When Cherry Lynch decided to join the Navy shortly after September 11, 2001, she wasn’t sure how her team at Dell would react.
“I was literally driving into work when we heard on the radio what was going on, September 11, 2001,” Lynch (pictured below) said. “I went to Dell and said, ‘Hey, do you care if I join the reserves?’ And Dell supported me the entire time.”
She completed six weeks of basic training and eventually deployed to Afghanistan. While there, her Dell colleagues sent her an estimated $10,000 in donated goods, which Lynch distributed to Afghani children over the course of two humanitarian missions.
Back at home, Lynch’s Dell colleagues regularly checked in on her spouse, ensuring she was doing all right. They even included Lynch in their team meetings.
“I would wake up at 3 a.m. and I would call into our meetings,” Lynch said. “They would pass the phone around, ‘How are you doing? What do you need?’”
The support in terms of care packages she received far surpassed that of some of her Navy colleagues, and Lynch started to pay it forward.
“I started giving my care packages away because Dell was sending me so many,” she said. “There were some people who were not receiving the support that Dell provided to me.”
The Best of Both Worlds
Stories like Lynch’s aren’t uncommon for veterans working at Dell. Support takes on many forms, whether service members are actively deployed or serving in the reserves.
Darrick Nelsen, a business operations analyst and project manager for the Global Services Associate Program and an Army reservist, started interviewing in April knowing he had to leave for two weeks in July. When the interview process wrapped in June and he started working, he had less than a month until he had to be away for two weeks for duty.
“I came in my first day and let my boss know I needed to leave for duty, and she said it was no problem at all,” Nelsen said. “Dell pays a differential, so I didn’t make less money for those two weeks, which was also really nice.”
Nelsen is also able to work remotely prior to his drill weekends, allowing him additional time with his family.
Another targeted effort to support service members is the partnership Dell forged with the Veterans for Quality program. Dell works with Bridge 360 to place veterans transitioning from Fort Hood into a 12-week software test training curriculum. Veterans who complete the curriculum then become eligible for software test internships at Dell and at other companies in the central Texas area.
Olukayode Mayomi (above), an Army veteran and current reservist, joined Dell through the Veterans for Quality program and now works full time in the Dell Infrastructure team.
“Being a reservist, there are those times where you have to go and train, and sometimes your mission requires more than just a weekend,” Mayomi said. “And that’s where Dell comes in. My manager is very accommodating in that regard.”
Brittany Podolak, vice president of Global Operations at Dell, and a military spouse herself, has been pleased with the results of the program since its inception four years ago, specifically noting the opportunities it opens to veterans who participate in internships to join Dell full-time, as Mayomi did.
“Even if our interns don’t join Dell full time, this key experience helps them become eligible for a variety of different roles here in central Texas, in the vast tech market,” she said. “That’s just one example of what is possible when you have a community here that’s willing to take the initiative and that’s committed and passionate to helping veterans transition.”
Dell supports veterans through a number of programs, including Employee Resource Groups at both the national and local levels. Find out more at https://jobs.dell.com/military.
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