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Honoring Service: A Tribute to Veterans

Today we celebrate Veterans Day in the US — a holiday that honors veterans and a time for us to pay our respects to those who have served. Originally called Armistice Day, Veterans Day is celebrated on the anniversary of the end of World World I. 

Our theme for Veterans Day this year is "Honoring Service.” Serving in the military builds a strong foundation of selflessness and camaraderie for the benefit of others. At Qualtrics, we have dozens of former US Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines sitting amongst us. We also have dozens of others who honorably served their nations. And we have leaders and Qualtricians who serve their teams and each other every day.

Our Qualtrics Veterans Group is a community of veterans whose purpose is to build community and help each other build successful careers. We meet each week to talk, celebrate each other, and find ways to support each other. Every other week we pick one of our members to share their experience with their service. This creates a deep sense of connection for us through our shared experiences and hardships. Qualtrics Veterans Group is a safe space to build connections with people who understand what you’ve struggled with and can help you through that. 

To Honor Service and celebrate Veterans Day, we invited Sharon Caples McDougle as a keynote speaker. Sharon is a modern day hidden figure, veteran, and a black woman who achieved many firsts at NASA. She shared her experiences serving in the United States Air Force, serving as a pioneer in NASA, and serving her teams as a groundbreaking leader.

Sharon had a difficult childhood, but through those adversities she found strength in serving others. She joined the Air Force right out of high school and moved her way up from there. She eventually led the first and only all-female suit tech crew at NASA and was the first and only Black woman promoted to the position of manager of the Space Shuttle Crew Escape Equipment Processing department. 

Sharon’s story inspired many at Qualtrics and we were lucky to spend time with her. Sharon wrote a beautiful children’s book, Suit Up With Shay, and continues to serve her community. In response to a question about how to progress your career, Sharon said, “Being a great leader is already within you — you just have to pull it out.” 

As a kid, I had so much respect for those who were willing to serve our country and potentially die for me. Veterans Day is unique because it celebrates the people who raised their hands to sacrifice and serve for something bigger than themselves. Veterans are the people who volunteer to serve a country that may not be perfect, and can sometimes feel broken, but they know it’s worth making a sacrifice for. We know many who have paid that sacrifice and we are grateful to all those who have been willing to serve.

We know that many of our brothers and sisters who have left the service sometimes struggle. If you are struggling, please utilize the resources below or reach out to a friend; so many people are willing to help you!

Veterans Crisis Line — Call, chat, or text caring, qualified responders from the Department of Veterans Affairs

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — Call or chat for free and confidential emotional support for suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

How to support veterans (USA Today) — Useful article from USA Today with more tips and advice on supporting veterans

Afghanistan: Let’s Talk About It (VA) — A list of useful resources and helpful advice from the VA

Daniel Hinkson // Associate Manager, Enterprise Services

Daniel graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2012 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering where he also played football. He commissioned as a field artillery officer in the Army and served with the 101st Airborne Division, 75th Ranger Regiment, and 3rd Infantry Division. Daniel deployed to Afghanistan twice during that time.

Once out of the Army, Daniel spent time as a Project Engineer in the Oil and Gas industry while getting his MBA at the University of Texas at Austin before joining Qualtrics as an Enterprise Services Manager nearly 2 years ago.

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