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Veterans Month 2020: Matt’s Journey from the Military to Medallia

Veterans Month 2020: Matt’s Journey from the Military to Medallia

Matt Brendel shares his story of transitioning from the military to civilian workforce as part Medallia’s celebration of Veterans Month 2020

In honor of Veterans Month 2020, we sat down with Matt Brendel, an Education & Enablement Manager here at Medallia, who is also a veteran of the U.S. Navy. Matt shares some of the lessons that he learned while serving in the Navy that have helped him along his career, as well as advice for fellow veterans looking to enter the world of tech. 

Let’s start off easy, what’s something people may not know about you?

I have summited the highest peak in Maine, Mount Katahdin, which I highly recommend for any hiking enthusiasts. 

What attracted you to Medallia in the first place?

We help companies improve customer experiences, which is a pretty easy mission to get behind. When in the interview process, all of the Medallians I spoke to were warm and curious, which also attracted me to the analytical and customer-facing aspects of a professional services role at Medallia.

What do you like most about your job?

The experience management space is constantly changing, and I enjoy keeping pace with the ever-evolving landscape and brainstorming novel solutions for clients to help them improve the experience they offer.

Any tips for someone considering a career in professional or client services?

If you’re transitioning from the military to civilian workforce, like I did, take some time to reflect on your non-traditional experiences and ways to translate those experiences into corporate-speak. You have tremendously valuable input — it’s just a matter of considering your audience and telling the right story.

That’s great advice, what part of the military did you serve in? 

I served in the Surface Warfare community of the U.S. Navy. I served specifically on two different ships, one being a Guided Missile Destroyer and the other being an Amphibious Assault Ship. 

You mentioned taking lessons you learned in the military and applying them to work experience. What are some of the lessons you feel as though the military taught you that have helped you succeed in your career and transition from the military to civilian workforce?

I think the military taught me to be resilient. People in the military go through challenges, whether they’re geographical — being away from loved ones — or high-stress situations. You learn to develop the ability to focus on the mission at hand, and the ability to view challenges as a chance for growth. 

The military is also very diverse, which helped me when transitioning into tech, because it taught me to be open to a variety of points of view and hear people out. When working in a professional service role you interact with so many different types of people and that lesson of openness set me up for success. 

Lastly, the military taught me ownership. Tasks in the military often had serious ramifications if not executed properly; this instills a resolute sense of ownership that is applicable regardless of the environment. Working on a team, whether in the military or at Medallia, there is a sense of responsibility to the team to accomplish the goal and cross the finish line together.

Lastly, what advice would you give fellow veterans transitioning from the military to civilian workforce? 

I would say lean into your network of fellow Veterans. Decide what industry you’re looking to transition into and then find Veterans who have successfully made that transition for advice and connection. We have a common background through our service. I was surprised to find so many Veterans working at the companies I was interested in. LinkedIn is great for this outreach.

There are also organizations that specifically help veterans find careers post-service. I owe at least some of my employment to Breakline, one of Medallia’s official recruiting partners, because they were able to connect me with the right people. Also, once you do make the transition, look for fellow Veterans and connect to create a support system, similar to what we’ve created with the Vets@Medallia employee resource group

Medallia is growing, and dedicated to “hiring the whole person,” join the #MedalliaLife by heading to our careers page and applying today! 

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