A culture of service


The following is excerpted from Issue 26 of The Corporate Citizen. To learn more about how your corporate citizenship peers are engaging diverse stakeholders like veterans and their families, register for the 2019 International Corporate Citizenship Conference on April 28-30 in Dallas, TX.

Corporate citizenship initiatives focused on veteran hiring and engagement are becoming increasingly popular because they provide a win-win situation for companies and military families alike: Veterans provide companies with valuable, transferable skills and consistently prove to be dependable and hard-working team players, while companies provide veterans with the stability and purpose to help their families thrive.

Here, we look at one company, Booz Allen Hamilton, which has found success in taking on projects and partnerships that support veterans’ health, well-being, and access to critical resources, as well as their professional and personal development. Booz Allen—a management consulting and technology firm offering analytics, digital solutions, engineering, and cyber solutions—operates under one guiding purpose: “To empower people to change the world.” With more than 24,000 employees worldwide, the company is strategically poised to make—and keep making—a positive impact across the globe.

Booz Allen’s first Department of Defense client relationship was forged in 1940, establishing what has become a long-standing partnership. Today, the company continues to support some of the Department’s most important missions, including the Real Warriors Campaign, a web-based program developed by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. This online network works to eliminate the stigma of military members seeking mental health treatment, and connects military members and veterans to mental health resources in order to help treat PTSD, depression, and substance abuse problems, in addition to supplying a wealth of employment resources.

Founded by a veteran, Booz Allen is dedicated to hiring and retaining military personnel. Currently, 27 percent of its employees are veterans. The company is committed to recruiting, training, and retaining employees who have experience in the armed forces— notably, 32 percent of its new hires in 2017 were veterans, which has created an environment that is as welcoming as it is supportive. The company offers best-in-class reservist benefits as well as a variety of programs to support both former military members and their families. Booz Allen runs two employee-led resource groups—the Armed Services Forum and the Military Spouse Forum—comprised of more than 1,200 employees. These groups offer employees networking opportunities, career training, and access to a valuable knowledge base of experienced veteran employees. Booz Allen also has a senior level advisory group—the Veterans Agenda—that works within the company to address issues that face veterans, military spouses, and other members of the military community, including advising on the company’s community-based programs.

“At Booz Allen, we see support for military families as integral to our mission to support military readiness,” said Andrea Inserra, senior vice president at Booz Allen and chair of its Veterans Agenda. “We look forward to continuing to be the type of employer that focuses on people, problem-solving, and the spirit of service.”

To support its broader corporate efforts, Booz Allen has established a number of strategic corporate citizen¬ship partnerships, including charitable support and rela¬tionship building with military-focused not-for-profits, including Operation Homefront and Blue Star Families.

With Operation Homefront, a nonprofit with a mission is to “build strong, stable, and secure military families so they can thrive,” Booz Allen created the Booz Allen Hamilton Innovation Award for Military Children, which recognizes a military child who uses his or her innovation to create a community-oriented program or nonprofit. The award is designed to celebrate learners who do not always have the chance to be recognized for their achievements due to their families moving around so frequently. The award comes with a cash prize, a trip to Booz Allen’s Innovation Center in Washington, D.C., and support from a volunteer project team that will help the recipient continue to grow and improve their community program.

The Innovation Center also plays an essential role in Booz Allen’s partnership with Blue Star Families, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing military families together to create a cohesive, supportive community. Booz Allen employees offered their time and expertise—pro-bono—to analyze Blue Star Families’ annual military family survey findings to target community-specific challenges faced by military families and make a data-driven case for what services military families need most. They then hosted Blue Star Families’ leaders and other stakeholders from American Defense Communities in the first inaugural Defense Communities Leadership Academy, to train local military communities to better serve the needs of their military members and families.

While the company has received scores of awards celebrating its work with veterans—including being named both a Forbes’ top-rated employer for veterans and a Military Times Best for Vets top 10 employer three years in a row, as well as being voted “Best of the Best” veteran-friendly company by U.S. Veterans Magazine—the accolades that matter most are the ones that come directly from their veteran employees.

“I found that there was absolute synergy between the Air Force’s culture and core values and that of Booz Allen’s,” said Jared Wurster, defense strategy and policy expert at Booz Allen and airman in the Air Force Reserve. “This company is built on people and teams working together to serve clients. Booz Allen was a natural landing spot for me out of the military.”

To learn more about how your corporate citizenship peers are engaging diverse stakeholders like veterans and their families, register for the 2019 International Corporate Citizenship Conference on April 28-30 in Dallas, TX.