Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Veteran Spotlight: Hallie Brewer

Hallie Brewer was placed by Orion International as an Administrator-in-Training with Surgical Care Affiliates in April 2012 after deciding to transition out of her civilian career supervising a security department at a hospital. Previous to her civilian career, Hallie served in the Army Ordnance Corps and separated from the military as a Captain in September 2009.

Hallie explains that her career search through Orion was her first real encounter with anything related to corporate careers. “It was a very steep learning curve, initially. The interview process is much more intense; there is a completely different dress code and culture; and it’s truly a different world. Orion did some extremely helpful work in helping bridge that gap, and I don’t know that I could have broken into my new career without them!” recalls Hallie.

“Honestly, when I first started working with SCA, I was a little uncertain about how I would measure up to my peers (most of whom are either clinical or business in background, with various licenses and degrees)….But I’m not worried about it anymore...The ability to be presented with a situation, learn very quickly how to function in that new environment, and hit the ground running was inculcated in me throughout my time in the military and is the reason I am where I am now,” says Hallie. 

Hallie has been in her new career for eight months now. She has been doing a combination of training and working as an Assistant Administrator, all of which is geared toward preparing her to become a full Administrator of an Ambulatory Surgery Center. 

Hallie’s military experience has come into play into both of her post-transition careers. “When I worked in security at the hospital, it directly translated into leadership in high-stress environments. (We responded to all kinds of emergencies and dealt with a huge variety of people and cultures.),” says Hallie, “My experience also allowed me to make solid decisions and operate in an unpredictable workplace while keeping a level head, and the training in combatives was extremely useful in safely diffusing situations that arose. In my current career, my experience with being ‘thrown into the deep end’ throughout my military career helps me tremendously in a white-collar environment.” 

She did have to learn how to interact with my employees (whom you cannot call ‘subordinates’) in a completely different way, though. She explains that they do not simply respond ‘yes, ma’am’ and go about their business. “Apparently, you can’t make someone assume the front-leaning-rest position if they misbehave. If they don’t like what you do and how you lead … they can quit!” jokes Hallie.

Hallie has some important advice transitioning veterans, which is to ask questions during the hiring process. She advises that when you get through the first several rounds of interviewing and you’re sitting down to talk turkey about salary and specifics, ask questions! “If they say relocation is possible, ask them directly if it is actually required. If you don’t understand something in the job outline (and Orion can’t answer it for you), ask them to break it down for you,” Hallie explains, “I’m not saying you should ask questions just for the sake of asking them, but make sure you’re completely clear on what you’re getting into and that you’re okay with it.”

“We know how to jump into a new situation, figure it out, and lead others in that situation. We aren't afraid to work hard, and most of us are hungry for new challenges,” Hallie reminds her fellow veterans, “I wish more businesses would take the time to learn a bit about what veterans have to offer and what their experience translates to in the civilian world, because I think it would amaze them.”

Click here to learn more about Hallie's transition or to ask her a question.

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