Leading the Way

Veteran profile: Medina-Avalos learned empathy in service

Andres Medina-Avalos, customer service specialist in the Contact Center, has been with Colonial Life for two years.

Here in a Q&A with WorkLife, he talks about the many core values he learned during his time in the Army, in addition to empathy, which he now applies daily in the Contact Center.

WorkLife: Which branch did you serve? Tell us about your military career.

Medina-Avalos: I served four years in active duty Army, stationed in Fort Bragg, N.C. with the 82 Combat Aviation Brigade, which is within the 82 Airborne Division. I left the military in September 2014.

WorkLife: How has the transition from the military to corporate America been and has Colonial Life made it easy?

Medina-Avalos: At the beginning, the transition was tough. The hardest task was to communicate military experience to applicable civilian experience. Luckily, Colonial Life made it easy during the hiring process by having a veteran who was a manager, along with another non-military manager, during the interview process. Both got an understanding of my experience in the military and how it translated to civilian aspects of the position I interviewed for.

WorkLife: What did your time in the military teach you and how are you applying what you learned to your corporate life?

Medina-Avalos: In the Army, we have seven core values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. But, the thing I learned the most with my time in the military, specifically in the Honor Guard, was empathy. And being in the Contact Center, empathy goes a long way.

WorkLife: What impressed you about Colonial Life?

Medina-Avalos: Colonial Life’s environment impressed me most. It’s very different, as you would expect, from the structured environment of the military. There is no “chain of command” to follow when you want to gain knowledge within the company. It’s a very open door policy here and that is hard to come by.

WorkLife: Is there anything else about your military career that you’d like to share?

Medina-Avalos: While serving, I had the great opportunity to be a part of my unit’s honor team for about one and a half years. Within that time, my honor team served at eight active duty funerals for fallen soldiers in combat, in addition to serving at 28 retired/veteran funerals. What we did was very inspiring, humbling and honoring.