These advocates work tirelessly to help veterans succeed in the civilian workplace. Get to know who they are, what they do, and how they advocate for the veteran community.
Marcus Ohlenforst is a Lead Talent Programs Advisor at USAA. He was a Gunnery Sergeant (E-7)/Major (O-4) in the Marine Corps, 25 years (12 years enlisted/13 officer).
“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.
Why Ohlenforst was nominated for the Veteran Champions of the Year in Corporate America Award:
Marcus is a true champion for the military community due to his extraordinary ability to collaborate with stakeholders and not only gain their trust, but also advocacy as he continuously moves the needle to increase military hiring while decreasing unemployment and underemployment statistics at the national level. His primary role is to manage USAA’s veteran and military spouse attraction strategy, which enables HR professionals to identify skills for the future by attracting qualified talent through traditional and nontraditional sourcing methods. Through his thought leadership he has implemented processes to optimize programmatic efforts, assess military workforce demographics, analyze emerging trends, and recommend opportunities to develop or expand military staffing efforts in support of strategic business objectives. Built into his leadership style is his innate ability to instinctively forecast future needs by actively prioritizing and acting on challenges before they become issues. A primary example of his leadership is the creation of the Military Talent Action Group (MTAG) made up of leaders and representatives across the enterprise focused on current and future challenges associated to military affiliate representation. The MTAG is the enterprise Center of Excellence designed to tackle and exploit enterprise alignment and accountability related to attraction, development, and retention of military affiliates. This entity is a key resource for high level initiatives of the CEO. Marcus also designed and developed an Executive Level Bootcamp that used a data informed approach to educate senior level executives on the value of a veteran. This bootcamp provides foundational military acumen training that highlights industry benchmarks, market research, military workforce segments, equivalency and skills translation, case studies, recommended solutions, and calls to action, such as allyship, advocacy, communication, and engagement. As the lead military talent strategist, Marcus’ influence and reach goes far beyond the walls of USAA. He has positioned himself as the principal lead for all external recruiting events at the national level. Due to the pandemic, Marcus was able to quickly engage with external partners to identify challenges and assist them in pivoting to virtual settings. His invaluable input paved the way for innovative technology solutions and opened opportunities for companies to participate. In addition, he is an active participant working diligently with companies focused on community engagement designed to share best practices and participate in deep conversations that are scalable, repeatable, and executable. As a brand ambassador, Marcus is an experienced national spokesperson that raises awareness to highlight the significance of veterans and military spouses in creating an effective and engaged workforce. His noble efforts have amplified USAA’s commitments and positions the company as a nationally recognized employer of choice for the military community sought out by businesses, nonprofits, and government partners nationwide to provide military hiring and program advice. This influence directly contributes to USAAs brand signature, “We Know What It Means to Serve,” and immerses a culture of understanding that is extraordinarily unique for a company the size of USAA.