Kerry Olin

For Army Appreciation Month, recognizing and supporting those that serve

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The U.S. Congress in 1999 formally designated Might as Nationwide Army Appreciation Month, and at Microsoft we mark this as a time to acknowledge and rejoice the worker navy neighborhood globally.  On this second I keep in mind my very own grandfathers. My dad’s father served as an infantryman in World Warfare I. The tri-corner folded flag introduced to us at his funeral is encased steps away from my desk at residence. My mother’s stepfather served as a paratrooper in World Warfare II. The map he carried with him of the 1943 invasion of Sicily, the place he jumped behind enemy strains, hangs only a few toes from my desk as effectively.

Each my grandfathers have been enlisted troopers who volunteered and served with distinction throughout occasions of nice battle. Each formed my views of navy service — that it’s pushed by braveness, honor, and love of nation and fellow residents.

It’s why, once I was requested to function one of many govt sponsors for Microsoft’s Army Worker Useful resource Group (ERG), I fortunately however humbly accepted. I’ve had the privilege of interacting with many who’ve given distinguished navy service all over the world and who’re additionally dedicated Microsoft staff. Many in Microsoft’s navy neighborhood are veterans and others nonetheless serve right this moment, in reserve corps for his or her international locations. They commit weekends to coaching. They settle for the accountability of periodic deployments, some weeks and even months in length. They, together with active-duty friends, are on the able to be known as to serve by their nation. They’re additionally excellent colleagues who’ve made a alternative to use their well-earned abilities and capabilities at Microsoft. We’re higher because of this.

I aspire to be an ally to Microsoft’s navy neighborhood. This implies committing to studying so I can achieve a higher diploma of empathy for the experiences and views of those that serve. It means being an advocate for the neighborhood and dealing actively to worth veterans’ experiences. And it means doing my half for the neighborhood when known as upon — following their instance of service, even when in very small methods.

Right here I supply a couple of reflections alone studying journey and the journey we’ve been on at Microsoft, which I hope would possibly present encouragement to others who try to be allies to the navy neighborhood:

Specific honest appreciation for the service and sacrifice of veterans and people serving right this moment. In fact, our gratitude shouldn’t be what motivates service — the veterans and repair members I do know are motivated by responsibility, honor, love of nation and fellow residents. Those that serve know that their accountability is 24 hours a day, daily of the yr. Readiness and preparedness by no means get to take day without work. We are able to specific our gratitude by being keen to hear and be taught extra in regards to the experiences of the navy neighborhood, and by remembering and acknowledging their service not solely throughout occasions of battle on the earth however always.

Have a good time and assist navy neighborhood members of their careers after lively service. Microsoft employs 1000’s of veterans and reserve service members in lots of international locations all over the world. We attempt to be world class in our insurance policies and advantages that assist navy neighborhood staff. For instance, throughout reserve deployments within the U.S., we offer wage continuity by supplementing the distinction between navy and Microsoft pay, and we proceed advantages protection akin to worker and dependent well being care. And our advantages applications have supported over 600 worker deployments in 18 international locations exterior the U.S. in simply the previous 5 years. Past our firm applications, our managers take particular care to understand and leverage abilities and experiences gained in navy service, and assist workforce members known as to order responsibility. This dedication at a person and workforce stage offers me immense delight.

Respect that the navy neighborhood can expertise world occasions in important and distinct methods.  The conclusion of the Afghanistan conflict, for instance, had profound which means for thus many who served throughout that 20-year battle, and particularly in order 13 U.S. service members gave their lives throughout the last drawdown and exit. It was a privilege at the moment for our Army at Microsoft ERG management to share a message of acknowledgment and due to our neighborhood: “To those that have served or are serving, whether or not with boots on the bottom or from afar, to those that have supported members of the family in service, you’ve got our deepest gratitude. We have been tragically reminded in current days of the nice threat taken by those that serve. Like so many earlier than them, we is not going to neglect those that gave their lives. We honor them as heroes.” Together with essential assist at key moments, the ERG — which is world and likewise encompasses lively native chapters such because the Australia New Zealand chapter — is there for the Microsoft navy neighborhood day in and time out, year-round. The navy expertise continues to evolve, and Army at Microsoft ERG helps staff join, navigate, and develop.

Serve those that have served. This yr’s theme for Army Appreciation Month at Microsoft is “Appreciation Past Phrases.” I deeply hope that our navy neighborhood experiences in tangible ways in which their service is acknowledged. An exquisite instance, considered one of immense delight for thus lots of our staff, is the Microsoft Software program and Safety Academy (MSSA). Established 9 years in the past, MSSA has offered a sensible and intensive coaching curriculum that has helped put together over 3,000 transitioning navy service members for his or her subsequent profession. Over 400 Microsoft staff have dedicated their private time to serving as mentors for MSSA individuals, one more instance of serving those that have served.

Army Appreciation Month offers us a possibility to acknowledge those that make such important dedication to their international locations and fellow residents. On behalf of staff at Microsoft and everybody who shares deep appreciation for the braveness, dedication and sacrifice of those that serve, thanks.

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