A decorated former Corporal Marine Corps veteran, Alicia Gomez began her career at Advantage Solutions in June 2021 as a senior recruiter. She also enjoyed a brief stint as a program manager before organizational changes opened the door to her current role as systems coordinator. Now she helps to organize events for some of the top retailers in the country. As part of our celebration for National Veterans and Military Families Month and our Warrior Support Crew (WSC) employee resource group, we spoke with Alicia about how her military background and involvement with the WSC has been valuable for her personally and professionally.
Share a little bit about your military career.
I am a Marine Corps veteran. I’m the only sibling who went to the Marine Corps; my brothers either went to the Army or the Air Force. I’m proud about that, too. You really have to have some gumption to make it through. When I went in 1995 it was still a man’s world. They’ve changed a bit, but when you think about the Marine Corps you don’t really think about women, you think about men, and you must fight for what you want in there.
My rank was Corporal and I worked in the Commanding General’s Office or Headquarters Battalion at each duty station. I was stationed in Camp Lejeune (North Carolina), Camp Pendleton (California) and Okinawa, Japan. Headquarters Battalion is like HR in the civilian world. I used to maintain service records and update manuals, policies and procedures. I transferred what I learned in the Marine Corps into the civilian world; interacting with employees is my passion, and my background in HR and recruiting relates to work I did while I was in the Marine Corps.
What skills did you learn in the service that have helped you be successful in your career?
Being relatable to all different types of people is important. In the Marine Corps, it is important that you can work with either women or men with different backgrounds as a team. You had to be able to relate to everybody in the workplace. This has helped me in my career, especially because I enjoy interacting with and assisting my peers/team.
What professional advice could you share from your experiences, either from the military or here at Advantage?
I would say, keep an open mind. The Marine Corps taught me to adapt and overcome because change is inevitable. Be open to constructive criticism and be able to adapt to changes because they’re going to happen in your career and personal life.
We learn and grow through change. I don’t like to be stagnant, whether that be my career or personally. Once I reach a plateau, I need to learn and do something more. That’s something about Advantage that I truly appreciate — they’re good about trying to keep their talent and being transparent. I’ve formed connections and have strong allies that helped me realize that it is okay to take a step back to learn something new and step out of my comfort zone. I think a lot of times we continue in our career paths because it is what we know and are comfortable with. The more I learn about Advantage and different departments will help further my career.
How does the Warrior Support Crew support Veterans?
One of the most important things it offers is a safe place for Veterans. I really enjoy the Coffee Chats; they’re not recorded, and you’re able to talk freely and get advice. I truly enjoy that, and I think a lot of other vVeterans do as well.
I remember one Coffee Chat when I shared that any time I ask about a Veteran’s discount, businesses automatically assume it’s my husband and not me who is the Veteran. It helped me realize a lot of other women go through the same struggles as I go through.
The Warrior Support Crew also puts out a lot of resources for Veterans. They go above and beyond to make sure that we have guest speakers who are relatable and I enjoy the events that WSC puts together for us. They also try to provide as much information and resources as they can for us Veterans and I appreciate that.
Alicia, it was a pleasure speaking with you. Thank you for your service and your continued involvement with Veterans.