What do our employees have to say about being a veteran working at Emory Healthcare?

Eric Barnes, Human Resources Manager for Emory Healthcare

Eric BarnesMilitary experience: Eric spent nine years in the 82nd Airborne, and then was selected to be a recruiter for the Army. He worked his way up from various recruiting positions to a management position for recruitment and employee relations. Eric retired from the military in 2005 and moved to Atlanta with his wife, who is also in the military.

Eric BarnesLife at Emory Healthcare: A neighbor’s interest in his career landed him the position of nurse recruiter at Emory Healthcare in 2005. “Learning so much about HR in the military was the biggest help in my new role,” said Eric. He has since transitioned into a management position in Human Resources.

Why Emory Healthcare is a great organization for veterans: “Emory’s purpose is to care for our patients,” said Eric. “And, you see this mission being fulfilled every day. It’s just like being in the military. It makes you proud when you can see such tangible results.”

Advice for veterans returning to civilian life: “Take advantage of all educational opportunities,” said Eric. “Take some time to transition and learn exactly what you want to do. Be positive and make sure those not in the military understand the skills and background you can bring to any job.”

Robert Hammond, Night Shift Pharmacist for Emory Johns Creek Hospital

HammondMilitary experience: Robert joined the Army Reserve to aid in financing college. In 1990, his reserve unit was activated and he left college midsemester. He served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm as a pharmacy specialist with the 912th MASH unit. "My hospital, like Moses, wandered around the deserts of Saudi Arabia and Iraq during the war," said Robert. "We eventually established operations in Kuwait, where we provided forward surgical services for Allied Forces, as well as civilian refugees."

Life at Emory Healthcare: Robert joined Emory Johns Creek Hospital shortly after it opened as a night shift pharmacist. "Working on the night shift provides one with the opportunity to solve unique, diverse challenges each shift without the benefit of additional resources," said Robert. "Veterans are able to understand and thrive in an environment where oftentimes all you have is what you carried with you."

Why Emory Healthcare is a great organization for veterans: "Emory Healthcare provides opportunities for individuals who want to be part of an organization that sets high goals and strives to reward exceptional performance," said Robert. "Today’s health care landscape is as competitive as a battlefield. Veterans bring experience and skills in taking and holding ground. Health care organizations take and hold market share. Veterans are uniquely qualified to assist an organization in developing strategy and implementing tactics that will reach the organization’s goals."

Advice for veterans returning to civilian life: "Devote time to networking," said Robert. "A network of contacts is much more important in civilian life than in the military. Your military job description will not match any job descriptions in the civilian world, but your leadership skills and goal-oriented focus will match all jobs in the civilian world."

Searless Hathaway-Williams, Safety & Emergency Preparedness Manager for Emory Healthcare

SearlessMilitary experience: Searless’ plan after college, where she was in the ROTC program, was to serve three years in the Army. Those three years stretched into an almost 30-year career in the military. Searless traveled the world as a quartermaster officer, setting up locations and getting everything ready for the soldiers to arrive – once, she even bought an entire cabbage farm in Italy!

Life at Emory Healthcare: After retiring from the military for the first time, she took a position at a construction company, where she was eventually offered the position as safety manager. Her Emory connection formed when her company began construction on the Medical Office Tower on the Emory University Hospital Midtown campus. She served as the on-site safety officer for that project, and following the project’s completion, she was offered a position at Emory Healthcare.

SearlessWhy Emory Healthcare is a great organization for veterans: Searless had been working for Emory for seven months when the Army asked her to come out of retirement. After an old co-worker, who she was very close to, passed away in the 9/11 attacks, she felt the right decision was to return to the military; and she did for another five years. While deployed, "Emory was really good to me and my family,” said Searless. “They stayed in contact with my family and called my daughter at least once a week. I was blessed to have a job to return to when I came back.”

Advice for veterans returning to civilian life: “You have so many skills,” said Searless. “Don’t focus on trying to find a job exactly like what you did in the military. You may not have the specific skills for a certain job, but with the leadership and organization skills you learned in the military, you can move up and succeed.”

Michael Watson, President & CEO for Foundation of Wesley Woods

Military experience: Michael accepted a commission as an officer in the Navy after spending four years in his college’s ROTC program. He completed four years of active duty, two years on a helicopter carrier and the remaining two teaching and serving on the staff at the Navy Supply School in Athens, Georgia.

WatsonLife at Emory Healthcare: When that tour was complete, Michael selected to leave the Navy, but his association with the military did not cease there. He served as the chairman of the board for the USO at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for 10 years. In addition to those duties, he spent 32 years at Bell South until his retirement in 2006. After retirement, he received the opportunity to be President & CEO for the Foundation of Wesley Woods. “To be able to help someone else’s grandparents was a wonderful opportunity,” said Michael.

Why Emory Healthcare is a great organization for veterans: “My life theme is to provide service to others,” said Michael. “I served in the military, at Bell South and now here. In addition, this organization has such a wide variety of careers available. There is something for everyone.”

Advice for veterans returning to civilian life: “Don’t assume that you don’t have transferable skills. Being in the military, you have leadership, planning and organizational skills, and you are goal-oriented. Be patient with yourself; others will be more patient with you than you will. Just by being in the military, you’ve already earned their trust.”

Jean Youngblood, Clinical Nurse Liaison in Ambulatory Surgery for The Emory Clinic

JeanMilitary experience: Jean spent more than 20 years in the Air Force Reserve until her retirement in 2010. As a flight nurse, she cared for patients on all types of Aeromedical aircraft all over the world. “It’s a different world from nursing on the ground because patient care in the air involves altitude physiology,” said Jean. “It provided me with experiences I couldn’t get anywhere else and a level of leadership I’m not sure I would have if I hadn’t been an officer in the military.”

Life at Emory Healthcare: Since she was six years old, Jean knew she wanted to be a nurse. She joined the Emory Healthcare nursing ranks in 1986, working on the orthopaedics unit at Emory University Hospital. In 1989, she started working with Bill Horton, MD, who specialized in spinal deformity surgery. This partnership lasted for 20 years until his retirement. She is currently working as a nurse in The Emory Clinic and finishing up her nurse practitioner’s degree.

JeanWhy Emory Healthcare is a great organization for veterans: While employed at Emory Healthcare, Jean was deployed six different times in three years. “Emory was completely supportive and allowed me a seamless transition every time I returned from deployment,” said Jean. “During my deployment, my team would send me letters and call my family to pledge their support of my military commitment.” Despite her reserve training schedule and the fact that she was required to deploy at a moment's notice, “Emory was sensitive to my needs and the adjustments I would need to make as an employee and a veteran. At the same time, my commitment to Emory Healthcare matched my commitment to the military.”

Advice for veterans returning to civilian life: “Hone the broad range of skills – teaching, writing, leadership and discipline – you learned in the military. Communicate openly with your employer, and stay connected to other veterans in your organization. Everyday life at Emory is not a combat zone; you need to remember to take the uniform off when performing your duties. Lastly, continue to represent the military while you conduct yourself as a team member at Emory Healthcare and always respect the leadership and staff in this great organization."