Veterans Day: Highlighting Our Veteran Employees

Each year on November 11 in the United States, we take a day to honor our military veterans of the United States Armed Forces, and our IPG community is no exception. We are truly grateful for our veterans, and recognize their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and make sacrifices for the common good. We believe our veterans, service members, and military spouses make our companies better, and communities stronger.

We’d like to highlight some of our IPG service members this Veterans Day and acknowledge their service and sacrifice. Read on to learn more about our veteran communities at IPG as a whole.

How has your service benefitted your life as a civilian/employee?

Melanie Nelson, Account Director of Media Relations at Weber Shandwick
Very early in my military career, I was deployed as a broadcast journalist for the Armed Forces Network (AFN) during the first election in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After deployment, I finished my degree in journalism and found it easy to get a job as a TV reporter. While most people in the National Guard serve part-time, I found my way into the Army Active Duty Guard and Reserve Program. There, I served over 20 years assigned to the Minnesota National Guard in various marketing and public relations positions, working my way up the ladder to Deputy State Public Affairs Officer. There I assisted in telling the stories of some real American heroes through multiple activations of Army and Air troops in support of communities during state emergencies, COVID-19, civil unrest and dozens upon dozens of campaigns, exercises, and deployments. Escorting media on the ‘frontlines’ gave me a great appreciation for the work that service members do and taught me to be very tuned into the news of the day, a perk for my current role at Weber Shandwick.

Dan Carucci, MD, PhD, Global Chief Medical Officer at McCann Health/IPG Health
The Navy gave me opportunities that would not have been possible otherwise. I learned to fly airplanes and learned about aerospace medicine as a U.S. Navy Flight Surgeon with an F/A-18 fighter squadron. I studied tropical medicine in Panama and completed a jungle survival course, traveled extensively living in harsh conditions, and was assigned to classified operations in Honduras. I was accepted to a master’s degree and PhD program in molecular biology in London, working to complete the malaria genome, and finally leading the U.S. Navy’s malaria vaccine program. None of these experiences, many that required a huge leap of faith, would have been remotely possible outside the Navy. Those experiences shaped how I approach new challenges and opportunities. Nothing seems impossible.

Shane Springs, Senior Privacy Attorney at Kinesso
Joining the Army has made a profound impact on my life. I joined a JAG unit of lawyers, and initially served as a legal assistant while in college. After college, I served on active duty, and attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA for 63 weeks of Arabic training. I left active duty in order to attend law school, which was paid for through the G.I. Bill. I was then commissioned into the JAG Corps and served in the Army Reserve and then the Army National Guard until I was mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 for 18 months of service. That year in Iraq proved to be challenging but also, ironically, professional rewarding, as I was able to work with the Iraqi court system on the Rule of Law program. Upon my return to the states in 2005, I then went to work at the National Security Agency on military orders. From there, I transitioned back to reserve status, and was accepted for a civilian attorney position at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. I remained in federal civilian service and in 2010 moved to Tampa, FL as an attorney for US Central Command. 
All of my professional opportunities in life stem from that decision to enlist as an 18-year-old college student. I am forever grateful for the friends and opportunities that decision afforded me. The Army, and service to my country, has given me more than I’ll ever be able to give back.

Do you have advice for others transitioning out of the military? What advice would you give fellow veterans transitioning to the civilian workforce?

Logan Booth, Vice President at Weber Shandwick
Take stock of all the skills that you developed while in the military and then consider roles and responsibilities that are a natural fit for those experiences. For example, if you worked in logistics or supply in the military, procurement may be a comparable civilian role to transition into.

Josh Henderson, Campaign Insights Analyst at Mediahub
Use all of your education benefits and apply yourself in school. Make the most of that experience. Those 48 months of benefits run out quickly, and you can wind up a semester short of graduation. Work with other veterans on campus to change your college’s rules around registration and excused absences to accommodate veterans and reservists on campus. Make the landing easier for the next veteran who follows you—everywhere you go, if they know you’re a veteran, someone is likely to put you in touch with your fellow veterans there, and you will be viewed through that organization’s lens of veterans who’ve been there before. Veterans may not be a monolith, but civilians don’t always realize that, so be cognizant of that and seek out your fellow veterans wherever you go.

Rodney Newby, Vice President of Storefronts and Trading at Kinesso
My advice for those transitioning out of the military is to connect with other veterans. The military is a very specialized unit, and it can feel isolating when you are no longer connected to it. Having other veteran connections will make it a lot easier to transition.

What are some of the lessons you feel as though the military taught you that have helped you succeed in your career and transition from the military to the civilian workforce?

Valentina Patino, Senior Associate of Addressable Strategy at Matterkind
The army taught me to be resilient. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, so you just have to learn from the experience and keep going. Just like in any job, there are busier days than others, multiple meetings, and deadlines… so it’s all about remaining positive while going through everything you must do during the day, and most importantly, asking for help if needed.

Louis Sussan, Senior Vice President of Global Platform Practice at Kinesso
Patience and how to work with people. Military leadership can be harsh, but it’s really about delivery and attention to detail. These things very much can be adapted in a corporate environment, and I strongly believe that it’s a huge resume asset when talked about in interviews. Don’t hide the experience, embrace it, and market it.

See more from those who have served in our Veteran’s Day Video below.