Months Before His Separation Date, Navy Veteran Finds His Fit at First Command

First Command financial advisors
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Hiring Our Heroes

“I could have gone right from being a nuclear electrician on the Navy side to being one with a defense contractor,” said U.S. Navy sailor Dakota Wibel. “But I was looking to make a huge change in my career.”

Wibel discovered his post-military career nine months before leaving the Armed Forces, thanks to a connection he made with First Command Financial Services at a Hiring Our Heroes’ Career Summit.

How does a sailor transition from nuclear electrician to financial advisor? With passion and planning, according to Wibel.

Nervous About Taking the First Steps

Years before the Hiring Our Heroes’ Joint Base Charleston Career Summit, Wibel met with a financial advisor. The guidance changed his life.

“When leaving that meeting, a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and I knew my passion was finance,” Wibel said.

Dakota Wibel

This conversation provided a starting point. Next, Wibel earned a bachelor’s degree in finance. Then, he had the education, but he still lacked a pathway to employment.

“Financial advising was something I really wanted to do, but I was nervous about taking those first steps,” Wibel said.

Wibel needed a connection, an insider, to guide his transition. He found his connection at the Joint Base Charleston Career Summit hosted by Hiring Our Heroes. This is where Wibel met Bernie Still, district advisor at First Command.

“As soon as Bernie got up on stage and started talking about financial advising I knew I needed to talk to him. And after talking with Bernie, I knew this is the right fit,” Wibel said.

Through these conversations, Wibel learned about First Command and its corporate values. His experience clarified his post-military employment path nearly a year before his military separation. As a result, Wibel didn’t feel rushed when preparing for his next career.

“[I believe that ] being proactive allowed me to have a much smoother transition,” Wibel said. “Having time on your side is very important.”

More Than Your Average Job Fair

Career Summits introduce service members and military spouses to the vast array of resources and information available as they begin career planning.

More than your average job fair, a summit provides interactive workshops, industry overviews, digital tools demonstrations, mock interviews and other sessions allowing participants to prepare before they practice engaging with employers during a networking reception and career fair.

Career Summits are local efforts designed to complement and enhance local employment assistance programs. Powered by national resources, summits represent a fundamental shift in the way communities support military hiring.

Each summit connects employers, like First Command, with talented service members and military spouses on military installations in the United States and overseas.

‘I Love Working at First Command’

Now, Wibel is an independent contractor and a licensed financial advisor with First Command. Besides following his passion, Wibel is happy to work for a company which understands and values the skills veterans bring to the workplace.

Financial advising was something I really wanted to do, but I was nervous about taking those first steps.

Dakota Wibel, U.S. Navy veteran

Finding post-military job satisfaction may have been more challenging without Hiring Our Heroes.

“My transition would have been fine,” Wibel said. “I just wouldn’t have found a job that I love and a company I love working for that aligns with my values. I don’t think I would have found that [without Hiring Our Heroes].”

For a list of upcoming HOH Career Summits, browse the Hiring Our Heroes’ events calendar.

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