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Hero Veterans Day

Day in the Life: Hiring Our Heroes Fellowship

For the past two years, Kin + Carta has been proud to partner with Hiring Our Heroes.

Hiring Our Heroes connects the military community with civilian companies to create economic opportunity and a strong, diversified workforce. They do this in a few ways — through fellowship programs for hands-on experience, hiring events for networking, and even offering a catalog of digital resources for transitioning service members and veterans.

This year, we welcomed two fellows into the firm — Ioannis Wallingford and Dreen Fincham. Ioannis was an Engineer Captain and Dreen was an Aviation Mechanic. Since January, they have been working across our teams, and have seized new opportunities to learn the landscape of technology consulting.

We wanted to take the time to introduce the Hiring Our Heroes fellowship to you so we sat down with Ioannis to let him share a bit about his experience.

Ioannis 1
CPT Ioannis Wallingford, a second generation paratrooper, running off the dropzone following his first jump at US Army Airborne School.

After six years as an Engineer Captain in the Army, I joined Kin + Carta as part of the Hiring Our Heroes Fellowship. This program allows for transitioning veterans to gain insightful career knowledge with a host company before taking off the uniform and joining the private sector.

I chose to work at Kin + Carta because I could see myself working with the people I met at the company. From the conversations with my recruiter to my interviews, it was a unique blend of working on prominent technical problems, combined with the personable working culture.

One of the first things that stood out to me was leadership structure. In the Army, units take on a projectized organizational structure, where leadership roles are clearly defined and given high levels of authority. Due to the nature of the work, this allows for adherence to waterfall project management techniques. At Kin + Carta, the software development environment drives the organization towards agile methodologies. Instead of a project manager taking full control with inputs from team members, the Scrum Master serves as an enabler to facilitate the team members to make decisions. Naturally, both organizational structures are best suited for different types of problems.

Ioannis Wallingford
CPT Ioannis Wallingford was a Platoon Leader in the 82nd Airborne Division.

Despite differences, the lessons learned from the Army’s leadership principles (or as we called them “principles of mission command”) remain applicable, even if they manifest themselves in different ways. These principles being:

  1. Build cohesive teams through mutual trust
  2. Create a shared understanding
  3. Provide a clear commander’s intent
  4. Exercise disciplined initiative
  5. Use mission orders
  6. Accept prudent risk

My personal favorite is “provide a clear commander’s intent” because it gives your team both left and right limits, along with an intended end-state. This provides your team members, who possess the most information about a situation, the guidance to push through problems in the absence of fine details. At Kin + Carta, we exemplify this principle through user stories. The product owner provides just enough detail to accomplish a task and the software developers decide how to do it.

Ioannis 2
Ioannis Wallingford, having taken off the uniform, is now part of the Digital Product and Digital Services Capability working in a Scrum Master role for one of our AgTech clients. Here he is with his team — on the top row, second from the left!

Lastly, “Pockets, Pockets Pockets”. This may sound silly, but an abrupt change I encountered was when I took my notebook and tried to slide it into a pocket that was no longer there. No shoulder pockets to store a notebook. No pen pockets to store your pen. No cargo pockets to store your gloves. No lower leg pockets to store miscellaneous items. It looks like the Army got something right! Perhaps Kin + Carta needs to look into business casual fishing jackets?

You can learn more about the Hiring Our Heroes fellowship program through their website here. 

Are you interested in joining our team? Check out our open roles.

Apply now