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“Supporting Veterans Is Part of My DNA”: Erica’s Leadership Journey “Supporting Veterans Is Part of My DNA”: Erica’s Leadership Journey

West Point grad. Aviation Officer in the U.S. Army. White House Fellow with the Obama administration. Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs. When Erica says, “Supporting veterans is part of my DNA,” she really means it.

Here’s how she’s doing it today as Enterprise Co-Chair of the Veterans Leadership Council (VLC), our award-winning Employee Resource Group (ERG) for a broadly inclusive community of veterans, current service members, military families and spouses, veteran caregivers and allies.

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We've built a community for everyone—a place to champion, celebrate, and educate all who are interested in the military-connected community.

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Reuniting With the Military-Connected Community

What first put Johnson & Johnson on Erica’s radar? The former Blackhawk helicopter pilot recalled, “I was totally sold on the organization from the moment I learned about Our Credo”—the values and priorities guiding everything we do at Johnson & Johnson—"and from there, it was the mission, the people, the reach.”


Opportunities to participate in ERGs like the VLC didn’t hurt, either.

“I loved my time in the Army, so when I got out, I still wanted to stay connected to that community,” Erica said. “I guess the rest is history.”

Well, not quite.

For one thing, Erica is actively shaping our activities and engagements targeting the military-connected community today as Enterprise Co-Chair of the VLC. But it didn’t start out that way.

“I joined the VLC almost as soon as I came to Johnson & Johnson, and at first, I was put in charge of the ‘Special Projects’, so I was helping to bring in speakers, helping to plan our annual VLC Summit, that kind of thing,” she said.

Taking charge during the past year, with COVID-19 restrictions loosening, has been particularly meaningful for Erica.

“Our annual VLC Summit is something that I know everyone in the VLC looks forward to,” she explained, “because veterans have a certain camaraderie, a certain way of working, that may be unique to our community, and I find it to be really powerful. 2022 was the first time in three years that we were all able to get together in person.”

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We strive to strengthen our employee community by empowering veterans, service members and military families. We're helping them reach their full potential while addressing the unique health and wellness needs of the veteran community.

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Finding Inclusive and Empowering Resources

There are 14 enterprise-wide ERGs at Johnson & Johnson, of which the VLC is one. And while these voluntary, employee-led groups may be organized around shared identities, affinities and experiences, there’s nothing exclusive about them.


Far from it.

“If I could pound the table about anything, it’s that allies—people outside of the military-connected community—are incredibly important,” Erica said. “You shouldn’t hesitate to join the African Ancestry Leadership Council because you aren’t Black, for example, or the Women’s Leadership & Inclusion ERG because you aren’t a woman, right? So, it’s the same with the VLC, and I want people to know that. This is a community for everyone. It’s a place to champion, celebrate, and educate all who are interested in the military-connected community.”

Still, she recognizes that members of the military-connected community do get something special out of it.

“When you’re working at an organization that’s as large as Johnson & Johnson, ERGs like the VLC can take things down to a micro level. They give you a chance to meet people all across the enterprise and see different parts of the business in an especially comfortable, supportive environment, since you’re all working collaboratively on things that you care about. It’s a way to connect with colleagues, develop professionally, and get to know peers and senior leaders across the enterprise.”

The sheer breadth of the VLC itself may also be a surprise for newcomers. There’s one chapter of the group specifically for members of the U.S. National Guard and Reserve, for example, and another for military spouses. There is even a chapter in the United Kingdom, which underscores the special relationship between and among service members in allied nations, as well their communities of supporters.

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Our Credo is literally etched in stone, and it serves as a constant reminder of the values we live and breathe every day.

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Joining Forces With Johnson & Johnson

Want to see for yourself what our support for the military-connected community looks like in practice? Or why the VLC itself has been named a “Best in Class” ERG by Diversity Best Practices? Check out all of the job opportunities we’re hiring for right now.

In the interim, be sure to join our global talent community as well. It’s an easy way to stay in touch, learn more about life at Johnson & Johnson and even get updates about jobs that might interest you in the future.

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