Veterans and military family members have a wide range of life experiences and can bring valuable ideas and perspectives to any company. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that more than 200,000 veterans move to civilian life each year and there’s a huge opportunity for companies to do more to support both the veterans and their families who join the workforce. One of the many ways that companies can support their veterans and military spouses is by creating a mentorship program.
This May, in honor of Military Appreciation Month, we’re launching our Intuit Military Network mentor program to help build community and fuel the career growth of veterans and military spouses. We connected with our team to share some takeaways about why programs like this matter and how they can make a difference to the veteran community.
Why a mentorship program?
From active duty to serving overseas, or even the need to move every couple of years to support a spouse, veterans and military spouses have experiences that often connect them to others in the military community.
We’ve seen success with other mentorship programs helping those who can benefit from further support from individuals who have been through similar experiences and can offer advice and guidance. From our Tech Women at Intuit mentorship program to our Transgender Youth mentorship program and even our mentorship program supporting our top underrepresented minority talent, mentorship programs can build a sense of belonging with an organization.
“I can say without a doubt that mentorship was the cornerstone to any success I saw while in the military,” Bryson Menke, global Intuit Military Network leader shared. “I was fortunate to have some very competent and confident leaders show me the ropes early on, however, after leaving the service, I definitely felt lost while transitioning into the civilian world.”
A mentorship program for veterans and those in the military community has the ability to benefit both parties while providing additional support to those connected to serving in the military. We’ve seen these meaningful connections fostered through a shared common experience, and veterans can lift each other up even as they transition to civilian life.
The importance of mentors
For experienced veterans who have successfully navigated life in the civilian world or military spouses who have been through supporting a loved one in the military, mentors have the opportunity to give back while enhancing their own leadership and coaching skills. Mentors can gain better awareness and understanding of employees at various levels throughout the organization while passing along their own knowledge and experience. Last but not least, mentors can make a difference in the life of a fellow veteran or military spouse.
“My mentor has helped me with things from understanding Intuit, to how to take my program management game to the next level and everything in between. Now that I feel I have a better direction for myself my goal is to make the same opportunity available to other vets and vet family members like me,” Bryson shared.
Mentorship can help open up doors for future career development opportunities or provide guidance with how to handle a specific situation. Not only can mentees expand their career network and exposure in the organization but they can find camaraderie with someone who has gone through a similar experience within the military community.
Getting started with a mentor
It’s never too early or too late in your career to find a mentor. Find out if your organization has a veteran employee resource group or another group within your company that supports a diverse workforce. If a resource doesn’t exist and you still have passion, ask your peers or other leaders both inside and outside your organization for recommendations. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you’re inspired by and ask to schedule a conversation. Be prepared with some questions or even share what you hope to learn.
Making a difference to our veterans and military spouses
At Intuit, diversity, equity and inclusion aren’t just something we do – it’s part of who we are. Modeled by our employees, our employee resource groups lay the foundation for a culture of diversity and inclusion, while also helping to build understanding, empathy and capability for our employees and customers around the world. Intuit’s Military Network is just one of our 12 employee resource groups and has the goal to provide all veterans and their families with the opportunities to translate their skill set to grow, develop, and thrive at Intuit through mentorship, outreach, recruiting and education.
Intuit’s Military and Veteran Initiative furthers our support to help transform the lives of veterans and military families. From career opportunities, resources for those interested in starting their own business, financial tips and management, to offering free tax preparation and tax advice, the Intuit Military and Veteran Initiative represents our company’s commitment to community, jobs and financial empowerment opportunities for military families and veterans.
We’re incredibly thankful for the sacrifice made by our veterans and look forward to launching more initiatives to support not only our veterans but military spouses and the military community.