The military can be a great training ground for many careers. Veterans have made successful shifts to careers in security, supply chain, IT, manufacturing and law enforcement, among others. But going from the military directly to the advertising industry isn’t necessarily a natural transition.
Veterans are peppered everywhere in advertising and marketing, from planners and managers to creatives and CEOs. It’s clear that the service can prepare people for a career in the industry, but the path to getting into advertising isn’t a straight one, and there are few programs that build a direct pipeline between the entities.
As we reflect on Veterans Day and honor all those who served, Adweek talked with a crew of industry vets who are also veterans of the armed services. They discussed how the military prepared them for a career in advertising, what qualities best translate from the service to marketing and advertising, and how the industry can best help veterans get into the industry.
How can the industry best hire veterans?
Hiring veterans should be higher on the list for agencies, as those who have served have valuable leadership and management skills built up through the rigors of their service, but there aren’t enough organizations out there to make the connections between agencies and veterans.
Many of those interviewed pointed to VetsinTech, an organization that helps retrain those in the military and their spouses by connecting them to the national technology ecosystem, which Crispin Porter + Bogusky has been using for the last year and which its parent company, Stagwell, also works with.
“What we’re talking about right now with them is potentially starting a marketing and creativity cohort,” said Maggie Malek, North America president at CP+B.
DoD SkillBridge, which allows active-duty service members to enter the private sector during their last 180 days of service, is another option for agencies. “Agencies and marketing departments should register for it and actively recruit from this untapped pool of talent,” said Carey Kight, a freelance executive producer, former head of production at Circus Maximus and Air Force vet.
Andrew Swinand, Leo Burnett U.S. and Publicis Creative CEO, is part of PubVets, Publicis’ Veteran Business Resource Groupe, a community of vets and allies within the workplace that reflects the values instilled by the military, emphasizing teamwork and prioritizing the welfare of your team. “Enhancing visibility and highlighting available resources are crucial for attracting veterans into the industry. Also, partnering with firms and outplacement services that are designed to help vets discover new opportunities after retirement,” said Swinand.
Katie Tolosi, manager of client operations at Publicis OneTeam, added that within Publicis, the Marcel platform enables her to tap into a wealth of learning and development, and the Publicis Media Training Program provides her with new hire training classes.