For our Protiviti colleagues who are veterans, active reservists or the spouse of veteran or someone currently serving, Veterans Day holds special significance. While all are proud of their or their spouse’s service, they also have insights about having that military-related status as civilian employees and how Protiviti supports veterans.
Meet Amber, United States Navy (2011-2021)
Now a senior consultant in Dallas, Amber first knew she would serve in the military on Sept. 11, 2001. The experience of 9/11 prompted this middle-school student to learn about the various dynamics that precipitated the attacks and drove her to earn an undergraduate degree in religious studies. “Religious beliefs are often core to conflicts around the world, and I wanted to understand different religions as well as I could,” she says.
After college, she served more than 10 years in various positions in the Navy and the National Security Agency. Her expertise in cryptology led to assignments where she supervised a team of professional hackers responsible for deciphering signals and electronic intelligence. At one point, she was the executive assistant to Anne Neuberger, now the Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber & Emerging Technology in the Biden administration.
Amber has been with Protiviti since June 2021. Adapting from military life to civilian life has been eye-opening. In the military, rank dictates most everything. Someone is either above you or is a subordinate. Orders are given, and orders are carried out. You are called by your rank and last name, not by a familiar first name. That’s quite a departure from what she has experienced at Protiviti, where her supervisor takes a personal interest in everyone on the team, getting to know them. This mentorship has been instrumental in helping her acclimate to non-military life. So, too, has the Veterans Employee Network Group (ENG). She has valued the mentoring she has received and values interacting with others with similar backgrounds who have also made the transition to civilian life.
Meet Kristin, Spouse of Coast Guard Officer
When Kristin, a Protiviti Human Resources Coordinator in Houston, met her future husband, Andrew, he was already serving in the Coast Guard. Now a First Class Petty Officer Boatswains Mate, he has served continuously for 10 years and has another 20 years ahead of him in the career he loves.
Andrew has had assignments in a number of different areas, now serving a two-year assignment in Guam. While in the past Kristin has been able to spend a significant amount of time with him, Covid restrictions have made that difficult for this assignment.
That separation has been difficult, just one of the challenges military spouses make. “In a lot of ways, it’s like the spouses are serving as well,” Kristin says.
Kristin recently joined the Veterans ENG. She values the connections she has made with others in the same situation. “It helps to know that you’re not the only one who is going through this experience,” she says.
Kristin praises Protiviti management for the flexibility it has provided in her situation. This year, she has been able to take a three-week vacation to be with her husband, and temporarily relocated to New York, taking advantage of Protiviti’s remote office policy to live with her family. “The Flexibility has been instrumental to my wellbeing, and I am so grateful for the support my team has given me.
Meet Renie, United States Marine Corps (2015-2020)
Renie, a Senior Consultant, in Chicago, served as an air intelligence officer in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2015-2020. He used his expertise to give pilots whatever types of intelligence they needed to fly safely around enemy aircraft and integrated air defense systems. Among other positions, he was also based in Okinawa as an intelligence planner and led the 3rd Special Security Communications Team.
Renie believes the leadership skills he built in the Marine Corps have served him well in his career at Protiviti. In the Marines, inclusivity within his teams was critical. The same is true in his client work at Protiviti. “Clients value honesty and appreciate when you tell them the hard truths.” The same is true in the military.
Since joining Protiviti in 2020 after his discharge from the Marine Corps, Renie has become the leader of the Veterans Employee Network Group (ENG) in Chicago. While Renie technically has the leadership title, he says every member of the group is a leader.
The ENG, which includes veterans, active reservists and military spouses, has three primary goals. The first is to encourage the recruitment and retention of veteran employees and help new hires who are transitioning from military service to civilian life, where the rules and norms are different in many ways. Finally, the ENG has a focus on acts of service, with the goal of supporting its local community and continuing that tradition of service for which veterans are known.
Meet Matt, United States Air Force (1999-2004)
When Matt, currently Managing Director in the Metro D.C. region, joined Protiviti after serving in the U.S. Air Force, he expected to stay a few years. Seventeen years later he remains a proud veteran and Protiviti employee.
Matt had served a five-year commitment as a communications officer, a broad term that can include technology expertise, which he had. He served the first two years at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey and the rest of his time at North American Aerospace Defense Command, commonly known as NORAD. NORAD is headquartered inside a Colorado mountain and is focused on missile, air and space defense. He monitored space junk, missile launches, and planes entering and leaving the U.S.
After discharging, Matt connected with Cameron-Brooks, a headhunting firm that specializes in placing former military personnel. He attended a hiring conference that was had several firms looking for new employees. With his technology background and an MBA in Finance, Matt wasn’t sure what sort of job he wanted. He was intrigued by the opportunity to do a variety of projects with different clients at Protiviti and started what he assumed would be a short-term gig in the Dallas office.
Like others, Matt found the transition from military to civilian life to be a bit tricky initially. The concept of rank wasn’t sacrosanct, but as he had in the military, he learned to lean on others’ specialties. “The core values of the United States Air Force Academy are Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do,” Matt says. “Those core values are also key to our client service.”
Protiviti in 2004 was a different firm than it is now. There was no Veterans ENG to look to for support. Matt did connect with a colleague who had been placed by Cameron-Brooks, and they formed an informal network. In terms of that type of support, Protiviti has grown by “leaps and bounds,” he says.
Commemorating Veterans Day
All four will be spending time on Veterans Day thinking about those who have served and those still serving. Amber will be remembering a colleague she lost in Syria, while Kristin hopes veterans are thought about more than just on one day. “I hope people will thank a veteran or spouse for the sacrifices they have made, sacrifices you can’t imagine,” she says.
Matt, too, hopes people think about those who have served and look for ways “to put action behind the words,” noting there are many organizations that support veterans.
Renie’s honoring of veterans takes him around the world. Each year, he visits a different battle site. He recently returned from France, where he visited the beaches of Normandy. These trips give him the opportunity, he says, “to pray and think about what the veterans who were there sacrificed for my and our freedom.”
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