Hiring Our Heroes funnels the immense employment potential of transitioning service members into veteran-ready companies through the Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program. Working at more than a dozen program sites across the nation, transitioning military service members have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the civilian workplace through an on-the-job fellowship with businesses of all sizes. The Corporate Fellowship Program matches candidates with participating companies based on skill and interest, giving service members behind-the-scenes insight into how some of America’s biggest and best organizations operate, and at the same time connecting employers with top veteran talent.
The Fellow Spotlight introduces a fellow who has recently graduated from the program.
Meet Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellow Gabrielle Quatse
Captain, U.S. Army
Military Occupational Specialty: 15B Aviation Officer, UH60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot
Fellowship Host Company: Verizon
Why did you choose to apply for Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program?
I chose to apply to the Corporate Fellowship Program after learning about the opportunity through a friend who had recently transitioned out of the Army. He told me about the awesome experience he had as a fellow for a construction management company and recommended that I also apply for the experience. I knew that it was a great fit especially since I was trying to rebrand myself as an Army Aviation Officer to a “soon-to-be” IT professional.
Briefly describe your experience while working and training with your corporate partner.
I am grateful to have been chosen as an IT Project Manager, working with Verizon Federal in their Solutions Architect Department where they specialize in security solutions for the public sector. Verizon is a huge company and Verizon Federal is just one slice of the entire team, focusing solely on the public sector.
Specifically, I am interfacing with the engineers on the Solutions Architect team on a daily basis and with the project managers in Verizon’s project management office to continue the implementation of our services throughout multi-phased projects. The projects I am working on are large scale and begin with requirements from the customer and are not completed until final acceptance from the customer.
During the fellowship, I’ve been exposed to the bidding process that Verizon Federal participates in to win contracts from the government. For me, this is similar to the requests for information and proposals and the contract bidding that I executed and managed while serving as a Battalion S4 (Logistics and Supply Officer).
Additionally, I work in a great atmosphere where I am also able to join specific teams to witness security solutions design and testing in many realms.
This experience has been extraordinarily valuable for me. I have had the opportunity to see Verizon’s plethora of opportunities and to see if I would potentially be a good fit with them and with the IT industry as well!
What difference did the Corporate Fellowship Program make in your transition process?
The Corporate Fellowship Program helped make my transition a lot smoother. I can say I was definitely nervous about my transition, but the program definitely helped ease my nervousness.
Within the fellowship we conquered every possible transition step necessary to gain the confidence to secure a job. The best part about the fellowship is that it is all specific to YOU. I was able to edit my resume, receive professional headshots, discuss my worth, set my target salary, and network and connect with companies and individuals that spoke to ME.
The fellowship also gave me a place to openly discuss the challenges I faced and get advice from others who were facing similar challenges. This program really assists in every aspect transitioning service members need it to.
What does it mean to have companies that are willing to invest in transitioning service members?
It is so important that companies are willing to take a perceived risk and invest in transitioning service members. Service members join the military to serve their country and to protect the freedoms we all share so for companies to recognize that, and give back to transitioning service members, is amazing.
Companies that acknowledge and value the skills that service members gain from their military experience are valuable to our nation. They know that these skills such as adaptability, leadership, decision making, and a positive work ethic are valuable to their culture and can be used in any position on their teams.
What personal and professional discoveries did you have while studying as a fellow?
Personally, I learned how much I don’t know about the corporate environment. I was shocked that I felt almost clueless my first two weeks “on the job”. I had to learn the specifics of Verizon Federal and how they operated as opposed to already knowing the lingo and operations of the Army. Thankfully, Verizon was a great place to learn and everyone I interacted with was professional, helpful and really positive.
Professionally, I learned that teamwork, mutual trust and respect, and solving problems in the corporate workforce is very similar to my experiences as a helicopter pilot.