How my time in the Marines shaped my civilian career

Vanguard strives to ensure veterans joining our crew have tools and support to develop new skills and thrive in their careers. As part of National Career Development Month, crew member Amy M. shares her story of moving from military service to a civilian career.

Like most people who served in the United States armed forces, I take a great deal of pride in my military background.  I’m always excited to share my experiences as a United States Marine and answer the wide range of questions that tend to surface.  I find that many people are interested in learning about my transition from the military to the civilian workforce or the most valuable advice I received.  Perhaps my favorite question has become “How has your military experience influenced your civilian career?” because it is – without question – an experience I harken back to every single day as a Vanguard leader.

For me, my military experience has been a critical success factor (both personally and professionally) and over time, I’ve come to realize just how much it has enriched and influenced my leadership journey.  The experience has enabled me to espouse the strong virtues of both military and Vanguard leadership philosophies:  valuing core purpose and shared vision, exhibiting moral courage, understanding the true concept of “team”, and demonstrating the strategic agility to achieve results.

Leadership development is a vital component of military training.  A fabric of the culture and core to service men and women alike, 14 distinct leadership traits are instilled into Marines and translated into the lives we lead as citizens.  I believe they parallel Vanguard’s core leadership values and I continue to hold these principles in high regard and seek to practice them daily in my leadership journey. Below are just a few of the leadership traits that have become part of my DNA as a Vanguard leader.

Dependability: Counted on always.

Whether in battle or in our communities, Marines develop solutions – not excuses.  As warriors and as citizens, Marines can always be counted on.

Integrity: The cornerstone of character.  

Nothing you can learn about leadership is as important as earning the trust of your Marines.  To lead Marines is to follow principles, acting with honor when all eyes are on you, or when no one is watching.  Great leaders must first be great men and women, accountable to the mission and those who follow.

Initiative: Every Marine is a leader. 

When there’s a job to do, no Marine waits to be told what to do.  Whether on the front lines or the home front, Marines look for ways to improve the situation at hand.

Unselfishness: Team before self.  There are few endeavors as selfless as becoming a United States Marine.  This team-first mentality becomes part of every Marine’s DNA, from the battlefield they serve on, to the communities they serve in.

Knowledge: Know more today than yesterday. 

Without knowledge, judgment is reduced to intuition; decision-making becomes nothing more than a guess.  On the battlefield or in the business world, those who are constantly learning and seeking self-improvement find the most success.

Enthusiasm: Motivation is contagious. 

There’s no such thing as an ordinary mission for Marines – anything worth doing is worth giving it your all.  To carry out a task in the Marine Corps is to motivate everyone to believe in it, thereby increasing the likelihood of mission success.

What life experiences have influenced your career?  As we approach the end of the year, what will you reflect upon and how will you align your personal values with your talents and career interests as you think about the year ahead?

Our internal networking group, VetsConnect, strives to create a sense of community for active duty, veteran, and civilian crew members. If you’re seeking an environment where you can make a difference and develop professionally, check out our career opportunities at

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