Encore, MCM Colleagues Mentor U.S. Military Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Careers
At Encore Capital Group (Encore), we’re grateful for the military veterans who are part of our work community. This Military Appreciation Month, we want to highlight our recently launched partnership with American Corporate Partners (ACP), a national non-profit organization focused on helping veterans and active-duty spouses find their next careers through one-on-one mentoring, networking, and online career service.
Through this partnership, which was spearheaded and sponsored by Encore and Midland Credit Management (MCM)’s Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer, Monique Dumais-Chrisope, colleagues in the U.S. are able to serve as mentors, while on company time, to help veterans pursuing careers following their active-duty service. ACP matches our team members with veterans based on each mentor’s experience and each veteran’s goal and career aspiration.
“It’s a way of supporting our veterans and bringing awareness to our team members of an opportunity to give back for the freedoms we enjoy due to their sacrifices,” said Monique. “For many veterans, having a mentor can make the difference between simply landing a job and building a long-term career.”
Through the partnership with ACP, more than 25 Encore/MCM colleagues are already serving as mentors, living our Values of caring and inclusivity in our communities.
“ACP works with 115+ partner companies. We are proud to have Encore and MCM employees in our network of volunteer mentors who spend one hour per month connecting veterans and military spouses to new career opportunities through a 12-month program,” said Richard Comitz, ACP Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff. “We continuously challenge ourselves to help more people and bring the most relevant information to our community.”
Encore and MCM colleagues participating in the mentoring program include veterans and non-veterans alike.
Shawn Feaser, a mentor, served in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years as an aircraft weapons loader and is now Senior Manager, Data Analytics at MCM. He said veterans transitioning from military to civilian life can feel a great deal of anxiety and stress over the change.
“I had a career in the military that did not have an apparent civilian job equivalent,” he said. “I was interested in providing guidance, advice and my experience to active-duty veterans who may be in a similar position. The mentoring program at the very least provides a strong support system with reassurance and a personal contact to have open, candid and very transparent conversations to help during the transition.”
Shawn, who is helping his veteran protégé (ACP’s name for mentees) find a new second career, added that some core military skills can translate to any field.
“The environment a military service member operates in is centered around success and mission accomplishment, regardless of personal sacrifice. Much of that success depends on collaborating with a strong team with the capability to leverage each other’s strengths, creativity and tenacity. Carrying those attributes to any organization can drive groundbreaking results.”
Shawn Feaser, Senior Manager, Data Analytics at MCM
Hector Torres, a mentor who served in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard, said he wants to help other veterans avoid common mistakes when transitioning to a corporate job.
“I’ve learned that as much as things have changed since I left the military, a lot of things have stayed the same,” said Hector, who is a Risk and Compliance Manager at MCM. “I wanted to provide guidance for a transitioning veteran so they wouldn’t make the same mistakes I did, be there to answer questions about the transition, and be available for support as they transition out of the military.”
Hector, who has been helping his protégé translate their resume to use more corporate language, said veterans can be invaluable members of any team.
“A veteran can stay calm and levelheaded during times of chaos or uncertainty,” he said. “They can make decisions based more on facts versus emotion and bring a sense of loyalty and camaraderie to an organization.”
Dave Snyder, Director, Legal Collections, MCM, said he wanted to give back through the company’s partnership with ACP because many of his family members served in the military.
“I felt this was a way I could give back to those who have dedicated themselves to service,” he said. “I’m helping my protégé primarily as a thought partner. He’s focused on a few potential directions, and I spend my time helping him think through the next actions in each area.”
Dave said veterans bring energy, curiosity and deep training in a wide variety of areas to their organizations.
“I hope to help my protégé reach a level of clarity in his next career decision,” he said.
Kristeen Barth, Senior Manager, Organizational Development at MCM, is mentoring a military spouse. She said she wanted her protégé to feel supported while working to transfer her skills to a new career.
“I’ve changed my career, and I believe we all have transferrable skills,” she said. “Teams are better and more effective when they’re made up of people from different backgrounds. I want to help veterans and military spouses see how they can integrate into a new team and add value.”
Kristeen said that as a military spouse, her protégé “brings an incredible amount of empathy and compassion. She’s tough, has grit and will always find a way to get the job done.”
Diana DeLugan, Senior Governance, Risk, and Compliance Analyst, MCM, said she decided to mentor a veteran through ACP as a way of saying thank you.
“Veterans are selfless,” she said. “They dedicate so much to preserve our liberties. They deserve all the support we as a society can give them.”
Diana said she and her protégé have already identified primary short- and long-term goals. She’s teaching him to use the full benefits of online platforms for his career search, as well as helping him refocus on his personal novel-writing project. Diana also added that her mentoring experience has inspired her to help people in more ways.
Since becoming an ACP mentor, Diana has also started volunteering with one of the company’s employee resource groups, Women@Encore&Allies, and has resumed volunteer work within the local community.
“Helping others makes me grateful for all I have. It also gives tribute to all the people who have been my mentors by paying it forward. Any true success I’ve had in life is due in great part to the kindness and mentorship of others.”
Diana said organizations that invest in developing veteran talent will gain more than they give.
“Veterans strengthen organizations with proven skills like discipline, drive for success, loyalty and teamwork, to name a few,” she said.