Serving Our Country and Our Community: A Veteran DaVita Teammate’s Story
I arrived at DaVita by taking an unconventional path. After graduating college, I commissioned as an Infantry Officer in the United States Army, and by the end of four years I considered myself confident and capable, ready to lead from the front or provide insight as a member of a team. I had planned events for over 400 participants, I had led teams of over 160 soldiers and I had transported millions of dollars in specialized equipment across the United States. But, when I was confronted with the prospect of leaving the military, I wasn’t sure where to begin.
Although I was lost, I had a decent idea of what I was looking for. The Army imbued me with a passion for project-oriented work. I am motivated by results and I am fulfilled by seeing the impact of those results on my organization’s mission. I like working with people and being a part of a team, and I hoped that I would eventually earn the opportunity to lead again. Above all, I wanted my next step to allow me to continue serving a cause greater than myself.
As I transitioned out of the Army, I discovered the Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program, a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The fellowship program connects exiting service members with companies interested in hiring veterans. After a lengthy screening and interview process, participating service members begin a 12-week internship with their host company, during which they act as full time employees. I was confident that such a fellowship would help give me direction during an otherwise turbulent time in my life.
DaVita felt like a natural fit. I gravitated toward the organization’s strong sense of purpose and its clear sense of identity supported by codified core values. After interviewing with a series of host companies, I knew that I wanted to spend my fellowship within the Village. I was lucky enough that some very important people felt the same way and I spent my fellowship as a Senior Analyst on Pioneer, DaVita’s Operations Innovation Team.
Working at DaVita blew me away. Project management, the core of my experience, now incorporated high-level data analysis that guided decisions to achieve specific, measurable outcomes. I continuously found new ways to be of service, as the scope of my work influenced decisions which helped improved the quality of care for hundreds of thousands of patients. I discovered a new approach to leadership that didn’t always position me at the front, but instead placed a greater emphasis on guiding a collaborative approach amongst peers. Ultimately, what I found was a new interpretation of what I had loved about the Army.
At the conclusion of my fellowship, I was fortunate enough to receive an offer to become a full-time teammate, which I gratefully accepted. I have been able to apply many of the same skills I developed in the Army at my new job, while at the same time, finding opportunities within my work to develop as a person, professional, and a leader.