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Translating military skills to private-sector jobs in financial services

Translating military skills to private-sector jobs

About 200,000 people leave the US military every year. Making the transition to the civilian workforce can be challenging, and private-sector employers are stepping up to help. Wells Fargo is tackling the issue with one-on-one support, intensive programs, and the understanding that one size does not fit all.

Jen Hadac: Good morning, everyone! It is my absolute pleasure to welcome you to today’s job fair. We have almost 80 exhibitors here today looking to fill positions not only here in the Atlanta area, but …

Tanya Ott: On a Thursday morning, dozens of active-duty military members and veterans gather outside the doors of a large room in the Georgia International Convention Center. They’re here looking for jobs … and Jen Hadac is here to help them. She’s former Navy …

Jen Hadac: Yes, I was actually an aviation warfare systems operator. It’s a fancy term for a radar operator. I watched blips on a screen on a P-3 Orion. It’s a submarine hunter, which is really fun because my brother was on nuclear-powered submarines. So, we called it the ultimate game of hide-and-seek.

Tanya Ott: These days, Jen’s a recruiter for a national organization that sponsors career fairs, job boards, and other services …

Jen Hadac: There is no better group that you can think of that has been having to handle difficult situations under arduous conditions, [with] minimal resources in kind of an uncertain environment. Right. That’s what we do in the military every day. So, you think about what’s happened over the past couple of years with COVID-19 and the economy and all these changes. That’s the way we thrive in the military, right? The uncertainty, the ability to do more with less—and just make decisions.

Tanya Ott: But the transition from the military into the civilian world isn’t always easy.

I’m Tanya Ott. And today, we’re taking a deep dive into the world of veteran employment.

Stephanie Toomey-Johnson: I am Stephanie Toomey-Johnson. I sit in Anchorage, Alaska. I work with Wells Fargo in the commercial bank here. My official title is senior business banking development specialist.

Tanya Ott: It’s been a long and winding road for Stephanie. She enlisted as an 18-year-old, straight out of high school in Jacksonville, Florida.   

Stephanie Toomey-Johnson: I had a brother that was 13 months older than I was, and he and I were competitive all our lives and he enlisted in the Marine Corps. So, for me, there was no other branch. If he did it, I knew I was going to do it. And of course, with our competitive nature, I was going to try to surpass him.

Tanya Ott: And she did. Her brother got out after his first enlistment. Stephanie served for just over eight years, with two deployments to Iraq as a communicator.

Stephanie Toomey-Johnson: We learned to set up different types of radio nets and antennas from very high frequency nets to ultrahigh frequency nets to man-to-man packable radios to vehicle radio communications to communications centers. And my first enlistment specifically was more of a man-pack radio. I would carry radios around and I had radio systems in my vehicle. So, when we were on patrol, we would maintain this kind of mobile communication system. I was the MEU commander’s radio operator, so all the radio systems that he had in his operation center, we had them in my vehicle. I would not just drive but maintain all of his communication and whoever else we had in the vehicle with us.

Tanya Ott: You transitioned out in December of 2010. How did you prepare for that?

Stephanie Toomey-Johnson: The Marine Corps does a really good job of trying to set you up for success on the outside. I think when you’re getting out, though, after you’ve had such a high-volume kind of life in the military, all you kind of see is the getting-out part. So [even if] the resources are well provided, I don’t know if they’re well absorbed from service members as they’re transitioning. I think that there could be a better job of both sides of that. Getting out for me was just like this chapter of my life is over and all I see is the gate. I’m getting out the door. And I wasn’t extremely set on what would be on the other side.

Tanya Ott: So, then what did you do? 

Stephanie Toomey-Johnson: So, I got out, used my GI Bill [to go] to school full time, [and] I was working full time. I went into business. That was my degree path. I felt that business was broad enough to figure out where it would be useful down the road. So, I got an associate’s degree in general studies and a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Tanya Ott: As you were nearing the end of that degree, how were you thinking about what your career move was going to be?

Stephanie Toomey-Johnson: I think when I was working through that degree and like it, it is pretty general and pretty broad, so I guess I was trying to find what would be really something I had a passion for. But [with] so many industries, I felt like I could have a connection. Oh, that’s so interesting. I could work in the not-for-profit world. Oh, this is so interesting. I could work in this for-profit industry, construction management or ... but everything that I looked into just felt so appealing and I almost felt overwhelmed with, how do you really get started? Where do you go? And then also understanding the skills that you have in the military and wondering if a company can even value that. At least for me, I was like, wow, I spent almost a decade of my life in the in the Marine Corps, I hope that there’s some value or some transferred skills that a company would see where I didn’t feel like I was starting up fresh brand new as an 18-year-old again.

Stephanie Toomey-Johnson: After I finished my bachelors, my husband got stationed here in Alaska, so we moved up here. And while I was kind of thumbing through different industries to figure out what would be a good choice, I said, in the meantime, I can’t sit stagnant. I have to do something to continue building that resume, so to speak.

Tanya Ott: So, she went back to grad school and, in a year and half, graduated with an MBA.

Stephanie Toomey-Johnson: Right at the same time I finished grad school here in Anchorage, my husband decided that he was going to get out of the military. So, I was a prior military and a service member spouse. He was transitioning himself out of the military. We decided that Anchorage was going to be a home for us, and I said, well, let me look on the job market and see what’s out there.

Tanya Ott: She went on LinkedIn and saw that Wells Fargo was looking for someone in commercial banking. She thought, let’s give it a try.

Stephanie Toomey-Johnson: When I was in my first interview with Wells Fargo, I kept referring to everything that I did in the military and the people as assets, and my interviewer, who ended up being my manager, who I respect so very much, he was thinking I was referring to the balance sheet and financial statements when I kept saying assets. So, I had to clarify what I meant. And then, that was a quick kind of light bulb moment where I needed to stop talking like I’m in the Marine Corps and talk more [in] these civilian terms.

Tanya Ott: It’s a common problem for vets—how to translate what you do in the military to a field that, at least on the surface, isn’t at all like what you do in the military.

More than 650,000 enlisted soldiers left the US Army between 2000 and 2015,1 and that’s just the Army. 2020 Census data shows that many of them who left service during the Great Recession in the late aughts struggled to find stable postmilitary employment. They were [either] unemployed or underemployed.2

Last year, there was encouraging news. The unemployment rate for those who served on active duty after 9/11—those known as Gulf War–era II veterans—declined to 4.6 percent. And the jobless rate of all veterans was just 4.4 percent. That’s below the rate for nonveterans. 

But the spouses of active-duty military [personnel]? That’s a different story. They’ve got some of the highest unemployment rates of all. One recent survey pegged it at 20%, when the national unemployment rate was 6 percent.3

Jen Hadac: I am actually also a military spouse, so I know firsthand how difficult it can be.

Tanya Ott: Again, Jen Hadac … the Navy aviation warfare systems operator turned recruiter who we heard at the top of the show.

Jen Hadac: And it’s not because military spouses are unemployable. Military spouses have some of the highest education rates. The challenge they face is [that] military service members get that call and [then] they’re moving constantly. So, every two to five years, they have to pick up and start their career again. It’s a real transition or a real challenge for military spouses to have to start over, over and over and over again.

Tanya Ott: There are programs to help—from the military, not-for-profit groups, [and] community organizations. But the demand for help can be overwhelming. About 200,000 people leave military service every year.4 In the quest for civilian employment, civilian employers need to step up.

Many are doing just that, with specialized recruiting, transition programs, and more. One example—Wells Fargo.

Nate Herman: Hey. I’m Nate Herman. I’m the chief control management executive for Wells Fargo. I recently retired last year from the Marine Corps after 20 years of service, eight of those active duty and the rest spent across a series of reserve activities—and [I] have been with the firm about two years now.

Sean Passmore: I’m Sean Passmore. I’m the head of military talent, strategic sourcing, and enterprise military and veterans’ initiatives, which is a really long title. I directly lead and manage all of Wells Fargo’s veteran and military-spouse attraction, recruiting, hiring, and onboarding efforts. Like Nate, I’m also a retired military. I retired from the Army after twenty-two and a half years of service. I retired about eight years ago and I have also been at Wells Fargo for about two years.

Tanya Ott: Before we get into the initiatives that Wells Fargo has, both of you came out of the military and I would love to just get a sense of what your transition experience was like when you retired—whether it was, you know, a year or two ago or eight years ago.

Nate Herman: When I came off active duty, I ended up in the banking sector via a six- or seven-year career that went from the Marine Corps to the FBI to National Security Agency and US Cyber Command. And so, while I had an interlude between running around daily in uniform and banking services, I will say that the initial first year in 2012, joining financial services was a change just because it was the first time I had operated outside of a paramilitary [setting]—[a] very hierarchical, structured organization. I had the good fortune to have mentors and folks who took me under their wing to help me learn the rules of the road and how the place operates. I also then had the opportunity to continue to have one foot in the banking world while I was doing the reserves, and to see the challenges and the highlights and the lowlights of trying to struggle with building a career in banking and doing that. And again, lucky to have worked for firms, including this one, that were very, very supportive of those obligations that sometimes competed with each other.

Sean Passmore: I had a varied military career. I was prior enlisted former noncommissioned officer. I retired as an officer. While I was an enlisted service member, I had two different career fields. I was a dental laboratory technician for some time. I was a Chinese linguist for some time. When I became an officer, they made me a communications officer. So, Army Signal Corps, Communications, and IT (information technology)—and even in that last half of my career as an officer, I supported different types of fields. As a lieutenant, I was in a large communications brigade. As a captain, I was supporting air missile defense communications. And then as a major, I spent my last four years in the White House Communications Agency supporting presidential communications and events and travel around the world.

So, as I was approaching my exit from the military, I really had this jack of all trades, master of none [career]. How do I market myself? How do I communicate my value? While I have 22 years of experience, it’s not a singular experience, and I’m competing against other people who have business skill sets. That was extremely challenging for me and because of my military experience, I think it makes me better at what I do in coaching and mentoring separating service members and helping them find their way into corporate America. I’m able to really connect and empathize and sympathize with service members, whether they be a junior enlisted service member getting out after a few years or a career noncommissioned officer or junior officer or senior-level military career officer, I’m able to really connect with them and help them find their way.

Tanya Ott: Nate, why has Wells Fargo made this commitment to recruiting and retaining veterans?

Nate Herman: I think it starts with, at the highest levels, an understanding and an appreciation for, and quite frankly an accountability that the firm has, to impact the communities that we live and serve in. That impact is amplified through partnerships, and those are partnerships with Military Warriors Support Foundation or Gold Star Mothers, or whether they’re partnerships with other organizations like Veterans on Wall Street who are interested in finding veteran talent. The impact, it’s not just in the hiring space, but [also in] integrating the talent and developing the talent. But it also then extends into how, through our business activities, how can we impact the issue and the community? For example, small business lending, what can we do through our business activities? That reality as a backdrop is important because it really enables the firm to maximize their impact. It enables that impact to reverberate and ripple out because of the partnerships. And it, quite frankly, creates and sustains an effort that long outlives the flavor of the moment. Veterans’ initiatives, these are ongoing efforts certainly for Wells Fargo and others that, have transcended just the last two or three years. I was looking at the data. Unemployment was like 4.4 percent. I remember, [in] 2012, when those numbers were 10%, 11%. It’s indicative of the progress that’s been made. It’s also indicative of the sustained efforts and the commitment of firms like Wells Fargo to addressing those and the ways in which we address them, which are holistic and multifaceted.

Tanya Ott: Nate, you mention the unemployment data and veteran unemployment is generally lower most years than nonveteran unemployment. Why do you think that is?

Nate Herman: Well, one, I think there has been an understanding, especially post–9/11, of the value that veterans bring to organizations. The challenge has been not necessarily getting people in [through] a door. It’s keeping them in [the room inside] the door. It’s reaching and developing a sense of community, of passion, and a mission that really allows them to be successful long term. [That] becomes much more of the long-term challenge in this community with a segment of individuals. This past Wednesday I was at an event in New York and there was a veteran there who had gone to Columbia, had been at Google—and what a great opportunity it was. But when Ukraine happened, he just missed so much the sense of mission and the sense of impact that he quit. I think it’s an extreme example of how people respond to it, but I don’t think that’s a unique reality. And [it’s] certainly one of the challenges as we think about maintaining and retaining the talent.

Tanya Ott: So that sense of mission may be one of those challenges. The way organizations are organized, you’re coming from a very hierarchical structure to, you know, what might feel a little bit more like the Wild West, potentially.

Nate Herman: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s clearly the sense of mission. Sean talked a little bit about translation skills. Once you get into the organization, [it’s about] how you navigate it. The challenges are varied. Sometimes, you get the senior folks coming in, understanding how life works versus, you know, being a senior leader in Wells Fargo, which is different than being a senior leader at the Pentagon.

Tanya Ott: Why is this so important to Wells Fargo? I mean, obviously it looks good. The optics are great. People want to support the military and vets, but it’s [much] more than that.

Sean Passmore: I can jump in on that, Tanya. Let’s go back and revisit this idea of unemployment rate. You mentioned that it’s low. Not only is veteran unemployment typically lower than nonveteran unemployment, it’s also lower now or just about as low now as it’s ever been since [the] post-Vietnam era. And it’s because Wells Fargo and other companies are figuring out the value that veterans bring [to] the organization, and we’ll all agree on the skills that they bring in terms of collaboration, leadership, problem-solving, resiliency, agility. When we say agility, we don’t just mean the ability to adapt, to change or to thrive in change, but it’s really the ability to lead through change. Veterans are change champions. I think we universally agree on these things; but, you know, it’s about culture as well. We’ve all heard the quote—I don't know who said it, but—“culture eats strategy for breakfast or strategy for lunch” or “culture trumps strategy.” And that is certainly true. When you look at the veteran population, we’re talking about a very engaged group of people. No matter what somebody’s political persuasion was when they joined the military or what their political persuasion was when they left the military, we know that veterans are more likely to vote than nonveterans. We know that veterans are more likely to be employed than nonveterans. We know that veterans are more likely to start businesses and be successful in those businesses than nonveterans. And, oh, by the way, there’s this creed [that says] we don’t leave anyone behind. So, when you want to be successful in an organization, whether you’re a small organization, a medium organization, a large organization, veterans are the type of people that you’re going to bring in [to] help you create and sustain a winning culture. In Wells Fargo, we’re expected to embrace candor. We’re expected to learn and grow. We’re expected to be great at execution. We’re expected to be champions of diversity and inclusion, and we’re expected to do what is right. And if you lead people here, it’s an expectation that you build high-performing teams. I will argue that there is no place in the world that you’re going to find people who can live up to those expectations than in our volunteer military force. Just look at those things and it’s easy to realize why veteran unemployment is lower than nonveteran unemployment and why companies like Wells Fargo and others have figured out that that is high-potential, high-quality, and high-performing talent to bring in [to] the organization.

Tanya Ott: Sean, you started enlisted and then you ended up a commissioned officer. And it seems to me that there are some companies that are actively recruiting for veterans, but they’re really only looking for people at the higher levels and not someone who enlisted right out of high school or maybe has a little bit of college. But the programs you work with span across levels of experience.

Sean Passmore: You know, there’s this myth, I think, and this is my observation, that the senior officers kind of have it made when they exit the military, and it’s going to be easy for them and people are going to line up around the corner to hire them. My observation is that’s not the case. It can oftentimes be much, much harder for a career senior enlisted service member or, you know, lieutenant colonel, colonel, or a commander or a Navy captain, and these senior folks, it’s not easy for them. It can be very, very challenging. But at Wells Fargo, we do such a good job of understanding first what the business need is, where are the hiring needs, and then trying to leverage our veteran pipeline to fill those needs, rather than the inverse. We don’t build relationships with career-seeking veterans and then go trying to shop them within the business and find them a home where we think they will fit. We really start with the business in mind and then go find what we need in the veteran talent pool. I think this is maybe what sets us apart from some other companies that may not be resourced the way that my team is resourced. If you are a, you know, two-, three- or four-year veteran and you're getting out and you don’t have a college degree and you’re just looking for a pathway into financial services, I have a program for you. If you are midcareer [person] and you have maybe some business background—more transferable skills—and you’re looking for a career in the, you know, US$60,000 to US$90,000 a year range, I have a program for you. If you want something more structured through Department of Labor and VA in a 12- or 24-month apprenticeship leading to a leadership role within the bank, I have a program for you. So, we have probably seven different pathways or flavors of programs for different types of veterans or military spouses, depending on where we’re trying to put people in the business and depending on what the skills, experience, and career goals for the veteran jobseeker are.

Tanya Ott: This is the point in the interview when I asked Sean to give us a little taste, to tick through the programs, and here’s a little sample:

(Music swells)

Sean Passmore: We have a program called Boots to Banking. Historically, it has been for high-volume, entry-level—But we also have a veteran student teller program where we have people who have left the military—We partner with the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring our Heroes Initiative, H-O-H is what people know them as, for what they call a corporate fellowship program —It’s a ten-week program. You can think of it somewhat like an internship experience where they get a chance to spend time with a corporate employer—One of the reasons this program is so successful is we have information sessions, and we prep the candidates for how we can improve their résumé—We also have what I think is our flagship program. It’s called the Veteran Employment Transition Program or VET Program. This is a paid internship, not an internship like a college internship…

(Music fades)

Nate Herman: The breadth and depth of things that we do is so large. And I think getting a chance to be at the table and understanding the organization is such a force multiplier for individuals as they are figuring out sort of, what do I want to do next? Where do my skills fit in? What are the opportunities out there? And so we've had great success with converting folks, but then them actually learning the organization while they're understanding in the middle of their transition.

Tanya Ott: It sort of reminds me of the concept of returnships. Someone's been in an industry for a while, but then they're taking, you know, maybe 20 years off to have a family and stuff like that. And then coming back in some form of internships/training to relearn the industry, but also relearn the culture of the organization or something like that.

Sean Passmore: Yeah, Tanya, it's funny you mention that. Wells Fargo does have a returnship program. It's not a veteran- or a military-specific program, but we have seen several military spouses [who] actually have been hired into our client relaunch program.

Tanya Ott: What’s the business argument for Wells Fargo in terms of employing veterans?

Nate Herman: Look, I think at the end of the day, three things come to mind across industry: innovation, change, and execution. When I think about what my experience in the military has been and when I look over the last 12 to 15 years, I don’t think there’s an organization better than the US military at producing folks who can operate across those three domains. I look at my service, the Marine Corps: I was a tanker. I was an officer in charge of  M1A1 tanks. Marine Corps just did away with tanks, just self-disrupted and did away with tanks in the last two years as they transitioned to be much more oriented against the Pacific Theater and some of our challenges there. But those skills, those abilities [from the job] are inherent to be successful. 

I think for us as well, it’s an opportunity to find and source talent who come prepared but also that are diverse and represent the communities that we serve. As we’re looking for folks who bring the right skills, the right background, the right understanding, the right diversity across all domains— It is an unbelievable source of talent and talent that can figure things out. The challenge, I think, is as they come in, helping them make the transition. But once they make the transition, the experience and their ability to play across the organization and operate and be effective is as good, if not better, as any of the other talent we can find in the marketplace, in my experience.

Sean Passmore: The finding of the veterans, I think we actually do a pretty good job [at]. We have really strong relationships with maybe two dozen or so veteran-serving organizations who are really focused on attracting and preparing veterans to transition into the corporate workforce. Additionally, we have strong relationships with close to two dozen military bases. We have done a really good job of connecting with and reaching into this population of some 200,000 people who leave the military every year. We do a good job, I think, of attracting what we do better than most. This goes back again to how we’re resourced, right? Our senior leaders have demonstrated a commitment and have made an investment in my military talent strategic sourcing team. We’re 31 people when fully staffed. That’s not very common. So, because I’m resourced like this, we’re able to do one-on-one coaching with veterans, like kneecap-to-kneecap conversations on how to improve résumés, how to perform an interview. But it’s not just the veteran-facing engagement that’s helpful for us. It’s really what’s happening behind the curtain that my team is doing, as far as maintaining relationships with recruiters and recruiting managers and advocating for the veterans that we are working with who are seeking careers. It’s the consulting that we’re able to do into the business for leaders who may not be bought into veteran hiring yet or maybe don’t fully understand the value of veteran-hiring, and we’re able to convince them. Because you always want your leaders to feel empowered or to be empowered to hire who they feel is the best qualified candidate. We want to be able to shape their mind in how they think about what “the most qualified” is.

Nate Herman: Yeah. I mean, I think the skills and the backgrounds and the experiences are as varied as anything that we would find in the private sector. And quite frankly, I think it’s getting even more and more diverse as we think about, you know, the development of the Space Force. If we think about how the battlefield operates and the decision-making, the authority, the technology that is getting pushed down to a lower and lower level, even since I first went in 21 years ago. And so, I think the better the military understands how the private sector thinks, and the better the private sector understanding [is of] the military, the easier the transition will be.

Tanya Ott: After some initial uncertainty … okay, let’s just say it … she was overwhelmed … Stephanie Toomey-Johnson, the Marine Corp veteran and military spouse, went on LinkedIn and found the advertisement for Wells Fargo’s veteran internship program that Sean talked about. She applied and right as she was graduating with her MBA, she was offered the position.

Stephanie Toomey-Johnson: It was phenomenal. It was an eight-week internship to work in our business banking group here in Alaska. And the process went ... I sent in my resumé and went through the whole Wells Fargo interview process. Then I had the opportunity to interview here locally with a local manager that would be my direct manager for the eight-week internship. It was going to be a combination of some online trainings and orientations to the Wells Fargo program that I was going through, along with on-the-job training here with the team that I worked with.

Tanya Ott: You know, some people listening to this may go, wow, she’s spent almost a decade in the military. And then she went back and got an MBA and then she’s an intern? But it sounds like it’s completely different than a traditional internship program.

Stephanie Toomey-Johnson: Yes. And that was important for me, just finding somebody that would value the skills that I had gained through my military experience and also over time trying to just, you know, improve myself by going back to school and all of this. The part that was intimidating wasn’t just going back into the workforce, it was also … The thought in your mind, like, I truly hope I don't have to start at an entry-level position again. I hope that I can, one, present the skills that I have, but also have those skills valued on the other side, the receiving end, of, “This applicant has a lot to offer, and we can match what they’ve done with where they would position well within the bank.” I really felt that they did well with matching what I had to bring to the table and valuing all those skills, those soft skills, those hard skills, and kind of leapfrogging me into a program that would be equivalent to the time that I had already invested.

Tanya Ott: Is it a challenge for veterans trying to translate their skills? 

Stephanie Toomey-Johnson: [The challenge is] understanding how to best present yourself and understand kind of the jargon that you have in the military and how to start changing that into civilian verbiage so that it can be understandable—and [then] you can put your best foot forward. There is a challenge in that of just understanding the mindset shift from being on active duty and being able to speak with people that might not have experience dealing with people that were in the military or haven’t been in the military themselves.

Knowing how to go in and know your skills and be able to present, “These are the skills that I’m going to bring to the table. These are the things that I’ve done in the past.” Being able to speak to those and give good explanations when you’re in the interview process. [When] you’re interviewing for a position within the civilian world—for me, within the bank—sometimes they ask, “Can you give us an example of something that pertains to this.” Being able to give a scenario that is relatable, that is accurate to the question that’s being asked, but that’s getting pulled from your military experience, how to speak to the question that’s being asked in the civilian world so that they understand that this is transferred. These are the skills that are being asked of this is, you know, hitting the nail on the head for what they’re asking, but not making it in a in a language that they don’t understand.

Tanya Ott: One of the things that we’ve heard from other people is that the military is such a structured environment. It’s very clear who’s in charge. It’s very clear what the chain of command and the lines of communication are. And sometimes, when you get into the private sector, that’s not always the case. Was that something that you had to learn to navigate?

Stephanie Toomey-Johnson: Yes, I think so. Like you said, there are very structured hierarchies within the military. You know just by looking at somebody where their place is in the food chain, so to speak. Whereas in the office, nobody’s walking around with their rank on them or where their office is and where they sit. Understanding how to best advocate for yourself, that is also a big change in the civilian world from the military. Understanding, you are your best source of improvement or speaking up when you want to see a change or want to provide input or want to do some cross-collaboration.

I think while you’re in the military, there’s a lot of small-unit leadership. You have a lot of people that are keeping you accountable, helping you along. And then, when you get out, you kind of feel like you’re on this island. You lose all that or you feel like you’ve stepped away from all the things that you like, the support system, the camaraderie, the friendships.

Tanya Ott: I would imagine there are also challenges related to, for instance, negotiating salary and asking for promotion, and all that sort of thing, that it is very structured and prescribed in the military.

Stephanie Toomey-Johnson: Correct! You can find out what someone makes in the military. You can Google that—that’s all public knowledge.

Tanya Ott: Were there other light bulb moments like that for you in the interview process or in the onboarding process?

Stephanie Toomey-Johnson: In the military, it’s a pretty direct kind of delivery a lot of the times. Receiving and giving information, we’re just very direct. And then, in the civilian world, navigating how to best speak to your audience can be helpful and then how some people receive feedback. I’m someone that appreciates very direct commentary or leadership, but if you’re put in a place of leadership to kind of understand how to speak to a broader range of personnel, [it] can be very helpful in the civilian world.

Tanya Ott: Just one of the many lessons Stephanie Toomey-Johnson learned in her program.  She’s now a mentor, giving back to the next generation of vets making the transition.

Tanya Ott: My guests today were Stephanie Toomey-Johnson, Nate Herman, and Sean Passmore.

Tanya Ott: You can learn more about Wells Fargo’s programs for veterans and now military spouses at
We’re on Twitter at @deloitteinsight and you’ll find me at @tanyaott1. Thanks for listening and have a great day!

The Deloitte Center for Financial Services

The Deloitte Center for Financial Services, which supports the organization's US Financial Services practice, provides insight and research to assist senior-level decision makers within banks, capital markets firms, investment managers, insurance carriers, and real estate organizations. The Center is staffed by a group of professionals with a wide array of in-depth industry experiences as well as cutting-edge research and analytical skills. Through our research, roundtables, and other forms of engagement, we seek to be a trusted source for relevant, timely, and reliable insights.



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    Scott Maucione, “Military spouse unemployment continues to weigh on service member families,” Federal News Network, March 16, 2022.



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    Transition Assistance Program, US Department of Labor, accessed September 23, 2022 



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Cover image by: Natalie Pfaff

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