Earlier this week, I had the distinct privilege of accompanying my 95-year old Dad, a WWII navy officer, on the annual Honor Flight from Atlanta, GA to Washington D.C. The Honor Flight is a fully funded trip for veterans of WWII, Korea and Vietnam to our nation’s capital for a full day of fanfare, War Memorial tours, and celebration of their critical role in our country’s freedom. The day proved to be an unforgettable tribute to my Dad and a reminder to me of the talented men and women who have worn our nation’s colors and served the flag with distinction and grace.
While many of the 80 veterans on my flight were well past their working years, our conversations about their various military roles reinforced in my mind the prominence and transferability of so many skills which lie dormant as our veterans often search for pathways into the private sector. The trip reminded me that we as a nation must take responsibility for helping our veterans, particularly those who are transitioning from recent assignments back into the work force, build the career networks they need and identify the career options that lie before them. Many of these individuals do not know how to start the process, how to build a resume, how to assess their own potential and how to connect with the right people.
Here’s the good news … these men and women are members of the greatest military force on the planet, and they bring to the marketplace an enormously strong and unharnessed set of skills that can help so many organizations excel and grow. Many veterans are perhaps too humble to advocate for themselves or laud their awesome accomplishments, so we must find opportunities to be their voice. We must find organizational roles through which they can apply their unwavering military discipline, their rock-solid values, their prolific technical competencies, and their tested people skills in crisis leadership, team development, decision-making, problem solving, and others.
Across our great land there are veterans who are reaching out for ideas that can help bridge their transition from military service to civilian service. All industry and company leaders battling for competitive advantage should look thoughtfully and creatively at the impressive profile of talent available to them. These men and women represent tremendous potential for our future, and our gracious assistance is the right thing to do for those who have walked in harms way.
Lighthouse Consulting is a proud advisor to ACP AdvisorNet, a non-profit organization on a mission to assist our returning military find their next career.