G.I. Jobs Virtual Job Fair   |   July 25

Virtual Job Fair   |   July 25

Meet the 2022 Veteran Champions of the Year in Corporate America

VCOY 2022 Featured Image

These 30 advocates work tirelessly to help veterans succeed in the civilian workplace.

When we solicited nominations for the 2022 Veteran Champions of the Year in Corporate America awards, we asked the nominators to list any awards, recognitions or accolades that the person they were nominating had received. Jeremy Nunez nominated his wife Tiffany Baker, a former Marine who works in business development for UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group), and he was clearly annoyed that despite a really long list of ways that she champions veterans, she does not have shelves lined with awards.

“She deserves so many awards, working mother of the year, wife of the year, sister of the year (she has a brother with severe disabilities that she home schooled to get out of high school so he could have that accomplishment) daughter of the year, even stranger of the year….Tiffany does things for complete strangers like toy drives, coat drives, just last month a blanket drive for the animal shelter. She’s one of those people that does so much I can’t even list it all.”

Tiffany is typical of the 30 people nominated and selected to the 2022 Veteran Champions of the Year in Corporate America list, who were chosen for their tireless efforts to advocate for America’s veterans in the civilian workplace. Not all of them are veterans themselves, but they are all passionate about helping veterans succeed. 

“For most veterans, the desire to serve a purpose greater than ourselves doesn’t end when we leave the military,” Tiffany said. “We often spend time searching for that opportunity within the organizations we seek or find employment with. I am blessed to have the support of my organization, peers and leadership to be able to do just that…provide an environment that attracts vets who want to feel supported in continuing to serve a higher purpose on our teams, in our company and in our communities.”

They are humble in accepting recognition. 

“I am honored to be receiving this award. This means the world to me,” said Anthony Gilbert, program manager of Military and Veteran Recruitment for Raytheon Missiles and Defense and a retired Army sergeant first class. “As a lifelong soldier of the United States Army, transitioning out of the military was one of the hardest things I had to do in my life. I went from an 18-year-old kid right out of high school to 38 years old starting over in life. I had several mentors and coaches along the way. I just want to pay it forward and help as many veterans, transitioning service members and spouses find meaningful employment as I can.”

Josh Link, a senior project management analyst at FedEx Express and a former Marine Corps NCO, had a similar response.

“To be recognized as a champion for veterans has made all the hard work to recognize our veterans at FedEx Express worth it. Recognizing our veterans and working to bring in the next generation of talent is a passion for me as a veteran myself. There is nothing better than working with a veteran and getting that phone call that they have been hired! This award is not only for me but for every veteran at FedEx Express.”

Please join us in saluting the 2022 Veteran Champions of the Year in Corporate America!

“I am honored and humbled to accept this award. I really accept it in recognition of the many veterans we have brought on at American Systems during my time here. It is gratifying work and I am so pleased to ‘continue the mission’ of adding exceptional employee-owners through our veteran hiring practices. Thank you!”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Founded and runs company’s Veteran Outreach, ERG and supports recruiting for DoD contracts.

“Working with the veterans community is a natural fit for me. Not only am I passionate about supporting others, but I also understand how it feels to be part of a marginalized group. As a first-generation Latina, I have struggled to overcome doubts about my own success to transition into the corporate world. Supporting the veterans community as a D&I professional, my job is to alleviate that obstacle. To nurture and enhance the employee’s lifecycle and guide employees and organizations to work towards a better future for everyone—together, we are strengthening the culture of IBM and are proud to say #IveBeenMilitary. Honored to see our efforts create an impact on our service members, veterans and allies.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: As a D&I Leader for the veterans community, the mission is to enhance the veteran employee’s lifecycle by delivering support with recruitment, building camaraderie, leadership advancement, enhancing engagement insights to build retention. Our iterative lifecycle allows us to understand trends in order to develop recommendations for a seamless transition. The goal is to strengthen IBM’s brand as an employer of choice through partnerships, launch support programs such as mentorship, host camaraderie sessions, and share transition opportunities from CSR. To advance the veterans agenda, my role is to support 3,000+ veterans through celebration month activities, signature experiences, awards, programs, and more.

“I have the best job in America! It’s not about me, but rather the veteran.”

Al Bancroft recently retired from the Office of Veterans Affairs in Camden County, N.J. The office serves all veterans and their family members within Camden County. Bancroft’s nominator said this: “He has served with unwavering commitment and steadfast dedication to those in the veteran community that need assistance. Lt. Col. Bancroft for the past 20 years has given an untold number of hours assisting veterans of New Jersey.” 

“This award means a lot to me. When US service members leave the military life, becoming a veteran poses some unique challenges. Statistically, veterans have the odds in their favor, but they are also stacked against them. Some of the veterans will find a new career directly after finishing the military and others will have problems finding a job. While in the military and serving the nation, veterans felt they had a purpose, a mission. They developed such a sense of belonging that they consider the team as a family, and helping my brothers and sisters ease the transition from military to civilian life and help them reach their full potential in school, work or anything they or their family may need is something I take personally and have pride in. From all era veterans to transitioning service members and spouses, knowing that I helped them be successful is extremely rewarding. To me, this isn’t a job, this is taking care of my family.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Luis helps with family services/counseling, disability claims/benefits, educational & training benefits, OIF/OEF special programs & services, emergency financial assistance, homelessness, substance abuse, and he advocates for all veterans. He has become a literal one stop shop for veterans in San Angelo! 

“Service to others is a fire that burns deep within my soul. Creating and stewarding Veterati as an advocate for America’s military community in the workforce is one of the greatest honors of my life. Everyday on Veterati, mentees and mentors embody this generosity of spirit in service of others, giving and receiving mentorship, empowering their fellow human onward to embrace their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. It’s endlessly inspiring. Thank you for this award, which I dedicate to the members of Veterati serving the military community and the military community for their dedication and service to us all.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Daniel created one of the most impactful digital platforms in the market for transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses to find answers related to employment, education and entrepreneurship. The platform also helps service members build their personal social network to land the right job opportunities and beyond.

“Being included with other phenomenal Veteran Champions indicates the work we all do is a team effort.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Tim Montjoy is a retiree of the United States Air Force and currently resides in Augusta, Georgia. His Air Force career spanned from 1996-2016 and took him to such overseas assignments as Osan Air Base, South Korea, to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, and Zabul, Afghanistan. Tim managed Tier-1 technical support by monitoring and reporting services related to Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) for a $600 million infrastructure and $2.4 billion dollars in Air Combat Command assets. These services included systems used by the 31,000 active duty and retiree population throughout the Carolina region.

“This award speaks to the work Mayo Clinic is doing to engage, recruit and hire veterans. I am inspired, and driven, to have a positive impact in our veteran community. As a veteran recruitment specialist, I continue to work earnestly to increase our military community and partners’ outreach programs, working with key stakeholders to drive initiatives forward that affect our veteran workforce, and set the foundation for veteran career pathways. That need for positive impact extends to volunteer opportunities that amplify the work we are trying to do, but also helps me stay connected to the military community.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Maria strategizes and engages with veterans, Department of Defense, and Mayo Clinic leadership to promote and create opportunities within Mayo Clinic.

*Michael worked for Premise Health when he was nominated and selected for the VCOY-Corporate award.

“Making a commitment to recruit our veterans and military spouses for their transition to the corporate workplace has been one of my most rewarding career moves. Over the past six years, I have had the opportunity to speak to, learn from, and advocate for some of the most talented people. As today’s generations of service members join the civilian workforce, I hope they continue to serve and pull forward those who come after them. Being considered and selected for this award is a tremendous honor.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Develop strategy and execute for all military, veteran and military spouse hiring programs. Oversee the ERG for veterans and advocates. Provide strategic guidance to executive leadership on all military programs. Direct responsibility for hiring metrics for veterans and military spouses.

“I am very honored to be recognized by this award. Veterans and military spouses have served their country in times of peace and war by protecting our safety. I admire their selflessness and am committed to ensuring those re-entering civilian life find meaningful careers, education and health-care services.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Responsible for developing and implementing the veteran strategy for bp America as it pertains to developing a talent pipeline as well as retention programs for existing veteran employees. As a federal contractor, responsible for ensuring leadership is aware of compliance guidelines and reporting against our veteran hiring numbers. Responsible for identifying and building strategic 3rd party relationships with veteran organizations to develop key strategies to support military families as it pertains to successful transition into civilian jobs. Develops mentoring-peer programs to support in career identification and progressive for our military

“‘Service Above Self’ is the motto of NineLine Veteran Services and the guiding light of my life’s work. Truly it is an honor to serve my fellow veterans, as an OIF veteran who came back with very little, I am honored to be able to create a model of support that provides gainful employment, training and affordable transitional housing for our at-risk and literally homeless vets.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Shawn drives home the responsibilities of managing a diverse group of people in the fast paced world of social and veteran services, as president of NineLine. Shawn has been a paramount part of our support to our clients, meeting with any referrals personally to ensure that the veterans or family members are connected with care and support and that no detail is overlooked. He also works tirelessly to connect providers, local businesses and institutions of higher learning with qualified candidates for employment, access to services and true connectivity when talking about goal centered outcomes. He goes above and beyond to ensure that every client feels part of a family.

“It’s truly an honor to be recognized by G.I. Jobs for the work I am passionate about and love doing, which is to SERVE veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses in honor of their commitment and sacrifice in SERVING this country. They protect not only our rights and freedoms, but they also provide services and aid to those in need. Working for the VA is my way of honoring them for their service and support by assisting and advocating on their behalf in finding employment opportunities in VA and through partnerships with other agencies and companies.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Provides employment readiness assistance and outreach through career-coaching activities (e.g. provides webinars and workshops on Writing Federal Resumes, Understanding the Federal Hiring Process and Navigating USAJOBS) to veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses while advocating the use of special hiring authorities, employment programs and veteran retention strategies to help VA become the employer of choice in seeking employment opportunities in the federal government. Uses social media and participates in in-person and virtual career fairs to promote and increase federal employment opportunities utilizing virtual tools.

“I feel incredibly honored to be selected as one of the 2022 Veteran Champions of the Year in Corporate America. I am proud to be part of such a great company and team that supports our military veterans!”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Group Talent Acquisition Manager for Granite’s Heavy Civil Group (HCG) across the country. HCG specializes in P3, Design-Build, CMAR, Bid-Build Methods for transportation, transit & rail, airport infrastructure, bridges/structures, power, water, wastewater market, with public and private clients with project range from $75 million and up. Recruit top construction talent for our company.

“I am honored to be receiving this award. This means the world to me. As a lifelong soldier of the United States Army, transitioning out of the military was one of the hardest things I had to do in my life. I went from an 18-year-old kid right out of high school to 38 years old starting over in life. I had several mentors and coaches along the way. I just want to pay it forward and help as many veterans, transitioning service members and spouses find meaningful employment as I can.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: I am the program manager of military and veteran recruitment at Raytheon Missiles and Defense. I am responsible for the overall veteran recruitment strategy for the company.

“It is humbling to be recognized as a Veteran Champion of the Year, and I greatly appreciate the honor. Every day I have the privilege of working with transitioning military personnel, veterans and military spouses—whether it’s helping them find a career at Travelers, providing mentoring support or sharing resume and interview tips. They are truly a special community that represents the very best of our country, and I am proud to support them.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Jim is responsible for the design, delivery and execution of Travelers Military Veteran & Military Spouse Talent Sourcing efforts. This involves managing multiple partnerships with a number of external organizations and internal hiring teams across the enterprise resulting in significant levels of hiring that have been recognized as best in class by several leading publications. In addition to hiring, he is intimately involved in veteran mentoring and skills building programs. Jim also leads a parallel portfolio focused on Inclusive Hiring for Individuals with Disabilities which has yielded similar levels of success as our military efforts.

“I’m honored to be recognized for this work. I remember my transition from the Marines like it was yesterday, going on 20 interviews I had no business being on and being rejected every step of the way. To be able to help veterans and spouses translate their skills into meaningful employment in Corporate America after serving their nation brings me great joy!”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: SVP of American Corporate Partners, a national nonprofit organization focused on helping returning veterans find their next career through one-on-one mentoring, networking and online career advice.

“Being nominated for this award by my peer is a great honor for recognizing the dedicated work and contribution within the veterans’ community. We are constantly seeking employment opportunities and leads to assist the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) Specialist and Employment Services staff at the Career Center to assist in getting veterans gainfully employed. We work collaboratively with companies, partner agencies and community-based organizations to enhance the quality of service to all veterans and eligible spouses within the workforce. Sharing knowledge and experience with the other metro Georgia Department of Labor-Local Veterans Employment Representatives (LVERs) allows us to assist all veterans within the community we serve proudly.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Conducted outreach to employers and engaged in advocacy efforts with hiring executives to increase employment opportunities for veterans; encouraged the hiring of disabled veterans and assisted veterans to gain employment. Conducted seminars for employers and job search workshops for veterans seeking employment. Facilitated priority of service in regards to employment training and placement services furnished to veterans by all staff of the employment service delivery system. Coordinated and conducted veterans hiring events in the various communities and assisted employers with onsite recruitment events. Reviewed employment applications and evaluated work history, education and training qualifications of veteran candidates. Worked closely with DVOP specialist to meet the specific needs of veterans, particularly veterans with barriers to employment. Submitted a quarterly “Manager’s Report” on all Career Center activities for veterans and Vocational Rehab & Employment cases referred from the Office of Veterans Affairs.

“I am honored to be recognized for the efforts of championing veteran recruiting for 2022. Programs like this are not successful without the other players, so I just want to recognize the recruiting team (past and present), support from my family, the leadership of Sherry Pelletier, the hiring managers and teams, and the executive leadership from Brian Fellows, Mark Marquis and our CEO Gord Hicks. From the development of our recruiting efforts to my continued support as an instructor with FourBlock and a mentor with Veterati, the end goal is to pay it forward. Be a hand up for others, not a hand out, and provide guidance to help them into the next chapter of their lives. Thank you to everyone for making this happen!”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: He has helped establish the veteran recruiting program for BGIS since 2016. His involvement has brought the necessary training for hiring managers, HR team, and recruiting. Through this the company has been repeatedly recognized for veteran recruiting efforts from U.S. Department of Labor – Hire Vets Medallion program (4x’s consistently since inception), G.I. Jobs Magazine, Yes Vets since 2016 and as of 2021 Employer of the Year from Washington State (Department of Commerce, Department of Veteran Affairs, and Employment Security Department).

“‘Leave no one behind.’ It is clear to me that ‘fallen’ doesn’t just mean in battle. Soldiers can leave the battlefield, but the battlefield doesn’t leave them. I see in every veteran I help a sliding door version of me that did not fare so well. When I help a veteran I am helping someone who I could easily be/become/have been me. These thoughts, and Robin Williams’s quote ‘Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always’ inspires me to do more, to be kind, and to keep helping where able. Thank you.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Helping houseless veterans (or those at risk of losing housing) remove legal barriers to improving their housing status and/or employment status. Typical activities involve legal representation in landlord/tenant issues: debt issues; criminal record clearing through expungements or felony reduction hearings; and other issues plague homeless veterans in our area.

“Keep setting stretch goals for yourself—veterans can accomplish anything.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Ambassadors serve as guides and connectors in their communities, helping veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs and small business owners find success through Bunker Labs programs such as Veterans in Residence.

From the nomination: “Bernie Stone is a champion for veteran and military-connected issues in Central Iowa. He advocates for veteran mental health through board service with Polk County Health Services. He guides veteran entrepreneurs towards successful business creation as the founding ambassador for Bunker Labs Des Moines. He mentors veterans via organizations such as Veterati, FedTech, Army SBIR, and xTech.”

“I take pride in being a veteran. The Veteran Champions of the Year Award recognition provides the opportunity to speak about and showcase my experiences as a woman exhibiting strength in the business world. Being able to help veterans (especially women), transition into the civilian workforce and move forward with confidence is my way of giving back. It’s a way of lessening the worry off their shoulders about moving out of their comfort zone so they can show up to rise up.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Dr. Lewis uses her skills and expertise as a career strategist and business to help female veterans move into upper management or executive level positions.

From the nomination: “Served as an advisor to Military Veterans Employee Resource Group, as past chair, and led the group to new internal heights by developing a fantastic layout of activities for our first virtual Veterans Day event, followed up by an even better attended second virtual Veterans day event. Has supported Veterans in Energy, Center for Energy Workforce Development, Oklahoma Energy Workforce Development and Virginia Energy Workforce Development. Charter member of the Central Ohio Veterans Consortium. Subject Matter Expert for American Electric Veterans issues.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Military outreach to include TAP classes, job fairs and networking with veterans and veteran organizations to recruit for SkillBridge interns and full time employees.

“I am fortunate to champion veteran and military recruitment at Select Medical. As a veteran myself, I am a passionate advocate for the intrinsic talents, leadership, adaptability and learned skills they bring to the civilian workforce. It’s truly an honor to be recognized by my peers and G.I. Jobs for the work we are doing to hire and invest in our nations’ service members.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Blair initiated and leads the veteran recruitment effort at Select Medical. 

“I’m humbled to be included among this group of leaders doing important work on behalf of our precious veterans. Two organizations I helped create—Veterans in Energy and the Arizona Corporate Council on Veteran Careers—have done some heavy lifting in the veteran workforce development space, where connecting transitioning veterans with career opportunities is king. Hiring veterans is not about corporate social responsibility—it just makes great business sense.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Retired Navy Rear Admiral Hal Pittman has spent a lifetime serving others – first while serving in uniform with the U.S. Navy for nearly 30 years, then serving the Arizona and national veterans’ community for seven years, and now serving the Department of Defense as a senior executive civilian since January 2021.

“Thank you for the nomination and recognition. We feel honored to serve our veterans into high-skilled/high-wage jobs in the telecommunication industry. They are the inspiration representing the next generation of technicians supporting America’s telecommunication 5G infrastructure. The success of our training program, job placement outcomes and job retention totals are a direct reflection of the commitment and resolve of veterans that we serve. They are an inspiration that brings hope to our society as we rebuild our workforce in a post-COVID environment. We are honored to serve those who have served our freedom.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Cesar is responsible for overseeing operations for Learning Alliance, a school based out of Tampa, Fla. The School Learning Alliance is focused on providing transitioning military men and women training and placement services in the telecommunications industry. Cesar’s overall responsibilities involve building and sustaining relationships with organizations to identify their workforce shortage in the growing telecom industry.

“Earning this recognition is by far one of the most significant honors of my professional career.  Being trusted to support our nation’s veterans and their families as they transition from service to corporate America is truly a profound honor. When you’re lucky enough to do what I get to do for our veterans you do not consider it a job, it’s truly a vocation. They have dedicated years of service to our beloved nation so others may live free and prosper. The least I can do is help them to achieve their next professional goals. We take care of our own!”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Tony is Sandia National Laboratories Senior Talent Acquisition Veteran Recruiter. He focuses on providing local, regional, and national veteran talent work opportunities within his company.

“To be recognized as a champion for veterans has made all the hard work to recognize our veterans at FedEx Express worth it. Recognizing our veterans and working to bring in the next generation of talent is a passion for me as a veteran myself. There is nothing better than working with a veteran and getting that phone call that they have been hired! This award is not only for me but for every veteran at FedEx Express.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Veterans’ initiatives and recruitment, which include but are not limited to veteran recognition, DoD SkillBridge, ACP, HirePurpose, HireMilitary, Hiring our Heroes, Recruit Military, the Military Fellows Program and special project support for FedEx Express Human Resources in the US. This includes our intern program, referral program and executive reporting on all of the aforementioned programs.

“It is an honor to be recognized for Ashley’s support in employing our nation’s veterans. The service and sacrifice of these commendable individuals is something that we’re proud to honor in many ways within our organization, throughout the years. The culture and core values at Ashley Furniture align well with our armed forces: passion, drive and discipline. The veterans in our team strengthen our culture of leadership. The skills that they gain during their time in the military strengthen their peers and our organization. We are proud to support those who serve—past, present and future.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: As President and CEO of Ashley Furniture Industries, LLC, (Ashley) Todd Wanek oversees Ashley’s manufacturing, distribution and retail operations in the U.S. and worldwide. Throughout the years, Todd has built an extremely skilled leadership team with extraordinary depth, diversity and understanding of the industry. His passion and commitment to improve Ashley’s operations, products and service is unrelenting and has positioned the company for continued growth into the future. Todd has built the strongest supply chain in the furniture industry, constantly evolving to serve customers wherever and however they want to buy home furnishings.

“As I was transitioning after 25 years in the Marine Corps I used to jokingly say, ‘The primary thing that the Marine Corps has taught me is everything I didn’t want to do in my next career.’ Although I wouldn’t trade one day of it, the noble cause of ‘Service before Self’ was something that was difficult to replicate in the corporate world, especially as I navigated the job seeking journey. However, landing my role at USAA opened the opportunity to not only champion military attraction efforts but to also inspire, educate and advocate for the military community.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Marcus Ohlenforst serves as the Lead Talent Programs Advisor responsible for the development, implementation, and management of USAA’s veteran and military spouse attraction strategy. In addition to this responsibility, Marcus manages all enterprise recruiting events to include the logistics, coordination, and tracking to ensure that USAA attracts and retains world-class veteran and military spouse talent.

“For most veterans, the desire to serve a purpose greater than ourselves doesn’t end when we leave the military. We often spend time searching for that opportunity within the organizations we seek or find employment with. I am blessed to have the support of my organization, peers and leadership to be able to do just that…provide an environment that attracts vets that want to feel supported in continuing to serve a higher purpose on our teams, in our company and our communities.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: Tiffany is my wife and she continuously gives back to vets in every way she can imagine. That duty to serve never left her after the Marines. In 2016 she went to a new company that had other ERGs but not one for vets. She created one. The company had just 20 or some vets at the time and she has grown that to over 300 today, while increasing initiatives to hire, retain and develop vets at UKG, even landing them as a best place to work for vets a couple years ago. She takes a lot of time out from our family to send each new hire a welcome kit and card, hosting town halls, webinars for vets, virtual happy hours and more. Running UKGVets is voluntary, it’s not her day job. She has a very stressful job in software sales. I am so proud of what she has done at such a young age.

“It’s truly an honor to be recognized for being a veteran champion. As the wife of a MARSOC veteran, and an executive in an organization where 65% of our leadership are veterans, I have been able to witness the dynamics for both our transitioning veterans, but also their spouses and family members. Provalus capitalizes on the unique value our veterans bring through the skills they have cultivated throughout their service. We leverage that leadership, work ethic, commitment and accountability to use in the field of technology services. With an estimated 10 million veterans deemed under/unemployed, Provalus is on a mission to provide a career path to those that have made the commitment and sacrifice to protect the rest of us.”

Champion’s Job Responsibilities: As president, Laura is the driving force behind our mission, brand, and record-breaking success. The better question is what doesn’t she do? She has a personal hand in all things including recruiting, marketing, implementation, delivery, and sales. She directs and oversees budgetary and financial activities. She manages general activities associated with providing services as well as negotiating and approving agreements and contracts. She identifies areas for improvements in programs, performances, and company policies. Laura is a constant encouragement to her team and sets them up for success. She publicly recognizes accomplishments and cheerleads her team with passion. She has the great responsibility of being an open line of communication for all 400 employees in the company. Her door is always open. In short, her biggest responsibility is leadership, and she pulls it off flawlessly year after year.