Veteran’s Day is our opportunity to honor the dedication, courage and sacrifice of the brave men and women who have served in the military. At Samsung, our Veterans Community Employee Resource Group (ERG) works together to support Veterans and their families through sponsored outreach efforts, recruiting and training and mentorship.

On Veterans Day, the Veterans Community ERG hosted a companywide panel discussion centered around “15 Things Veterans Want You to Know” – featuring SEA Veteran employees. These individuals thrive in our fast-paced work environment, showcase their unique leadership skills developed through service and demonstrate the importance of teamwork that we value as a global organization.

During the event, panelists touched on topics like how military service has shaped who they are today, the stigma around PTSD and how companies like Samsung can support Veterans leaving the military.

“The main thing I would want colleagues to understand about PTSD is that it is real,” said Matthew Franklin, POD Manager and U.S. Army Veteran. “In combat we always talk about the mission and the people you serve with. Sometimes, when we get home, we don’t want to scare our friends and family so we don’t talk about it and that can create a form of isolation.”

Larss Ogren, Assistant Manager Business Operations Center and Marine Corps Veteran echoed Franklin’s thoughts and also highlighted the fact that PTSD is a not a new concept, but has recently gained more public acknowledgement.

“Back in the Vietnam era, they called it ‘shell shock’ but it’s the same thing,” Ogren said. “PTSD is a high emotional distress, and we have seen more understanding of it and better treatment. But if you have friends or family transitioning out of the military – reach out. Just a phone call or a cup of coffee can save a life.”

One key topic that was discussed was how companies like Samsung can support military members as they transition out of the service.

“Luckily, my transition into the civilian workforce was fairly smooth from an employment perspective because I was hired and mentored by a fellow military member who knew I could handle any task given to me.” said Amy Belmaggio, Regional Director Verizon B2B team and U.S. Navy Veteran. “With our ERG, the platform gives us the ability to help and mentor others transition, which is huge. It’s great that we get to work with HR to help recruit Veterans into our company. If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, but you have military service – let’s open up opportunities within our company to evaluate military and first responder experience in translation to college degrees.”

“I joined the military when I was 17 and for eight years, I was told what to do, what to wear, where to be, and when to be there,” said Ogren. “I was 24 when I left active duty and I had nobody telling me what to do anymore, and at that time there were not a lot of the services we have today to help assist with that transition. The Vets ERG solves a big gap with military members who are leaving the service.”

One thing that all the panelists agreed on was that their military service has shaped who they are today.

“The sense of urgency, the structure that you get and making the most out of a tough situation are all skills I rely on today,” said Franklin. “It’s one team, one fight in the Army, and I keep that mindset at Samsung. If one of us has a problem, we all have a problem and we can all work together to find a solution.”

All the panelist agreed that there is always more work to be done and our commitment to our Veterans should never end. That’s why Samsung continues to invest in corporate and employee led initiatives that benefit U.S. Veterans and military families, including the Heroes MAKE America Program – as the founding sponsor, Samsung’s commitment to this program helps thousands of Veterans transition out of the military using skills they’ve learned in the service, the Samsung American Legion Scholarship, which provides $300,000 in scholarships every year to nearly 100 American Legion participants and our Samsung Gives Week of Service, where employees assembled stuffed animals and care packages for the children of deployed servicemembers. These are just a few reasons why, for the second year in a row, Samsung was recognized by Forbes as one of America’s Best Employers for Veterans – further reinforcing our dedication to our Veterans and their families.