As we honor our nation’s heroes on Veterans Day, it is vital to recognize and celebrate the contributions of our veteran employees at Leaf Home. These individuals have served their country and continue to make valuable contributions in their roles at our company.
At Leaf Home, we are committed to supporting our military veterans and active service members every day. Through our comprehensive Veterans Program, we proudly recruit, hire, and provide growth opportunities for veterans, recognizing the unique skills and experiences they bring to our team. Beyond this, our dedication to veterans goes outside our company walls with initiatives like our support for Operation Care & Comfort and our donations of products and services to veteran households.
Today, we spotlight two individuals who embody our commitment to veterans – Amanda Snipes, our Corporate Counsel, and Nick Busse, Head of Military & Veteran Recruiting Programs. Their stories are not just about their roles at Leaf Home but also their unique journeys as veterans.
The Unconventional Path of Amanda Snipes, Leaf Home Corporate Counsel
Amanda Snipes’ journey is anything but traditional. She first enlisted in the U.S. Air Force during her law school years in Montgomery, Alabama, after an internship sparked her interest. But instead of enlisting right away, she took an oath in November and began her duties in January, marking the start of an unconventional, non-combat career path.
Her journey led her from Alabama to her first duty station at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, then Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, back to Alabama, and eventually to DC, Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, and Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, NV. Amanda has ultimately returned to her home state of Alabama, where she lives with her husband and three daughters, and continues to serve in the Reserves.
A Multifaceted Legal Career in the Air Force
Throughout her career, Amanda served as an attorney in various capacities, experiencing nearly all aspects of legal work within the Air Force. From prosecuting cases to helping establish the Special Victims Counsel and teaching at the JAG school, Amanda’s journey was diverse and rewarding. Her role was integral in ensuring the force’s readiness by tackling various legal matters, from contract reviews to maintaining discipline.
“I’ve gotten so much experience in thirteen years that you probably wouldn’t get in about thirty years in the civilian world,” said Amanda.
Bridging the Gap: From Military Service to Corporate Success
When it was time for a transition, Amanda took an unconventional route once again. She started as a SkillBridge intern at Leaf Home, a DoD program that helps veterans gain skills for the civilian sector. Although it’s not common for attorneys to take up such internships, Amanda worked remotely as a paralegal intern. She found it rewarding and was excited by the opportunity to contribute and provide value to the company. She is now in her third month as Corporate Counsel at Leaf Home.
Amanda is also part of the VetConnect community at Leaf Home. VetConnect is a platform that provides veterans within the company a space to connect and learn from each other.
“Nick does a wonderful job of leading that up. We meet quarterly, and usually, Nick will bring in a business owner or a veteran to give us a different perspective,” Amanda explains. The community also provides insights on laws and issues affecting veterans.
What It Means to Be a Veteran
Amanda’s perspective on being a veteran is deeply rooted in pride and humility. She takes immense pride in being part of a select group willingly committed to serving their country.
Nick Busse: Championing Veterans at Leaf Home
Nick Busse, our Head of Military & Veteran Recruiting Programs, is a shining example of a veteran championing veterans in the corporate world. Hailing from a small area in Sonoma County, California, Nick’s journey is a testament to his determination and resilience. Married and a father of four, Nick has successfully navigated the path from military service to making a significant impact in the corporate sector.
Deciding to Enlist: A Journey Shaped by Global Events
Nick’s military journey began during a time of personal introspection and uncertainty. The traumatic event of September 11 and the subsequent invasion of Iraq played a crucial role in shaping his decision to enlist when he was 20 years old. He recalls his mixed emotions – excitement, fear, and eventually, immense pride when he raised his right hand to take the oath.
“There’s a lot of mixed emotions when [you enlist]. Excitement was one of the emotions that was going through my mind. Fear was in there because you don’t know what’s next. But, in the end, when you raise your right hand and give that oath in the military entrance processing station, all that goes away, and you feel absolute pride,” Nick said.
Nick’s basic training occurred in Fort Sill, OK, the home of field artillery. His first assignment was in Fort Riley, KS, followed by a year-long deployment in Camp Victory, Baghdad, Iraq. He then moved to Fort Hood, TX, now Fort Cavazos, where he transitioned from the 1st Infantry Division to the 1st Cavalry Division. During this time, he was deployed to Al Nasiriyah and Tallulah Air Base for a year.
Fostering Success: Advice for Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Life
After his combat career ended, Nick became a recruiter. He spent the last seven years of his military career directing recruiting and Digital Lead Acquisition in Northern California’s recruiting battalion.
Nick’s experience has given him a unique perspective on how we can support our veterans better. He emphasizes that veterans are hard workers who bring strong morals and values transferable to the civilian sector.
He recommends networking and building your LinkedIn presence for veterans transitioning back into civilian life. There is a tremendous amount of support among veterans on LinkedIn. He also recommends reaching out to various organizations like:
These platforms offer mentorship programs and services that connect veterans with professionals and like-minded individuals, helping them transition smoothly into the civilian workforce. Nick spotlights a veteran every week on his LinkedIn page. And he has hired his entire team at Leaf Home through the Hiring Our Heroes or SkillBridge programs.
Whether you’re coming home from a deployment or recently leaving the military, Nick says to all veterans, “I want you to understand you are important. You are enough. You are at the beginning of your journey. Look inside and understand that resiliency will be your biggest key to success.”
A New Mission: Building a Veteran Community at Leaf Home
Nick’s journey at Leaf Home began when Joe Leno, Director of Recruiting, contacted him for an interview. Upon joining the team as a recruiter, he worked closely with Sean Laboda, Chief Human Resource Officer, who wanted to invest in the military community within Leaf Home. This initiative has blossomed into a comprehensive program that supports veterans and recognizes and harnesses their unique qualities.
What It Means to Be a Veteran
When asked about his interpretation of being a U.S. veteran, Nick emphasized that it varies for each individual, depending on their unique experiences. He believes that veterans exemplify a spirit of resilience and uphold values such as honor, integrity, and sacrifice. They demonstrate an unwavering commitment to supporting fellow veterans and inspire others to foster stronger, more resilient communities.
However, in Nick’s view, the essence of being a veteran “Is leading by example, embodying American values and traditions.”
Celebrating Our Veterans Every Day
Leaf Home is immensely grateful and proud to have veterans like Amanda Snipes and Nick Busse on our team. Their journeys serve as an inspiration, proving that unconventional paths can lead to a rewarding career. Their stories also highlight how the skills and values acquired during military service are transferable and highly valuable in the civilian workforce.
We continue to be committed to creating an inclusive and supportive environment for our veteran employees, recognizing their unique qualities and potential. Through initiatives like VetConnect, we aim to provide resources and opportunities that help veterans make a smooth and successful transition into the corporate world.
At Leaf Home, we believe in the power of people and, particularly, the power of our veterans. Let us continue to learn from their stories and celebrate their successes.