I have known Steve Fagerquist for 37 years. We went to school together and served on similar ships in the Navy. Over the last quarter century he has achieved great success in Human Resources, and currently is the VP for HR for a billion-dollar-plus worldwide corporation.
I knew all that.
What I didn’t know was that he had developed into an incredibly talented speaker, eager to share his expertise in interviewing and job application techniques with the wounded and injured veterans in the Wyakin Warrior program.
He gave a professional development seminar on Tuesday evening, making some points that will stick for a long, long time.
He told the large audience that physical challenges can be turned into positives with potential employers. In order to overcome a physical challenge, veterans must draw from inner strength and resolve. In his words, “Of course I emerged form the military with a physical challenge. I use the word challenge because that is how I view it, an obstacle to overcome. Here’s how I got this challenge and here is how I have dealt with it.”
Those are magic words.
Just being a veteran has advantages that employers need to know. (His words again): “My military background allowed me to give back and sacrifice for country, provided responsibilities earlier and greater than any civilian job could have at the time, and gave me self-discipline, self-confidence, leadership and teamwork skills, loyalty and drive.”
He taught the Wyakin Warriors how to prepare for an interview, and what types of questions should be expected (and provided appropriate responses to them).
The next day he interviewed each veteran in the program and reviewed their resumes (in most cases the first ones they had ever put together).
He will send the resumes back to the students after he has tailored and smoothed them out. As if that wasn’t enough already, he offered to return again each year to monitor progress in resume writing and interviewing skills.
For all this, he charged zero. He donated to the organization instead.
This wasn’t about friendship. This was about giving back to fellow veterans, and lending expertise where expertise was needed. And in the process, he began to change lives.
We salute you, Mr. Fagerquist. You are our hero of the week.