Lt. Col. Linda Craven may not be flying Blackhawk helicopters for her civilian job at the bank, but she has used many of her military experiences in her current role as a Wells Fargo business initiatives consultant in Des Moines, Iowa. Craven credits her service in the U.S. Army and the Iowa National Guard with teaching her the fundamentals of teamwork, and providing her opportunities to interact with people from diverse cultures she would not have otherwise met.
Linda Craven, Wells Fargo business initiatives consultant:
I started out my career in the Army ROTC program. Both of my parents are immigrants, and they were so grateful for this country. And to pass on their support and love for the United States, I decided to serve in the Army. I commissioned into the U.S. Army as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot. I flew overseas, as well as in the U.S. Once my service commitment was over with the U.S. Army, I transitioned into the National Guard. I really enjoyed serving in the National Guard, and I wanted to continue that and also raise a family and — oh by the way — have a civilian job.
So I actually came to Wells Fargo after meeting a retired executive of Wells Fargo during a networking event. I took the chance and asked her if I could take her out for coffee, and she said, “Absolutely.” And I was shocked — I’m no one special — but here’s this top executive retired from Wells Fargo that was willing to sit down with me and to mentor me, and years later, she’s still an outstanding mentor and supporter of me, both in the military and at Wells Fargo.
The culture at Wells Fargo has been incredibly caring for me. Four months after I joined Wells Fargo, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That’s a very daunting challenge to have. I’m also serving part time in the military, I’ve got a family, and I have to go through cancer treatment. I was able to take care of my cancer treatment without issues or concerns, and then yes — oh by the way — still be able to serve in the military and be there for my family.
It all comes down to supportive leadership. We need to figure out a way that veterans can network with business leaders.
Wells Fargo has a great process in place, great benefits package, and they’ve also got a checklist to ensure that you hit all the right considerations, or right requirements, leading into a deployment. Besides the benefits and the fact that Wells Fargo offers, if applicable, supplemental pay, they also have a military leave process, and for family members of deployed service members, they also offer lawn care and snow removal free of charge. That’s amazing. You don’t see that in other organizations and other businesses. That’s what I’ve really appreciated about Wells Fargo, is the ability to still serve your country, have a family, enjoy life, but then be a productive member of an outstanding organization.
My name is Linda Craven, and I’m a proud veteran working with Wells Fargo.
“The soldiers I served with, we were a real team,” Craven said. “We worked hard to accomplish our mission. I truly enjoyed the camaraderie I had in the U.S. Army. I use those experiences and try to apply them to my role in Wells Fargo.”
Craven has found a sense of camaraderie at Wells Fargo, too. She joined the company five years ago, and four months after, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “That was very daunting,” Craven said. “But I had outstanding leaders in Wells Fargo that were incredibly supportive.”
She also found support several years ago when she deployed overseas for a year. “Wells Fargo has a great benefit process and has a checklist with all requests leading up to deployment,” Craven said. “I had a great boss who helped. My team members would send us care packages. It was truly amazing to see the amount of care packages and love and support Wells Fargo provided me during my deployment.”
“That’s what I’ve really appreciated about Wells Fargo, is the ability to still serve your country, have a family, enjoy life, but then be a productive member of an outstanding organization.”
— Linda Craven
Craven has used her own experiences with Wells Fargo to help other veterans, like retired Brig. Gen. Steven Altman, a project manager at Wells Fargo in Des Moines whom Craven has served with in the Iowa National Guard.
“Linda helped me get hired at Wells Fargo by making me aware of some of the opportunities, helping me identify the military points of contact, the veterans hiring group, and allowing me to translate my military experience to a civilian resume, which oftentimes is difficult to do,” Altman said. “We’ve known each other for a long time on the military side, and so that relationship really was beneficial as I transitioned. Having someone that I could talk to, someone that I know, someone that I trust, available to assist me as I transitioned was truly invaluable.”
Craven said she is honored when veterans ask her to review their resumes and help with their job searches. She added that she is proud she and Altman work for Wells Fargo, especially since the company has committed to hire and retain veterans.
“That’s what I’ve really appreciated about Wells Fargo, is the ability to still serve your country, have a family, enjoy life, but then be a productive member of an outstanding organization,” Craven said.