National Veterans and Military Families Month: Basic Training Lessons Last a Lifetime

November 11, 2019 - DC, DE, MD, VA Florida Maine New England New Jersey, New York and PA North and South Carolina

VIDEO: TD values many skills veterans bring to the Bank

TD Bank's Melissa Fox joined the U.S. Army for the opportunity to attend a four-year college without taking on the financial burden of massive student loans. She never expected that experience would become the opportunity of a lifetime.

The army gave her priceless leadership lessons that have served her well at TD, where she currently is a Senior Business Management Analyst. Melissa has reinforced the lessons she learned during her initial 16 weeks of basic training and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) throughout her career.

"I had to learn everything from how to shoot a rifle and throw grenades to how to clean spotlessly and ensure the uniform and boots were neat and shiny," she explained about her basic training. That extreme attention to detail is something that she carries with her today.

The requirements for achieving a top-notch level of a fitness have also made a huge difference to her confidence.

"There were times that I wasn't sure I would make it through," Melissa said. "But I learned that I was far more capable than I ever thought."

Developing into a leader

Melissa went on to continue her training in the military where she learned skills such as specialized military code for communications. Her focus was developing into a leader, and she cited the experience where every platoon member took turns leading the squad of 40 soldiers. One of the most important lessons involved ensuring the squad be able to do seemingly simple tasks, such as walking together

"Walking and marching together establishes a system of being in sync with each other," Melissa said. "It's how you become a unit."

Her growth continued as she trained for a role in chemical operations, focused on nuclear biology chemical agents and decontamination. She then served in the Army Reserves for eight years, where she dedicated one week every month and a two-week assignment during the year.

"I learned perseverance throughout my career in the army, how to really push through your challenges and self-limitation," she said. "I learned how through self-discipline you can achieve far beyond what you think is possible."

Through her military service, Melissa was also able to fulfill her initial dream of graduating from a four-year college, Temple University, where she received a B.A. in Communication, Journalism, Public Relations and related programs.

How TD supports veterans

While her role in the military was far different than her current one at TD, the leadership skills have served her well at the Bank. Melissa came to TD 17 years ago as a WOW! Department Program Manager.

Melissa credits the Bank for her career growth, as TD provides valuable resources for veterans, including an internal site for veterans, the Business Resource Groups (BRG), Women in Leadership and the Minority Leadership Groups. She also took advantage of the opportunities for career development, such as Lifeworks for employees, educational opportunities through the Learning Management System (LMS) and TD Thrive.

"We value and respect the skills, experiences and commitment that veterans bring and encourage them to continue developing through a variety of different career paths," said Girish Ganesan, Head of Talent, TD Bank. "Our mission is to give all active duty, reserve, former military and services members, as well as their families and friends, a community where they can share their experiences, grow their careers and help us to promote education and awareness of veteran matters."

Melissa encourages veterans to become more involved at TD.

"I would definitely recommend not just gaining new roles, but also leadership opportunities within current roles. For example; present updates during a meeting, speak at BRG events and get involved in networking events," she advised. "Also, volunteer in the community, teach financial education at schools, join a board committee, which can provide additional leadership opportunities."

TD Bank is keen on supporting veterans in every way possible.

"We encourage all veterans to explore our job opportunities as we continue to grow our veterans' community and welcome diverse experience," Girish said.

To learn more about job opportunities, visit TD Bank's career site.

Thanking our military service members

This Veterans Day, November 11, is an important holiday for Melissa, as it honors all who have served in the military. She says everyone, not just the military, can celebrate this special day.

"It means a lot just to acknowledge the service of veterans and thank them for their sacrifices and dedication," she said. "It's a special day for everyone in the military."


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