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November Chapter Meeting: Panel Discussion on Military Culture and Hiring
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November Chapter Meeting:  Panel Discussion on Military Culture and Hiring

When: November 19, 2019
11:30 am
Where: WS DASH BB&T Ballpark – Flow Club
951 Ballpark Way
Winston-Salem, North Carolina  27101
United States

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Panel Topics and Overview


This panel discussion will bring together subject matter experts on military transition, culture, hiring and retention to share knowledge with the audience on:


·         Business case for hiring veterans: unique skills and experience they bring and positioning that against other candidates

o   Discusses the soft and hard skills that veterans bring to the table and how to explore their potential contributions to a company. 


·         Having effective conversations with hiring managers on hiring veterans & developing them

o   Share how to help supervisors and hiring managers identify ways to encourage a veteran friendly culture in the workplace.  Attendees will see lesson learned from other organizations and how to encourage veteran hiring and veteran employee retention within the company culture.


·         Ways to support veterans as they transition to the workplace – what we can do to acclimate them and ensure success

o   The goal of this discussion topic is to identify retention issues among veteran hiring, including the employer considerations, the reasons why veterans do not acclimate to companies/positions and engagement opportunities in the community.  Panelists will also explore community resources and programs available to companies around veteran hiring.




-Randy Baker, Orion Talent:  Randy Baker is a military spouse that has over 8 years of experience in supporting military families through non-profit programs and corporate experience. As the daughter of a former United States Marine, sister of a United States Navy Commander and wife of a former Royal Marine turned Soldier in the US Army, taking care of service members, veterans and their family members is a cause that is close to her heart. After attending the University of South Carolina, Randy took an assignment with the USO and served over two years in Kuwait and Afghanistan. Following her Middle East tour, Randy spent 3 years in England and supported the UK Forces through her development work with the Royal British Legion. Randy also served as the Warrior and Family Programs Manager for the USO of North Carolina and then as the Site Manager for the Pathfinder Program where she specialized in ensuring a smooth transition for service members finishing their military service.  Currently, Randy is serving as an Account Executive for Orion Talent – the nation’s oldest and most recognized military talent recruitment firm.  Randy works with businesses across the Southeastern United States to create gainful job opportunities for transitioning service members and veterans. 



-Eric Burgos, NC National Guard Employment and Education Center: Eric Burgos currently serves as the Director of the North Carolina National Guard Employment Center. This program assists all Reserve Component personnel and their families with their employment needs and civilian job training opportunities in North Carolina. To date, the Employment Center has assisted approximately 2,500 people with gaining employment all across North Carolina, which has created nearly a 100 million dollar impact in the Veteran communities all across the state.  Eric’s primary role is to lead a staff of (16) Employment Counselors who continue to build ongoing relationships with local and national employers to assist in the job placement process, and to assist in developing training programs for the candidates in the individual counselor’s case folder.  Eric is a Veteran with over 21 years of combined enlisted service. He served 8 years with the United States Navy and 13 years with the North Carolina Army National Guard.


-John O’Connor, CareerPro, Inc.:  John M. O’Connor is a longtime veteran of the career space, a former Captain in the U.S. Army Reserves and his company CareerPro Inc. serves talent in career transition, providing outplacement excellence to its corporate clients. He has been in Veteran’s support for many years with organizations that support USERRA and with Raleigh Metro SHRM in Veteteran’s support. His specialized knowledge in hiring has helped clients win federal jobs, civilian opportunities and he has assisted now generations of clients find their work-life mission and purpose. He has helped veterans and many others find entrepreneurial opportunities along with prestigious corporate positions. Just this last week he helped one of his clients land a job supporting the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 


-Jim Whaley, USO of NC:  Jim is the President and CEO of the USO of North Carolina.  Previously, Jim served as the Vice President, Global Corporate Communications and Government Affairs for Sealed Air Corporation, a Fortune 500 company. Jim was responsible for all internal and external corporate communications, branding, public affairs, and Sealed Air’s philanthropic and governmental strategies, as well as improving the communities where Sealed Air employees live and work.  Prior, Jim served as Chairman of the Siemens Foundation where he designed and implemented Siemens Science Day globally and expanded the scope and reach of Siemens philanthropy globally. The Siemens Competition was recognized by the White House yearly. Jim was also the Senior Vice President of Communications and Marketing for Siemens Corporation a Fortune 50 company, where he was responsible for the strategy, direction and management of corporate communications and marketing in North America. Jim led the execution of the U.S. Answers Campaign, the largest branding and marketing campaign in the company’s history.


Prior to his tenure at Siemens, Jim served as Director of Communications at the United States Military Academy at West Point. In that position he executed an innovative communications plan in celebration of West Point’s 200th anniversary. This plan resulted in 19 books, eight network television documentaries, and won the Public Relations Society of America Award of Excellence and the PR Week Public Campaign of the Year. He also served as adjunct professor at Mount Saint Mary University.

He is a graduate of Lock Haven University where he received his undergraduate degree. He completed his MBA at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  


Jim was a Master Army Aviator and U.S. Army Helicopter Instructor Pilot. He was awarded the Legion of Merit, Air Assault Badge and Humanitarian Service Medal, as well as numerous other awards. 




-Kimberly Williams, NC4ME:  Kimberly Williams has more than thirty years experience leading human resource professionals in the private sector, public sector and nonprofit environment.  Her experience in the private sector includes several large organizations to include Burger King Corporation, where she directed the Human Resource function for the United States.  Kimberly’s experience in the public sector and non-profit includes directing the Human Resource function for local government, school division, health care and workforce housing.  Kimberly is currently the Chief Human Resource Officer for the City of Jacksonville, North Carolina.  Her passion for assisting military service members, began with serving as a volunteer with Virginia Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (VaESGR) as Regional Chair and later as State Director for their Employment Initiative Program (EIP).  She also initiated the Virginia Values Veterans (V-3) program, a statewide initiative to ensure employment of our service men and women.  Kimberly has twice been presented the Seven Seals Award for meritorious leadership and initiative in support of the Department of Defense.  She is currently leading the North Carolina state wide employment initiative under the Veterans Foundation NC4ME, North Carolina for Military Employment, a comprehensive public-private partnership. Kimberly serves as a member of the USO of NC Board of Directors and as a member of the Governors Working Group for Veterans and their Families. Kimberly is married to her husband Keith who are the proud parents of two children, their son currently working on a degree in medicine and their daughter a U.S. Marine.

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