Our Fearless Leaders Transition from Being Women at War to Women at Work
Today we honor those who have fallen while serving our country.
"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
—Martin Luther King, Jr.
The US department of Veteran Affairs confirms the disproportionate ratio of men to women in the military and shares eye-opening facts and statistics of the challenges women veterans encounter after they serve our country. Because we care about gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace, we spoke with three women veterans to see what has helped some of our fearless leaders transition from being women at war to women at work.
Just like with gender diversity, there are companies making great strides to increase veteran employment in the workplace. However, since women veterans are less likely to be employed, it's essential to hear directly from those working now. Our hope is that more women veterans find employment and that companies will implement appropriate support during their transition.
Here is what these women have to say:
What's the biggest challenge you've faced at Raytheon and how did you overcome it?
"The biggest challenge I faced was the transition from military to corporate aerospace and defense culture. I mistakenly assumed that the cultures (acronyms, terminology, processes, hierarchy etc.) would be similar and I didn't realize what a steep learning curve I faced. I came from a situation where I was experienced and knew what I was doing and transitioned into a very unfamiliar environment. Change is scary and so I struggled at first, but then I realized that it was fine to accept that I didn't have all the answers and that I was new and needed to learn. Fortunately there are lots of people here at Raytheon who wanted to help me learn, grow and be successful!"
More From Raytheon:
"At Raytheon, we place an emphasis on diversity, inclusion and opportunities for all employees. One of the coolest things that Raytheon does is demonstrate that commitment to all women. There are five women directors on our board and four female vice presidents on the company's senior leadership team. In addition to those roles, there are women serving as vice presidents, senior managers, directors and several other leadership positions that number in the thousands. It's important that we talk the talk, but it's really cool to work for a company that walks the walk."
What do you miss about working in the military?
"When I was in the military, I wore a rank and occupational badge that let people know off the bat what I did and where I was in the Organizational food chain. Because of that, there was an automatic sense of deference that I received when it came to giving my opinion or ideas. However, when I took the uniform off, all people see now is a baby face and girl. Even though I am 31, I am still referred to as young lady and I have to battle my way through to be granted respect and a voice at the table. I sometimes miss the uniform because it showed my experience and expertise before I even opened my mouth."
—Jardin, USAF Veteran.
What's the coolest thing your company does to support women veterans?
"We offer a program called the "Heal Program" that heals a Veteran before they get into a crisis. We focus on healthcare, evacuation, advocacy and legislature. No Veteran gets left behind. We resolve issues concerning homelessness, unemployment, benefits, and suicides. However, the biggest problem I face is being one of a few female Veteran Executives. I'm usually the only woman at the table talking Women Veteran issues. I'm very confident and bold in stating my intent and advocacy for Women Veterans because I represent the speechless and hopeless. I overcome this challenge by waking up everyday knowing I fight for all Veterans and I can't quit or let them down. Advocacy is my passion and I live to make Veteran lives better."
—Cherissa, Retired Air Force Captain.
Here are some companies PowerToFly has teamed up with that have jobs and dedicated programs for veterans:
For more opportunities, check out our full list of jobs available now.
I thought about writing this blog piece like one of those quizzes that used to be on the back pages of Seventeen and Cosmo where each question would offer several answers of varying point levels and you'd pick one answer per question, tally up your points at the end, and match your score to one of several possible results.
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