This Veterans Day, we are proud to extend our thanks and deep appreciation to the brave men and women who have served the United States, and to those who continue to serve.
“At Cardinal Health, we recognize that those who serve in the military are mission-driven and have incredibly valuable leadership skills that translate to the workplace,” said Craig Cowman, executive vice president, strategic sourcing and manufacturer services, and executive sponsor of the company’s Veterans and Military Advocates Network (VMA) employee resource group. “We also recognize that veterans and active military personnel benefit from peer support and that of allies and advocates – which is exactly what the VMA provides.”
The VMA is an inclusive organization whose members continue the spirit of service by supporting one another, the Cardinal Health mission of improving lives every day, and various veteran causes in the communities where we live and work. “It’s a privilege for me to help honor veterans and current military personnel through my support of the VMA,” Cowman said.
Cardinal Health honors veterans through our hiring practices: Our talent acquisition teams and our business leaders regularly attend events focused on veteran recruitment and networking. We actively recruit veterans through job boards for the military and returning veterans.
In addition, the VMA created a Veterans Professional Advancement Course (VPAC), a professional development and mentoring program offered at no cost to separated and soon-to-be separated service members and their spouses who are seeking employment. VPAC is designed to provide the skills to successfully transition into the civilian workplace. Once veterans have been through the program, their resumes are pushed to the top of hiring managers’ candidate slates.
Today, in celebration of veterans and active service people everywhere, we shine a light on four employees, all of whom are leaders of our VMA. “These folks work tirelessly on behalf of our customers every day, and, at the same time, support other veterans and active service people,” Cowman said. “Their stories and their commitment to our country, our company and to each other are inspiring.”
Ali Albers, technology product delivery manager, OptiFreight Logistics; VMA co-chair
Ali Albers served in the military for 20 years before joining Cardinal Health. Early in her military career, she provided security in Nicaragua, then joined the 82nd Airborne Division as a commissioned officer where she was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. Later, she joined the National Guard.
Serving my country confirmed in me the ideals of accountability, humility and trust. My military responsibilities supported a mission and vision, and occasionally, my life and others’ were at stake: What I did mattered.
Whenever I encountered a challenge, I reminded myself that thousands had done it before me, and thousands will do it after me. I found personal courage and conviction, becoming a leader who fully understood the often-used military phrase, “mission first, people always” – getting the job done while simultaneously taking care of each other.
I joined Cardinal Health seven years ago; working here has been an amazing experience. I’ve had the opportunity of holding various positions across multiple disciplines, which has only fueled my passion for learning. Because Cardinal Health is a large, matrixed organization, change is a constant; many opportunities and challenges come with change. This is true in the military, too, where what’s in one day may be out the next, and that taught me resiliency and adaptability, and prepared me for both direct and indirect impacts of organizational and policy change.
I particularly appreciate our leaders’ commitment to building a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), which includes veterans and active service members. I want to support that culture by engaging VMA members in sites and facilities across the country – there should be room for participation outside of our headquarters, and we are focused on increasing awareness around the world and creating a bias for action to support veterans.
Joe Hanke, manager, global finance and part of the pharmaceutical rebates team; co-chair of the VMA’s National Guard and Reserve Liaison subcommittee
Joe Hanke has served in the Ohio Army National Guard for 16 years; he joined Cardinal Health six years ago. As an active member of the Guard, he works to balance his military training obligations with his professional career at Cardinal Health. He’s been deployed three times, including to Iraq and the National Capital Region.
Serving in the Ohio Army National Guard has allowed me to give back to my community and my country in many ways. It has also given me the sense of being a part of something bigger than myself, which has inspired me to continue to serve.
I was introduced to Cardinal Health through the VPAC, which reinforced what I had heard about the company culture and its commitment to veterans. Once I joined Cardinal Health, I became involved in the VMA to ‘pay it forward,’ as there were a few military colleagues who went out of their way to help me get my foot in the door. I’ve found it to be a great support system for myself and for many other veterans and active service members. The longer I have worked at Cardinal Health, the more I have seen my military network and my work network overlap; I’ve served alongside several Cardinal Health colleagues in various positions with the Army National Guard. Having a network of colleagues who also have military careers inspired us to create the Guard and Reserve Liaison committee within the VMA; it gives us a chance to share our knowledge and experiences as active service members with others who are currently serving.
The military has taught me to develop and lead adaptable teams capable of solving dynamic problems in an ever-changing environment. This translates well to Cardinal Health, where we solve problems for customers every day, so that customers can focus on caring for their patients. Here, I continue to hone my skills to become a more accountable, empathetic and well-rounded leader.
Paul Laurent, senior consultant, digital process excellence; co-chair of the VMA’s National Guard and Reserve Liaison subcommittee
Paul Laurent (pictured near left) joined the Army National Guard in 2014, and joined Cardinal Health early in 2022, drawn by the company’s mission-driven culture.
I am part of the Army National Guard because I firmly believe that public service contributes to the greater good. Serving as an officer in the Guard has given me some unique opportunities, including training not available to civilians, and experiences that have helped me hone and refine my communications, planning, management and leadership skills. In addition, I've met extraordinary people through my service, and have learned to better connect and work with people from diverse backgrounds.
Like many veterans and active military personnel, I strongly identify with mission-driven organizations in civilian life. My work is more meaningful and rewarding if I can help advance a mission that makes a difference in this world. I find that culture at Cardinal Health, where we are focused on delivering the products and services that improve people’s lives every day.
Cardinal Health is also very supportive of those of us in active service. The company understands that we come with the same kinds of skills that veterans bring to the workplace, but recognizes too that we will be called away for training and deployments. It takes a special work culture to accommodate and encourage these disruptions.
The VMA provides a support network of like-minded people I can learn from. Chances are someone in that group has been through something I'm currently experiencing or will in the future. The VMA also gives me an opportunity to give back: Through my work in the VMA, I am able to share what I’ve learned and experienced with others, particularly those who are in the National Guard or Reserves.
Mike Cvengros, vice president, digital solutions; VMA co-chair
Mike Cvengros has been with Cardinal Health for 20 years. Though he is not a veteran, he is an ardent advocate for veterans and those still in active service. He joined the VMA four years ago.
As a leader at Cardinal Health, I’ve had many opportunities to see the enormous contributions that veterans and those in active service make in the workplace. Those who serve acquire discipline, structure and a sense of honor and teamwork that translate well to corporate life.
When I was asked last year to raise my hand to be considered to co-chair the VMA, I didn’t have to think twice: I wanted to be a more proactive advocate and ally for its members. The VMA can help recruit veterans and those in the National Guard and Reserves. I think we have the opportunity to enhance and expand our VPAC program to reach more veterans. And I think we can help ensure that managers across Cardinal Health have the education and tools they need to lead and support veterans and those who are balancing active military service with their Cardinal Health careers.
I have heard many stories from VMA members about what they’ve been through professionally and personally. They’ve had to demonstrate great leadership in intense, high-pressure scenarios. Those in the National Guard or the Reserves, and their families, often must prepare for deployment on short notice – sometimes for periods of up to a year. Learning about their experiences and the sacrifices they make for all of us makes me more determined to do what I can to support them.