Yesterday, R. Riveter Co-Founders Lisa Bradley and Cameron Cruse were present at The White House for a big announcement. But, this wasn't just any message being delivered from the iconic podium of the First Lady -- it was a commitment being communicated to thousands of employment seeking military veterans and military spouses that their lives are about to change.
It would appear that "opportunity" for these deserving men and women has waltzed right up to the front door of the White House and rang the bell -- arriving in the form of private companies "ranging from small startups to some of the largest manufacturers in the world." Together, with First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, these companies are truly perfecting the art of Joining Forces. They have recognized the cry for help from America's finest, and they are about to deliver.
Within five years, 110,000 veterans and military spouses will have established meaningful employment. Among the 40 companies pledging to provide these opportunities are telecommunication giants AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, BAE Systems, and The Boeing Company just to name a few. But when the First Lady announced that Amazon was among the pledging companies and that they are reserving 25,000 positions for veterans and military spouses, there was no one in the live audience more proud than R. Riveter's Lisa Bradley. It just so happens that Lisa's husband, Jason, is one of those veterans whose life was changed by this military friendly company.
Jason was a Captain in the Army, first serving as an infantry officer and then as a US Army Ranger School instructor. After holding such an esteemed position, it would lead one to believe that Jason would have stepped out of his uniform and into a civilian career with ease. Unfortunately, Jason experienced challenges during his transition period like so many other veterans do.
"I found it difficult to find a job that felt as meaningful or that allowed for similar compensation and responsibility levels."
But a Veterans Scholarship to Cornell University to complete his MBA led Jason to have a better understanding for the cultural divide between military and civilian careers. Armed with that knowledge, he polished up his resume, perfected his interview technique and walked straight into an interview with Amazon without ever looking back.
When Jason received a job offer from Amazon, Lisa was not surprised by his accomplishment. But Jason wishes he could have seen the look on her face when the First Lady made yesterday's announcement with his wife seated in the Press section.
"This announcement is deeply personal since Lisa has experienced the struggles of being a talented woman whose career was stunted by our family's commitment to our country."
Though Lisa was already on her way to finding success with co-founder Cameron Cruse and R. Riveter, Jason's new career with Amazon would provide a solid foundation on which he and Lisa could plan for the future of their family.
Jason believes that Amazon's pace, values and high growth makes this company the perfect home for military leaders seeking employment.
"Amazon was a natural fit, and was my top target for post-military employment. I instantly gravitated toward their dynamic work environment and associate focused leadership mentality. I can't imagine not working for Amazon."
Though Jason has experienced a unique set of challenges and found success on the veteran side of the fence, he has also had a front row seat to his wife's company, its expansion and the creation its "safe haven" for military spouses across the country. And so, he is thrilled that the Joining Forces anniversary celebration announcement came with not only commitments to train and hire veterans, but also the men and women of the silent ranks.
"Lisa's mission for four years now has been to empower military spouses like her; driven and talented women that deserve an opportunity to build a career."
Jason is confident that the work Lisa, and co-founder Cameron, are doing at R. Riveter quite literally removes a sacrifice that so many military spouses make from the equation.
"It is strengthening the resolve of military families, and fostering an environment of opportunity where the grass isn't always greener on the other (civilian) side."
Jason, Lisa, Cameron and all of us at R. Riveter salute The First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, The Joining Forces Initiative and all of the amazing companies who have committed to training and hiring our military veterans and spouses. We thank you for your dedication, honor, and pride in all you do.
Story by: Kellie Gunderman | Digital Riveter