Hiring Our Heroes: How EA is helping ex-military transition to civilian life. (2024)

Transitioning out of the military and into civilian life can be a struggle. For many of its members, the military has become embedded into their lives both personally and professionally, and the idea of leaving can cause anxiety and uncertainty.

This is why EA is a proud host company with the Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) program, which helps bridge the gap between the civilian-military divide within the business community. The service provides three primary tools to accomplish this mission: hosting hiring events, running fellowship programs for veterans to gain hands-on experience, and providing education and networking opportunities.

Recently, two remarkable hires have made their journey from military life into EA, bringing with them a wealth of knowledge and skills that will improve our company and provide them with a pathway into our industry.

Hiring Our Heroes: How EA is helping ex-military transition to civilian life. (1)
Hiring Our Heroes: How EA is helping ex-military transition to civilian life. (2)

Meet Aaron Johnson, former Special Forces and now an Associate Game Manager at Ripple Effect.

Aaron Johnson was born and raised in Atlanta. At 19 years old, the young man chose to join the military. This decision would lead to a two-decade-long career that took him around the world.

New York and North Carolina. Italy and Japan. Afghanistan and more. Years spent in each place as he grew his skillset, working his way up from an operator to a team sergeant in the Special Forces, to becoming a small unit tactics instructor.

“I was there to manage the assault force and maneuver them on the ground at first,” says Johnson. “And so when I was on the other side of that, I was the guy leading the charge somewhere. And I came back as a small unit tactics instructor. It's a course where we teach the fundamentals of shooting, movement, communication, medical aid, and sustainment. We teach them how to do that in a combat environment as well as behind enemy lines.”

Yet despite his storied career in the military, the gaming industry always piqued Johnson’s interest. And so when he was ready to move on from the military, he was thrilled when he saw EA was a host company with the HOH program.

“I wanted to be part of the Battlefield team as much as I wanted to be a Green Beret,” says Johnson. “When I got placed on that team, I cried tears of joy.”

On one of his first deployments to Afghanistan, Johnson brought an Xbox. At first, the team poked fun at him. A month later, they were all wanting to play together. To Johnson, the power of games shone brightly in that deployment, as it was an integral tool he used to bond with his team.

Fast-forward to today, and Johnson is loving his role at EA. It’s one he’s grateful for, especially after the struggles of transitioning out of military life.

“I was a little nervous to leave, to be honest with you. Most members transitioning don't like to talk about it. But we feel like we're coming into something new. And you have all these experienced people and question yourself, like, are you worthy to be there, you know, and that's something we all go through. I went through it.”

Yet, through the support of the team at EA and the HOH program, Johnson is thrilled to be part of Ripple Effect, the studio helping shape the next iteration of the Battlefield franchise.

“It's been quite a journey. I wouldn't be sitting here in front of y'all if I didn't have teammates that always pushed me to be the best version of me.”

Hiring Our Heroes: How EA is helping ex-military transition to civilian life. (3)

Meet Madison Daugherty, former military officer turned Battlefield Product Manager.

Madison Daugherty has worn a lot of hats–both literally and figuratively. From her first job as an enlisted military police soldier, to advancing her career into a logistics officer and battalion operations officer, to today where she is now a part of the Battlefield team as a Product Manager.

For Daugherty, the path forward has always been about challenging herself and seeing where life leads. This mindset took her around the world, including Romania, Latvia, Bulgaria, and Germany.

“I was in the Third Infantry Division in Savannah, Georgia, where I had my first job as the distribution platoon leader for the assault helicopter battalion encompassing more than 30 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.,” says Daugherty. “The best way to describe it is as the most expensive mobile gas station you've ever seen. In that capacity, my soldiers and I were responsible for all petroleum refuel and ammunition resupply missions for the battalion.”

However, after years of working with the military, Daugherty finally felt the itch to move on. But when it came to making that first step back into civilian life, she just didn’t know how.

Hiring Our Heroes: How EA is helping ex-military transition to civilian life. (4)

“I wanted to start solving different problems, and see where life would take me. But I wasn’t sure how to start–there’s a lot of anxiety and uncertainty when making this choice. Luckily, I found the Hiring Our Heroes program,” says Daugherty.

“I just truly don't think I was prepared for the insane depth and breadth of talent across the industry, and especially here in our team. I am truly impressed every single day.”

Through HOH, Daugherty was connected to and ultimately offered a three-month fellowship with EA’s Battlefield team. For her, it was the perfect opportunity–she got to transition to a private company, and at the same time, she could offer invaluable insights to support the development of the game itself. After all, she lived it.

“I have been able to give good feedback on what realistic military stuff looks like,” says Daugherty. “We've put together executive summaries on military realism.”

After her three-month fellowship, Daugherty was hired full-time by Ripple Effect. Her work is helping make the next generation of Battlefield the best possible game.

“Veterans have unique experiences and can really synergize teams well.”

Building the bridge between the civilian-veteran divide

Hiring Our Heroes: How EA is helping ex-military transition to civilian life. (5)

EA joined HOH in large part thanks to veteran Mack Ohlinger, who himself has become a Senior Product Manager at our organization. He has long been passionate about the program and has seen the value veterans could bring to a company such as EA.

“Veterans have unique experiences and can really synergize teams well,” says Mack. “They are drivers. If you point them in the right direction, they have an enormous amount of energy and initiative. This can improve how the team feels about themselves, the product, and the velocity of everything propels forward.”

Aaron and Madison are already making significant strides within the Battlefield team, showcasing exemplary passion and skill that promises to elevate our teams and world-class games. And we are thrilled to see where they go from here.

Ready to make your play? Join EA to help us change the game.

Hiring Our Heroes: How EA is helping ex-military transition to civilian life. (2024)


How to successfully transition from military to civilian life? ›

Grow a Resilient Support System: Establishing a resilient support system is paramount as you navigate the intricate transition process. Rely on the unwavering support of family, friends, and veteran resources during challenging times, drawing on emotional and practical assistance.

What services do veterans need to transition to civilian life? ›

Military OneSource Services for Transitioning to Civilian Life
  • Transitioning Veterans Specialty Consultation.
  • Military and Family Life Counseling.
  • Resilience Tools.

What are the difficulties transitioning from military to civilian life? ›

A Veteran may have to learn how to get a doctor, dentist, life insurance, etc. These services were previously provided by the military. A Veteran may also need to navigate the paperwork and process of obtaining benefits and services from the Department of Veteran Affairs.

What is the military to civilian transition theory? ›

Framed within the social identity approach, military transition theory posits these factors are vital to effectively navigate identity and social change in support of wellbeing across all phases of transition from military to civilian life.

What is military-to-civilian transition? ›

Military-to-Civilian Transition defined:

a psychological and cultural evolution. a path to reorientation and self-definition. a move from a collectivist to individualist community. a culture shock for veterans and their families that have negative impact on experiences.

How does joining the military help your civilian career? ›

For many service members, the Military serves as a foundation of skills and experience that translate into civilian careers. In addition to government programs that provide transition assistance, many organizations also provide employment resources and opportunities for those who are returning to civilian life.

Why is it hard to transition from military to civilian? ›

The civilian sector can be interpersonally competitive and self-promoting, which is hard to step into after self-sacrifice and fellowship has been drilled into your mind. Even more so, working on a mission or for a cause greater than oneself is obviously tough to replace.

How to translate military skills to civilian? ›

Translating Military Skills and Experience

Focus on Transferable Skills: Highlight skills gained in the military that are highly valued in the civilian workforce, such as leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, and adaptability. Quantify Achievements: This is where many veterans can truly shine.

Does the military help you transition? ›

The Defense Department Transition Assistance Program has information, tools and training to prepare you and your family for your military-to-civilian transition. Find your nearest Transition Assistance Program office. Transition Assistance offices are on most military installations in the United States and overseas.

What are the major barriers facing veteran transition from military to civilian workforce? ›

Many unique factors play into the challenges that veterans face after leaving the military, but it is important to know that this is a major adjustment period that can lead to mental health struggles, including depression, substance abuse, and thoughts of suicide.

What are the perceived needs of veterans transitioning from the military to civilian life? ›

Veterans identified several needs, including improved access to care, mental health and substance use counseling, and preparedness for adjustment and economical/financial issues.

What three services veterans need to successfully return to civilian life? ›

Services for veterans include reintegrating them back into society, animal companionship expository therapy, and veteran career opportunities are crucial needs when returning home. Veterans Mental Health A soldier's mental health is crucial when transitioning to civilian life.

How can you transition from military to civilian with a career? ›

Take an employment workshop. Get referrals for employment agencies and recruiters, job leads, career counseling and computer access for online job searches. Transition assistance offices have a wealth of services. You can also visit the DOL's Transition Assistance Program website for more resources.

What is the military to civilian readiness pathway? ›

The Military to Civilian Readiness Pathway (M2C Ready) initiative encompasses a network of related programs and support services that begin while the individual is still in uniform and supports through transition to Veteran status.

What is the meaning of civilian life? ›

Civilian life refers to the daily activities, experiences, and conditions of non-military individuals during a time of war. It encompasses how regular people are affected by conflict and its aftermath.

How do I transfer my military experience to civilian? ›

Translating Military Skills to Civilian Jobs: Tools and Tips
  1. — Gather Your History.
  2. — Utilize Online Tools.
  3. — Consider Using a Hybrid Resume Format.
  4. — Include Your Awards and Honors.
  5. — Lose the Jargon.
  6. — Consider Freelance or Volunteer Work.

Is transitioning out of the military hard? ›

“Whether it's a short stint in the military or a career, it can be a tough transition in those first weeks and months – and even years – after finishing your service,” she says.

How to transition out of the military? ›

Begin the process of getting out of the military, which includes informing your unit and command while starting all the relevant paperwork and taking all the transition assistance classes offered or required. You may even be assigned a counselor.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Virgilio Hermann JD

Last Updated:

Views: 6289

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Virgilio Hermann JD

Birthday: 1997-12-21

Address: 6946 Schoen Cove, Sipesshire, MO 55944

Phone: +3763365785260

Job: Accounting Engineer

Hobby: Web surfing, Rafting, Dowsing, Stand-up comedy, Ghost hunting, Swimming, Amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Virgilio Hermann JD, I am a fine, gifted, beautiful, encouraging, kind, talented, zealous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.