Building Inclusion: supporting career transitions of veterans through mentorship

Madie Howard, Global Co-Lead of the Intuit Military Network employee resource group, aims to support veterans through career guidance and elevating veteran-led small businesses.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your connection to the military, and what brought you to Intuit.

I am originally from California, but moved to Tucson when I met my spouse. My grandfather served in the U.S. Army Air Forces and my stepfather served in the U.S. Air Force. On my spouse’s side, I ended up surrounded by veterans, with my spouse’s father, brother, grandfather, and grandmother all having served. So service has always been around me. 

When I moved to Tucson, I knew I wanted to help people through my job, but wasn’t sure if Intuit was a good fit. Thus, I opted for a seasonal position that has evolved into four different roles over an 8-year period.

What inspired you to take on a leadership role with the Intuit Military Network (IMN)?

When I first joined Intuit, it wasn’t my aim to become an IMN leader! I wanted to be the Tucson site lead for We Care and Give Back (WCGB) events with Operation Gratitude, a non-profit that supports troops, veterans, first responders, and the military community. I wanted to give back. With all the veterans around me, the one thing that struck me was their self-sufficiency, which can be a good but isolating trait. I wanted to ensure that veterans knew their service had not gone unnoticed, and we can all honor their service and support them.

I began working with the then local leader of IMN here in Tucson to support Operation Gratitude. Before I knew it, I was raising my hand for other projects, and soon after, became a local co-chair for the IMN. When COVID hit and everything became virtual, I began to focus on a wider audience and saw I could do so much more as a global leader. So, I started to do the role and the title of Global Co-Lead came later. 

In the United States, November is National Veterans and Military Families Month, in honor of Veteran’s Day. What will you be reflecting on this Veteran’s Day, and how is the IMN marking the moment? 

Veteran’s Day has a really long history and is tied to Armistice Day, which is celebrated in many countries around the world also on November 11. It has always been a moment of reflection on the sacrifices veterans made for their countries and honoring service. 

This year, the IMN is continuing our focus on veterans in our local communities. Each day during the week leading up to Veteran’s Day, we’ll highlight a veteran or military spouse-owned small business, as well as a veteran-focused charity. We wanted to focus ‌on the communities in which we live. 

It’s been two years since the launch of the IMN mentor program. Why is mentorship particularly important for the career growth of veterans and military spouses, especially in the tech industry?

Career transitions are hard. It is a leap of faith to know if you’ll thrive doing new work in a new environment. For veterans and military spouses, it can be an even bigger challenge. Studies have shown that 50% of veterans leave their first job within the first year of employment. Military spouses can also have a rough time maintaining a career, as changes in a spouse’s military post could happen every 2–3 years. Guidance and mentorship are critical to navigating a new normal. Mentorship can also boost confidence and help provide a softer landing. In my experience, mentorship is primarily about building a connection with someone. It’s sharing experiences as much as it is sharing best practices.

What advice would you give to someone looking to support veteran and service member employees and the IMN?

IMN volunteer projects and events require support, in ways both big and small. Even something like stuffing envelopes for a large letter writing campaign for soldiers helps tremendously! If you know of a veteran or military spouse in your community, invite them to a family meal or barbeque you are hosting. Support can be just as easy as asking someone how they are. But it doesn’t happen unless you initiate and offer first. 

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At Intuit, we’re passionate about making sure that everyone can show up as their authentic self at work. Through Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) like the Intuit Military Network, we’re able to foster a sense of connection, empathy, and trust between employees. 

If you are interested in joining our team, check out Intuit’s careers page

Intuit is an Equal Opportunity Employer, for more information about our EEO policy please click here.

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