‘I Can Bring My Authentic Self to Work’: Air National Guard Spouse Works to Welcome Veterans, Military Spouses to MetLife
Kat La Hart loves her job. Like really, really loves her job. If you ask her to elaborate on her satisfaction at MetLife, she points to two factors as the primary reasons for her feelings.
“The people I work with and my purpose to train, recruit, and retain top entry-level talent for sales.” But she does not stop there.
“I love that I can bring my true, authentic self to work every day and feel good about what I do in helping our talent grow and thrive while being able to focus on the veteran community,” she told Hiring Our Heroes.
As Director, Sales Training and Development, La Hart recruits, onboards, and trains entry-level sales talent in the MetLife Group Benefits Sales Internship and Sales Academy programs — and helps deploy them into full-time sales roles. Additionally, she is responsible for launching an orientation program for all Group Benefits new hires.
La Hart is also a military spouse. Her husband was a firefighter in the U.S. Air Force before transitioning to intel. Now, he is a chief master sergeant serving in New Jersey’s Air National Guard. The couple has two children.
“What makes my story unique as a military spouse is that I get involved, listen, and act to empower transitioning military members to find meaningful employment opportunities within Group Benefits,” La Hart said.
Find a Role to Grow into a Career
La Hart joined MetLife as a marketing services support consultant in 2008. During her nearly 15-year career with the company, she has held various roles in communications before transitioning to training.
In 2019, La Hart moved to her current role focused on hiring individuals for positions in MetLife’s Group Benefits Sales and Service teams for locations throughout the United States. On the Service team, consultants are trusted partners who work as an extension of a customer’s benefits team to support the delivery of benefits to employees. Sales team members represent one of the most robust benefits portfolios in the marketplace. They work with brokers and HR leaders to craft wellness benefits offerings that help attract and retain employees.
“In Sales and Service, we hire for a variety of roles that many align with veteran talent. For example, in Sales we hire sales representatives. This specific role would empower transitioned military members to leverage the many core values that were instilled in them while in the service, including the use of their leadership and team-player skill sets,” La Hart said. “Other roles where military talent may thrive include account managers, client service consultants, implementation leaders, and more.”
One advantage of working as part of MetLife’s Group Benefits Sales and Service teams is the diversity of available roles. It allows individuals “the opportunity to grow into a career that is most fitting for them,” La Hart explained.
“What I love most about Group Benefits is that you can work toward a career path in alignment with your passion, and leadership is supportive of being intentional about finding the best fit,” La Hart said. For example, if a veteran is hired for an account manager position in service but later discovers a passion for sales, that person may switch positions easily.
Related: ‘They Saw My Potential’: MetLife Provides Support, Tools for Veterans to Achieve Long-Term Success
Plus, MetLife values veterans and military spouses, along with the skills and experiences they bring to the organization. La Hart recently connected with job seekers at a hiring event hosted by Hiring Our Heroes.
“As a military spouse and someone who is so committed to the veteran community, it means everything. I have peace of mind knowing when we think about growing the MetLife family and bringing in diverse perspectives, we are being deliberate in hiring veterans and military spouses,” she said. “I could not be more excited to have this talent join the MetLife family.”
“I have peace of mind knowing when we think about growing the MetLife family and bringing in diverse perspectives, we are being deliberate in hiring veterans and military spouses.”Kat La Hart, director of sales recruitment and onboarding for the Group Benefits business at MetLife
MetLife Has Given Me a Platform
La Hart pours her heart into the MetLife Military Veterans Network (MVET). The employee-founded and run resource group promotes social responsibility, patriotism, and enhancing MetLife’s inclusive culture. MVET consists of 10 chapters across the United States (one virtual) and one in the United Kingdom, with approximately 400 members.
After becoming a member of MVET, La Hart soon volunteered to be chapter lead in the Bridgewater, New Jersey, office. Now, she is co-chair of MVET.
“At MetLife, I observed there was an opportunity to take action on how we could recognize the veteran community, give back, do more in the way of hiring, and support any hired veterans from transitioning from military life to civilian life,” La Hart said. “I dove right in and played an active role in MVET.”
“I dove right in and played an active role in MetLife Military Veterans Network.”Kat La Hart, director of sales recruitment and onboarding for the Group Benefits business at MetLife
Through MVET, La Hart volunteered at Valor Games Southeast, a national adaptive sports competition for disabled members and veterans of the Armed Forces. MetLife and MetLife Foundation sponsor this event.
“Being a part of this community and being able to have an impact with my MetLife family means a lot to me,” La Hart said.
La Hart encourages military spouses to find employment with military-friendly corporations like MetLife. And once hired, she urges them to be involved with the military Employee Resource Group (ERG) and give back to the military community.
“As military spouses, we have a platform of opportunity, and we should take advantage of it,” La Hart said. “I understand the hardships of transitioning from military to civilian life and managing a household going through a deployment. I make myself available to those who also may have or may be experiencing this and help them in any way I can.”