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Seizing the Opportunity to Make a Greater Impact

A participant in the Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program reflects on the program's session in Seattle and how she's working to make a difference in the veteran space.

Article by Abby Malchow September 14, 2018 //   3 minute read

My recent transition this past year to the private sector from the U.S. Navy was initially filled with great apprehension as I, along with many other military veterans, did not believe I could find the same fulfillment in corporate America that I had in the military.

Indeed, the majority of my peers in my Stand-To cohort expressed their concerns towards collaborating with large companies who are driven by their bottom line. However, my experience with the George W. Bush Institute's Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program has fundamentally changed my perspective as I have discovered that the private sector is ideally positioned to provide incredible value to veterans and military spouses. 

Our most recent module in the Stand-To program in Seattle led me to a moment of greater clarity and purpose. We focused on employment as well as strategic partnerships, which is critical to success in any veteran initiative across any organization. I was most inspired by my discussions with leaders at Starbucks, Amazon, and Microsoft who are transforming the veteran landscape at their respective companies.

Prior to Seattle, my company had made substantial progress in our veteran related initiatives and they were being noticed across the corporation. In my first few months at Intel I recruited fellow veterans to build our American Veterans at Intel board and we began hosting multiple events in the local community and within the company. We even obtained corporate sponsorship of the Phoenix Veterans Day parade for the first time in Intel’s history!

However, what I didn't realize was that more opportunity existed, as both Amazon and Starbucks have created military program manager roles within their companies in order to strategically focus on their entire portfolio of veteran initiatives and partnerships. The light-bulb immediately went off: how can Intel form a similar role with a comprehensive strategy? After all, it is good business sense as well as it being the right thing to do.

I left Seattle with a mission to make Intel a leader in the veteran space by promoting the creation of a Military Program Manager role. Why should I limit myself to just my personal leadership project? Seizing the opportunity to broaden my influence in serving my fellow veterans is one of the primary reasons I applied to Stand-To, and the momentum is there to make even larger strides. Our potential is limitless!  

Abby Malchow is in the inaugural class of the Stand-To Vet Leadership Program. She is a Commodity Manager at Intel Corporation and she serves on the board for American Veterans at Intel Corporation as the Communications and PR Officer. During the Stand-To Program, Abby is currently exploring AI solutions on social media as a method to proactively prevent veteran suicide.

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