On Tuesday morning, Adm. Patrick Walsh, a Jesuit graduate and former commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, will address the barriers and bridges warriors face transitioning from service to civilian life during a public lecture presented by the new Brain Performance Institute at the Center for Brain Health. He will share why warriors are the nation’s best and brightest to help businesses and corporations flourish and what the private sector can do take advantage the qualities service members embody.
“One of the most pressing needs of military veterans is gainful, steady employment,” said Eric Bennett, executive director of the Brain Performance Institute. “How we treat and reintegrate our nation’s greatest national assets both in and out of uniform will directly affect the success of companies and communities across the nation. By capitalizing on the valuable leadership, decision-making, strategic thinking, and problem-solving skills learned in the military, the Brain Performance Institute is dedicated to raising awareness of the challenges warriors face and helping them reach their brain potential and civilian life success.”
In advance of the lecture, Walsh answered a few questions about the barriers and bridges warriors encounter when transitioning from service to civilian life.
Why is this topic of such importance to you?
It is our social and moral imperative to ease the transition of our all-volunteer force back to the civilian world. These men and women are the 1 percent of the population who has raised their hand to defend the Constitution and our country no matter the sacrifice. It is our responsibility to make sure these soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are given every opportunity to achieve successful, enriching, and fulfilling lives in the civilian workforce.
What qualities do our veterans encompass that make them an asset to the business world?
I would be first in line to hire a veteran. They are dedicated leaders. Veterans are self-disciplined, resilient, and willing to work toward the greater good. The stamina veterans must maintain to be successful in a military environment is an asset in the civilian world. They are accustomed to maintaining and sustaining high-level performance in no-fail environments, which translates to an ability to learn, adapt, and thrive in the most difficult circumstances.
What would you tell a potential employer about how to leverage warrior capabilities for success in the private sector?
You don’t want to compete against a veteran; you want them on your team. They are proven professionals who understand how to operate and execute a mission; they subscribe to a set of ethics and fully understand principal decision-making. While their résumé may not be traditional by business-world standards, their qualifications make hiring a veteran a worthwhile investment for any company.
What do you see as the biggest barrier to the warrior transition from military to civilian life?
In previous generations, there were leaders of companies who could look at veteran applicants and direct where those people would best fit within the corporation. Today, because there are so few employers who have hand-on experience in the military world, the operating principal is that the service member themselves must find a way to translate their experience and fit within the corporate culture. This mode of operation is a detriment to not only the company but to the veterans themselves.
What is your message to warriors who are in the transition right now?
Come to Texas. Don’t hesitate. Don’t think twice. We need you here and will put you to work.