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Choosing This Career Path Took Me From the Navy to Being a CEO | Fairygodboss
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Choosing This Career Path Took Me From the Navy to Being a CEO
Photo courtesy of Kathryn Murphy
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Veterans and those who love them make no shortage of sacrifices on behalf of this country. But one sacrifice that’s perhaps not as readily acknowledged is the obstacles both veterans and military spouses can face when building out their careers in the civilian realm. This Veteran’s Day, Fairygodboss and Getting Hired asked folks in the veteran and military family community to share the ways this identity has aided and at times impeded them professionally, as well as their No. 1 pieces of advice to fellow military community jobseekers. 

Do you believe veterans and their families should have the right to build civilian careers free of obstacles and biases? Show your support and #Pledge4VetFamilies here.

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Who: Kathryn Murphy, CDR, USN, Ret

What: President/CEO, KRM Resources LLC – Comfort Keepers

Where: Northeast Florida covering Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Palm Coast , Ormond Beach, Flagler Beach

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How long have you been in your current role, and what were you doing previously?  

I have been in this role for 17 years. Previously I was the Director of Health Services of the Mayo Health Plan, Inc. Previous to that I was active duty in the United States Navy.

What factors were most important to you in transitioning from a military to civilian job? Are there any challenges associated with that transition that people may not be aware of?  

Being in health care, the transition for me was easy. Taking care of patients is the same no matter what uniform I am wearing. The Navy prepared me to learn to work with regulations, surveys and inspections so that came easy to me in the civilian sector. One of the biggest surprises to me when I transitioned was how quickly managers can and will terminate employees. As a Naval officer, I was taught to develop the personnel that reported to me and if I was unsuccessful I had to question myself: what I could have done better to have achieved a better outcome?

What did your company do to help ease the transition, and how have you felt supported working here?  

My first job after the Navy was the Mayo Health Plan, Inc. I had to report to both the President and the Medical Director. We were building a new company at the time. Both were very supportive of my ideas, experience, energy and the desire to learn.

Do you believe your military background has provided you with any unique perspectives or talents that aid your career today? 

Absolutely, among many skills the Navy taught me was how to build effective teams and to help others reach their highest potential. I learned when I took care of my people, they in turn would also help me reach my goals. It is very gratifying when you are moving forward together.

What’s the first (and/or last) thing you do at work every day? 

In the morning after I greet everyone and get settled, we have a stand up meeting, much like I did in the Navy. The goal is to hear everyone’s goals for the day and challenges they might need help. As I leave (usually last), I begin to plan for the following day.

What about outside of work — how do you most enjoy spending your time?  

I am very physically active and enjoy anything outside including long distance sports like swimming, jogging and cycling. I have done about 20 sprint triathlons. I am also in training with my dog to become a pet therapy registered team.

What’s the one career move you’ve made that you’re most proud of? 

Starting my own business. I currently own three Comfort Keepers franchises in northeast Florida.

What’s your #1 piece of advice for women, and especially other women veterans, who are looking for jobs right now?  

Sometimes it is difficult to know what one wants to do when leaving the Navy. I suggest to others to learn by actively doing research all the possibilities and begin to network. I never thought I would become a business owner. I attended a five-part business class because a friend wanted me to go with her. Not closing any doors, I thought I would surely learn something that might be beneficial to me so I agreed to go with her. Little did I know I was starting to prepare for my own future. Be eager to learn new skills and enjoy making new relationships through networking. There are endless possibilities.

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