Bayer's Damion Jones Discusses Intersectionality and How to Find Common Ground with Peers

"If we can connect well we can collaborate well, and if we can collaborate well we can innovate well as an organization," says Jones, Global Director of Inclusion and Diversity for Bayer U.S.

Produced by: Alana Winns
Videography by: Christian Carew

Humana's David Best Shares an Enterprise-Wide Perspective on Veteran Recruitment

"Each year Humana's Veterans Network Resource Group (VNRG) develops specific goals centered around community, careers, and how we can provide added value to the business," says Best, Senior Talent Management Professional and Veteran Hiring Initiative Leader at Humana.

David has been with Humana for slightly over 5 years. After serving a lengthy and successful Army career with multiple overseas deployments, he retired from active Army service and transitioned directly into Humana. He has served in three roles at Humana. As a Process Consultant, as an Operational Readiness Manager for a Lean Start-Up, and in his current role as Humana's Veterans Hiring Initiative leader.

David has a graduate degree in Computer Resources and Information Management from Webster University in Missouri and is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. His Talent Management background spans over 22 of his 32 years of active Army service.

He served in positions of increasing responsibility worldwide with his last position as the senior Army retention director for the Afghanistan Theater of Operations.

When he's not enjoying the company of his wife, sons, and dog, David spends his free time reading, pursuing outdoor activities, and computing.

DI: Please describe Humana's military recruitment/outreach initiatives.

Humana has a deep commitment to the veteran and military spouse population. As a longtime partner to the Department of Defense's TRICARE program, Humana currently administers health benefits for more than 6 million active duty military and retirees as well as their families across 32 states.

Since the inception of TRICARE in 1996, Humana has worked to improve the lives entrusted to our care by partnering with the Government to create the right access, better health outcomes, and simplified experiences.

As part of our relationship, we actively seek veterans and military spouses because we understand they're part of a distinct and highly skilled professional talent pool.

In response to a request from President Obama to corporate America, we launched our Veterans Hiring Initiative in August 2011 with a commitment to hire 1,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2014. We completed the first 1,000 hires in December 2012, which led to the launch of our Veterans Network Resource Group (VNRG). Because of the success of our effort, we recommitted to an additional 1,000 hires by the end of 2015. We achieved that goal in May 2014. Beginning in 2015, we made an ongoing commitment to hire 500 veterans and military spouses annually. In addition to this, we put a focus on hiring Wounded Warriors. Since the start of our initiative, we've hired over 4,500 veterans and military spouses.

To help maintain our commitment, we have a talent manager dedicated to veterans and military spouses. This role provides national outreach through partnerships with organizations serving veterans and military spouses. We send a list of open roles twice monthly to our partners as well as provide career coaching, resume and interview assistance, and advocacy to recruiters and hiring managers. The talent manager works with recruiters and hiring managers to bridge the gap on translation of military skills to the corporate environment. We have developed a specific training module as well for recruiters and hiring managers that helps them understand the value of the veteran in the corporate workplace.

DI: Is there a specific onboarding process after hiring veterans (and Guard and Reserve members)?

Each year Humana's Veterans Network Resource Group (VNRG) develops specific goals centered around community, careers, and how we can provide added value to the business. As part of our 2017 VNRG goals, we built an innovative onboarding experience for our new veteran and military spouse hires. Now, when we hire a veteran or military spouse, they have an opportunity before they start their first day in the organization to be paired with a volunteer from the VNRG known as a Pathfinder; the volunteer connects with them and facilitates their assimilation into our family. During the associates' first three months with Humana, they will have contact with their Pathfinder a minimum of seven times. As of November 2018, we made more than 350 pairings.

For 2019, we plan to implement a quarterly event where all of the new veteran and military spouse hires can discuss their onboarding experiences as well as learn more about Humana.

DI: Can you describe the programs you have in place to develop military talent?

Currently we have quarterly town halls specializing in topics of interest to our members. For 2019, we will be more intentional about career development by holding twice-monthly lunch-and-learns. We will have a development theme each month of the year.

DI: What is the Veterans NRG's role in military recruitment/outreach initiatives?

Our VNRG is instrumental in promoting the hiring of veterans and military spouses. Members act as ambassadors wherever they are located and refer veteran/military spouse talent to the program manager of the veterans hiring initiative. We also invite members to attend career events with the talent acquisition team as well as represent Humana at veteran events.

DI: Talk to us about the transition process and career development. How has Humana's focus on military members helped you with your career?

While I was winding down my 32-year active military career, I knew I had no understanding of corporate America. I dropped out of high school and joined the Army when I was 17. I was fully institutionalized, so to speak, and had a lot of anxiety thinking about how I would take care of my family when I came to the end of my military career.

My journey through the military helped me to understand the value of education. I left the service with a graduate degree in a technical subject as well as a certification as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

Because of these qualifications, I had a bit of an easier time translating my military work into corporate language. I was able to show success metrics that transcended the military environment and equally applied to the corporate environment.

When I joined Humana I was fortunate to have as my leader a woman named Laura Padgett. She knew I was coming in to the team with no corporate experience. While having no military association herself, she intuitively knew I would need a little extra assistance with my assimilation into the corporate world. She cared about me and took it upon herself to mentor and develop me into someone with lots of corporate potential. I still consider her a mentor today, and I reach out to her from time to time for professional advice.

One thing that has stuck with me since my first day at Humana is how much they care about our veteran population. In the first year of my Humana employment, people that knew I came from the military directly to the corporate environment took extra time to help me develop and understand the corporate space.

After I had been with Humana for about 6 months, I had a chance meeting with a military veteran who was involved with our Veterans Network Resource Group. He helped me to understand the VNRG mission, and I joined right away. I volunteered my time and abilities to help grow myself and others. Because of my work with the VNRG and company-wide exposure, it led me to apply for the current role I have today working with veterans and military spouses seeking employment with Humana.

I directly credit our VNRG for helping me to have a solid second career. The networking opportunities, the volunteering opportunities and the relationships have inspired me to become more involved. Because of my involvement with our VNRG, I've been able to pay back what has been given to me during my time here at Humana.

Sodexo's Gerri Mason Hall on Mastering the Art of Networking

Gerri Mason Hall, Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, North America at Sodexo talks about ways you can create a diverse network, which is imperative for growth.

Produced by: Alana Winns
Videography by: Christian Carew

Johnson & Johnson's Geralyn Giorgio Talks Mental Balance in the Workplace

Giorgio, a Change Communications Lead for Johnson & Johnson talks openly about her struggle with depression and how having a supportive manager helps to manage the stresses of work and personal life.

Produced by: Alana Winns
Videography by: Christian Carew

Wells Fargo's Jerry Quinn on Veteran Recruitment Strategies

"We have a high touch approach with leadership positions that includes relationship building across the entire Wells Fargo footprint," says Quinn, Senior Vice President, Military Affairs Program Manager at Wells Fargo.

Jerry Quinn is the Senior Vice President, Military Affairs Program Manager at Wells Fargo. He oversees the development and execution of the enterprise-wide strategy for military members, veterans and their families. Additionally, Jerry is responsible for developing national relationships with the military and veteran community, including the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, national military and veteran service organizations, and support entities. He leads the company's internal and external strategy focused on financially empowering military members and veterans through career transition, housing initiatives and financial education.

Jerry has worked in the banking industry for more than 24 years, and is in his 29th year with the U.S. Army. During his fourteen-year career at Wells Fargo, Jerry was also a principal business relationship manager with Retail Banking in Colorado. Prior to that, Jerry held positions as Community Bank President and Correspondent Banking Officer. In uniform, Jerry serves with the 84th Training Command (Army Reserve) as a Brigade Operations Officer for mission command training and assessment for brigade and division staffs in strategy and planning. Past assignments have included army and brigade staff and company command assignments in the Middle East, Europe, Washington, D. C. and Panama.

A native to Colorado, Jerry attended Colorado State University, earning a bachelor's degree with dual emphasis in finance and real estate, as well as an MBA in organizational design and change management from the University of Colorado. He's also a graduate of the University of Colorado School of Banking.

He has served on the board of the Association of Military Banks of America since 2014 and continues to volunteer with veteran service organizations.

DI: How has being in this role and working with military initiatives impacted you on a personal level?

I am honored to serve Wells Fargo in my capacity. The company has provided me the opportunity to combine both of my professional careers: military service and banking. It has impacted me on a personal level because we have been able to tangibly affect the lives of military and veterans. As a life-long banker, I am personally proud to get to contribute in these ways to a community that I love.

DI: What are some programs that Wells Fargo offers military members (veterans, Guard and Reserve)?

Wells Fargo has more than 200 team members on military leave at any given time. The company offers active guard and reserves supplemental pay designed to make up the difference between their Wells Fargo pay and military base pay; medical, dental, vision, and long-term care coverage; and pay for work missed due to weekend drill and annual training. We are proud to support America's all volunteer force in this way. So much is asked of our reserve forces.

For those transitioning from military service, Wells Fargo offers Military Apprenticeships, a Veteran Employment Transition internship program, American Corporate Partners mentorships, and scholarships and emergency grants through Scholarship America. We currently have more than 8,300 team members who self-identify as being veterans.

DI: What kind of impact has the Veterans ERG had on Wells' military members? Can you detail a couple of examples?

Wells Fargo's Veteran Team Member Network (VTMN) has more than 8,000 members that accomplish a great deal on behalf of the company. Network members volunteer to rehabilitate veteran homes, participate in veteran recruiting events and strategy meetings, and coordinate Veterans Day parade activities, among many activities in and outside of the company.

DI: How have these programs allowed for Wells to address or meet business objectives?

The VTMN has consulted with the enterprise and helped us improve the way we interact with our military service members and veterans. They help us celebrate our military and veterans in our local communities, volunteer to rehabilitate veteran homes, support the Secretary of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) initiatives, and earn countless awards from the ESGR for their commitment to supporting our military.

DI: Are veterans recruited for leadership positions?

Veterans are recruited at all levels at Wells Fargo, including leadership roles. Through our Veteran Employment Transition program, we have been able to target roles that are more senior and identify senior noncommissioned and commissioned officers. Our Military Apprentice Program is expanding to focus on leadership positions. Finding the right level leadership role for high-ranking military talent can be a challenge. Wells Fargo has addressed this by working with military talent liaisons who help refer candidates. We have a high touch approach with leadership positions that includes relationship building across the entire Wells Fargo footprint.

DI: How can employers make the transition for veterans easier?

Civilians have a hard time understanding veteran resumes and veterans sometimes have a hard time translating their skills and abilities into civilian terms. Employers can help veterans translate their transferrable skills, such as leadership, discipline and teamwork. They can offer special resources to ensure veterans know jobs that they may qualify for using these skills. As employers, we can learn some of these unique elements of the military career and learn how to better identify the abilities that veteran talent brings to our company.

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