Meet Natalie Oliverio, the inspiring force behind this great women owned, veteran owned business. This veteran entrepreneur story will inspire…
Natalie is the founder of Military Talent Partners where she provides mentorship, coaching, and career discovery to help military talent realize their potential and define their professional goals. Along with her knack at understanding people, Natalie is a veteran herself so, she understands what veterans go through when they return from the battle field. In honor of Veterans Day I had the opportunity to speak with Natalie and gleaned from her how she’s empowered veterans for a fulfilling future. Here’s how this inspiring veteran entrepreneur story goes:
What Drives a Veteran?
Jay: As a veteran, take me back to when you joined the service and describe what drove you to become part of our nation’s finest?
Natalie: I joined the Navy in early 2001, pre-9/11. I wanted to do something more. Something extraordinary, something that would shock everyone who knew me. If you’re going to challenge yourself, you join the Navy – right?
Jay: We’ve all heard so much about the struggles veterans face when acclimating to civilian life. What was that like for you?
Natalie: I felt like a stranger in my own hometown. The military changes you. It makes you different from everyone else. Just 4 years was enough to make me feel unaware of how to communicate with others about what I’d done, and they didn’t really know how to talk with me either. I felt like I had been held back, starting over in college, with much younger students. Even in the professional world, once I started working, I felt I was hired in positions that were too junior for me -but because I had served, I needed to make some time up before I could move on to things that were more suitable for my experience. It was rough! The time I spent serving, felt like a pause on my development in life, and that it didn’t count for much. It took me years to adjust to realize that wasn’t true at all, I just needed to find a way to translate my experience and communicate better.
Serving in the Military Hones Unique Talents
Jay: Describe to me what led you to joining the recruiting services industry?
Natalie: I studied HR, and started working in the field right after college. But it was my love for people that drove me to Recruiting – and not just a love for people, but a love for empowering others – helping them to accomplish goals, or land that job they really wanted. I loved the feeling of hiring someone into a role that would change their life. It was a powerful thing, and I wanted to make it happen over and over.
Jay: Finding the right candidates goes well beyond the job description on paper. The candidate needs to “fit in” in many ways. What are some of the things you look for when determining whether or not that candidate is qualified?
Natalie: Attitude is everything. 9 times out of 10, a company will hire the person with the better/right attitude over someone who is technically perfect. The wrong fit does more damage to culture than performance, and companies and hiring managers alike want to ensure they’re making the right choice on a person, more so than their skills and abilities. A person’s technical knowledge must be related in a way that resonates with the business. It’s not the hardest thing to accomplish, but it is a challenge when transitioning out of the military. Crossing this barrier introduces a world of opportunity for the candidate.
An Inspiring Veteran Entrepreneur Story is Born…
Jay: Tell me why you founded Military Partners and what your mission is?
Natalie: I founded Military Talent Partners because I wanted service members, veterans, spouses, and gold star family members to have a team on their side, with the only mission being about their success. There are a lot of “military recruiting,” firms that don’t have the candidate’s best interest in mind. We focus on mentoring and coaching military talent for free! Because we’re committed to empowering them through career transition. That makes better employees for companies, and happier careers for candidates. When you know why you’re in your career – you can live out your purpose. Committed employees work more effectively and are loyal to their companies, diminishing retention issues.
Working in Corporate Recruiting for 10 years, I realized so many gaps in Corporate America when it came to hiring our military talent. I knew if I wanted to make a bigger impact, I’d have to start my own company. Our mission is to make hiring military talent so easy for employers that it’s their first choice when diversifying their workforce. We are proud to support every service member from E-1 – O-10 and military spouses to ensure they get the right mentorship for them.
Jay: What can I and other SMB owners do to help veterans find success for themselves and their families?
Natalie: Hire them. See their value and potential through the experience they’ve gained by serving our country. Most hiring managers, when presented with a recent college graduate, and a four year military service member – will default to choosing the recent college graduate. They see them as a clean slate, moldable, trainable, and affordable. Stigmas for military veterans still exist. Such as they’re too stiff, too set in their ways, or too “militaristic.” They may have PTS after coming home from overseas – they’re too hard to re-train, the learning curve is too steep, etc. We need more employers to hire these incredible people. Not just to make commitments, but to actually offer positions and hire these folks – and that’s what we’re helping them do. Not talk the talk – but walk the walk.
Source: Small Business Journal