‘It Was One of Those Pinch-Me Moments in Life’: After a Pile of Rejections and an Unexpected Relocation, Military Spouse Finds Employment With USAA
Meghann Boyd is the epitome of a resilient military spouse.
Despite doing all the right things to orchestrate her return to the workforce, Boyd received one rejection email after another. So, she turned to Hiring Our Heroes and its fellowship program for military spouses.
“I told myself, ‘This is a great opportunity to dip your toe back into work and make sure you are working in an industry that you are passionate about,” Boyd said.
Related: 3 Reasons Why Now Is the Right Time to Hire a Military Spouse
She attended Hiring Our Heroes’ Amplify workshop at Camp Pendleton. Boyd updated her professional head shot. She refreshed her resume and conducted mock interviews with an HOH fellowship program manager. Boyd researched San Diego-area employers and selected ones for targeting her job search and fellowship.
Boyd was ready to return to the workforce.
Refocus Her Career Goals Again
Then her husband called her unexpectedly.
“I know whatever is about to come out of his mouth is a game-changer,” Boyd said.
She was correct. The Marine Corps selected Kurt for a position on the East Coast. Her family needs to move this summer.
“I say, ‘Congratulations. This is amazing. I’m so happy for you, but I’m going to need a minute,’” Boyd said. “Do you know who is the first person I call? Tracy Steele, my program manager at Hiring Our Heroes, and I tell her everything.”
Boyd explained she’ll be living in San Diego for less than ten months instead of three years and will relocate to a city where she has no professional network.
“Tracy said, ‘Meghann, this (situation) is why this program exists. It’s for military spouses like you,’” Boyd said.
Her Focus Turns to USAA
With Steele’s guidance, Boyd refocused on fellowship opportunities with national employers instead of giving up on her career goals. In the process, Boyd turned her focus to USAA.
“I have always loved USAA. I never thought about working for them,” she said. “Then I saw USAA had open positions with project management in financial services, which lends itself nicely to my career path and sounds interesting to me.”
The interviews with USAA as a fellow candidate sealed her determination to work there.
“Throughout the interview process, each touch point was a positive experience with great communication and mentorship,” Boyd said. “Every single person I talked to throughout the interview process was motivating and inspiring. These are the people I want to surround myself with, and so, I applied and got a fellowship with USAA.”
Military Spouse Career Accelerator Pilot Connects Spouses with Fellowships
Boyd is among the first 100 military spouses to participate in the Military Spouse Career Accelerator Pilot (MSCAP), a DoD-funded fellowship program to assist spouses in finding meaningful employment.
Launched in January 2023, MSCAP connects military spouses of currently serving members of the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Space Force, to include active, reserve and National Guard component with paid 12-week fellowships. Hiring Our Heroes and Deloitte are collaborating with the Department of Defense on this new program.
Each applicant is carefully vetted, and career-ready military spouses are placed with host companies based on location and work experience. Depending on the company’s needs, fellowships may take place in person or remotely. MSCAP is free for participating companies.
“After I finished the fellowship, I got a call from my new boss offering me a job as a business strategy analyst. It was one of those pinch-me moments in life,” Boyd said.
And it wasn’t an easy journey.
“I had worked for about a year to get back into the workforce. There had been a pile of no’s and rejections and that really wears on you over time. You start feeling defeated. Someone once told me, ‘It’s not a rejection. It’s a redirection,’ and I have kept that advice in the back of my mind during this process,” she said. “I had the grit to stick with it and eventually it paid off.”
I had worked for about a year to get back into the workforce.Meghann Boyd, U.S. Marine Corps spouse and MSCAP fellow
USAA Is Committed to Helping Military Spouses Return to the Workforce
The fellowship, which is like an internship, gives military spouses the opportunity to prove their skills and experience in the workplace.
During her 12-weeks at USAA, Boyd helped develop and execute a website user feedback survey.
She also engaged in agile transformation by prioritizing work, tracking progress, and ensuring alignment between internal stakeholders. She hosted 50 virtual coffee chats with USAA employees.
“The thing I loved the most about USAA during my fellowship was the opportunities for professional development and networking. They really want to help military spouses succeed,” she said.
Employment Provides Financial Stability, Consistency in Military Life
In 15 years, Boyd has moved eight times. While that seems to be a lot to most civilians, for military families it is common.
“With all the unknowns in the military life, having a job provides consistency and stability for me as the spouse. I am pumped to save in a retirement plan and help save for my family’s future,” Boyd said.
Boyd is grateful for USAA, Hiring Our Heroes, and MSCAP.
“Hiring Our Heroes and MSCAP helped me reenter the workforce and gain access to a group of professionals who understand the unique challenges of military life,” she said. “I can’t thank Hiring Our Heroes enough for the fellowship opportunity and support. I wouldn’t be at USAA without them.”