Mission-Ready for Military Hiring – Panel Discussion

Mission-Ready for Military Hiring – Panel Discussion

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[OPENING MUSIC – FADES OUT] [MICHAEL] Hello everyone, and welcome to our
Accenture Military panel discussion. My name is Michael Pett and I’m a Military
Recruiting Specialist with Accenture, an Army veteran and Sergeant First Class in the Illinois
Army National Guard. At Accenture, we see service as a strength. Fairness, respect, trust and loyalty—are
just a few of the qualities individuals gain through military service. We value these qualities and are committed
to hiring 5,000 veterans and military spouses by 2020. Joining me here in the studio are three veterans who have successfully transitioned from military
service to careers here at Accenture. Together we will discuss what those transition
experiences have been like, some tools and resources that are available within Accenture
to our military community, and how these individuals are continuing to make a positive impact through
their work today. If you are watching us live, please feel free to submit your questions through Facebook and we will
look to answer a few of these later in our session. To kick things off, let’s go down the line
and have you each tell us a little bit about yourselves. What you did in the military and what you
do today? Angel, let’s start with you. [ANGEL] Okay. My name is Angel Christopher. I’m a new joiner to Accenture. In the military, I had three occupational
specialties. I was an 88Lima, which is a Watercraft Engineer. I was also a Legal Specialist and my last
MOS was actually, chemical. I was a Chemical Warfare Specialist. And after that, I did three enlistments, right,
so I was in all three components, Active Duty, Reserve, as well as National Guard. I worked in the civilian world for a little
bit of time. So, I spent some time working at Bank of America,
JP Morgan, Freddie Mac and recently now, Accenture. [MICHAEL] Thanks for coming. Autumn? [AUTUMN] I am Autumn Tolliver. I was a 74Alpha, Chemical Officer, in the
military. I then transferred out and came into Accenture
as the JMO Recruiter. And then, wanted a new challenge, and now
I am a Solution Architect for Accenture. [MICHAEL] Awesome. Jack? [JACK] I’m Jack Finan. I graduated from West Point in 2012, commissioned
as an Infantry Officer. Did my initial training at Fort Benning, Georgia
and then I moved up to Fort Drum, New York with the 10th Mountain Division. I served as a Rifle Platoon Leader there,
Executive Officer and Assistant Operations Officer. I got out about six months ago as a Captain
after doing five years. Right now, I’m a Deal Execution Lead within
our Resources practice. I’m happy to be here. [MICHAEL] That’s awesome. Thank you all for being here and thank you
all for sharing [CLEARS THROAT]. excuse me, that information about your backgrounds. I’m sure we’ll learn a bit more about
each of you during our conversation, today. To start, let’s take a couple minutes to talk about what brought you here. Autumn, I’m going to direct this to you
first. What prompted you to make the transition from military service to a civilian career? [AUTUMN] Ah, so for me, there were two things that really helped me prompt my decision. One was my family. I am the oldest of ten children, so having
an impact in their life – during this time in their life – was very important to me. And, I wasn’t able to do that in the military. And now, I’m three hours away, so I can
go when I want. So, that’s number one and number two, was
for me to grow as a person, outside the military. I feel like I had done really well in the
military and I wanted to excel outside the military, and find a new challenge. So here I am. [MICHAEL] That’s great. Great. Jack, same question. [JACK] For me, I was looking for a new challenge. I had so many good experiences in the military
and I worked with such great people. I think all of us being veterans understand
that. But I was ready for something new and I thought
I could find that in the corporate world – and certainly have found that here at Accenture. [MICHAEL] That’s great. Veterans wanting challenge, I wouldn’t imagine. [LAUGHS] So, once you’ve made the decision to take
on a new career, why Accenture? Angel, how did you learn about Accenture and what was it about the company that interested
you? I’m really curious how. [LAUGHS] [ANGEL] [LAUGHS] Well, so I was on vacation
in Dublin and I got an email from Michael Pett [MICHAEL] Umm [ANGEL] And you know, he said, we’ve got
this little outfit, I found your resume, we have this tiny little company you may have
heard of, called Accenture, and would you be interested in joining or trying to apply? We have a military recruitment initiative
that we are trying to start up now, and that’s how I was brought on. You brought me on and it was great. And so, yeah, after you reached out to me, I was flown into Chicago, right, so it was my first experience with the Chicago office, I was
flown into Chicago and we went through the interview process. I remember we had a great Super Day, it was
exactly one year ago today. [MICHAEL] Happy anniversary. [ANGEL] Yeah. On Veterans Day, one year ago. So, we went through the three-part case interview
and we had the Accenture Super Day for all the military, which I thought was great, simply
because we weren’t hired yet, right, we were in the interview process, so for you
to fly us out for the sub and introduce us into that lifestyle here at Accenture was
great. [MICHAEL] I agree, that was a positive experience. And once again, speaking of challenges, for
some people, a career change can be a challenge, right, and transitioning to a civilian career
can often be tricky. Autumn, what was your recruitment experience like? Or what tools or resources did you use – or
do you still use – to help you navigate through that move? [AUTUMN] Well, my transition was kind of rocky. I, when I first started transitioning I was
using those companies that kind of put you out there and they’re like, ‘oh, this
would be a good job for you’ or ‘this is a good fit for you and this is where your skills match’ but, not really what I wanted. So, that, that part of my transition was not
very fun, but I would tell people to stick with it. The tools that I used were social networking. That is how i am here, why I’m here today. I was on LinkedIn one day and I read a blog
about female leadership, and I actually just liked it overall about leadership, so I decided
to write on it. A little bit later, one of the, the person
who wrote it actually ended up being Ellyn Shook, here our global lead for HR, and she
said, ‘Hey, thank you for, for writing on our blog, can I have your resume, and from there
it’s history. So, the tools that I would say to help you
navigate is definitely that using social media and your connections and who you know, those
tools I think are the most beneficial. [MICHAEL] Okay, great. And Jack, you had a similar experience with
the social media piece, can you share a bit about that? [JACK] I did, I did. Similar to Autumn, I used LinkedIn as well. I did a lot of research on different consulting
firms and banking companies while I was going through the transition process, and one day
I came across David Rossi, who is also a West Point grad and fellow veteran – and I didn’t
know it at the time but he’s our global natural resources lead – and I thought I
would take a shot and I sent him a message. The next day, he called me, we talked for
about an hour. He helped me out through the entire process
and he’s been my mentor to this day, and has been a great help. [MICHAEL] That’s awesome. [JACK] Very fortunate. [MICHAEL] So, using leadership and social networking, specifically LinkedIn, is really
what kind of brought you both here? [JACK] Yes. [MICHAEL] Great, that’s great. Angel, is there any other tools or resources
that you’d like to highlight? [ANGEL] Well, ah, for me, I think the biggest resource that I have used has been the Military
ERG which is our MERG, as we call it. And so of course, when I first came, I met
all of the MERG resources there, Roseann Darabaris, and of course, you as well. And, throughout the whole process they were
so helpful. You know, I mean, I remember emailing you,
asking you about places to live in Chicago once I got the accept – got the offer letter – and
you know, just getting tips on neighborhoods, how to find assignments, and even personal
things you might go through as a military member. A lot of times we have things we go through
when we’re transitioning and I think it’s been extraordinarily helpful to have not only
a large group of veterans who are there that I can utilize and be a sounding board for
as well, but also having veteran leadership and people who are still serving within Accenture at all levels, in the MERG, helping people who are coming in, staying in, helping to retain
everybody. So. [MICHAEL] So, as you navigate that transition,
having somebody – both internally and externally – helping you, you know, is pretty useful. [ANGEL] Absolutely. [MICHAEL] Right, so one thing as a recruiter
that pops up frequently, especially in my conversations with people looking to apply
to Accenture is around skills. So, Jack and Autumn, have you been able to
translate your military experience – excuse me, how have you been able to translate your
military experience at Accenture? [JACK] Yeah, I think any service member is going to have a foundation of discipline and
leadership, whether you were a leader or a member of a team, I think you are going to
come in with that baseline. And then for me, what I think has been the
most beneficial for me, is just being a member of a team. I think at Accenture specifically the concept
of team is huge. So being able to understand and work well
within a team, and you know, I think we are also used to stressful situations and meeting
deadlines, that’s another thing you are going to find, not only at Accenture but in
the corporate world, and I think bringing all of that together, is something that will
serve veterans well, anywhere you go. [MICHAEL] Autumn? [AUTUMN] Yeah, I definitely agree, those foundational skills that you get when you are in the military
from leadership to ability to adapt, those are something, those skills they definitely
translate well. Personally, I translated, I was a Human Resource
Officer so I got to translate that into my human resources in recruiting, and then in
my new role, I was, I’m a solution architect, so that translated when I was a USR Officer
using those abilities to coordinate with different teams to basically build one product. [MICHAEL] Okay, so it’s not just been specific skills that you’ve learned in military but
it’s the interpersonal skills that you’ve been able to kind of craft while being in
military service. [JACK] Right. [MICHAEL] Okay, let’s check in on Facebook
and take a couple of questions from the audience. See what we’ve got here. Alright, so first live question is ‘Thank you all for your service. As an Accenture employee, what advice can
you offer me to help any new veterans joining my team to make a successful transition?’ I’m going to throw this one over to you
Jack simply because you’re the most recently transitioned. So, the question once again was, ‘What advice
can you offer me to help any new veterans that are joining my team to have a successful
transition?’ [JACK] Ha, I think patience. So, when I came in six months ago and to this
day, I asked thousands of questions. Julie Mueller if you are watching, she’s
the one that has been training me, she can definitely attest to that. But, I think, coming in, we’re going to
have a lot of questions. We’re going to be excited, we’re going
to be new, we’re going to have – like I was speaking on earlier – a baseline of
skills that we’re going to leverage, but we are going to need maybe a little extra
attention in terms of on-the-job training. So, I think, you know, checking in with veterans
saying ‘Hey, how are you doing? Is there anything else you need?’ and just
be willing and open to answer the questions, that’s probably the most valuable thing that you
can do to help new military veteran hires. [MICHAEL] Okay. Autumn? [AUTUMN] Um, I would say, just allowing them
to ask those questions and not letting them, just assuming that they know the answer. We have a lot of pride in the military, so
we might not ask those hard questions, and I will tell my fellow veterans – ask those questions – but for,
for our bosses and things like that, that even our peers, we might not ask those questions,
so you should maybe check on us. [MICHAEL] [LAUGHS] Angel, do you have anything to input on that? [ANGEL] Um, you know, I think that the only thing that I would add is, you know, maybe be very task-oriented at first, right. Coming from the military it is a lot of execution,
execution, execution. And so, I think that veterans are very good
at execution and sometimes as Jack was saying, the technical details might skip by some people,
they might need a bit more information that way. So. I think, keep your things task oriented at
first and then, right, be patient and explain the process and the project work. [MICHAEL] Okay. And we are going to go down the line with
this one – Do you have a mentor at Accenture, and if so, how do you use him or her as you
navigated through your transition or just, you know, what you do day-to-day? [ANGEL] Okay, well luckily for me my mentor happens to be my manager on my project and
so, um, you know with the day-to-day work, I think, she’s been patient with me so that’s
also been helpful. I think that I also came from some industry
experience as well so it was a little bit of a different transition for me. The day-to-day things, just keeping on task,
having somebody there to support you and having someone who is open and understanding. [MICHAEL] Before we jump to Autumn, Angel,
real quick, I think we skipped this, what do you do specifically at Accenture? [ANGEL] Oh, okay, so well right now I’m a Management Consultant Analyst, right. I came in through the Student Veterans Program, so right now – yeah, Student Veterans, yeah – and so the project I’m on right now I’m in
a change management and process analyst role, working internally for Accenture, with our
CIO, so right now I’m working on Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. [MICHAEL] Awesome, which we’re using, so that’s great. Autumn? [AUTUMN] Okay, mentorship, right? [MICHAEL] A-hum. [AUTUMN] I would advise, because I, this is
how I have gone through the whole mentorship, I have mentors inside my internal group, so
who I work with directly every day, and then I have also mentors outside that close niche
group, that are within Accenture but are veterans. So, having the veteran-side mentor and then having someone who is not a veteran cuz they are going to give you a different outlook on things, I think
it is very important to like keep a balance as us veterans can be narrow-sighted sometime. Laughs. [JACK] Ah, David Rossi, the person I had talked
to early about who helped me through LinkedIn, he’s a fellow vet who was a Blackhawk pilot,
and he’s now our Global Natural Resources lead, he brought me in, but he’s, something
that he’s done that I’ve really, really appreciated is that he’s exposed me to his wider network. So I’ve met guys like Chris Woods who’s our Southeast Natural Resources Lead, who’s also a West Point grad and a veteran. Elliott Segarra, who’s out of Chicago, who’s, you know, an MC guy. And then from the sales team, Ron Aberman and Mark Pietri have been phenomenal. So they brought me, they took a chance on me but they’ve been great. You know, they’re challenging us. Ron’s our North America Resources Sales
Lead and Mark Pietri’s our North America Deal Execution Lead. So they’ve both always been great, challenging the team, they’ve made a great team – we’re all pretty tight knit – but going back to
Dave, Dave’s been great. Dave is, he’s very hard working and he takes the time to check in, ‘Hey, how you doing? How are things going?’ He really appreciates the people under him
who are working, so. [MICHAEL] That’s awesome. [JACK] I’m very fortunate. [MICHAEL] Great. It’s good to know that we’ve veteran and
veteran ally folks out there that can be mentors and help us as we move through the transition. I’ve got one more question, I think we’ll throw this over to Autumn real quick, the
JMO program… [AUTUMN] Yes? [MICHAEL] Would you like to dive a little bit deeper into that? Tell us a little bit more about it? [AUTUMN] I would. So, the JMO program is, obviously for JMOs,
but it is basically a program where you come into… [MICHAEL] And what’s a JMO, real quick? [AUTUMN] Junior Military Officer. [MICHAEL] Okay. Okay. Gotcha. [AUTUMN] Yes. So, all you O-1s to O-3s people, this is for
you. You come in as, you come into the Consultant
Development Program, which is really a program that allows you to transition well, and I
say that because you are going from an environment where you are used to what, you’re used
to the military, and then you come into the corporate world and it’s very different,
so this allows you to make a smooth transition because, it allows you to go in the different
industry groups. So, you might work in Products. You might work in Health & Public Services. All in consulting. So, it really gives you, like, an eye-opener of what
maybe you want your niche to be in consulting. I think it is a really good program for Junior
Military Officers. [MICHAEL] That’s great. That’s great. I guess we can throw this out to the panel, what type of training is offered at Accenture
to tie in our skills to others the company is looking for? So, I can speak to it from a recruiting aspect,
but have there been any programs that you’ve jumped on, whether it’s internal training
or something along those lines, to kind of help you fine tune your skills as you made
that transition? [ANGEL] Oh, I think that there’s a wealth, laughs, a plethora right, I think one of the
best things that I found when I came to Accenture was the KX – right, the Knowledge Exchange
– right, so there is a, even the concept of it is something that I think a lot of people
think about but I’ve never seen a company implement it on this scale, right, so we have
this Knowledge Exchange which is a website, or a data storage site, that we go to and
you can store all of these documents, data, classes, right, any information on anything
that you want, on what we deliver to our clients you can find on the KX. And so when it comes to learning anything, whether it’s Excel, whether it’s learning how to do change management, whether it’s learning
Scrum, right, it’s out there. [MICHAEL] That’s awesome. [ANGEL] I mean millions [LAUGHS] of things available. So when it comes to that, I think that there
is never a person at Accenture who would say that they didn’t have information because
it’s just not available. [MICHAEL] Got you. [ANGEL] And if they are, we’re probably out leading the way innovating that, right,
so. [MICHAEL] [POINTS TO AUTUMN AND JACK] Do you both find that a useful tool as well? [JACK] I do, yeah, it’s just like the military, you’re going to have a lot of online training
that we have which I think is great, not only for your job but you can go outside of that
if you just want to learn more about different roles within the firm. And I haven’t been fortunate enough to go
to St. Charles but I know our on-site training there, I hear great things. Not only are you learning a lot but you’re
meeting a lot of people within the company so you’re networking and you’re finding,
you know, friends and just having a good time. [MICHAEL] Great, yeah. [ANGEL] I did actually go to St. Charles [JACK] Okay [ANGEL] In Consulting University, so it’s great mentors, great teachers there. You learn a lot for coming in as a consultant. [MICHAEL] Yes, the other CU. [ANGEL] Yeah [LAUGHS] [MICHAEL] Got you. Alright, so this is coming from an Accenture employee, ‘A friend of mine is a military
spouse. Can you share some information about programs
in place to help military spouses get a role with, and succeed at, Accenture? This is a great question, so, with our military recruiting team we do have folks that are
dedicated to working with spouses as they make a transition, right, because they do
make a transition too. They’ve given up so much, whether it be
from moving around from duty station to duty station or forfeiting you know, potential
employment opportunities, so what we’ve found to do is, we’ve got dedicated folks
that will work with them to make sure that they understand what skills they can use,
what they can leverage and what they can help find them a new role here at Accenture. We’ll do whatever we can through our high-touch
process to make sure they get just as much comfort and satisfaction as the rest of our
employees do. Okay. So, it looks like we’re getting near the
end of our time here, so just as a final question to our panelists here, what advice do you
have for military service members, you know, veterans or military spouses who might be
looking for a career change? We’ll start with Jack and work our way back. [JACK] Don’t get overwhelmed. I know it’s something new and foreign, and
you’re used to something that is very regimented and normal in the military but don’t get
overwhelmed. Take a breath. Do your research. And then I would say, network. Network, network, network because you never
know what opportunity’s going to come up or you know, what engagement is gonna lead to something for you in the future. It worked for me. It worked for Autumn. So, it’s going to be able to work for other
people. [MICHAEL] Great, Autumn? [AUTUMN] Um, I would say to take that leap. It is scary. It is going from something that you are totally
used to, to something you are not used to, and something that you are probably very good
and then something that you don’t know if you are gonna to be good at. So, just take the leap and don’t settle. I would say that would be the biggest point. You are going to probably get a lot of different
offers but really tie into what you want, and who you are as a person and what’s going
to make you happy, because ultimately, that’s what’s going to make you happy. That would be my advice. [MICHAEL] Okay, great. And, Angel? [ANGEL] I would say go for it, jump into what we call your Accenture Adventure. [LAUGHS] Right? I think that there’s an availability, a
wide range of availability of roles, of different things that you can perform, and different
tasks and work that you can do here, as well as growing as a person. And I think also, one thing that I like about Accenture, is right, the diversity, right, which is something I think that we kind of forgot to speak about
here. It’s so similar to the military, right, where we are always collaborating with all of these different people you know, in all of these
different phases, and Accenture is pretty much the exact same way, right, but the civilian side. And so, you can bring those collaboration skills and you can come here and work collaboratively together, and really deliver a lot of value
for our clients, and for yourself, right, so I think, join, you know, jump into it,
and if you can, hopefully you’ll be like me, a year later on Veterans Day here. [MICHAEL] I think that we can all agree that military does equal diversity. [ANGEL] Absolutely. Absolutely. [MICHAEL] So, I want to thank my panelists
for all being here. I want to thank you all for joining us today. Follow Accenture Careers in the US online
and on social to stay up to date on Accenture news, people stories and opportunities. For information about our military recruiting programs, please visit accenture.com, forward slash, military. To our fellow veterans and military families, thank you all for your service. [TURN TO PANEL] Good job guys. Appreciate you guys coming here… No worries… We were just… [FADE OUT TO CLOSING MUSIC]

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