On Tuesday night (3 December), members of the Armed Forces community came together to celebrate the Scottish Ex-Forces in Business Awards at the Double Tree Hilton in Glasgow. We caught up with Graham Allison, winner of the Outstanding Achiever of the Year award, to find out how veterans can get ahead in business.
Every year, the Ex-Forces in Business Awards take place at two separate ceremonies – one in England and one in Scotland – to recognise the fantastic achievements of veterans who have launched their civilian career in business.
Winners this year came from a diverse range of backgrounds, but all had one thing in common: they had proudly served their country, and had used the skills picked up in the military to their advantage when they returned to civilian life.
Graham Allison, general manager at Amazon, was recognised for his achievements with the company. He joined Amazon in 2012, after five years in the Royal Navy.
Congratulations to Graham Allison, General Manager at our Dunfermline fulfilment centre, who won Outstanding Achiever of the Year at the Scottish @exforcesawards last night! pic.twitter.com/KwwaI5ybG4
— AmazonNewsUK (@AmazonNewsUK) December 4, 2019
“Finding employment opportunities was a little bit overwhelming as I was coming up to my leaving date,” Graham says. “I wasn’t 100 per cent sure what I wanted to do, so I reached out to a couple of organisations and some people who’d left before me. I spoke to the Officer’s Association and one of the things they suggested I look into doing was a Masters in Business Administration (MBA).”
Graham completed his MBA, and it was during his studies that he met recruiters from Amazon, who were eager to employ not only MBA students, but ex-service personnel, too.
“I joined Amazon on their Pathways programme, which is a fast-track scheme for MBAs,” Graham continues. “Amazon as a company lines up really well with the military ethos and values. They’re comfortable making changes and doing things quickly. The company has a very strong culture, similar to the military.”
The award ceremony on Tuesday (3 December) was hosted by JJ Chalmers, a former Royal Marine Commando who has competed at the Invictus Games and now works in the media industry.
Delighted to be hosting this evenings Scottish Ex-Forces in Business Awards.
— JJ Chalmers (@JJChalmersRM) December 3, 2019
“Being nominated was a bit of a surprise to be honest,” Graham admits. “You’re just going about doing your day to day job and then you find out you’ve been shortlisted. Looking at some of the other candidates, there are a lot of impressive people working in great companies, doing exciting things.”
Time in service equips you with skills and experiences that are highly sought after on the civilian job-market, making veterans the perfect candidates for business roles.
“It’s good to show other people who are thinking about transitioning from the Forces that you can be successful outside,” Graham enthuses. “I had a few of my Navy friends with me on Tuesday and their eyes were opened to the wide world of business.”
Nominations for 2020 are now open. Head to the Ex-Forces in Business Awards website to find out more.
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