A self-driving vehicle startup may seem an unlikely place for a thriving veterans group. But for my fellow Cruisers and I who have served in the military, it’s where we’ve combined our specialized skills, found a supportive community, and grown as coworkers, friends, and individuals.
I joined Cruise in 2021 and today, I lead the Crisis Management team and hold the honor of co-chairing our veterans Employee Resource Group.
It’s been a journey to get where I am today. After hearing of the 7/7 bombings in London, I rushed to the recruiter’s office as soon as I was eligible and demanded the job that would get me closest to the front lines. At just 17 years old, I enlisted as a combat medic, serving in infantry, tank, and field hospital regiments before joining the U.K. Special Forces as a squadron medic.
In my eight years of duty, I realized that people from all walks of life enlist for all types of reasons. Serving in the U.K. military, I had a different experience than my U.S. veteran counterparts. But we share common ground, too. We’ve discovered a place where we feel supported as both employees and veterans. We’ve all found our place here at Cruise.
Cruise is an organization that encourages, supports, and needs the specific veteran skillset. In my own role, I help leaders prepare for and navigate existential risk and immediate safety threats. I use the things I learned in the military every single day.
I know I’m not alone in putting my military expertise to work at Cruise, either. We have a former Air Force technician who maintains our vehicles’ hardware systems to keep them safe on the roads. Our Operations Excellence team is led by a former Navy ship operator and autonomous, underwater vehicle expert. We have Marines who were stationed across the world, and now lead global security operations at all our sites.
These roles represent only a sliver of the expertise and contributions of veterans at Cruise. In addition to the technical skills that many of us learned in the military, we also developed a deep sense of responsibility and comradeship, balanced approach to risk, and calmness under pressure that can’t be learned elsewhere.
This is why the Cruise veterans community group is so important to me and many others. Ever since joining, I’ve understood that Cruise is a place where veterans find a real sense of acceptance, support, and belonging. It’s not just a line on a resume or place to grow professionally, but a place where veterans can feel included, welcomed, and understood.
The transition from the military can be extremely challenging. But my advice to other veterans out there is to know that you are not alone, and places like Cruise need you. Your skills, expertise, and experience will not only help well-intentioned organizations grow, but will help other veterans find their footing after leaving their own tours of service.
I want to extend a special thank you to the nine Cruise veterans who joined me to share their deeply personal experiences, which you can watch below, and to all the members of our Cruise veterans community group. Opening up isn’t easy, but I’m hopeful our stories will help pay it forward to other veterans at Cruise and beyond.
Nani in longorum humeris
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