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My Experience as a Navy Veteran Gave Me the Skills to Succeed in My Corporate Career | Fairygodboss
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Career Changer
My Experience as a Navy Veteran Gave Me the Skills to Succeed in My Corporate Career
Photo courtesy of Jenny Barrett
Fairygodboss
Fairygodboss
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As a company that lives its core values of Integrity, Innovation, and Inclusion every single day, Seagate Technology understands the tremendous value that diversity brings to the shared success of its global team. That’s why Seagate is an honored employer of choice for U.S. veterans, active military, and their family members. One such employee, Jenny Barrett, shares how her experience with the U.S. Navy led her to being a part of the Seagate team. 

As a project manager on Seagate’s learning and development team, how do you draw upon the skills you acquired in the U.S. Navy?

My initial role in the military was to maintain the communications and navigations systems on P3-Orions, the Navy’s anti-submarine warfare aircraft. Over time, I transitioned into various other roles, including training program manager, career counselor, and sexual assault prevention and response advocate. I learned too many skills to count during my time in the Navy, but a few that have been the most meaningful and have had the biggest impact on my career are learning agility, leading a diverse team, project management, flexibility, and patience.


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Managing learning and development programs for over 40,000 employees across the globe is no small undertaking. How do you find the time to get involved in Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), and what made you decide to become an ERG leader?

One of the things that drew me to Seagate was the strong ERG presence. Community is extremely important to me--both at work and in my personal life--so I knew as soon as I joined the company that I wanted to be part of the Seagate women’s ERG. There are so many talented and innovative women here, and we want to provide a safe and supportive platform for them to develop in their careers and get to know one another.   

As a learning and development professional, my role as an ERG leader is right in my wheelhouse! It gives me the opportunity to create and deliver training that I’m passionate about, collaborate with cross-functional colleagues, and help others grow and develop both personally and professionally.

It’s clear the skills you learned from the U.S. Navy helped to prepare you for success at Seagate, and that you’ve found Seagate to be a positive, inclusive, and engaging environment. What advice do you have for other women in the military looking to transition into a corporate career?

Don’t limit your vision of what you can do in a corporate environment based on what you did in the military. Your skills are transferable to every facet of business, and are greatly valued by employers. Also, take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, both in the military and in your corporate job. You’ll build a network, learn new skills, and open yourself up to opportunities you may never have discovered otherwise. 

A shared focus on building a culture of inclusion is part of what makes Seagate such a great place to be and work. How would you describe Seagate’s culture, and how do you think ERGs support this? 

Seagate is doing so many great things to support a culture of inclusion, from offering unconscious bias education to empowering ERGs. The ERGs support this culture by providing an environment in which all employees feel safe to show up as their best selves. In my experience, people are much more likely to be engaged at work if they feel like they are part of a community and are appreciated for the gifts and talents they bring to the table. By bringing people from all levels and areas of the business together, ERGs foster a sense of community across the company.

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