Veterans Helping Veterans: EY Network Streamlines Transition to Corporate World
by Terri Eyden on
Veterans Mentoring Veterans
McHugh said EY veterans have always sought each other out informally for guidance and advice, but in 2010, with the uptick in EY's veteran hiring, EY decided to formalize its efforts.
EY, in conjunction with its existing veterans, developed the EY Veterans Network (see sidebar) and the Veterans Peer Mentoring Program to help newly hired veterans successfully plug into the EY culture.
Veterans who were already part of the EY "family" said they knew the Veterans Peer Mentoring Program would be a critical piece of the transition puzzle and fall naturally into place with EY's existing firm-wide mentoring process.
The EY Veterans Network
Joe McHugh, executive director of Advisory Services at EY, said the EY Veterans Peer Mentoring Program is just one part of a larger EY initiative dedicated to supporting the men and women who have served their country – the EY Veterans Network.
The Veterans Network is a professional network created by EY veterans themselves to help veterans connect and support each other within the organization.
Established in June 2010, the EY Veterans Network has grown to encompass more than 400 members.
Every US branch of service (Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard) as well as foreign veterans, family members of veterans, and non-veteran supporters from all corners of the firm are represented.
Participants connect with each other through a combination of events, networking functions, communication, professional development activities, and community projects.
The EY Veterans Network also spreads the word about the benefits of hiring veterans to other industries and supports local veteran initiatives.
For more information on the EY Veterans Network, visit www.ey.com/us/veterans.
"We felt we could complement our existing mentoring from a veteran's perspective," McHugh said.
Today at EY, in addition to peer mentors and counselors that all new hires receive, new veteran hires are also paired with a veteran peer mentor who mirrors their military experiences as closely as possible. Veteran peer mentors are veterans who have recently completed their military service; have been hired by EY in the last three to six months; reside in the same city as their mentee; and, if possible, come from the same branch of service.
McHugh said, "We want new hires to have support from someone who is as familiar with their experience as possible. Someone who can say 'I have the same pedigree as you; here's how I transitioned.'"
Navigating New Terrain
Monte Babington, retired US Army captain and current manager of FSO Advisory at EY, knows firsthand how critical peer mentoring is to helping veterans translate their highly specialized military expertise into a skill set that will benefit the civilian workforce.
Babington learned to navigate that new terrain largely on his own when he first joined EY in 2010, and he has since served as a veteran peer mentor for EY's new military hires.
Babington said one the greatest challenges in helping former military members adapt to the civilian workforce is "breaking down the barriers in the minds of the new military hires."
"When I think of the specific skills I came here with as an army captain coming out of a reconnaissance unit, at first glance, they would seem to have nothing to do with business. I could lead a platoon, maintain a dozen vehicles, teach marksmanship, and navigate at night over mountainous terrain," Babington said. "But as a newly separated veteran, it wasn't clear how that would translate in business. However, if you abstract those activities, you can draw parallels to general management skills . . . managing a team, teaching and mentoring, problem solving, reporting back to your superiors . . . once you draw those connections you learn to adapt those skills to the business world."
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