In 2020, Nouryon joined with American Corporate Partners (ACP), the only nationwide veteran mentorship program that offers year-long, customized one-on-one career counseling and networking opportunities between seasoned corporate mentors and transitioning service members and active duty military spouses. The partnership builds a pipeline of mentorships with veterans looking for career opportunities once they leave the service.
Nouryon’s mentors, leaders from various levels of the organization including the CEO, senior leaders, and line managers, help military members connect their active duty experiences to a business career after service. They work with veterans on everything from translating their experience into a business language that corporations can understand, to helping them search for and gain meaningful employment. Each Nouryon mentor donates approximately one hour per month to individually speak to or meet with their veteran protégé who receives the guidance pro bono. An added benefit of the ACP mentorship program is that Nouryon has a first-hand opportunity to see what talents might fit with job openings and corporate culture.
Randy Conner, Nouryon’s Chief Information Security Officer, is former military who served in both the Army and Air Force over 12 years. Randy is an ACP Mentor and is working with Vickie, who will retire from the Air Force after more than 23 years of service.
“Veterans have a lot to offer and ACP’s mentorships help the Protégé shine the best light on their skills when they transition to the private sector,” said Randy. “I’m helping Vickie -tune her resume, bolster her LinkedIn profile, know what to look for in a private sector job, and how to market herself better. It’s helpful to see what veterans go through when they exit service. If you haven’t served, mentoring a veteran can help you gain a better understanding of what they bring to an organization and what their challenges are so you know what to look for when you’re hiring.”
Nouryon mentor Meg Jones, General Counsel for the company’s Performance Formulations segment and Americas region, has participated in mentorships throughout her career. “I’ve been involved on both sides of mentorships, and have gained a lot of important insights,” she said. “The veterans I’ve worked with really understand execution. The skill sets developed in the military are transferable to most businesses, but the service is not always the first place employers look,” she added.
Meg met her ACP Protégé Wendy in 2021 and the two have developed a great rapport that has benefited both of them. “Wendy’s time in the Air Force has given her a wealth of experience that can easily transfer into the business world. She and I have talked about different interview styles, which aren’t always obvious when your experience has only been the military. Meeting her has given me a greater appreciation for the women and men who serve,” added Meg. “We started working together to help Wendy hone her interview skills and I am elated to say that she just accepted a high-level position with Facebook’s security team. What an amazing achievement for such an accomplished servicewoman!”
Joe Ferrara, Global Product Director, Performance Formulations, is another Nouryon mentor located in the Radnor office. He enjoys mentoring veterans and getting to know people who served in the military who had an experience that was different from his.
“The things I’ve learned in my career and built upon through experience aren’t the same for someone in the military,” he said. “My Protégé, Cody, is a helicopter mechanic. It’s been really exciting getting to know Cody and his experience and learning about what he’s most interested in post-military. I don’t get to talk about helicopters every day, so we’ve been teaching each other,” Joe said. “Cody and I talk about what he wants to do next, and I’m helping him discover what his career path can be and how he owns his career by putting one foot forward and seeking out opportunities. He’s working on that and I’m happy to see him taking these steps.”
Randy, Meg and Joe all encourage their fellow Nouryon employees to sign up to mentor with ACP. “It’s not a huge time commitment and it’s super rewarding,” said Meg. “You don’t have to be an executive or senior leader to be a great mentor; everyone has experience that is valuable to share.”
Randy added, “I am impressed with the professionalism, support, and follow-up with ACP. I’ve been part of mentorship programs before and this is the most organized. It’s easy to support veterans this way.”
“I’ll definitely apply for another protégé after Cody, I’ve learned so much from him!” stated Joe.