In this interview we talk about:
Networking and the importance of social media
Interviewing and having a story ready to tell
Knowing what interests you
Functional expertise that occurs in the civilian world that doesn’t occur in the military
Comcast NBCUniversal’s commitment to hiring over 21,000 members of the military community by the end of 2021
The many ways in which Comcast NBCUniversal is a great place for the military community (including spouses)
Carol Eggert is the Senior Vice President, Military and Veteran Affairs at Comcast NBCUniversal. She served for over 30 years as a non-commissioned and commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard, retiring as a Brigadier General. Her numerous overseas deployments include a 15-month combat tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as Chief of the Women’s Initiatives Division and Senior Liaison to the U.S. Embassy, Baghdad, where she conducted a full-scale analysis of women’s initiatives and developed a strategic plan for the economic and political empowerment of Iraqi women under the U.S. Secretary of State. She is the recipient of the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart. She holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies, two master’s degrees in instructional design and strategic international studies, and a doctoral degree in organizational leadership. Her leadership in the private sector has been recognized by HillVets, who placed her on their 2016 list of the 100 most influential veterans in America, and by the Philadelphia Business Journal, who named her one of their 2016 Veterans of Influence.
This episode is sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal. At Comcast NBCUniversal, our sustained commitment to Veterans, Military Spouses, and National Guard and Reserve members begins with our workforce, to which we added more than 10,000 military community members to between 2015 and 2017. We’re now expanding on that achievement with a goal to hire an additional 11,000 Veterans, Military Spouses, and National Guard and Reserve members, bringing our total to 21,000 military hires by the end of 2021. We want you to join our family. Visit Comcast Careers dot com slash Military and follow us on Twitter at Comcast Military to learn more.”
StoryBox- People trust each other more than advertising. StoryBox provides the tools and supports businesses need to take the best things customers say about them, and use them to drive more sales and referrals. StoryBox offers a 10% discount to companies employing veterans of the US Armed Forces.
Employer School: https://psycharmor.org/employer-courses/
SHRM Vets at Work Certificate: https://www.shrmfoundation.org/VeteransAtWork
IE For Vets: https://internetessentials.com/Veterans
Xfinity military customer offer: https://www.xfinity.com/military
Additional information about Carol:
Transcript & Time Stamps:
What was the highlight of your military career?
It was more of a theme that ran throughout my entire career. It became more evident as I continued to serve. It was the opportunity to positively impact the people and programs around me. I had about 11 years enlisted time and then commissioned time after that but that theme ran through both of those.
What was your transition out of the military like?
I enlisted straight out of high school. I eventually got out and used my GI Bill to go to college. Then I enlisted again. It was there that I realized that serving was something important to me. Some of that time I spent in the National Guard. I eventually earned my Masters degree in instructional design and as a civilian, I worked with companies to build training programs. I was serving in the National Guard at the same time. After 9/11 I went back to serving on active duty.
How can transitioning military members use corporate resources to assist them?
It depends at what point in their career someone is transitioning. If you’re a young person that’s leaving after one tour of duty, it’s much different from a senior officer transitioning. But a common theme is that you have to be prepared and do your research. Some people lose that when it comes time to get out. So you need to know yourself and what it is that you want to do after your military service. Look for resources that can assist you in reaching those goals.
We’re so used to being given assignments. You serve in one assignment and then go to the next assignment. That leaves us unprepared for the civilian workforce. You have to think a little bit differently.
We take some hits with the TAPS program but I believe this program has made great strides in becoming more useful. So make the most of those opportunities. TAPS is now mandated for all transitioning members. So go into it with an open mind and get as much out of it as you can.
What advice do you have for listeners about networking?
LinkedIn can provide amazing benefits to veterans. They offer a free Premium membership for one year to all veterans. Make sure your profile is professional and separate it from anything you’re doing personally. You don’t want your college pictures or platoon party photos posted on your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn can make it much easier to network because you can connect with veterans at organizations you are interested in.
In 2015, the Joint Chiefs put out a call to veterans to use the skills they learned in the military to make a positive impact on their community. Belonging to community groups can be a great way to network without even really knowing your networking. Groups like Mission Continues, Team Red White and Blue, and Team Rubicon can provide great opportunities to meet other like minded veterans and individuals.
So it’s important to give back and at the same time, tell your story. Have a story ready to tell. You’re not used to putting together an elevator speech coming from the military but it’s important to get comfortable with telling your story.
Too often we think of networking as very one-sided where you’re asking someone for something. But you have a lot to give as someone who has served. This week I was speaking with a colleague. I was telling her about Wreaths Across America which she did not know anything about. Her father was a Vietnam veteran and because I told her about this organization, I was able to connect her with that group. So networking isn’t a one-sided exchange. You have a lot of experience and knowledge to give as a veteran.
How would you describe the work that you do at NBCUniversal?
I think people coming from the military have trouble understanding that many jobs in the civilian sector are functionally based around a specific skill set. If you’ve been in the military for long enough you really become a generalist. So a lot of veterans apply that generalist mindset to the civilian sector. But I think it’s important to be aware of how important functional expertise is in the corporate world. Senior leaders coming out of the military often have difficulty with that in the transition. But understanding where your functional expertise lies is really vital to a successful transition.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
My job is tied to what a generalist might do which is come in, put a strategy together, and apply a budget to that strategy. I was brought into Comcast to fill a position in which the goal was to strengthen the relationships between Comcast and the military community. They wanted to hire veterans because they felt it was a talent pool that they did not engage but that it was a community that could help them build their organization.
So I came into an organization that had never had a formal military engagement strategy. So that includes everything from coming up with a strategy and implementing a culture. My position is more of a generalist but I had previous civilian experience that taught me how to work with functional experts. In the military we’re not always cross matrixed across the organization. But in the civilian world, this is extremely common. Teams are put together with various functional experts in order to solve an issue.
That’s really incredible that NBCUniversal has committed to hiring 10,000 veterans.
We made that commitment right after I was hired. I knew I had the support from the highest levels of NBCUniversal to achieve this goal. I also think it’s important that this commitment includes not only veterans but other members of the military community such as Guardsmen, Reservist, and military spouses.
We ended up exceeded our goal at the end of 2017 and we now have a new goal of hiring 21,000 people from the veteran community by the end of 2021. We’ve been able to educate our hiring managers about how to understand a military members background and experience.
If someone is interested in Comcast NBCUniversal, what can they do?
We are more than military friendly - we are military ready. We have amazing benefits that support our military community. When our employees that are Guard and Reservists get called into duty, they continue to be paid by us. For spouses of military members that are NBCUniversal employees, when their spouse gets reassigned to a new location, we help the spouse find a new job.
I often get calls from military members asking about where they will fit into our organization. But you really need to start at the company you are interested and figure out for yourself where you will fit. So redefine the skills that you have and find out where you can fit in to an organization.
We have our 21,000 military community hiring goal that guides us but really it’s just about building in military friendly programs into our culture.
I also feel a commitment to helping other organizations that want to hire more military community members. I speak to the US Chamber of Commerce and local industry groups about how they can put together a plan to bring in more veterans.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with listeners?
We all volunteered to serve and that same commitment to service resides in veterans after they leave the military. Understand ways that you can give back and find purpose in your life even after you’ve made the transition.