Helping veterans become team members
A dedicated team is working with service members to translate their military experience into new careers at Wells Fargo.
Some of the traits military veterans bring to Wells Fargo are easy to see, such as leadership skills and strong work ethic. Some are a little less obvious. For example, before joining Corporate Risk, Rick McCary spent 13 years in the U.S. Army, most recently serving as an ammunition logistics manager for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division. At first glance, that experience wouldn’t seem very relevant to a financial services company. However, Wells Fargo’s Military Talent Strategic Sourcing Team was able to help McCary demonstrate that the skills he learned in the Army could be of value to Wells Fargo.
“John really took the time to get to know me. ... I felt like I was talking to a brother.” — Rick McCary
The Military Talent Strategic Sourcing Team coaches military talent outside of Wells Fargo through the company’s resume review and application process. The liaisons serve as in-house advocates to help military talent navigate the transition from military service to the civilian workplace, working directly with personnel at military bases and other veteran service organizations to promote open positions and opportunities at Wells Fargo.
A common bond
It was at a recruiting event at the U.S. Army Base at Fort Campbell in Kentucky where McCary first met Lisa Young, a leader within Wells Fargo’s military base recruitment efforts. Young was impressed with McCary’s experience and communication skills and connected him with John Axtell, a member of the Military Talent Strategic Sourcing Team. Prior to meeting Young, McCary had already applied to dozens of open positions at Wells Fargo, but never got past the resume review phase. His interest in the company was sparked by his wife, Lorena McCary, a Wells Fargo team member based in Chandler, Arizona. “I got to meet the team she worked with and they were all really good people,” McCary said. “That culture is what got me interested in Wells Fargo.”
Over the course of several phone calls, Axtell went through McCary’s resume with him, line by line, helping him translate his military experience into language a Wells Fargo recruiter could better understand. He also helped McCary understand Wells Fargo’s terminology better so that he could apply more accurately to the jobs that most suited his skills. “John really took the time to get to know me,” McCary said. “John’s a former Marine himself, so he understood my situation. It took all of a minute to realize that this guy really cared. I felt like I was talking to a brother.”
‘Speaking the same language’
As Axtell explains, “Rick had great experience. We just needed to focus on taking his experience and translating it into civilian terms.” Axtell said the real challenge lies not only in making veterans’ resumes more accessible to recruiters, but also helping recruiters become more familiar with the types of skills veterans can bring to Wells Fargo. “Very often it’s like they are speaking two different languages,” Axtell said. “Our team has the ability to get both sides speaking the same language.”
Finding the right fit
Through their discussions, it became clear that McCary’s experience was very much in line with the company’s risk management work. “In the work Rick was doing managing ammunition for the military, he was dealing with a ton of risk,” Axtell said. “Every day he was identifying and managing risk and ensuring all the policies and procedures were being followed. It really does translate well to the work we do here.”
Axtell helped McCary identify one position he thought would be a particularly good fit. Within a week of submitting an application, McCary received a call from the recruiter. Following the initial screening interview, Axtell worked with McCary to prepare for a panel interview that included his prospective manager. “I guess they liked what they heard,” McCary said. He was offered the role and joined Wells Fargo in December 2018. “A lot of service members who transition out of the military go through a number of jobs quickly because they can’t figure out what they’re best suited for,” McCary said. “But John paired me up with something that is perfect for me. I love my job.”
From one team to another
For Axtell, the satisfaction comes from helping veterans successfully enter the next phase of their careers. “I was fortunate to have a really great mentor during my transition from the Marines,” Axtell said. “What I enjoy most about our team is that we really get the opportunity to mentor and coach these veterans. In the military, you always do what you can to help the team. That belief that we’re truly a team working towards a dedicated goal is what I loved about the military and now it’s what I love about working for Wells Fargo.”
McCary points out that the beginning of his career with Wells Fargo didn’t mean the end of his relationship with Axtell. In fact, the two are now based in the same Wells Fargo location in Chandler, Arizona. They meet regularly for coffee and McCary said that Lisa Young frequently calls to check in with him about how he’s enjoying his role. “It really shows the culture of Wells Fargo. This is a company that cares.”