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How being a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon company helps us do better

The connections we forged mattered most in 2020

As we commemorate Veterans Day, we look back on how we supported veterans during our first year as a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon company.

It has been nearly one year since Securian Financial became a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon (BTYR) company. And it’s been a busy year at that.

Our Servicemember Associate Resource Group (SARG) — an employee-led group that enhances veteran recruitment, morale and retention within the Securian Financial community — plays a pivotal role in orchestrating our company’s BTYR action plan to maintain constant focus on our veterans. We spoke with SARG co-leads Katrisha Neisse and Rachel Edelman to learn about our 2020 accomplishments.

“We’ve really expanded our network this year by being a BTYR company,” Katrisha says. “It has connected us with organizations like the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), St. Paul Yellow Ribbon Network and other forums that have helped us find ways to better serve veterans.”

Recruiting and retention

When it comes to hiring, being able to exhibit an understanding of veterans’ military background goes a long way to make them feel welcome. 

But that level of understanding isn’t always common. That’s why SARG teamed up with DEED and Securian Financial’s learning and development team to create a training program — to be implemented in 2021 — that will educate recruiters and hiring managers on how skills gained through military service can translate to civilian jobs.

Other initiatives include posting all open positions at the company on veteran-specific job websites and attending at least two job fairs for veterans annually.

And once veterans are hired, providing a sense of belonging through the SARG community can contribute to their engagement with the company. This year, SARG-sponsored presentations have helped educate and raise awareness of the military throughout our company:

  • Jill Stephenson, a Gold Star Mother, spoke via Zoom about the meaning of Memorial Day and ways to honor service members who are no longer with us. The book, Heart of a Ranger, chronicles the life and heroism of her son, Cpl. Benjamin Kopp, who died during Operation Enduring Freedom.
  • Retired Navy Captain Brooks Berg spoke about life on a submarine and how it relates to being in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • This month, Brig. Gen. Stefanie Horvath will speak through the lens of diversity and inclusion as the highest-ranking gay woman in the Minnesota National Guard, and what it means for Securian Financial to be a BTYR company.

Community outreach

Perhaps the most significant accomplishments as a BTYR company in 2020 were the connections made through the Yellow Ribbon Network with various veteran-focused community organizations. One in particular — Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) — was in great need of essential supplies when the pandemic hit. The organization provides housing and stability for veterans as they transition from military to civilian life.

Kat neisse donating supplies
Katrisha Neisse drops off supplies to help the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans.

“MACV reached out to companies in the Yellow Ribbon Network for supplies like paper towels and toilet paper,” Katrisha explains. “We stepped in and donated several boxes of both. Our MACV contact told us we were the first company to donate, and when Mall of America heard about the need for supplies, they stepped up with a large donation themselves.”

Since then, Securian Financial employees have raised $8,000 for MACV, collected through their payroll pledges during our annual giving campaign.

SARG also held virtual volunteering events to make cards, pictures and letters for deployed soldiers this year. Later this month, SARG will make and distribute care packages to troops as well.

“It has been great to get our SARG community involved,” Rachel says. “Our volunteer events have gotten positive feedback, and we’ve even received personal letters back from the people we’re serving. It’s meaningful to see the impact we’re making.”

Building an inclusive culture

Our Employee Resource Groups help create a more aware, respectful and inclusive workplace.

Learn how

Katrisha Neisse and Rachel Edelman are Securian Financial employees and thus have a financial connection to Securian Financial. Their statements were given freely.

DOFU 11-2020