Originally published at stories.abbvie.com. AbbVie ranked No. 15 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.
AbbVie’s Veterans employee resource group is a dedicated and highly disciplined group that supports the careers, health and well-being of veterans and those who care for them — both at AbbVie and within our local communities. Get to know AbbVie Veterans better in an interview with five members who discuss the unique skills military personnel brings to the job, what they have gained from their service and the benefits of having a diverse team.
1. Why is the Veterans ERG so important?
Michelle Raine-Shepherd, manager, call planning/targeting and planning and Veterans chair: We all share a unique bond. We’ve either served or know someone who has served. It could be a caregiver or a family member, but as long as we’re supporting the same mission, it’s good. That bonds us.
Ryan Roman, associate director, medical program management and Veterans co-chair: It really brings a lot of what is missing in some veterans’ lives, especially the camaraderie. For example, we recently hosted an event with five veterans who had never met. Thirty seconds into the conversation, you would have guessed that they were best friends for years.
Chuck McDaniel, federal account executive and Veterans communications & marketing co-chair: It offers the opportunity for employees that have had similar life experiences to connect, share stories and even network. It is inspiring to see how members of our group mobilize when there is a need.
Monitra K. Gregory, clinical research associate II & Veterans member: As veterans, there’s an understood and natural desire to look out for each other.
2. What unique skills and perspectives do veterans bring to the workplace?
Russ Schmidt, associate business systems consultant and Veterans communications committee: Veterans are trained and gain experience in the military decision-making process which incorporates risk management, considerations across the environment and ultimately making quality decisions with limited information and time.
Chuck McDaniel: Most veterans understand that the chain is only as strong as the weakest link and that everyone must work to be their best so that the chain won’t break. The focus on self-improvement and a willingness to help strengthen the person next to you produces a team that is not easily defeated.
Michelle Raine-Shepherd: One is leadership. Veterans know how to lead teams. They also know how to plan and execute. Other skills are project management, communication and knowing how to motivate and mentor people.
Monitra K. Gregory: Tenacity, discipline, dedication. We work very well under pressure. We adapt very well to change. We can follow as well as lead, observe the rules and bring unity. These characteristics make us valuable employees.
Ryan Roman: Veterans put the mission first. You can tell who the veteran is in the room by the way they handle stress. As a service person, you have contingency plans and you’re always ready to pivot.
3. How does having a team of diverse people benefit both the military and the workplace?
Chuck McDaniel: The military has long been a place for people of all ethnicities and backgrounds. When serving in such a diverse group, superficial differences don’t matter when you are depending on the person next to you to do their job.
Monitra K. Gregory: In the military, we’re all different – from different places, backgrounds, ethnicities and religions – and we are forced to have each other’s back. This brings us together and we value diversity and inclusion.
4. What are some takeaways from your time serving?
Russ Schmidt: I learned how to lead different types of individuals, from carpenters to doctors, and tailor what I was doing to that specific group. I was in charge of soldiers that outranked me, so I learned how to be tactful.
Michelle Raine-Shepherd: I learned it’s not about me. It’s about everyone else. Be willing to step in and help. If you see a problem, fix it. Something else I learned is that it’s okay to disagree. We can agree to disagree and move forward.
Ryan Roman: I learned from my service early on that I’m not the smartest person in the room, as much as I like to think so. I’ve learned how to take in different opinions, perspectives and different viewpoints before making a decision. That’s served me well.
Learn even more about AbbVie Veterans here.