FedEx Veterans – Networking to Help Each Other
Bobbi Wells’ journey to FedEx took an unusual route. She first became involved with the company through a program called Training with Industry*, which allowed U.S. military officers the opportunity to spend one year of their service with a major corporation. “I was on active duty in Germany,” says Wells, a native of Wyoming who attended Notre Dame on an R.O.T.C. scholarship. “I was given a chance to choose a company to work with. I chose FedEx because I didn’t know much about the company, but the impression I had was that it was very innovative, and I wanted to be a part of that.”
That year-long program eventually led to her first FedEx Express job as a senior manager of ground operations in downtown Manhattan. That was more than 24 years ago, and Wells says “I’ve worked in just about every operations division in the company.”
She’s now a Managing Director of Planning and Analysis with Air Operations, and is also one of the founding members of the FedEx U.S. Veterans Network, which was launched two years ago. “It’s one of those groups that has really blossomed in the past two years. Not only was there a need, but there was also a group of passionate people willing to give their time because they believe so much in what our group can do for other veterans within FedEx.”
The U.S. Military Veterans Network group is comprised mostly of FedEx Express and FedEx Services team members, but is open to employees from all operating companies.
The group’s mission is to create and foster a community that honors and supports the service of every military veteran associated with the company. It also serves as a resource for team members and their families, providing support for a variety of issues such as military leave adjustment, family matters, mentoring, care packages for deployed team members, and participation in the annual Trees for Troops program. Led by the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, that program features FedEx shipping live Christmas Trees to active troops and their families.
With support from FedEx leadership, the group hosts the annual FedEx Veterans Day program for team members who’ve served in the armed forces. This year’s program featured keynote speaker Master Sergeant Jim Brown, United States Marine Corps, who talked about his experiences in the battle of the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War. (see photo)
Tom Murrey, a Memphis native who served as a Judge Advocate (lawyer) in the Air Force for 13 years, is now Senior Counsel at FedEx Express and chairs the Veterans Network. “We started with a handful of dedicated veterans who make up the core group, and now I’d say our membership is well over 100.”
They’ve established a Facebook page that includes a form that team members can fill out and submit if they want to be an official member of the group. – https://www.facebook.com/US-Military-Veterans-at-FedEx-Affinity-Group-178252395697090/?fref=ts
“We have lots of members in the field – Seattle, Pennsylvania, New York, Dallas,” says Murrey. “One of our challenges is engaging people in locations with only one or two veterans. The Facebook page helps with that. We also use it to provide educational information, like links to veteran discount and benefit programs.”
Bobbi Wells says the military background of the company’s founder and chairman, Fred Smith (a former marine) fosters a corporate-wide commitment to valuing military veterans. “It’s part of the FedEx DNA largely because of Mr. Smith. We want to ensure that commitment lives well beyond not only him, but also everybody else in the company in the future.”
*Training with Industry is now known as the Military Fellows Program
Addendum: Announced November 11, 2015 –
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) today welcomed FedEx as the newest member of its Veteran Employment Advisory Council (VEAC). By joining the VEAC Chairman’s Circle, FedEx continues to grow its commitment to America’s military families by connecting military members and spouses to meaningful job opportunities. As part of the relationship, FedEx will not only provide private sector insights to HOH leadership but the company has committed $150,000 to sponsor hiring events and programming across the country, including $50,000 in transportation support, making FedEx the official shipping service for HOH.