This spring, GM Financial expanded its support for members in the military and veteran community by participating in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation‘s Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) Program. The nationwide initiative helps service members, veterans and military spouses transition to civilian life by providing meaningful employment opportunities in the private sector.
As part of the inaugural program, GM Financial welcomed U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jamie Johnson in January. In her role as a project manager, Jamie supported the company’s Information Technology (IT) department.
“Because I did not have any IT experience in my role in the Air Force, I was extremely nervous,” she said. “I quickly realized that those nerves were unfounded. From the minute I stepped into my role at GM Financial, everyone was so welcoming and supportive.”
Jamie, who has served more than 20 years in the Air Force, expressed how difficult it can be for service members to transition from the military to a corporate environment. She felt uneasy at first when working with a fellow team member on a project.
“I remember working on my first project at GM Financial and hearing a colleague use an acronym that is common in the Air Force,” Jamie said. “Initially, I felt a sense of familiarity hearing the acronym. That sense of familiarity was quickly shattered when I realized that my colleague was talking about an entirely different set of words.”
Jamie said that most veterans will experience a “welcome to the life outside of service” moment. She explained that HOH and corporations like GM Financial play pivotal roles in helping service members overcome these situations.
“Transitioning from the military can be an intimidating and challenging journey,” Jamie said. “With corporations like GM Financial participating in HOH, I know that I’m not alone on this journey and that there are people willing to help me translate my military skills into a corporate environment.”
Despite obvious differences between her two roles, Jamie said there are parts of her military background that have helped ease her adjustment into the civilian workforce.
“In the military we are taught to be flexible, to have attention to detail, to think critically about situations and to have an innate problem-solving nature,” she said. “I’m also used to working in high-tempo environments that require quick decision-making.”
Jamie acknowledged that all these skills helped her excel in her role in IT.
Reflecting on her experience as GM Financial’s first corporate fellow, Jamie said she is grateful for the opportunity. She hopes that other companies realize the value of getting involved with HOH, specifically the benefits of adding military veterans to their workforce.
“It is critically important for companies to get involved with programs that support veterans,” Jamie said. “Veterans can contribute a lot to an organization.”
“Being in the military, we come from very diverse backgrounds and bring different perspectives, skill sets and experiences that can aid in the success of companies,” she said.