Diversity & Inclusion
June 4, 2024

Why veterans make great leaders

Marine veteran and Wells Fargo's head of Military Recruitment Brian Armstrong shares how military skills easily transfer into corporate America.

Two people — one in a business suit and the other in military camouflage — sit at a table and talk.
Diversity & Inclusion
June 4, 2024

Why veterans make great leaders

Marine veteran and Wells Fargo's head of Military Recruitment Brian Armstrong shares how military skills easily transfer into corporate America.

At 20, operating Marine convoys through Irag, corporate America was the furthest thing from Brian Armstrong’s mind. Today, wiser and older, Armstrong realizes his time abroad and while in service — the safe transport of millions worth of equipment, machinery, or security all while leveraging small unit leadership for the well-being of fellow Marines — was the launching pad for his post-military career.

His specific roles — and many others in the military — required a wide-ranging skillset often developed in a service member’s early years. Being able to transfer those abilities to corporations and everyday business is one of the reasons veterans are in high demand.

Veterans are valued at Wells Fargo, not just for their exemplary service, but because of their ability to thrive in differing environments and circumstances.

“In the military, you learn to quickly think on your feet and as leaders make precise decisions that impact mission or team,” said Armstrong, head of Military Recruitment for Wells Fargo. “We (veterans) span the breadth of the United States, and we can leverage our unique, diverse perspectives to react and deliver under pressure. Add this to the soft skills we gain during service, and I think veterans are an extremely attractive demographic for employers.”

In his current role, Armstrong leads a team of 12 focused on sourcing military talent. He leverages the same leadership and team-building concepts from his time in the Marine Corps to set up the team up for success.

“Nothing great gets done without a high-performing team, those that are standing on my left and right,” Armstrong said. “To accomplish any mission, you must take care of your team. As leaders, we create the environment that allows our team to learn, thrive, and want to return tomorrow. I strive for that personally with my own team, and I know Wells Fargo has done that for veterans.”

For more than 170 years, Wells Fargo has supported military service members and veterans through initiatives to hire and retain veterans, and through foundation donations, financial health resources, and event sponsorship.

The company’s bevvy of programming ensures its actions align with its words.

“In the military, you learn to quickly think on your feet and, as leaders, make precise decisions that impact mission or team.” — Brian Armstrong, Wells Fargo’s head of Military Recruitment

“One thing that makes me proud to be part of Wells Fargo is seeing senior leaders that are very outspoken about not just supporting veterans, but about how we add value the company,” Armstrong said. “It’s not just about hiring military, though. You see the investments back in our communities with home donations, grants, car donations, and even supporting veteran-owned businesses … which helps everyone.”

Wells Fargo is committed to empowering military service members and veterans to effectively navigate life’s transitions to achieve ongoing career and financial success while impacting their community.

Home donations

In collaboration with the Military Warriors Support Foundation, Wells Fargo donates homes to wounded veterans. Over the past 10 years, Wells Fargo has donated more than 400 homes valued at over $60 million to support veterans and their families in all 50 states.

“It’s totally changed my life,” said Marlene Zander, a 2015 recipient of a mortgage-free home. “I'm living the American dream now because I'm debt-free and I have my own home.”

Auto donations

Wells Fargo is proud to have worked with car dealers across the country since 2015 to award more than 100 vehicles and provide family and financial mentoring, valued at more than $3 million, to deserving veterans and Gold Star families through the Military Warriors Support Foundation’s Transportation4Heroes program or to nonprofit organizations directly.

“The very first day we were in business, our personal vehicle was involved in a hit-and-run,” said Benjamin Breckheimer, a veteran and co-owner of a mobile coffee truck who received a vehicle in 2023. “It (the Ford Escape he was awarded) relieves that financial burden of a monthly car payment, so we can help build up our personal saving account to hopefully open up our own brick-and-mortar shop.”

Supplier diversity

Wells Fargo is a corporate member of the National Veteran-Owned Business Association and works closely with the organization to identify veteran-owned businesses to compete for Wells Fargo’s procurement opportunities.

2023 marked Wells Fargo’s 10th consecutive year of spending more than $1 billion with diverse suppliers, which includes certified Veteran-Owned Business Enterprises (VOBEs).

Recruiting military talent

Wells Fargo has a dedicated Military Talent Sourcing Team, led by Sean Passmore, the company’s head of Enterprise Military and Veteran Initiatives, designed to help veterans explore the many ways their military experience can be put to work at the company. Talent programs include:

  • Veteran Employment Transition (VET) Program
  • Julie Scammahorn National Military Apprenticeship Program
  • Boots to Banking
  • Corporate Fellowship
  • Homefront Heroes Military Spouse Hiring

Learn more about Wells Fargo’s commitment to veterans.