Career transitions are becoming ubiquitous. One of the most challenging pivots? Veterans who are going from active duty to the civilian sector. Supporting this transition is a goal of Point Bravo, our employee-led business resource groups for veterans and military spouses. And is a key reason why we’re partnering with the Department of Defense (DoD) SkillBridge internship program.
Hear more about what this experience is like from our very own Alan Erickson, Point B’s first SkillBridge Intern-turned-Consultant.
How did you find Point B?
As I was getting ready to transition from the U.S. Air Force into the civil sector, I connected with a Point B’er who told me amazing things about the culture, work and people. The conversation got me thinking about my background in the military and what was next. I truly valued my time in HR and other roles where I ran various projects and led several teams at once, which I thought would translate well into consulting. Shortly after, I was able to network with other Point B veterans and eventually become the firm’s first SkillBridge Intern where I worked with our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) team.
Can you tell us more about the SkillBridge internship?
The DoD Skillbridge Internship is a program designed to help military members transition from active duty to the civilian workforce. During the last six months of a military member’s contract, members can intern with an approved company while still receiving their military pay and benefits. As Point B’s first DoD Skillbridge intern, I was able to get in contact with Vinny Tarantino, a leader of Point Bravo, through a college friend and Point B’er, Ben Purcell. I was offered an internship with DEI Director Nell Haslett-Brousse where I worked on several initiatives including documenting our wage equity information, managing DEI skills trainings, and conducting a gap analysis for several benchmarking indexes. In working across Operations, Business Resources Groups and other leaders, I learned a lot about consulting best practices and how Point B operates.
Can you tell us what you have been up to since wrapping up with the internship?
After my internship, I joined our Management Consulting Services (MCS) practice as a consultant in our Phoenix location. But, before getting started my wife and I took a vacation to Greece and Spain, which was amazing! After a little rejuvenation I jumped back on the saddle and started on a small project for a local non-profit where we helped them better understand donations for corporate volunteer events. It was rewarding to practice a few consulting skills I’d studied and gained through my internship.
I have also been working with Point Bravo and our Talent Acquisition team to improve our DoD Skillbridge process. We now partner with Hiring Our Heroes to collect resumes around three structured cohorts which greatly increases our reach and interest in the program. Last, but not least, I started my first customer-facing project with a large retailer where I am helping with three work streams related to gender equity and responsible business practices within their international factories.
Can you share more about how Point Bravo has played a part in your career journey at Point B?
Point Bravo has been integral in my career journey. Vinny and Christine Davis, a Core Team member, both met with me prior to starting my internship and really welcomed me. Also, Vinny was instrumental in getting the required paperwork submitted for my internship. I can confidently say without the support of Point Bravo I wouldn’t be here today. Since joining, Point Bravo has been a rock for me personally. With our regular Community Huddles and Core Team meetings, it is easy to find meaningful connections and provide valuable improvements for the military-affiliated community at Point B—including those considering a career here.
How does your military experience translate over to the work you are doing as a consultant?
In the Air Force, I lived by the saying, “Flexibility is the key to Air Power.” Meaning that I needed to be ready to adapt in the moment to accomplish a mission. This flexible mindset is extremely helpful to my work as a consultant. Shifts happen often and I need to be OK with changing to meet goals. Also, we talk a lot about “Delivery Excellence” and “Executive Presence” at Point B, both of which I was able to practice in the Air Force while successfully leading large (50+ person) teams and by serving with high-level military leaders. Finally, I think of taking on a collaborative mindset—referred to as “one team, one fight” in the Air Force. I feel comfortable asking for help if I have questions, need feedback, or just general support because I trust that Point B’ers, like my Air Force wingmen, have my back and won’t leave me to fail.
Favorite thing about Point B so far?
The relationships I’ve made. Everyone I’ve met has been welcoming and very knowledgeable. It is exciting to be on this team!
What are you most excited about for the future at Point B?
I am thrilled that Point B is aiming to advance human progress by making a meaningful, positive impact on our customers, communities, people and, ultimately, planet. I look forward to learning more about our ESG strategies and integrating them into my delivery.
Anything else to share before the lighting round?
There is something for everyone at Point B.
Best vacation destination?
Such a tough question! For sightseeing: Rome. For relaxation: Santorini (specifically a caldera-facing room).
I would have to say Almond Butter Tofu with Ramen. We eat it nearly every week and it’s packed with plant-powered goodness!
Favorite season of the year?
I like the Spring the best because the weather is not too hot and not too cold, plus the days get longer as you get closer to Summer!
Favorite Phoenix activity?
Hiking! There are so many great hikes in the Valley of the Sun…just less so in the middle of the summer.
Thank you for paving the way, Alan! We are grateful to have you at Point B.