From Being an Airman to a Stay-at-Home Mom to a Website Designer: How I’ve Adapted and Excelled

Sponsored by Sonepar USA

Connie Heckel-Eaddy.  Photo courtesy of Sonepar.

Connie Heckel-Eaddy. Photo courtesy of Sonepar.

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April 21, 2024 at 11:2AM UTC

Connie Heckel-Eaddy served in the Air Force for nine years before deciding to leave since she didn’t want to be away from her children. “It was difficult not being able to parent in the ‘normal’ ways, and I missed being able to wake up to my son each morning and tuck him in every night during the times I was away,” recalls Heckel-Eaddy.

The transition from being an airman to a stay-at-home mom, however, is not a simple one. And Heckel-Eaddy knew that she would want to rejoin the workforce in the future. So, she decided to continue her education and obtain her degree. Then, when her children were older, Heckel-Eaddy decided to take the plunge and return to work.

“I faced several challenges when I decided to return to the workforce, such as changing careers (I was in the logistics career field in the Air Force and changed to Web Design), having an education but no work experience, and having a significant time gap in my work history,” Heckel-Eaddy tells us. “To overcome these challenges, I gained knowledge and enhanced my skill set by taking different courses and earning different certifications.” She also applied to entry-level positions and was unafraid of “starting from scratch.”

Today, thanks to her dedication and willingness to learn and grow, Heckel-Eaddy has been able to forge a career that she truly enjoys and is a Website Designer at Sonepar. Looking back, she tells us that “my proudest accomplishment is my ability and willingness to adapt and accept change.” 

“The sacrifices I made while in the Air Force have given me a great appreciation for my professional life after the military,” says Heckel-Eaddy. “There are some challenging days, but, at the end of it all, I get to come home and hug my kids and husband. It’s okay to change things, and with hard work and perseverance you can accomplish your goals.”

Keep reading to learn more about Heckel-Eaddy’s journey, top advice, and how Sonepar helps people from all backgrounds excel!

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

I believe my military background has given me unique perspectives that aid in my career today.  

The different experiences I’ve had, the never-give-up mentality that has been ingrained in me, and the three Air Force core values (service before self, excellence in all you do, and integrity — which are instilled in you in basic training) have, together, led to my success in the civilian workforce.

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

My number one piece of advice for veterans, especially women veterans looking for jobs right now, is to be prepared. Enhance your skill set (through experience, education, or a combination of both), get ready for job interviews (research the company and practice interview questions), dress for the position, and be mentally prepared. 

And remember, if you don’t get the results you want at first, don’t give up.    

What advice do you have for someone new to your industry?  

Embrace the fact that technology, software, and markets are always changing. Whether you are a novice or an expert in this industry, be open to change and be ready and willing to learn.  

Were there any particular programs, DEI initiatives, or company culture aspects that helped ease your transition from the military to a civilian career?  

It wasn’t until I joined Sonepar that I became aware of the different DEI initiatives. Sonepar has multiple employee resource groups, which is amazing! I have been able to be a part of the Military Employee Resource Group (MERGE), which is great! I feel that all the groups that Sonepar has really make employees feel acknowledged, welcomed, appreciated, and accepted.

In general, what’s your favorite aspect of Sonepar’s culture, and how does your company help you succeed?  

My favorite aspects of Sonepar’s culture are their acknowledgement, acceptance, and inclusion of people from all walks of life, and the positive ambience that is felt throughout the company. Sonepar encourages me to succeed by recognizing my strengths and providing ideas, education, experience, and advice to help improve my weaknesses. 

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