In our Veterans on a Mission series, we’ll highlight veterans who have put their service-learned skills to work – and have helped us become one of G.I. Jobs’ Top Military Friendly Employers.
JoHanna Martinez has been with AT&T for 15 years and currently serves as our Military Talent Attraction Manager. Her experience as both a veteran and a military spouse gives her a unique perspective – one that allows her to better help her fellow employees.
Branch of service:
Current position at AT&T:
Military Talent Attraction Manager
How did you get started at AT&T?
AT&T was my first “real” job after the Marines in 2000. I was a switchboard, wire and radio operator – which doesn’t even exist at AT&T today – but would be closest to a technician.
I was lucky, when I interviewed for my very first role at the company, coincidently it was with a Marine. I sat down, noticed there was a USMC logo on his desk and asked, “Do you know someone in the Marines?” He said, “Yes, do you?” I said, “Yes, I just got out.” His reply: “When do you want to start?” It goes to show that veterans understand very clearly what other veterans bring into our business. Without knowing me, my education or skill set – he knew that I would do what I needed to integrate with the company.
What skills did you bring with you from the military that help you in your current role?
My role is specifically to support transitioning veterans, therefore, my personal transition experience is essential to my work. The civilian sector is completely different than the military but the values and soft skills that only veterans bring into the business makes them extremely marketable. I have the unique ability to continue serving without wearing a uniform, while supporting the men and women that I appreciate the most – it’s the true definition of symmetry.
Are there any similarities between the military and AT&T that helped your transition to the company?
As a new hire the other veterans on my team were quick to help. I didn’t know how corporate culture worked in terms of personal brand and networking. Networking within the military is often referred to as “politicking” which isn’t encouraged or well received. I had to reteach myself the value of building relationships and creating a brand for myself. I am now the Director of Public Relations and External Affairs on the national board for the Veteran ERG. That role has given me the opportunity to network with veterans and civilian employees that support our military efforts across the country.
How did you know what career was right for you after transitioning?
Like most veterans, I transitioned and had no idea what I wanted to do. I knew that my job in the civilian sector was non-existent but I knew that I wanted to go back to school. I applied at a company that I knew I could grow, that would support my continuing education and it proved to be the best decision I ever made.
How is the culture at AT&T is similar to the military?
The pride that you have wearing your uniform is the same when I see the AT&T globe. The moral, sense of “family” and life relationships made at work is symmetric to the military.
Would you recommend AT&T to your military friends as an employer?
I would absolutely recommend AT&T... so much that I’ve already recruited my cousin. AT&T supports Veteran employees, especially those serving on reserve duty. The company covers benefits, pay and ensures that employees’ position is secure upon their return.
What advice would you give to veterans who are looking to make the transition into the civilian world?
When you transition, you are at a crossroads in your life, make sure you are applying to roles that you like to do. Make sure that you are looking at veteran presence at the company of your interest to ensure you are joining an organization that is going to appreciate your sacrifice and most importantly allow you the opportunity to engage, network and learn from other vets.