of active service members. We help each other navigate issues related to service, but we also do a lot of community events, package drives, and fund-raising for veterans’ causes.
We also bring in speakers in to inspire us professionally. For example, Redmond Ramos spoke to us about resiliency during tough times. He is a disabled vet who lost a leg. But that didn’t stop him from participating in the Amazing Race. We were moved and motivated after hearing him.
It’s a smart move for any company to recruit veterans. You can count on veterans to get the job done. In the absence of a decision-maker, they will jump in and be a leader. If there’s a leader, they’ll become the most loyal follower. Veterans are creative and adaptive and will figure things out. It’s how we’ve been trained, and I’m fortunate to be able to bring those skills to work with me every day. #proudtobeBlueShieldCA