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Military Veteran Leadership Development Programs at Johnson & Johnson: 6 Differentiators
Military Veteran Leadership Development Programs at Johnson & Johnson: 6 Differentiators

The Military Veteran Leadership Development Program (MVLDP) and the Experienced Military Veteran Leadership Development Program (EMVLDP) are our flagship programs for high-potential veterans at Johnson & Johnson—they’re how some of the best, brightest and most capable military veterans transition into purpose-driven careers on our team.

Of course, there are multiple career pathways for the military-connected community at Johnson & Johnson, of which the MVLDP and EMVLDP are only one. But here’s what makes them so unique.

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Military veterans bring so many strengths to the table: leadership, awareness, vision. The best and the brightest will find that the Military Veteran Leadership Development Program and the Experienced Military Veteran Leadership Development Program are also in a class of their own.

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1. Two Different Programs, Based on Your Level of Experience

  • Mike transitioned from United States Navy Captain...
  • ... to Director, Strategic Business Improvement
    at Johnson & Johnson.

The MVLDP and the EMVLDP share a lot in common: They’re both best-in-class rotational accelerated development programs for military veterans—officer and enlisted—who are transitioning, or have recently transitioned, from military to civilian careers. They’re both 18 months in duration. And participants in both programs will be eligible to graduate into full-time roles aligned to their aspirations and readiness, as well as business needs.

But these programs also differ in a few important respects, primarily based on your level of experience.

  • • Our general management program for military veterans who have approximately five to 10 years of military service
    • Consists of three six-month rotational assignments at the manager level
  • • Our director-level development program for military veterans who have a minimum of 20 years of military service and significant leadership experience (E-8 and 0-5 and above)
    • Consists of two nine-month rotational assignments at the director level
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I worried there wasn’t a 'conveyor belt' into the private sector for experienced leaders with military backgrounds. I think I also didn’t realize just how important the intrinsic sense of purpose that comes with military service was for me. But the stars really have aligned with Johnson & Johnson—I'm in a place where my interests and experiences align perfectly.

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2. Rotational Structure

  • Lindsey, a West Point grad (like our Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky) and former United States Army officer...
  • ... is now an MVLDP alumnus and Global Communications & Public Affairs Manager, Global Public Health.

Not so unlike the United States military, Johnson & Johnson is a large and complex organization. We have more than 130,000 employees globally, and their work influences health outcomes for people everywhere.

Given that scale and mission, where do you think you would be best positioned to make an impact?

The rotational structure of the MVLDP and the EMVLDP helps you figure that out.

Matt, a West Point grad, former Armor officer and one-time General’s Aide-de-Camp in the United States Army, put it this way: "These programs have been carefully designed to facilitate your transition from the military into a meaningful, purpose-filled civilian career. For me personally, one of the most exciting things about the MVLDP is the fact that you’re deployed to a completely new environment every six months.”

For the young United States Army veteran, perhaps that part felt a little bit familiar. Participants in both programs also get specialized onboarding and training, and ongoing engagement with senior-level managers, too.

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When you're transitioning from the military into a civilian career, you may feel that you don’t know enough about the private sector. However, Johnson & Johnson recognizes the unique leadership skills that veterans bring to the healthcare industry and how the combination of service and values leads to amazing synergies. The company is willing to invest in us so that we can use our talents for the good of our patients and society.

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3. Cross-Functional and Cross-Sector Exposure

  • Matt, a West Point grad and former United States Army officer...
  • ... is now an MVLDP alumnus and a sales leader in our Pharmaceutical sector. "I know I can make a difference," he said.

Cross-functional and cross-sector learning is another part of the DNA of both the MVLDP and the EMVLDP.

Based on your background, interests and areas of expertise, you’ll be exposed to a wide range of corporate functions, from supply chain to business development, procurement to marketing, sales to operations, finance to IT—and just about everything in between. Meanwhile, you’ll also have opportunities to work across our three business sectors: Consumer Health, Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices.

That was a big draw for Kathleen, a former United States Air Force officer and current participant in the MVLDP.

"As a military veteran," she pointed out, "you don't know what civilian work is like, and what the differences are, until you're sitting there doing it. For me, I really liked the idea that I could try out three different areas, and see where I fit, before deciding on a functional area or sector for my full-time role."

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These programs give you great cross-functional and cross-sector exposure, which accelerates your growth and enables you to figure out where you want to work—and where you can make the most impact.

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4. Direct Pathways Into the Business

  • After 10 years and two deployments, Steve wanted more time to focus on family life.
  • Today, the West Point grad, former United States Army officer and current MVLDP participant is making an impact on the front lines of health.

At the end of the day, no two MVLDP journeys are exactly the same, but think of both the MVLDP and the EMVLDP as 18 months of hands-on preparation for your future career path at Johnson & Johnson. Graduates of the program are now in leadership roles across our enterprise, including Marketing, Supply Chain, Communications, Sales, Global Brand Protection, Human Resources and Acquisitions and Divestitures—just to name a few.

And no matter which path you choose, the goal will always be the same: changing the future of human health everywhere, for everyone, for good.

"These programs bring you into Johnson & Johnson at a level that’s commensurate with the responsibilities you had in the military,” explained Mike, an EMVLDP member and former United States Navy Captain.

And why shouldn’t they? For Mike, who came to Johnson & Johnson with 25 years of military leadership experience—not to mention an academic career spanning UPenn, Georgetown, Oxford and the U.S. Naval War College, where he was valedictorian—that was a big differentiator.

“It isn't the level or the title that ultimately matters,” he added, “but the impact you’ve been trained to make as a leader. Since 1995, I've been leading people while also learning from them, which is exactly what the EMVLDP is all about. That’s one of my strengths. The United States Navy groomed and grew it, and it's built into the structure of this program."

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You know that you’re going to be eligible to enter Johnson & Johnson in a manager- or director-level role, but you aren’t pigeonholed at all. Instead, people are constantly asking you, 'What are you passionate about? What do you want to learn? Where do you want to go?'

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5. Mission, Purpose and Values Come First 

  • Cesar worried, "All these years I'd been lacing up my boots in the morning knowing that what I did that day mattered—I didn't want to lose that."
  • He hasn't. In fact, the current EMVLDP participant and 26-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps is finding less change than continuity.

Working in the private sector differs in some respects from military life, to be sure, which is one of the things that worried Cesar. For all that he had seen in 26 years of service with the United States Marine Corps, the idea of retiring from the military left him feeling nervous.

"It might sound weird,” he recalled, “but I started missing the Marines even before I had retired. It's like I wasn't looking forward to the end, because I knew what a void that could leave in my chest. For all of these years, I had been lacing up my boots in the morning knowing that what I did that day mattered. I didn't want to lose that."

Nothing weird about it. On the contrary, concerns like this are common. Kathleen, for example, worried she was leaving behind “the kind of purpose-filled work that motivates you to get out of bed every morning” by transitioning to a civilian career.

Yet what Cesar and Kathleen have found since joining our EMVLDP and MVLDP, respectively, is exactly the opposite. Community. Camaraderie. A commitment to excellence and culture of service. Mission- and purpose-driven work clearly guided by Our Credo.

Not so much change, in other words, as continuity.

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Military training is an unparalleled opportunity for leadership and management skills. And while I can still remember some of the challenges I faced early on in my transition, I felt prepared because of the skills I learned through this program. It allowed me to tap into my passion and find my purpose.

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6. Support From Our Military-Connected Community

  • Kathleen, a former United States Air Force officer here on a decidedly domestic deployment...
  • ... is now part of the "revolution going on with data" as an MVLDP participant at Johnson & Johnson.

As signature veterans programs for the enterprise, the MVLDP and EMVLDP are immersive learning experiences: You’ll not only take on new challenges but be challenged to grow. And a key part of that is ensuring all of our participants are supported every step of the way.

So you should expect to be mentored throughout your journey, simply for starters. Other things to expect: buddy sponsorship, networking opportunities, a robust curriculum focused on programmatic development as well as employee benefits specifically designed for the military-connected community. Plus, you’ll gain access to the Johnson & Johnson Veterans Leadership Council, our award-winning Employee Resource Group for the military-connected community.

Throughout the experience, you’ll see firsthand why we were recently named a 2021 Military Friendly® Employer, among our many other military-connected accolades.

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The MVLDP is unique in that, with the support of the program office and our sponsors, you have the flexibility to find or even create the perfect job for you based on your skills and passions as well as the needs of the business. It’s truly a win-win.

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Join Forces With Johnson & Johnson

Ready to connect the leadership skills you built in the military with a meaningful, purpose-driven civilian career? To improve the lives of patients? To help us actually change the future of human health for good—and for everyone, everywhere?

If so, stay tuned! We'll be posting the next batch of MVLDP and EMVLDP job listings soon. In the meantime, be sure to sign up for our Global Talent Hub. It's a great way to stay in touch, learn more about our culture at Johnson & Johnson and even get updates about jobs that might interest you in the future.


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