Back in February, I had the honor of moderating a panel on corporate culture and opportunities for veterans with three experts at this year's International Franchise Association Annual Convention. Each panelist demonstrated an immense passion for entrepreneurship and serving veterans.
The panel included businesswoman and author, Carly Fiorina, who not only was the first woman to head a Fortune 50 company, but also served as the chairwoman of the External Advisory Board of the CIA after 9/11, giving her the highest civilian security clearance. Also on the panel was U.S. Navy SEAL Monty Heath, who serves countless veterans through entrepreneurship and mentorship programs, and Mary Kennedy Thompson, a USMC veteran and the chief operating officer of Neighborly. Mary stands as an inspiring figure to all veterans, as someone who has thrived in the field and in the business world.
During the panel discussions, the experts and I dove into why veterans are a smart hire and how they add value to a franchise brand. The UPS Store has had tremendous success from hiring veterans as franchise owners. We find there are many unique qualities veterans possess that simply aren't found anywhere else and make them a great fit for franchising.
VETERANS ADD DIVERSITY AND VALUE
Carly Fiorina brought up a staggering statistic: $8 billion of corporate dollars are spent on diversity in America today. While veterans don't often think of themselves as a minority group, only 7.3 percent of the U.S population are veterans. Bringing veterans onto your team can add new perspectives from individuals with different life experiences who have had to overcome challenges very different than the average person.
If we want to see more veterans in business, we need to allow pathways for them to access positions of leadership, give them a seat at the table and set them up for success to make decisions that allow greater opportunities for success. Thankfully, franchises are great building blocks for veterans' careers. They are a place of business where they can empower and be empowered and give a voice to veterans all around the nation while adding value to the brands they represent.
VETERANS HAVE SKILLS YOU CAN'T TEACH
Mary Kennedy Thompson said "Veterans are very much driven toward serving others." Service before self is a characteristic that can't be taught, but is found intrinsically. Service men and women enter their vocations for that very reason--to serve. It can be expected...