As Military Appreciation Month begins, I was thinking about something I’ve experienced firsthand: Military service members make excellent employees. If you know service members and their families, you know the qualities they exude and are probably thinking, “Yes, of course!” It’s why T-Mobile has been unwavering in our commitment to U.S. military veterans and their families for many years. We’ve benefitted from some amazing experiences from this great group of leaders. Let me share one example of many.
I met Gerard Shanley in 2005 after he’d served a decade of active duty, and just a few years later he was mobilized out of the U.S. Reserves to return to the Navy and serve as an officer under General Petraeus in Iraq. I can’t begin to comprehend how those 13 months affected Gerard’s life. But I do recognize his sacrifice, and I know that when he returned to work, the entire company welcomed him with open arms. Today Gerard is a crucial part of the T-Mobile Business Group digital product team. He’s one of the best people leaders I’ve ever worked with, and he credits his calm under pressure and respect for all walks of life to his time in the military.
Gerard’s story is impressive, but not unusual. It’s clear to me that military values map directly to the set of T-Mobile values that we live and act by as a company. With values including “Act Like an Owner,” “Lead and Inspire” and “Win Together,” we seek out and reward the same kind of servant leadership that the armed forces instill in its service members.
Knowing how valuable military employees are to our company, we reach out to the community at hundreds of job fairs, Hiring Our Heroes events and Veterans Affairs offices across the country. And our military recruiting programs continue to help veterans and military spouses navigate their post-service careers. We’re well on our way to fulfilling our promise to hire 10,000 military employees by 2023.
In the event a military employee is called to duty, they’re eligible for their full base pay plus commission during deployment — even if it’s their first day on the job — and they’re eligible for supplemental pay for an additional 50 weeks. And once they’re a member of Team Magenta, they can be part of our 12,000-member Veterans & Allies Network employee resource group, which serves as a source of support and networking for military veterans, active-duty service members, National Guard and Reservists, their families and their communities.
T-Mobile’s military commitment doesn’t just stop at hiring. Our partnership with the U.S. Veterans Administration to provide free telehealth connectivity is more crucial than ever. Thousands of veterans and their families take advantage of our Magenta Military and Magenta Max Military phone plans.
It’s policies and benefits like these that make T-Mobile an award-winning Military Friendly employer, one that received the gold standard from GI Jobs magazine for creating sustainable and meaningful opportunities for the military community. By the way, we’re continuing to find ways to improve and evolve our support and learn how we can be better.
Kendra Lord is another great success story that reminds us as a company how we can continue to be proactive and open-minded as we connect veterans to roles. Kendra submitted multiple applications with us before she found the right fit for the skills that she mastered during her nine-year career in the Air Force. Today she is a director of geospatial engineering and analytics, where she works to identify overlooked markets where T-Mobile can provide connectivity.
Kendra’s story is one of perseverance. She stayed focused and applied for multiple types of roles that had connections back to the hard and soft skills gained in the armed forces. Attributes like tireless work ethic, ability to thrive in stressful and changing situations, and steady leadership are incredibly valuable, even if they aren’t listed on the job description.
I’m grateful to the active military, veterans and their families at T-Mobile and appreciate their contributions at all levels of this company. To veterans like Kendra, Gerard and the thousands more at T-Mobile and beyond, I say thank you. You’ve given more than many of us will ever understand, and it’s our duty to help you shine.