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No Barriers Podcast Episode 122: Veteran Hiring with Sean Passmore

Hosts, Erik, and Dave (welcome back, Dave!) speak with U.S. Army Veteran, Sean Passmore. Sean speaks about his work helping other Veterans navigate their career paths after their time in the service. A special thanks to Wells Fargo for their support of No Barriers and their sponsorship of this episode.

Sean Passmore served 22 1/2 years in the Army before retiring in 2014.

Today, he leads the Military Talent Strategic Outsourcing (MTSS) team and oversees enterprise military and veteran initiatives at Wells Fargo, supporting the military community with housing affordability, financial wellness, small business support, and career transition assistance programs.

The MTSS team is 100% dedicated to attracting, recruiting, coaching, and advocating for veterans seeking career opportunities at Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo is a longtime supporter and partner of No Barriers. We are grateful for their ongoing support and their sponsorship of this episode – the first in a series highlighting folks who are working to increase inclusion and representation in career mobility.


Sign up for the No Barriers Summit 8/28-8/29 (both in-person and virtual options): https://www.nobarriers.live/  Make sure to check out Wells Fargo’s career panel on 8/29 at 1 PM Mountain.

Wells Fargo Military Resource Page: https://www.wellsfargo.com/military

Wells Fargo Military Jobs: https://www.wellsfargojobs.com/military

Reach out directly to Wells Fargo Careers: militaryrecruiting@wellsfargo.com

Check out America’s Mentoring Network for the Military: https://www.veterati.com/

Read:  What Color is Your Parachute?

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Episode Transcript

A special thanks to Wells Fargo for sponsoring today's podcast in a series featuring leaders who are facilitating a cultural transformation in the workplace. Sean Passmore: And that's something that I coach veterans with is what you have to... Today is the day you start reinventing yourself. It's not on our civilian counterparts to adapt and adjust to our military culture because we've left the military. We're in corporate America. It's on us to adapt and adjust to this new civilian environment. And if we can't do it, we're not going to be successful. Eric Weinmeyer: It's easy to talk about the successes, but what doesn't get talked about enough is the struggle. My name is Eric Weinmeyer. I've gotten the chance to ascend Mount Everest, to climb the tallest mountain in every continent, to kayak the Grand Canyon. And I happen to be blind. It's been a struggle to live what I call a no-barriers life, to define it, to push the parameters of what it means. And part of the equation is diving into the learning process and trying to illuminate the universal elements that exist along the way. In that unexplored terrain between those dark places we find ourselves in and the summit, exists a map. That map, that way forward, is what we call No Barriers. Dave: Today we meet Sean Passmore, who served 22 and a half years in the Army before retiring in 2014. Today, he leads the Military Talent Strategic Outsourcing Team, and oversees enterprise, military, and veterans initiatives at Wells Fargo, supporting the military community with housing affordability, financial wellness, small business support, and career transition assistance programs. The MTSS team is 100% dedicated to attracting, recruiting, coaching, and advocating for veterans seeking career opportunities at Wells Fargo. Enjoy the conversation with Sean. Eric Weinmeyer: When you left the military after 22 years, did you have that sense of, geez, where do I go now? Sean Passmore: Absolutely. And I will tell you, I didn't think it was going to be that way. I did 22 and a half years. I enjoyed my time in the Army. I enjoyed the military. I was good at it. I was a high achiever, promoted early, special assignments, coming out of the White House. People just line up to tell me how easy it was going to be to find a job. Everyone's going to want to hire you. And that's not necessarily true for all of us. There's a lot of people just like me. There are a ton of high-achieving veterans who are promoted early, special assignments, excel above and beyond their peers. Sean Passmore: And maybe there are some companies that will line up around the corner to hire them, but that may not be what they want to do. What if we didn't want to go into defense contracting? Or what if I don't want to be a government employee coming back and working in the same building with the same people? There are a lot of veterans who have earned a degree at some point in their career, say, "I earned an accounting degree 20 years ago. I want to go leverage the skills I learned that I've never been an accountant." So it's this idea of career change. And that is so difficult. It's really, really difficult and hard to prepare for something like that. And so that was kind of my case. Eric Weinmeyer: So for you, when you got out of the military, what did you think? What were you thinking? Did you make a game plan or were you lost for a while? Sean Passmore: No, I did. I did make a game plan and I can talk to you about that. And what I'll tell you is it wasn't nearly as solid as a plan as it should have been. But for me, it was about, I was going to be a project manager. So this is, oh, when did I get out? 2014? So 2014, project management is really a hot thing. It's a hot industry. I knew four years before I got out of the military that I was in my last assignment. Sean Passmore: And so I spent the last probably three and a half years preparing for that. Well, what does a project manager look like in the outside? So I'm looking at people on LinkedIn and then I did what was a really good gap analysis. So this is what a project manager looks like, and this is what I look like. I don't have a master's degree. I'm not certified in project management. So I've made a plan to close those gaps as best as I could. And I did that. I earned my master's degree while I was serving. I earned my PMP certification while I was serving. And so when it came time to start applying for jobs, that was kind of my plan. And I thought that I had executed that fairly well, but it wasn't enough. And my phone, I will tell you, gentlemen, my phone was not ringing for people to interview me about project manager jobs. Eric Weinmeyer: So how'd you find your way to Wells Fargo? And by the way, before you start, I'm going to try, this is my challenge of the podcast, to talk your title here. Military Talent Strategic Sourcing and Enterprise Military Initiatives. Wow, that is cool. Sean Passmore: Well, it's two jobs in one, Eric, really. Eric Weinmeyer: Okay. Sean Passmore: And I do, I wear two hats. I wear two hats here at Wells Fargo, the first one being head of Military Talent Strategic Sourcing. And what does that mean? That's a team of 24 people, all of us, 100% dedicated to hiring veterans in the organization. And that's the full life cycle, the full candidate life cycle. Everything from talent attraction, paid media, social media. What are we doing to establish Wells Fargo as a military-friendly brand? Sean Passmore: So all of that outside of the outside of the tunnel is what we call it and talent acquisition to the recruiting, the actual career conversations with veteran job seekers, the coaching, the mentoring, the mock interviews, the resume help all the way to what we're doing behind the curtain at Wells Fargo in maintaining relationships with recruiters, advocating for our candidates and helping to try to move them through the process, to the education piece, with hiring managers and helping them understand what's the value of veteran hiring, because you always want the business to hire who they think is the most qualified candidate. Sean Passmore: It's not our job to try to get them to hire veterans if they don't think they're qualified. We really have to understand why the veteran job seekers is qualified. So that's one, that's one hat. That's Military Talent Strategic Sourcing. Then there's this Enterprise Military Veterans Initiatives, which is probably another two dozen or so stakeholders managing products, or not products, but projects, initiatives, programs that some way impact the military community. So from what we're doing in our diverse segments, representation and inclusion space, we donate automobiles, we do home donations, veterans, scholarships, anything we're doing in the marketing or public affairs and communications space to, gosh, our awards that we apply for, financial health philanthropy, what we're doing in DC with government relations and public policy and supplier diversity programs. Sean Passmore: So there's these other two dozen people within the enterprise just doing amazing things in every corner of Wells Fargo. And they don't work for me, but it's uncharged with trying to get my arms around all that, into platform for all of these stakeholders to come together, share the work that we're doing, identify ways to proactively collaborate. How do we show up as one Wells Fargo? Can we work more efficiently? And so that's another hat that I wear. It's trying to hurt all of those hats. Eric Weinmeyer: So your goal is to hire more veterans. So as you said, sometimes you come out of the military and what I heard you say was you feel like the civilian world in a way, somebody has far surpassed you in certain ways or perceptions, I guess. So I'm wondering, is it fair to say that you get some vets who interview with you and they have some gaps and you want to hire the best person. So how do you work that balancing act? You know what I mean? Where you want to hire these people. Maybe they have some gaps and you have to sort of help them fill those in. Sean Passmore: Yeah. I think it's a two-pronged approach, Eric, really, because we were talking about showcasing veterans as having a business value. You have to prep the veteran, one, to do that self promotion. And by the way, there's nothing more self self-serving then the act of trying to find a job or a career, because really it is, it's all about promoting yourself and communicating why you're amazing and why you're better than everybody else. And man, does that take veterans way out of the comfort zone? Eric Weinmeyer: I don't want to stereotype, but I imagine they would hate doing that. Sean Passmore: We all hate it. We hate it. I mean, really we're patting ourselves on the back and that's kind of the name of the game. I mean, what's a resume? A resume is a two or three page document of why you're awesome and why you're better than everybody else. And it's an uncomfortable thing for a veteran to do because service members are about selfless service. It's not about, what about me? Good military leaders always pass the credit to their team members and then take the blame for everything. You're not going to find a job by doing that. So it's coaching the veteran to understand how to promote themselves, communicate their value in terms that the business will understand. And then the other prong is what I mentioned before is you have to educate the business and how do you... You got to increase the military acumen of the business leaders who have the hiring authority. Eric Weinmeyer: So that they have the right lens to see that person's potential? Sean Passmore: Yeah, absolutely. Dave: So going back to your 22 and a half years, and it's time for you to go. You plan ahead three and a half years in advance. You get your masters, you got your project management, you get out and nobody's calling you back. So what did you do? Eric Weinmeyer: Yeah. Sean Passmore: That's where the networking comes in, which is something else that we really coach our transitioning veterans that they need to do a better job of it. It's so important, networking, connecting with people. And I don't mean connecting with recruiters. I mean, that's important, but the most valuable people for veteran job seekers to connect with are the people doing the jobs they want to do. So for me, it was, I need to talk to people who are doing project management jobs in the companies that I want to work for. And so I would get on with them, find people who were veterans, maybe looked like me on LinkedIn, or served in the army and somehow found a project management job at a fortune 100 company. So trying to connect with those people, see if they'll share 20 minutes of their time, ask them questions about, how did they do it? Sean Passmore: Did they enjoy it? Did they regret it? Ask them questions about their company. And so you're trying to build these relationships and network. And that's how I eventually landed my first job is just through a conversation with a gentleman who worked at the company, he asked, "What do you do?" I told him what I did. And he said, "You would probably be really good in our events and protocol space.", which I wasn't even looking at that part of the business, didn't even know it existed. I was looking in the project manager office. So then he walks my resume to someone who happens to be hiring for a job. And she says, "Wow, let's talk to this guy." And then that's kind of how it happened. Dave: [crosstalk 00:12:17]. Eric Weinmeyer: [crosstalk 00:12:18] piece, military folks advocating and mentoring others? Is there some kind of technology or Facebook page for mentors out there that can help people? Sean Passmore: Absolutely. There's so many resources and that's another challenge is, you can really be overwhelmed by the number of resources available and the challenge becomes knowing which ones to choose. But for this idea of connecting and networking and relationship building and mentoring American corporate partners is a very large nonprofit organization. And they do a wonderful job of connecting veterans and military spouses with people in corporate America who are volunteering their time to meet. It's about once a month for 12 months. And it's about mentorship and how do you land your next great career? Another resource is called Veterati, so V-E-T-E-R-A-T-I. Veterati. And this is much more like the Uber of mentorships. It's app based. It empowers the job seeker to choose who they want to connect with. It leverages technology. And this is more like speed dating. This isn't once a month for 12 months. This is, I might talk to four different mentors in one month and then not talk to them again. So completely different platforms, but both are very helpful to veteran job seekers in gathering... Informational interviewing is what it is, really. Dave: And Sean, you're kind of telling your story concurrently, somewhat matter of fact, you got out, you got ready, you didn't get calls, you went through the process then of realizing you got to start going networking more, but what's going on for you personally, emotionally at that time? Because we work with a lot of vets where that can be really a difficult time personally, when you get out and things aren't going the way you expected. Sean Passmore: Yeah. Yeah. Dave, that's such an insightful question because I will tell you one thing and my wife will tell you a completely different thing. I will tell you that, I had this plan and I started three and a half years out, and I did my gap analysis and I was doing networking and so on and so forth. And she will tell you that I was no joy to live with, that I was always angry and depressed and would snap at everybody because things weren't going my way. The phone wasn't ringing and people were telling me no, and I have the stress of the world on me of, I got to provide for a family and there's an end date on my paycheck. Yes. I'll get a retirement pension, but I'm not going to make the same amount of money. And where do we live and how do I pay my bills? And yeah, I don't think I really dealt with that very well. This becomes a mental health issue for folks. Dave: Most certainly. Well, I'd love to talk, Sean, just a little bit about your military career. So just tell us, what made you choose to go into the military? Sean Passmore: Yeah, and I think my story is probably a common one and that the reasons that I joined the military are not necessarily the reasons that I stayed in the military. So for me, I was working hard, really hard to earn a 1.1 GPA at UNLB in Las Vegas. That's where I grew up. And trying to pay my way through school and work two jobs and have a girlfriend and pledge a fraternity. And I was going nowhere fast. And the military presented an option for a career and financial stability and training and then an opportunity to go back to school later, maybe when I was ready. So that's what drove me to the military. But once there, man, I grew up so fast. You get a family, you get a sense of priorities, responsibility. Went back to school pretty quickly, actually. And all of a sudden was a 4.0 student, but I enjoyed the army. I was good at it. And I was like, this is just what I'm going to do until Philly tell me I can't do anymore. Eric Weinmeyer: So you were in the military and going to school at the same time? Sean Passmore: Yeah, absolutely. So the unit that I was in at the time, they would give you an extra 15 minutes on each side of your lunch, if you were going to school during your lunch. So I would go to school during lunch. And then I think I was even taking a class after work. The first job I had in the military, it was a very civilianized type of a job. I was a dental laboratory technician, which is a good job by the way, but it was very much kind of a 9:00 to 5:00, Monday through Friday type of a job. And it really facilitated me being able to start going back to school, like one class at a time or two classes at a time. Did that. Sean Passmore: About three years into that though, I got stationed in Germany. And I will tell you, there's not a whole lot of dental lab were getting done in Germany. It gets mailed back to the facility like the one I was working in, in Augusta, Georgia. But that's when I really started to get a taste of kind of what we think about the army, deploying and field and trucks and weapons. The real army. And I enjoyed that too. I was a little worried that maybe I wouldn't enjoy it, but I loved it and I was good at it. So that kind of kept me in. Dave: I'm assuming you're pretty young at this time. And you knew that things weren't going well and your college at the first go round, did you kind of realize, wow, this is really working for me right away? Sean Passmore: Absolutely. Yeah. And I mean, really, it facilitated every wonderful thing that I have in my life. So I mentioned, I had a girlfriend when I was failing out of college. When we got married, joining the military, facilitated me, being able to start my family. We had children pretty quickly and everything was just... Yeah, I loved it. I loved every bit about serving in the army. Dave: What were some of your highlight deployments or roles that you were put into? Sean Passmore: So when I was in Germany, again, still in the dental corps, this is when... Gosh, when was this? I was there '95 to '98. So this would have been '96, '97 when Bosnia and IFOR was going on. And there was a policy that every ambulance, every army ambulance had to have a non-commissioned officer in the ambulance. And they weren't resourced to do that. They didn't have enough non-commissioned officers to put in the ambulances. So they reached into the dental companies and they took all the NCO. So I got pulled out of my dental company. They threw us in a box in Germany. And for 30 days got the most intense first aid training you could imagine. And then deployed, attached to first armor division with an ambulance company. So I was like, "Well, this is an interesting. They didn't tell me I was going to be doing this when I signed up to be a dental lab tech." Sean Passmore: So I got to deploy in a different capacity. I got to see that. After that deployment, another thing that I got this experience was, we got to participate in a humanitarian mission to Guinea Africa. And that was another one month. And we had two teams and every single day one team would go one way and other team would go a different direction and we'd hit a different village every single day and do vaccines. We would do dental work. We had folks fitting people with eyeglasses and just taking care of people. Eric Weinmeyer: Well, it's really interesting that... I'm listening to you and it sounds so diverse. Your career in the military was so diverse. So when a civilian thinks about the military, they kind of have a uni dimensional idea of it. They don't realize that it's this huge complex and there's every responsibility under the sun. Dave: Now one aspect of your military career was in the president's office, as I understand it and the communications role. Now, is that as sexy and as exciting as it sounds on paper or not so much? Sean Passmore: Now, that was such a cool job. And I don't know that I will ever in my life experience something like I experienced when I got to work there. So I was with the White House communications agency. It's a joint service organization. So I got to work with people in the Air Force and the Navy and the Marine Corps as well. It's part of the Department of Defense. So we were active duty service members supporting our commander in chief. So we weren't involved in the politics of it all. We support the White House staff and help them be able to execute their agenda. But there are conservatives and liberals and people in the middle, and we're all just here supporting the commander in chief, because if the commander in chief can't communicate, he or she can be commander in chief. Sean Passmore: The president can't be president if they can't communicate. And so that was our job. And we would maintain the network, the national Capitol region, any time the president would travel. You're basically taking West Wing capabilities to Oklahoma City or wherever. We would move into a hotel, clear out some furniture, set up offices with computer and phone networks and secure, and non-secure video teleconferencing. And the staff comes in and they set up shop. And then we're also supporting the secret service because they need to transport the president. And so we've got to put out the networks, radio networks for secret service to communicate. And you roll in, you set everything up, the president comes and does what the president does and leaves, and then you pack it up and you go do it again somewhere else. Eric Weinmeyer: Cool. Dave: You had an incredible career where you had an amazing diverse experiences and yet you, yourself got out and had trouble finding employment. So can you tell us a little bit on the employer side, because you talked about what the vet might need to do with networking and some nonprofits that they can do go to, but there's another side of this, it was just the people who are doing the hiring. What needs to happen on that side to change this equation so that it makes the transition more seamless for employers? What do they need to do and learn? Sean Passmore: So there's a gap in that story I just told you about my time at the White House and when I got to do these cool things and they only pick the best of the best to serve in a unit like this. And so you finish that story and then there's the, okay, so what? What's the so what? How does that make me money? Because that's what businesses exist and make money. And so we have to close that gap and we have to... The veterans have to understand how to translate that into terms of the business understands. The business needs to learn how to listen to all the things I just said and how can I apply those here to give us a competitive edge, because businesses are interested in things that are rare, valuable, and hard to replicate. Sean Passmore: That's the recipe for competitive edge. It's being able to turn that story into, what's my special sauce and how can I help you make money? And there's all these things that businesses value that we've kind of talked about already, having and being able to leverage cross-cultural experiences. Businesses value that, and veterans certainly have it. Exhibit strong organizational commitment. We don't see that outside the military very often, do we? But veterans understand more than organizational commitment as well. So it's just trying to... You have to be able to put a pretty bow on the cool story. Eric Weinmeyer: Well, at a basic level, I mean, I don't even know how to ask this. It's maybe an impossible question to answer, but I mean, so when I think of transition into employment, we had a participant, a veteran at No Barriers, and he introduced a film for No Barriers. And he was in front of a ton of corporate folks in this theater. And this guy stood up at the end. He said, "Hey, I own an electrician company and I'll hire you tomorrow." And the guy was like, "Well, I don't think I want to be an electrician." You know what I mean? It was so fascinating. It wasn't like the jobs weren't there. He wasn't ready to latch onto it because he was still struggling with more basic things. And so isn't there 10 degrees of support before a person's even ready to think about just employment? Isn't there more of a basic human support that you have to start with? Sean Passmore: Well, I think the veteran needs to understand what they want to go after. Eric Weinmeyer: This guy was kind of lost, and at least we get No Barriers participants that seemed to be a bit lost. Sean Passmore: Yeah. If you really want to get a deer in the headlights look from a veteran job seeker, you can ask them two questions. Tell me about yourself and what do you want to do? We can't answer questions, but we should be able to answer those questions very easily. That's your elevator pitch. Yeah. Tell me about yourself and what do you want to do? We have no answer for those things. And so that type of work, Eric has to be done. There's a book, What Color is Your Parachute? It's probably the oldest job seeking readings out there, but it still has to be the best, I would say. And it takes you through this process of self-discovery and understanding, okay, what am I passionate about? What am I good at? What am I better than other people at? Sean Passmore: Because those might be different things. And what's the opportunity? What's someone going to pay me to do? And so you've got to figure that out. And then you've got to figure out what's most important. Is salary most important? Is job function? What I'm going to do every day most important? Is the company and culture, is that most important? Or is, where do I want to live? Where do I want to take my family? You have to rack and stack those four things. And then you have to compare that to this self-awareness journey, and only then can you really make a plan and a strategy to, otherwise, you're just applying for anything and everything that you think you might meet the qualifications for. And that's impossible. You'll wear yourself out trying to do that. Eric Weinmeyer: Right. That's a really good advice. Okay. Yeah. So there has to be some foundational work. Sean Passmore: You have to do it. Dave: If you've navigated this well, you find your way through, you find your job, you start to find some things that you're interested in. One of the things that some of the data that I've read it suggests is that the retention rates are pretty low because folks are lacking some of these things in this new career. There's not that real deep sense of purpose and community like they had in the military. And it's such a big transition that even if they've made that into a new job, it's pretty hard to stick with it. Sean Passmore: Yeah. I think especially when you're talking about the first job. The first job coming out of the military is a lot of times a high turnover situation. And I think there could be a lot of reasons for that because, just because you got a job doesn't mean that maybe other jobs you applied for are now calling, or maybe you got another offer, or maybe your anxiety was super high about, I better take this job because I might not get another one. And so I think that plays into it as well. As far as community, a lot of companies now have employee resource groups or veteran employee resource groups. We have one at Wells Fargo, so you can connect with other like-minded people. And so we have a veterans one, you have them for people with disabilities, you have them for your various diversity segments and women in IT and these types of organizations within an enterprise. Sean Passmore: Yeah, we have that. You see a lot of veterans who will continue to volunteer, particularly with some of the veteran serving organizations that maybe helped them in their journey and they want to pay it forward. So they'll continue to volunteer, try to help veterans coming behind them with coaching or helping them network. And so that keeps them tying into community. We have a lot of veteran employees who raise their hand and offer to volunteer and come to job fairs with us when they know we're going to be looking for veterans. And so they find ways to, to volunteer and stay plugged in. Eric Weinmeyer: When I was running these No Barriers, that programs in the early days, I noticed that there would be these really interesting divides between civilian and military just the way you do things. We had a guy who wouldn't put his backpack on, his waist belt on. For a long time I couldn't figure out why he wouldn't do that because all his weight was just crushing down on his shoulders. And it turns out, well, because I guess in a combat situation, you don't want your waist belt on. You want to be able to get that pack off quickly. And there was a reason behind it. Eric Weinmeyer: Another guy, I remember was really upset when kind of pre-dawn we were climbing this peak and we didn't do a roll call. We just kind of casually as civilians made sure everybody was there, but we didn't do an official roll call. And he was like, "Well, somebody could have been dead in a ditch and you guys wouldn't have known it." And so there were interesting divides. You've talked about some of the challenges. Do you see some divides? And if so, any ideas how to smooth those over? Sean Passmore: That's so funny. I was smiling so big when you're talking about the roll call and that would have been me. I would have been raising my hand and be like, "We didn't make sure we have everybody, Eric." It's so funny. No, you see it a lot. You see it a lot. You see it a lot. And it's really about this idea, so transitioning isn't getting the job. Okay, great. You got the job. Now, let's start or continue transitioning. And that's something that I coach veterans with is you have to... Today is the day you start reinventing yourself. I think people will always thank us for our service. I think it's great. We should always keep our challenge coins and our plaques and things that we bring with us into the office space to celebrate our veterans and our military experience. Sean Passmore: But it's not on our civilian counterparts to adapt and adjust to our military culture because we've left the military. We're in corporate America, it's on us to adapt and adjust to this new civilian environment. And if we can't do it, we're not going to be successful. But I think it's great to stay connected with our fellow veterans and have that sense of community. But once you've been out and working for a handful of years, it's really more important, I think that we find mentors who maybe didn't serve in the military, but someone who went to college and got degrees and got into corporate America when they were 23, 24 years old and are now executive level leaders. Sean Passmore: And like, how did they do it? How did they get to where they're at? Because that's where I want to be, that's probably what I need to know. So we have to navigate this cultural shift and learn to speak differently and behave differently. But I don't see it, Eric as this deliberate, intentional divide. It's a culture gap and it just needs to be navigated. Dave: Now, Sean, I want to make sure we spend just a little bit of time here talking about kind of your aspirations for what you hope you can accomplish in this role at Wells Fargo. I mean, obviously, your large institution, hundreds of thousands of employees, No Barriers has worked with Wells Fargo for nearly 10 years now. And just seeing the amazing contributions that you guys make, not just in the military sector, but in so many aspects of the diverse segments that we've been fortunate enough to work with you on. But talk to us a little bit about what you're hoping to accomplish in this role that you have at Wells Fargo. Sean Passmore: I just want to do more of what we're doing. We have several very specific hiring programs. We have a once a year veteran employment transition program. We call that our vet program. And we'll bring between 40 to 50 veterans in as a cohort and then they convert into full-time careers. We have a boots to banking program, which is more of the entry path into financial services, customer service and the types of roles. We'll bring 250 veterans a year in through that program. We partner with hiring our heroes for corporate fellowship program three times a year. We have a military apprenticeship program. So we have all of these different pipelines and pathways into the company for veterans. And they're very mature and they're very robust and they're very well executed. So it's just, how do we scale it? Sean Passmore: How do we get more of that? How do I bring 300 plus military apprentices in one year? How do I grow boots to banking from 250 to 500? Next year, I would really love to be doing more for military spouses. So we're trying to do more in that space as well. Veteran retention is something I think every company would like to do better, just retention in general. Especially in the financial services industry or call center type environments, turnover is so high, even in the non veteran space. I would love to do more in trying to solve a veteran retention as well. Dave: Yeah. Well, it doesn't surprise me, Sean, based on our, like I said, nearly 10 years of work with Wells Fargo and many employees all across the nation that I found that you need to work with this huge bank, lots of resources. And yet, it was always incredible how many things the company was doing, not just for veterans, but also in the entire inclusivity, diversity representation space. It was always very impressive, and maybe less tooting of their own horn and maybe not known as well as it could have been, but just individual people on a day-to-day basis that Eric and I would meet across the company, just doing amazing things and for the right reasons. Just really passionate about it. So I'm really excited that you found a place and then enjoying the team there. Sean Passmore: Yeah. And I've seen the same thing here in my first year is, Wells Fargo is really doubled down too in the diversity space. And it's great to see we've got the right leaders, I think, in the right place at the right time. And we've been very vocal and know that success comes from inviting and incorporating diverse perspectives. Dave: Well, Sean where can our listeners go to learn more about Wells Fargo's veteran initiatives? Sean Passmore: People should find us at wellsfargo.com/military. That talks a lot about our overall commitment to the military community. If they are interested in careers at Wells Fargo, they can find us at wellsfargojobs.com/military, or they can reach out to my team anytime at militaryrecruiting@wellsfargo.com. Dave: Awesome. And if any of our listeners don't know, Wells Fargo is our title sponsor of our upcoming No Barriers summit at the end of August. You can go to nobarriersusa.org and enroll in that free summit and get access to some career counseling as a part of that, as well as access to our award-winning curriculum that has helped tens of thousands of people sort of find purpose, build community, and set ambitious goals. And thanks to Wells Fargo for their ongoing support of that. It's been a privilege to work with Wells Fargo over the years. And if you know someone who you think might learn a bit more about veterans and the causes we discussed today and would appreciate this conversation, please share this podcast with them. That's one of the best ways for us to continue to grow our podcast audience. Just share a conversation with one other person. Eric, Sean, thank you so much for another great conversation. We really appreciate your time, Sean. Sean Passmore: Yeah. Thank you, Dave. Eric Weinmeyer: So helpful, Sean. Thank you. Sean Passmore: I look forward to seeing you guys at the end of the month. Dave: Oh, are you coming, Sean? Sean Passmore: I will be there. We haven't yet... We've got a crew coming from Wells Fargo, so looking forward to seeing it. Eric Weinmeyer: Thanks for all you do, Sean. No Barriers to everyone. Sean Passmore: Thank you, gentlemen. Dave: We would like to thank our generous sponsors that make our No Barriers podcast possible. Wells Fargo, Prudential, CoBank, Aero Electronics, and Winnebago. Thank you so much for your support. It means everything to us. The production team behind this podcast includes senior producer, Pauline Schaffer, sound design, editing, and mixing by Tyler Cottman and marketing support by Heather's colleagues, Stevia DiNardo, Erica Uy, and Alex Schaffer. Special thanks to the Dan Ryan Band for our intro song, Guidance. And thanks to all of you for listening. If you enjoy this podcast, we encourage you to subscribe to it, share it and give us a review. Show notes can be found at nobarrierspodcast.com

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