Veteran voices are heard on Blended.

309: Blended – Veterans Voices: Inspiring Stories from Those Who Serve

It’s episode 26 of Blended: I’m joined by another fantastic panel of guests and, today, we’re talking about veterans. This is a discussion I like to have every year on Blended around this time. Veterans Day provides a unique opportunity to reflect on the role that veterans have played in our country. As we honor the brave people that have served, it’s important to also hear their stories.

Today, our guests will be sharing their life experiences, both professionally and personally; debating the well-known phrases ‘thank you for your service’ and ‘call of duty’; discussing transitioning from military to civilian life; and sharing advice on how we can both support veterans, and help businesses to become more veteran friendly.




[00.52] Introductions to our Blended panellists.

  • Kris – President and co-founder at Gen Alpha Technologies
  • Sylena – General Manager at OwlCrate
  • Jerry – Acquisition Project Manager at Hive Group

“It was an interesting period of time in the early 2000’s, where we looking at what culture used to look like, what used to be acceptable and what isn’t now. There was a lot of cross-functional abuse.” Sylena

[07.27] The group discuss why they chose to join the military, their experiences and how they found supply chain.

“Joining the military was something brand new to our family, I was the first generation to join the military, so I had no insight, no clue… everything that I knew of the military was from movies.” Jerry

  • Jerry’s experience of having an internal calling to sign up
  • Kris’s experience of signing up instead of taking her place at University
  • Sylena’s experience in the Canadian cadet programme
  • Camaraderie and friendship
  • Challenges for women and queer community – Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
  • Loyalty

“I joined the military to see the world!” Kris

[25.46] The panel explore the phrases ‘going above and beyond the call of duty’ and ‘thank you for your service’, and some of the mental impacts around them.

  • Differentiating veterans that have, and have not, undertaken active service
  • PTSD and post-service trauma
  • Self-doubt and imposter syndrome
  • Importance of support roles
  • What people can do
    1. Create spaces to have conversations
    2. Hire veterans and change recruitment processes
    3. Provide advantages to veterans

“I like to leave it for the folks that paid the ultimate sacrifice.” Jerry

[42.54] The group discuss the transition from military service to civilian life and share thier advice to both businesses and veterans.

“I did supply chain in the marine corps so my transition out was a little bit easier.” Jerry

  • The need for a mindset change
  • Lack of belief that an army career equals a college education
  • Transferable skills
  • Find the right way to describe skills in a way that connects with civilian recruitment
  • Find a mentor and help with resumes
  • Make jobs attractive to veterans
  • Build a network
  • Guilt and loss of purpose
  • Plan the transition
  • Learning a new language (corporate world)
  • Well-funded Employment Resource Group
  • Community
  • Lead with a mission and purpose
  • Training programmes

“Have confidence in yourself, you’ve been trained and you have skills.” Kris

“Hire veterans! Remove the barriers to your hiring processes, give them their own hiring path, take away the need for a degree and have conversations – they will bring things to your organization that no one else will.” Sylena

[1.05.25] The group sum-up their thoughts from today’s discussion with what surprises them about veterans.

“I’m always surprised by how immensely talented, capable and qualified folks are!” Sylena




You can connect with Sylena, Jerry and Kris over on LinkedIn.

If you enjoyed this episode, why not listen to episode 231: Blended – Veterans and Civil life: Winning the Battle of Workplace Discrimination, where our guests shared their personal experiences of the military and transitioning to civilian life; inclusion and supplier diversity; employment struggles and entrepreneurship; and their advice and tips for both veterans, and businesses looking to support them.

Check out our other podcasts HERE.

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