Veterans foster innovation in the tech industry with the skills and experiences they gained through military service. Workmates from our Veterans Employee Belonging Council (EBC) share their thoughts on Veterans Day and how military service has shaped their perspective on belonging and diversity.
How Military Service Nurtures a Sense of Belonging Through Diversity and a Shared Purpose
Patrick Himenes is an employee health and safety specialist. He served four years in the U.S. Air Force, and is currently enlisted in the Air National Guard:
In the military, everyone comes from different walks of life, cultures, and backgrounds. But as much as we’re all different, we also realize we share a common purpose. As a result, we gain a high-level capability of being problem solvers because the diversity of perspectives allows for more solutions to solve problems at hand.
Sacha Haghighi is an accounts receivable contract analyst and serves as an ally for veterans at Workday:
From a young age while living in Southern California, I’ve built friendships with military families. My frequent interaction with veterans and the military community expanded my understanding of different cultures and inspired me to emulate how they demonstrate inclusion, empathy, and planning for the future. As a first-generation American who was born in France to a Middle Eastern family, I’ve appreciated the veterans who served in Afghanistan and understood the nuances of the different languages of the Middle East, the different cultures and cuisines, and the global impact and global politics. They helped me feel truly welcomed as a first-generation American.
Aaron Davis is a data conversion consultant and lead of the Veterans EBC. He served in the U.S. Army for four years, and is currently enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves:
My service in the U.S. Army further validated the importance of belonging and diversity. As service members, we’re required to effectively and efficiently work together to accomplish common goals and missions, regardless of our differences. So trust, commitment, and effort allowed us to ensure the safety of one another as we accomplished objectives. And it's because of these experiences that I believe the U.S. military is one of the most diverse melting pots that exists today.
Why Character Shaped Through Military Service Strengthens Value-Based Cultures
Mike Hudson is a senior associate program manager. He served as a U.S. Marine for 25 years:
Building an effective team requires having a degree of empathy and curiosity. My experience serving in the military has shaped me to be curious about other people, find out where they're from, and learn what makes them tick. We leverage the very best that each individual has to offer and strive to create an environment where they can be their best self, which is the ability to complete the mission regardless of where you're from or what you look like. It's a way of bringing everyone together to focus on a common theme.
I see a direct parallel here at Workday because we're a global company and we celebrate that diversity. My experience in the military has definitely helped me transition to another values-based workplace with a different mission, but each place holds in high regard the importance of bringing people together.
How Our Veterans EBC Builds Community and Success in the Workplace
Davis: Workday’s Veterans EBC allows me to embrace my unique identity while feeling supported, even on the rainiest of days. The opportunity to serve as the Veterans EBC lead has been a privilege because I can serve my unique community and influence company policy in a way that best supports our service members and their family members who deploy.