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A veteran's tips on making the transition to civilian workforce ranks
Be open to trying new outlets, experiences
 
Published Thursday, May 27, 2021 3:37 pm
by Lynne Daley

COURTESY BANK OF AMERICA
Army veteran Lynne Daley is business support manager, global human resources technology at Bank of America.

Making the most of every opportunity has been a guiding principle for my time and service in the Army and throughout my career as a leader in business technology for Bank of America.


Every day, members of the military from all backgrounds make the decision to transition from the service into civilian life. It can be challenging to know where and how to start but often, unexpected connections can open doors. My decision to retire as a Lieutenant Colonel, after a positive career trajectory and 22 years of service, was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve made. Ultimately, it was the right choice for me and my family.


As a Black woman who successfully climbed the leadership ladder within the military, I wondered about how the success I found might translate in corporate America and in Charlotte, my new city. For those contemplating similar moves, I would offer a few practical tips:


Be open and flexible
My path into the global technology organization at Bank of America was unexpected. During a job fair, I passed by a booth where representatives from the bank were speaking with job seekers. It had never occurred to me previously to consider a financial institution as an option to further build on my career.


A former service member who was also an employee of the bank spoke with me about Bank of America. She encouraged me to think “outside the box” about how my leadership and organizational skills could benefit the company, and she encouraged me to interview.  She inspired me to try paying it forward to other veterans and potential employees from diverse backgrounds. For me, this was more than just landing a new job, it was a transition that would prove to have a much bigger impact.


Be open and flexible to the different types of opportunities. It’s possible to stretch your career, as well as join an ecosystem that supports others doing the same.

Explore organizations that support service members in the transition process and beyond
Research and seek out organizations and companies that clearly identify their efforts to support service men and women. From my personal example, Bank of America is currently celebrating more than 100 years of supporting the military.


This relationship began in San Antonio, Texas, at Fort Sam Houston in July 1920 when the company positioned a financial center there to provide financial services for the troops.
In 2006, our company formed its Military Support and Assistance Group. MSAG quickly positioned itself as the conduit and the internal voice of the veteran.


Forty-four chapters and over 13,000 members later, MSAG remains a point of pride within the company. I’m very fortunate that in my time here, I’ve had the opportunity to help shape the Charlotte Military Support & Assistance Group Chapter, serving as an advisor and mentor. I’ve helped my fellow former service members with some of the unique circumstances they and their families face as they transition to civilian life and offering coaching and support as they become established in the organization.

Last year, we surpassed our five-year goal to hire 10,000 veterans, guardsmen, and reservists that our CEO, Brian Moynihan, pledged in 2014 to address the unique challenges military personnel face in finding employment after service. His leadership on all aspects of diversity, inclusion, and the bank’s position on supporting its team members is reflected within several of the programs that support veterans.


Companies are increasing specific recruiting, hiring, and onboarding initiatives that focus on veteran talent diversity, inclusion, and career development. In doing your research, be sure to seek out organizations that demonstrate a commitment to the diverse perspective veterans can bring to their workforces.


Think early about how your military skills translate
It’s never too early to think about how your military experience and skills might potentially translate into boosted performance, improved efficiencies, or innovative approaches for an organization in the civilian world.


For me, having led tactical and strategic communications and technology organizations that supported the Department of Defense during peacetime and combat operations proved beneficial as I started various roles at Bank of America where I focused on service delivery, program management, and developing business solution technologies.  
My influence also translated well from my time in the Army to my civilian corporate career.


Most of the people I’ve worked with don’t look like me, and my ability to connect with people and organize teams – to deliver a project or program – regardless of differences in background, experiences or perspectives has been a win-win professionally and personally.


As service members, we’ve all developed traits or characteristics that can be assets to our civilian colleagues and departments.


We, as service members, must recognize our value to the corporate workforce. Many companies, including mine, are proud to offer employment opportunities to talented veterans, reservists and military spouses. Easing the transition into the civilian world is one of the bank’s ways of giving back to the people and families who have sacrificed so much to protect our way of life.


By being open to possibilities, seeking out companies who are committed to the military and understanding how skills translate, I hope and trust other service members will also find success in their future civilian careers.


Lynne Daley is business support manager, global human resources technology at Bank of America.

 

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