From patrolling streets in Baghdad to Leading National Logistics Operations for a Fortune 500 Company

From patrolling streets in Baghdad to Leading National Logistics Operations for a Fortune 500 Company

By: Nick Morales

It’s way too often that we undersell our qualities and experience to employers. How does my military experience relate to the job I’m applying for? Am I qualified? How do I find a career?

Autumn Church asked herself these same questions, while transitioning from the U.S. Army. After time in both Iraq and Afghanistan how would her combat experience be translated and seen as a force multiplier for a civilian company? 

While she was attending a Veteran Job Fair that she was able to answer these questions, when one company was relentless in pursuing her talents, the talents she didn’t even see. Autumn attended the fair interested in 3 contracting companies represented, she assumed her skills would only be appreciated or useful in that environment. 

However, after handing out her resume liberally that day Quest Diagnostics came knocking, specifically the National Logistics Operation Center. “I’m not a doctor or a scientist what can I do for this company?” Church asked. She soon realized that doctors and scientists do not run operations, it takes a variety of leaders with varied backgrounds to make a business successful, and that’s when her experience as a Soldier, and the competencies she had been honing while serving began to open doors for her. 

It’s really a small world when we think of it, her Exec. Director was also in the U.S. Army, he served as an Army Ranger to be exact. That’s when the pieces started to fall into place, Leadership, Honor, Integrity… the very backbone of Military service served as a breaching tool into the corporate world. 

Autumn started out as a Supervisor with the National Logistics Operations Center for Quest, leading a team of employees whose mission was to track lab specimens all over the country ensuring they are picked up and delivered to Quest Laboratories for testing. The situation presented itself to Autumn that she was leading a platoon size element and that the opportunity to Coach, Teach and Mentor popped up, this is something she knew all too well.

Fast forward 9 years, Autumn is now the Senior Manager for the National Logistics Operation Center at Quest overseeing Ground and Air transports for the fortune 500 Company. While her success is evident based on her growth in the company, she finds the time to give back to the Veteran Community.

She’s one of the biggest advocates for mental health, and giving back to fellow brothers and sisters is at the cornerstone of who Autumn is. She hosts events at the Tampa Vet Center to bring Veterans and their Families together, from “Tie Dye and Tacos, and Wooden Flag Builds, these events have caused a ripple in the community.

At work Church finds the time to volunteer to help Veterans find the path to success.  She is the Co-Leader of the Veteran Employee Business Network (EBN) and has focused her efforts within the EBN on Veteran Hiring, building camaraderie between the Quest Veterans and Mental Health awareness leading several hundred members in a Vulnerability Series and a Struggling Well series. 

These series adjust Veteran’s focus on connection, being authentic and being grateful for every little thing, from a cup of coffee, to getting to work on time, which has enabled the participants to learn how important the journey of life is, and how much easier it is when connecting to others. This shift of focus moves from waiting for the bottom to fall out when things are going good to recognizing the process and living a life of gratitude and optimism.

Focus on your 5 meter target, then your 10 meter target now you’re ready for “Fast Freddy” in case you’re wondering what the hell that reference was, its “Range Day in the Army”.

One of the main take aways from Autumn’s story is that our experience has value, learning to leverage it in order to accomplish a goal is the pathway to success. 

Autumn, Thanks for being a BETERAN!

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