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  • Age
    48
  • Occupation
    IT Technical Director
  • Company
    USAA
  • Location
    San Antonio, TX

For years, Brian Charles Parks’ employer has made it a priority to hire people who have devoted part of their lives or family to military service. Last year insurer USAA made significant progress toward that goal, with 30% of its new hires being either veterans or military spouses. That’s step one. Step two, says Parks, is making sure that his new colleagues can thrive in their jobs. Parks, indeed, has made it his mission to help service men and women learn the ropes of a corporate work environment, a culture that can seem far removed from the one they knew in the military. So he forged VetNet, an employee resource group that provides professional development, mentorship, and camaraderie for a community that’s now 5,000 members strong. “Having a good network trumps a good résumé,” says Parks, whose bridge-building efforts don’t stop there. The former U.S. Army recruiter also wants civilian employees to gain a better perspective on military life. To that aim, he has set up digital Walls of Honor at various offices, where anyone can post a photo of a loved one who has served. He also hosts a biannual event called Zero Day Physical Training to mimic boot camp for the uninitiated.

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