When Elizabeth Dole first brought attention to the “alarming number” of unemployed and underemployed caregivers, Hiring Our Heroes and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce immediately committed to helping to find employment opportunities for these “hidden heroes.”
“The difference we have made together is hard to quantify because the value of employment is so much more than simply holding down a job,” Dole said. “Employment is financial security, predictability, and peace of mind. It can provide a sense of purpose, a sense of self-worth, and an opportunity for social connection.”
Dole was among the 2022 award recipients at the 12th annual Lee Anderson Hiring Our Heroes Awards Gala, presented by USAA on Nov. 9 at the historic Decatur House in Washington, D.C. This year’s gala theme was “Champions of Change.”
“There is no better champion for this important work,” said USAA’s Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Tamla Oates-Forney. “You (Dole) inspire us all to keep doing more for our military and their families.”
“Our Work Is Far From Over”
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Suzanne P. Clark and Hiring Our Heroes President Eric Eversole presented the President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement to Dole.
“Across a life of public service, Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s passion has been lending her voice to the voiceless and finding purpose in service to others. No one is more deserving of the Hiring Our Heroes President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement, and on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, I’m honored to have the opportunity to celebrate her accomplishments,” Clark said.
The Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s mission is to empower, support, and honor the nation’s 5.5 million military caregivers — the spouses, parents, family members, and friends — who care for America’s wounded, ill or injured service members and veterans at home. Since launching the foundation in 2012, Dole has led a movement to expose the military caregiver crisis and generate critical resources to help caregivers.
Hiring Our Heroes and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation work together to identify employment opportunities for caregivers. The nonprofit organizations also provide resources for employers interested in hiring caregivers.
“And our work is far from over. Too many caregivers still struggle to maintain a job, especially one that rises to the level of their qualifications,” Dole said. “We owe it to these hidden heroes to explore every possible way to keep the American workforce open to military caregivers – from flexible work schedules, to telework options to more generous paid leave policies.”
“We owe it to these hidden heroes to explore every possible way to keep the American workforce open to military caregivers – from flexible work schedules, to telework options to more generous paid leave policies.”Sen. Elizabeth Dole, 2022 President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement Recipient
Colonel Michael Endres Leadership Award
Along with the President’s Award, Hiring Our Heroes recognized individuals and organizations committed to serving and supporting military veterans and their families.
U.S. Marine Corps veteran Beau Higgins, senior manager of military talent acquisition at Amazon, was selected for the Colonel Michael Endres Leadership Award for Individual Excellence in Veteran and Military Spouse Employment.
“To be recognized as the recipient of this year’s Col. Endres award is a true highlight of my time at Amazon,” he said. “While my name may be on the award, there was a great team behind me that made this happen. This would not have been possible if not for the continued support and investment of the Amazon Military Affairs team.”
Leadership award finalists were Ann Gaudard Weeby with Salesforce and Sean Passmore with Wells Fargo.
Helping Our Veterans, Military Spouses Reach Their Full Potential
During his keynote remarks, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. praised partnerships between the U.S. Department of Defense, Hiring Our Heroes, and employers.
“Hiring Our Heroes is a win-win for all. Well done, Hiring Our Heroes. Because of your dedication, our military members can prosper when they take off the uniform,” he said. “Thank you for what you do to build a bridge between the military and our business communities and for helping our veterans, our caregivers, and our families reach their full potential.”
The Black-owned, woman-owned, and veteran-owned activewear line ICONI received the Capital One Small Business Award.
ICONI stands for “I Can Overcome, Nothing’s Impossible.” ICONI donates 10% of its profits to nonprofit organizations. The company’s mission is to “change the world one legging at a time by motivating people through our high-quality activewear and providing an inclusive environment for everyone, while giving back to those in need and in crisis and remembering our humble beginnings,” according to its website.
Nate Boyer, U.S. Army veteran and co-founder of Merging Vets and Players (MVP), served as the gala’s emcee.
“I believe in the Hiring Our Heroes’ mission because they create this amazing ecosystem which provides people with a sense of belonging and purpose. They connect the military community to employers to do meaningful work,” he said. “And most importantly, it creates a new sense of purpose for a strong workforce.”
“Thank you for what you do to build a bridge between the military and our business communities.”Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.
Additional 2022 Award Recipients
Wells Fargo received the Lee Anderson Veteran and Military Spouse Employment Award.
Prudential Financial presented Indeed with the Steve Robinson Post-9/11 Veteran Employment Award.
Booz Allen Hamilton received the Wounded Veteran and Caregiver Employment Award, presented by Comcast.
USAA presented T-Mobile with the Military Spouse Employment and Mentoring Award.
The D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University received the Military Community Nonprofit Leadership Award, presented by NBCUniversal.
Each year, Hiring Our Heroes recognizes the contributions of individuals and organizations at its annual awards gala. Visit HiringOurHeroes.org/Employers/Awards/ to review the lists of previous award recipients.