ID&E Spotlight: Meet Robert D., Veteran’s ERG Executive Sponsor
February 22, 2022
SNC recently launched several Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to highlight various communities within our company. One of those, the Veteran’s ERG, just got a new executive sponsor! Robert D. is an Army veteran, and believes for professional and personal success, there must be a culture of inclusion, diversity & equity. Read on, to learn why he is looking forward to leading and helping this group grow.
Robert, for those who don’t know you, please introduce yourself and your role at SNC.
I have the privilege of representing our world-class team of Security and Safety professionals here at SNC. SNC utilizes a holistic all-company approach to security and safety, managing all functions under a single umbrella. Our areas of responsibility include Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, Crisis Management, Classified Programs and Networks, Insider Threat, Counterintelligence, Physical Security, Personnel Security, Operational Security, Communications Security, Cybersecurity, and Safety. It is hard to believe that I have been with SNC for four years and couldn’t be prouder of our accomplishments.
You recently became the executive sponsor of the Veteran’s ERG; what inspired you to lead this group?
It is a genuine honor to even be considered to represent this group of professionals. SNC maintains the largest veteran segment of any cleared defense contractor in the industry, with veterans comprising approximately 30% of our entire workforce. With such a diverse field of individuals coming from all branches and job functions, SNC’s veterans possess real-world experience and knowledge that can have a direct impact on our business pursuits and operational excellence in support of DOD and USG programs. Additionally, many of our veterans served in a leadership capacity benefiting from years of focused training and development. That experience can also have a positive impact on our fellow teammates through mentorships and coaching. Bottom line – I believe that this group’s potential is huge and I would like to see it used more effectively to impact individuals and the organization as a whole.
Why do you feel that Inclusivity, Diversity & Equity is important, especially at SNC?
Growing up, we didn’t have much and lived at or below the poverty line. I attended inner city and rural schools that were very diverse and played sports with teammates from every background. Someone’s ethnicity was simply not something I paid any attention to and my parents taught me to treat everyone equally. When I joined the Army at 17, it was no different. Young men from across the country and every background were thrown in the basic training maelstrom together. We learned very quickly (usually painfully) that we had to work together as a team to survive the relentless onslaught from our Drill Sergeants. It didn’t matter where you came from or what your skin color was, those tough as nails Sergeants treated us equally bad.
Fast forward several years into my military career to experiences that really changed my overall understanding and mindset about diversity and inclusion. I was a young scout reconnaissance platoon sergeant in charge of 36 men. After a final formation for the day, a young Black soldier from another company approached me and asked if he could have a few minutes. He simply wanted to let me know - and thank me - for my reputation across the battalion for treating all soldiers with dignity and respect, especially minorities. I honestly didn’t know what to say and was caught completely off guard.
Jumping ahead a couple of years, I was serving as a senior enlisted member of a special operations detachment as part of a joint task force combating narcotics trafficking. Part of my responsibilities as an operator included cross training with our team medic to provide backup. We had a small HQ element that supported us with several female service members, and when needed we provided limited medical support in-house to include inoculations. When annual flu shot season arrived, I was requested by name by our female cadre to administer the shots. The reason given was that they simply didn’t feel comfortable around my teammates because they had to remove their uniform top.
In both cases, my eyes were opened to see what others might be dealing with, and I learned to be more aware about the attitudes and behaviors of those around me – taking every opportunity to help individuals do the same.
As a veteran, describe the impact your fellow veterans (and their allies!) can make as part of the ERG.
As individuals and a group, we may have the answer to a hard problem experienced elsewhere in the organization. We also may have information that can lead to success with a new business pursuit, or even an “intraprenurship” opportunity where none existed before. I want to ensure that this information is captured and made available for use throughout SNC.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I am proud to be a part of this organization. Without exception, every veteran I have talked to at SNC has the same desire to help protect our active duty brothers and sisters. What we do here matters and many of us know people whose lives were saved or whose missions were effective because of our technology and innovations. Working at SNC gives us the opportunity to serve long after we have hung up the uniform for the last time.
Interested in joining the Sierra Nevada Corporation team? Apply today at sncorp.com/careers.