Project RELO
flga.jpg

Armed Forces Celebration

Celebrating our Armed Forces

 

Leadership and Military Values Shared by our Project RELO Veterans

 As we celebrate Armed Forces month,  our Project RELO Veterans share their thoughts on leadership, transitioning from the military and the unique values and skills they believe military veterans bring to organizations. Today is a day to pay tribute to the men and women who serve our great nation. 

Armed Forces Day: On Aug. 31, 1949, Defense Secretary Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the armed forces under one agency — the Department of Defense. This is a day of celebration!

 
 

ERIN SWANSON

U.S. Marine Corps, Corporal, Entrepreneur, Employed & Volunteer

Current Location:  Seattle, WA

Current Status: Entrepreneur & Employed

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership to me means leading by example. Leadership involves taking calculated risks and initiative to move toward a goal or mission at any cost, whether the outcome is positive or negative.

What have you experienced or learned in the military which could benefit organizations?

Organizations would benefit from many things I've learned in the military. Most of all, however, organizations would benefit from my integrity, tenacity, and relentlessness to get the task, program, or project accomplished, no matter how challenging.  

What has been or is your biggest challenge transitioning out of the military? 

My biggest challenge transitioning out of the military is not being viewed by recruiters as being qualified for any positions above entry level. Recruiters and HR managers do not understand how military experience can be equivalent to other work experience, thus leading to underemployment issues and lower job satisfaction.

Erin Swanson, U.S. Marine Corps, Corporal, Employed & Entrepreneur

Erin Swanson, U.S. Marine Corps, Corporal, Employed & Entrepreneur

Adam Blevins, U.S. Army, Major, Employed

Adam Blevins, U.S. Army, Major, Employed

Adam Blevins

U.S. Army, Major, Employed

Current Location:  Salt Lake City

Current Status: Employed

What does leadership mean to you?

Setting the example for your team, not only in your words, but in your actions. Understanding the people that make up your organization in order for you to motivate them and lead them towards a common goal. Also, leadership is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.

What have you experienced or learned in the military which could benefit organizations?

I think it’s either misunderstood by organizations or undersold by veterans, but the ability to rapidly adapt to changing situations, learn quickly, and then lead their teams in a radically different direction. By virtue of training and experience, veterans have the ability to intrinsically lead change in environments that fluctuate drastically in short periods of time. Corporations often struggle with change of any type, and veterans take the ability to adapt to change for granted. There’s a natural match there, for organizations that are willing to make a very small investment up front in onboarding and educating veteran talent.

What has been or is your biggest challenge transitioning out of the military? 

Veterans discuss a great deal about the challenges of finding quality employment after leaving service. I’ve been very fortunate to find a good position with a reputable corporation, so I’d like to speak to this from the standpoint of transitioning into a corporation. The challenge has been adapting to the pace of life in a corporation; expectations for response times are often lower than what veterans are accustomed to in the military. I can’t delegate out tasks and responsibilities in the same way I could in the military. I have to be very conscientious of not overwhelming my direct report managers.  

Doug bryant

U.S. Army, Captain, In Transition

Current Location:  Eugene, Oregon but open for relocation

Current Status: Transitioning

What does leadership mean to you?

It means influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation while working to accomplish the mission and improving the organization.

What have you experienced or learned in the military which could benefit organizations?

I have built an entire company from the ground up. I set up all the administrative functions, tracking systems, training programs, computer systems, physical security requirements, and much more - all while maintaining a readiness rating of near 100%.

What has been or is your biggest challenge transitioning out of the military? 

My biggest challenge is talking about myself. I have spent years telling people how great my Soldiers are. I now find myself in unfamiliar territory having to tell people what I am good at and how I can serve their company.

Doug Bryant, U.S. Army, Captain

Doug Bryant, U.S. Army, Captain

Rick Gromlich, U.S. Coast Guard, Rear Admiral, Retired

Rick Gromlich, U.S. Coast Guard, Rear Admiral, Retired

RicK Gromlich

U.S. Coast Guard, Rear Admiral, Retired, In Transition

Current Location:  Seattle, WA but relocating to Charlotte, NC

Current Status: Transitioning

What does leadership mean to you?

I have a picture on my desk that says “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.”  A great leader displays honesty and integrity, never shies away from making difficult decisions, and always takes care of the people entrusted to him or her.  To me it’s about servant leadership - a leader adds value by serving others.  

What have you experienced or learned in the military which could benefit organizations?

The Coast Guard has provided many incredible opportunities for me throughout my career from running all operations in the Pacific Northwest to directing nationwide support for the men and women conducting operations.  I have led diverse teams as small as 4-person aircrews to organizations consisting of more than 4000 personnel.  I have developed a strong background in Supply Chain Management, Aviation and Maritime Operations, Emergency Management, and Organizational Change Management.

What has been or is your biggest challenge transitioning out of the military? 

Companies seem to struggle with where I would fit in their organization.  I also believe there are many myths or misconceptions about military members and their ability to integrate into the corporate world.  That’s why the work of Project RELO is so critically important.