In this episode, we talk with Michelle N., Global Business Consultant, and an active Staff Sergeant in the National Guard, who shares her story of transitioning from the military to corporate life, and how skills from the military help her to be successful in her role. Michelle also shares how she mentors other veterans and how she found a supportive culture at ADP.
Narrator: [00:00:06] At ADP, we're always designing for people. Starting with our own. Life at ADP podcast will give you a look into our associate's stories, our culture, and our company.
Kate: [00:00:24] Hi everyone, this is Life @ ADP the podcast. I'm Kate, part of the Global Employer Brand and Marketing team
Ingrid: [00:00:31] and I'm Ingrid, also part of the Global Employer Brand and Marketing team.
Kate: [00:00:34] Ingrid, can you believe it's November already?
Ingrid: [00:00:38] Absolutely not. Time is flying by, and I cannot believe the holiday season is just around the corner. It's no, I don't believe it. But before we get there, we honor Veterans Day here in the United States on November 11. And in honor of this day, we actually have Michelle for our special guest and Michelle is actively serving in the military. I know her personally, she is someone who I have done some video work in the past with our Military BRG, our business resource group, so I'm super excited to have Michelle here.
Kate: [00:01:22] Yes! and in fact, we just shared one of your videos with Michelle on ADP careers on our social media handles for day of the deployed.
Ingrid: [00:01:33] Yes, we did and you know, I love seeing videos there, on our social channels. Well, so let's kick this off and welcome Michelle to the podcast. Michelle, we are super happy and honored that you're able to join us and thank you for your service, and correct me if I'm wrong but you're currently stationed in West Virginia, correct?
Michelle: [00:01:53] Thank you, Ingrid and Kate, for having me. It's an honor. Yes, that is correct. I currently work out of the Allentown office as a business consultant in Pennsylvania, Allentown, Pennsylvania. However, in terms of where I serve, I do serve in the West Virginia National Guard.
Kate: [00:02:11] Michelle, that is incredible. And to echo Ingrid's sentiments, thank you as well for your service, first and foremost. I'm having a bit of a proud moment here knowing that ADP is an organization that supports your active service and allows you to have the flexibility to be where you need to be to serve our country, but also take care of business from the ADP side.
Michelle: [00:02:38] Yes, it really is remarkable. I enjoy what ADP does for me on a day to day and just the ability to do well in my current role and also pursue being active as well.
Ingrid: [00:02:51] So Michelle, as I mentioned before, I worked with you in the past. But can you share with the audience a little bit more about your military service and your journey?
Michelle: [00:03:02] Absolutely Ingrid, so I enlisted in 2015 with the Pennsylvania National Guard. I did enlist relatively late. I was 25 when I enlisted. I enlisted for many reasons, such as educational benefits for myself and my children. Second form of retirement. I was an E5 when we did the video. I'm currently at E6, staff sergeant, but I was on the fast track and moved up the ranks pretty quick. I did serve my first contract in Pennsylvania, as I previously mentioned, I am currently now with West Virginia National Guard. I had a really good opportunity during my deployment in the Middle East, where I was offered a slot with the Saudi, which is special operations detachment for Europe in West Virginia. I was promoted overseas upon my return home and that's when I transitioned into the special force community, which is the military, right? But when you think of big army, this is a community within the army that's really tight-knit, so it's an honor to be with them. So that's currently where I report. Now, my journey is ongoing, and every year I do look for new ways to credential myself and learn new skills that make me a better asset to my command. So that's just additional schooling. And they also coincide with what I do on the civilian side. So I have a class that's coming up its advanced leadership course. Obviously, I can go ahead and utilize those skills within the military, and I know that my boss here within ADP will also tap into those newfound skills, as well as as we work together to help our partners as well.
Kate: [00:04:41] Well, and I was going to say, you know, advanced leadership course, you're your boss at ADP must be like, Yes, please go take that, that sounds great and come back and share, you know, the learnings with us so I can see where there would be a lot of appreciation from our businesses side of everything. And so, Michelle, you've had five years with the National Guard, and in that time, as you mentioned, you've been able to climb the ranks and have really had an impressive career just in that period of time. Do you mind sharing with us a little bit about your career here at ADP?
Michelle: [00:05:21] Absolutely, so I started back in 2016, I've been with the organization for almost four years come February, I'm a Global Business Consultant, so I did start my days in corporate banking and then being in the military that opened up a door that I didn't know essentially was going to be opened for me in terms of career path. So just having that finance background and then 42 Alpha, which is a Human Resource Specialist within the military, and that essentially is just normal day to day human resource tasks varying from pay, awards to promotions, evaluations, and many other things that prepared me for the role that I that I do today. So kind of applying that human resource mindset that I have in the military and to my ADP role.
Ingrid: [00:06:14] Oh wow Michelle, it sounds almost like you were meant to be here.
Michelle: [00:06:17] Yes, I didn't realize that the skills that I was being trained for would eventually give me an opportunity at a better career on the civilian side. As mentioned, right, completely grateful and wish I would have started with ADP as soon as I was 18 actually. After working for a financial institution for about 10 years, they started to downsize, not knowing what would be next. I left that current environment and in the next couple of months, I worked on updating my resume and just creating other forms of resources to obtain new employment. But it wasn't long as mentioned right for that ADP recruiter to reach out in regards to a position that they had available. So when you say it's almost like it was meant to be, things happen for a reason and I'm extremely excited about being here with ADP.
Kate: [00:07:11] I mean Michelle, that sounds like something out of a movie, right? Like a perfect script. You know, you have the right background for the right opportunity here at ADP, at the right time. And for me personally, I'm just a firm believer that things come to you in your life at the right time. The good, the bad and the ugly. And you may not realize it in the moment, but future state, you can say, Oh, so that's why that happened, and it truly sounds like your passion to serve and help, along with the desire to achieve greatness in the corporate world, really just met beautifully and everything aligned.
Michelle: [00:07:57] Yes, that's exactly how I would frame it and you're absolutely correct. Things happen with a purpose. So ADP and I came together, I became an employee here at the appropriate time. I built out the skills that I needed to, and now I'm able to be an asset to the company that I work for, to my team, to my boss, to the sales partners that I serve on, on a day-to-day. And I really think it was an ideal point in my life to join the company.
Ingrid: [00:08:28] So Michelle, why don't you share with us a little bit how it was your transitioning journey to corporate life?
Michelle: [00:08:36] Well, and great. Let's fast forward to the present moment. So my first appointment occurred last year and it was a little different for me. So I was in corporate America for the last 20 years. So being deployed and then coming back, I would say that's where my transition took place. Being pulled to a different country, to different customs, to a different work environment, to a different lifestyle, and then transitioning back. For me, initially, I thought, Oh my God, how will it be? But I was truly blessed with my boss that I had at the time, her name is Kirsten. She was support of the entire time I was away. I was kept up to date with milestones that were occurring on the team, whether it be someone having a baby or then sending me individual birthday cards, that was virtual because it was at a time of COVID, right? So everyone was kind of locked in. But I did learn new skills while being away that I incorporate in my new day-to-day as a Business Consultant that do help me. There's been a lot of change in my workspace, and that's just natural, right over the course of a year. My current mentor got promoted, which I'm very proud of her, she's now my new boss. And my team had they had a complete outline, learning for me prepared when I got back. Being in the global space, there's a lot of information that we're continuously learning, so that was something I was a bit nervous about, but I knew that my team would have my back. So with the outline program that they gave me, I was up to speed in I would say three months, which they thought it was going to take me a little longer than that just to get back up to being client-facing.
Ingrid: [00:10:30] Wow, what a great journey. And it's almost like the keyword here is support, right? So like all I'm hearing is how ADP support you in your service and also come back to the business, you know, and they give you the tools to to help you with that,so that's amazing.
Michelle: [00:10:47] Thank you and Ingrid. So in addition to what I shared already as an active guard woman, right, even though it's Guardsman because it's the National Guard, I still do have trainings and weekends obligations. I actually have a drill coming up this this weekend that I'll attend. My leadership supports me in any upcoming events that I have and as a team, we kind of coordinate my workload accordingly. And that just means that, hey, just like if you were to take a normal day of leave or PTO that gets put into my calendar and they really do work with me in regards to still being able to attend my functions and also have my career here with ADP.
Kate: [00:11:31] And that's a really great point, Michelle, because so often when we're talking about active service or even veterans, right, you know, the question is, you know, how are you supported with leadership? But I love how you also brought your team into the mix and sharing how you know the responsibilities will be kind of covered, you know, if need to be with this, with this assignment that you're going on. So I think that that's a really cool point to mention, too, it's so important to have the support of leadership and that endorsement, but it's equally important to have the support from your whole team, too. So I think that's just really incredible.
Michelle: [00:12:19] Absolutely Kate and you're spot on. So when you think of the leadership, it wasn't just my direct leaders, you know, it was also my VPs, such as Tracy, Nick, Chris, that would ensure that, you know, my tour was going all right and if there was anything that I needed that they'd be there for me and especially upon my return.
Kate: [00:12:43] That's incredible, that is really incredible. Now I feel like that's a valid concern for people who are transitioning to civilian life, particularly in into a corporate position. So I know your scenario is a little bit unique, right, where your your paths were almost parallel, right, with your your active service and specifically your career here at ADP. But that being said, do you have any pieces of advice for active duty or people who have just come off of active duty?
Michelle: [00:13:16] Kate, it can be intimidating transitioning as I talk to my peers and some of them, that's all they've known, as they transitioned and you're right in saying that I am fortunate and things kind of lined up for me. But some of the skills that I get to put into place or that have grown tremendously with just serving or my organization skills, my time management, my ability to plan in advance, and just many of those qualities that are instilled through the service from day one, and they kind of live, breathe that on a day to day. Now, in regards to advice that I would go ahead and provide that just about every military occupation is translatable to the civilian world. It's a matter of the different terminology that is used to describe your previous position while being active. So as you think of transitioning and where you might actually fit in, you want to keep in mind those fundamentals that you did on a day to day and what was ingrained and what helped you be successful and incorporate that in your new role. There hasn't been a single place where those skills have not been identified, and it's not to boast right, there just naturally identified if you see a good worker you'll notice it in your leadership and your team members will notice you. So finding a position that helps you amplify your current skillset is as simple as just translating the military descriptions into a civilian one.
Ingrid: [00:14:57] Great reminder of keeping in mind the fundamentals of something so simple, sometimes those simple reminders are the ones that you tend to forget about.
Michelle: [00:15:05] Exactly Ingrid, and sometimes we just get so caught up on the terminology, but it's really about just breaking it down and identifying what it is.
Ingrid: [00:15:16] So speaking of fundamentals, the last thing we wanted to chat about with you is what sorts of skill sets should active duty and veterans think about when looking for a corporate career?
Michelle: [00:15:29] So here are some things I would say, critical skills that come to mind. One is time management. How can you execute anything if you don't have proper time management, projects and timelines will never be met, right? So you want to ensure that that's one of the things that you have mastered, resiliency, right? So change doesn't only occur in the military. It also occurs in the civilian side, so as long as you can be resilient and I like to refer to this as the hurry up and wait. And for those that have served, you understand that that pretty much means a new task has come out, you've done it, and now you kind of go to that next step and you don't know what to expect, right? But you're just waiting for the next command or, you know, the next order to be delivered. So with that said right, those last-minute time changes, you want to ensure that you're resilient and that you can adjust quickly and swiftly. And effective communication, the way you interact with your peers and your senior leadership remains important and critical to your success. And I'd like to say, right, that's not only in the military or in the workplace, but also with your personal relationships as well. And then the greatest skill I believe most veterans possess is the ability to perform under pressure, and of course, depending on how long you served or whether you were enlisted or officer, leadership is a top trait that every organization is looking for, and it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be in a leadership role to have leadership qualities.
Kate: [00:17:10] Time management, effective communication, resiliency, those are just some of the top picks, you know that I heard from what you were sharing that I have a feeling some of our listeners might be taking notes, right? They might be be writing down those exact same things. So really great, really great points. And then lastly, share with us your involvement with our military business resource group.
Michelle: [00:17:36] So our BRG here in Allentown, things have been a little slow since the COVID pandemic. However, prior to deploying, we're heavily engaged with veterans shelters and this was outside of the BRG space, but I was able to be on the on the panel for some individuals that were transitioning at that point out of the first contract. So we were broken out into rooms, there was a list of Q&A, so I was able to help them in regards to that. But when I think of the BRG and what I do and what my contributions are giving back, right? So this podcast will be live on November 11th, I will be in New York City attending the Wounded Warrior. So outside of ADP and our BRG, I'm always looking to give back or be a resource.
Kate: [00:18:33] That's amazing and you know, Ingrid and I have touched upon our business resource groups. I, I think at this point every episode, and just, you know, how amazing it is that our organization supports diversity in a diverse amount of ways with having nine business resource groups and our military one being just one of them. So really happy to hear that things are starting to pick up and I know there was a lot of creativity happening with our business resource groups during the pandemic and how to stay, you know, connected and keep the lines of communication going. So I'm glad to hear that that things are starting to kind of, you know, pick up for everyone there. Michelle, it was so great having you here today again, you know, thank you for your your current service for for our country and you know, the service that you've done in the past, and I'm so glad that Ingrid introduced us and I really appreciate all that you do for our country and for ADP. We are just so lucky to have you.
Michelle: [00:19:41] Yes, Kate, it was a pleasure meeting with you as well. And thank you, Ingrid, for extending the invitation today.
Ingrid: [00:19:47] Of course, Michelle, any time! We wish you the best in your latest active duty assignment and hope to see you soon in Allentown next time that I'm there filming so best of luck and thank you again.
Michelle: [00:20:02] And just one more thing that I'd like to add for any active duty or anyone who's previously served I highly encourage you to check out our ADP careers. I've had nothing but an incredible experience and tremendous support during my time here, So please make sure to Check out either jobs.ADP.com or tech.adp.com for your career opportunity.
Kate: [00:20:34] I mean, Ingrid, how amazing is Michelle, just from her experience, who she is as a person, her contributions to our country and to ADP. And then she closes out, asking our listeners to go check out our career websites like that's awesome. So so I'm really glad again that you introduced her to me and to all of our listeners, really great person to feature on our podcast, and I look forward to us featuring more veterans and more active-duty personnel who are part of our our ADP family. So really great idea. All right, we've reached the part of the podcast where we share what we're grateful for for this week. So Ingrid, how about you go first?
Ingrid: [00:21:23] Sure. You know, Kate, I I think that, you know, since we're speaking about the amazing opportunities that ADP offers to all of our veterans, I think I'm grateful for that in specific, you know, how ADP makes sure they offer, the proper tools, so our veterans have, you know, those tools to be successful at what they do every day. So and the support that they constantly give them, you know, as Michelle was mentioning, all the support that she received while she was on active duty and and also from her team. So that is something that makes me really, really proud, and I'm definitely going to be picking that one as my proud moment.
Kate: [00:22:09] That's a tremendous, proud moment. I would would completely echo your sentiments. And I I feel the same way, but we did a joint proud moment last week, so I can't piggyback off of yours. But, you know, I think my proud moment is this morning internally, we all received a letter from our CEO, Carlos Rodriguez. And I would have to say, you know, Carlos has done an amazing job with communications before the pandemic, but also during the pandemic, and his note to us all today was, it was so heartfelt, it was so real, I felt like he was talking just to me personally, you know, he talked about how ADP as a whole is acknowledging that since the pandemic, you know, people have really rethought their family priorities, whether it's child care, whether it's elder care, which you don't always hear about, right? and all of that. And it just really made me proud to be part of an organization who has someone steering this massive ship that has just such a deep gratitude for his employees and ADP associates. And you know, Carlos is someone who, you know, I'm based in Roseland, which is global headquarters, I see Carlos regularly and every single time, he is the sort of CEO who will wave and smile and say: Hey Kate, you know? and that goes a really long way. So I'm just proud and grateful to work for an organization that has such tremendous leadership truly from the top all the way down.
Ingrid: [00:23:57] And friendly reminder to our listeners, don't forget to subscribe to our podcast, so every time we come out with a new episode, they could get that notification, so you don't want to miss it. Make sure you subscribe.
Kate: [00:24:10] And because you're subscribing, I'm going to assume that you love our podcast, so go ahead and leave us a rating and a review, because that will help spread the love about what we're doing here at Life at ADP.
Kate: [00:24:24] This is Kate
Ingrid: [00:24:25] and this is Ingrid,
Kate and Ingrid: [00:24:26] and we are part of Life @ ADP the podcast.