Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Where are they now? Lisa Steptoe



Orion is continuing its 20th anniversary celebration this month by featuring another one of our very first placements, Lisa Steptoe. Steptoe, a United States Military Academy graduate, class of 1987, served five years in the Army as a Quartermaster, both in Fort Knox, KY, and West Point, NY. Having spent the last 20 years in the civilian workforce, Steptoe shared her transition and civilian career experience with us.

Steptoe and her husband, Ron, were both looking to get out of the military in 1991 and were searching for help with the transition. It was a friendship with one of Orion’s founders which led the Steptoes to Orion, where Lisa worked with Bill Laughlin. Lisa’s situation was particularly difficult in that she was eight-months pregnant and had been turned away from other recruiting agencies.

Not only was Orion the only company that was willing to work with her once they found out she was expecting, but Steptoe found them to be much more personable than its competition. With other firms, Steptoe felt she was in an adversarial environment. “Orion made me feel at ease, worked with me, talked with me, and treated me as a professional,” recalls Steptoe.

The first interview Orion set up for Steptoe was with Pfizer, and, in fact, Steptoe still has her Interview Schedule Card from that day. That interview was all it took, and Steptoe chose to start her career with Pfizer, in part because she liked everyone she interviewed with, and in part because it felt like a place where she could make a career. Steptoe says, “I have never forgotten the effort Orion went to help me transition to a civilian career.”

Steptoe enjoyed a 17 year career with Pfizer, where she worked in Territory Sales and Hospital Sales; and served as Regional Account Manager. After spending one year with Schering Plough as an Institutional Channel Account Manager and one year with Cumberland Pharmaceuticals as a Hospital Account Manager, Steptoe and her husband have built a healthcare and technical services company, Steptoe Group, LLC, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned (SDVOB) Business, where Steptoe serves as Business Development Manager & CFO.

Steptoe credits both her time at the U.S. Military Academy and her time in the military with preparing her to be a leader. “The concept of duty, honor, dedication, and commitment were internalized at the Academy and during my service, helping me be a success in all of our endeavors and to deal with the adversity and change that also comes from time to time,” explains Steptoe. That ability to deal with change helps her guide her company.

When asked what advice she has for transitioning military, Steptoe says that they should manage their expectations and be realistic about where they will start in a new organization, as well as starting salary. She suggests starting now on translating their military skills and accomplishments out of “milspeak” and into something that a civilian company will understand. Finally, she advises, “Practice, Practice, Practice. Try to get a mentor (someone who has transitioned out that can help guide you). Learn the art of networking.”

As for hiring veterans, Steptoe says that hiring managers shouldn’t just consider it, they should do it. “There is no better place to get highly qualified leaders that have the drive and dedication to succeed in your organization,” explains Steptoe.

Orion is proud to count Lisa Steptoe among our very first alumni. Her continued success in the Medical Sales industry is a testament to the value veterans bring to their civilian endeavors. Stay tuned next month for another profile of a 1991 Orion placement.

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