Lauren, Manufacturing, US
When veterans leave the military, sometimes uncertainty can hamstring success. For Lauren Andretti, fear of the unknown while transitioning to civilian life almost made her extend her active duty service in the Navy. Instead she got organized, mobilized her resources, and took a leap of faith that landed her at GSK.
What made you decide to enlist in the military?
I did not grow up in a military town, and my family does not have a history of service. I was a free spirit, and the structure of the military was appealing as a way to help me reach my goals in life. I landed a coveted spot at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. The free education, the guarantee of a job after graduation, and the possibility of travel drew me in. But I was not completely sold right away, and I was unsure of what I was getting myself into.
My mother made me a deal: I had to stick it out at the Naval Academy until Christmas, and if I was still not sure at that time, she would help me transfer to a different school. Luckily, I was fully vested in the Navy life come Christmas and had no intention of leaving the Academy. I loved my Academy years for the relationships, camaraderie and the opportunity to push myself.
Talk about your transition out of the Navy
I served four years active duty aboard small boys — destroyers and cruisers. I worked as a safety officer, training officer and weapons officer, and I was able to travel the world. After four years, I knew it was time for a new chapter in my life.
I wanted to move to Washington, DC, where I knew there were plentiful job opportunities for military veterans. I attended the Navy TAPS classes for service members transitioning out of the military, and I connected with several agencies that specialized in this transition. A mentor helped translate my military service into recognizable terms and apply them to my resume. I went to numerous career fairs and hiring conferences, and after three months, I took all of the job offers I had received and compared them based on my desired location, salary and which company was the best fit for me.
I initially ended up at a different company, but it did not take me long to seek out a better fit. GSK was actually my company's competitor, but after doing research on GSK, I quickly realized they had a lot to offer their employees. GSK had better healthcare, superior benefits, a pension similar to the military's, and a company culture that was appealing.
How does your Navy experience translate to your work?
GSK has proven a solid fit for me. In the Navy, I was in charge of various teams and reveled in the efficiency and coordination of the military. At GSK, I work as a production supervisor leading a team of 25 people. We manufacture biopharm chemicals and medicines, and our staff works 24/7. It is my job to support the teams, keep the machines working, and maintain schedules. After my Navy years, managing a team at GSK came naturally. The leadership skills I gained in the Navy continue to serve me at GSK.
Never did I think I would end up working in manufacturing. It was not on my radar at all, but leaving the Navy meant thinking outside the box and stretching myself. I realized that while the mission had changed, the job was fundamentally the same.
What other opportunities has GSK provided?
GSK is an extremely open-minded and diverse company. My favorite things are the people and the support we get from GSK. The Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are a big plus. I participate in the ERG for veteran employees and find the camaraderie of the group similar to that of the military. The Military ERG regularly gathers to check in with one another, perform charity work, and take part in social activities like community fun runs.
The Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are a big plus. I participate in the ERG for veteran employees and find the camaraderie of the group similar to that of the military.
I am equally enthusiastic about GSK's PULSE Volunteer Partnership Program. This skills-based initiative pairs eligible GSK employees with nonprofit organizations to provide services that support healthcare challenges worldwide. The program was unlike anything I have seen at other employers. Upon learning about PULSE, I immediately applied and was selected to take part in a six-month program in Rwanda. During my time away, I will not only continue to earn my regular salary, but I will gain valuable skills and perspectives to share with my GSK colleagues upon my return.
I am certain my military experience helped me in the PULSE selection process. One of the questions on the application asked if I would be able to be away from home for a long stretch of time. That was a no-brainer for me, as I had undertaken several long deployments in the Navy. Through the PULSE Volunteer Partnership Program, I am able to travel and experience new cultures while sharing my skills with others.
What advice would you give to other veterans?
I am lucky to have landed at GSK. Finding the right company is not always easy, and I think you should look for a company that values you as much as you value them in return. When you find that company, you will be willing and able to adapt and grow as an employee. My transition out of the military was not without challenges, but with a little luck and a leap of faith, I found my match with GSK.
Look for a company that values you as much as you value them in return. When you find that company, you will be willing and able to adapt and grow as an employee.
Careers for military veterans
We offer a wide range of career opportunities from engineering to sales, from project management to supply chain logistics, and technology to finance. Hear from more of our veterans like Lauren, and visit our career page to search all currently available roles.
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