A Veteran In A Hyatt World

By on July 16, 2014

Since beginning with Hyatt almost four years ago within the Regency brand, I have had ample opportunity to challenge myself and grow professionally with our company.  In November of 2013, I was honored to launch the Veterans@Hyatt Employee Network Group with colleagues at our Phoenix-area properties.  As a veteran, I believed we could form this group to both assist returning veterans with their transition into the civilian workforce and to help connect Hyatt with individuals who are natural leaders and would serve our organization well.

There is often a preconceived notion that military veterans are only suited for defense related positions upon their departure from the armed forces.  This notion couldn’t be further from the actual truth.  A very small percentage of military members actually work in combat arms or related positions.  The vast majority function as part of the infrastructure that keeps the infantry soldier or fighter pilot moving forward in their area of operations.  What every veteran has fostered, despite their specific military occupational specialty, is the desire to succeed, a natural tendency to lead, and the ability to foster an atmosphere of teamwork and camaraderie.

I definitely consider my time spent in the Marine Corps as some of the best years of my life.  I initially joined as a way to escape my life in “small town America”, but the experience is what has ultimately defined me, and helped me realize my true potential.  It was tough, and wasn’t without sacrifice, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.  The Corps gave me the opportunity to leave my hometown outside Buffalo, New York (Let’s go Sabres!), to roam the earth experiencing exotic places I had only read about in books. I made friends that I still keep in touch with, and who I will most likely stay close to for the rest of my life.  The service taught me the intangible skills that can’t be replicated in a classroom; ideas such as selfless service, integrity, discipline, and tact.  There was a simple philosophy that was instilled in every Marine: when your team fails, you fail.  You were part of a larger framework, and your duty was to each other and to the organization.

When I left the military, I was one of the many who were placed in the strange new world we like to call the civilian job market. I left my duty station in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii (don’t ask), to return to good ol’ Buffalo.  I thought it would be easy going back to a place I had just left four years prior, but I was in for a rude awakening.  The familiar surroundings I had come to enjoy, such as being around my friends non-stop, and my pre-planned regimented schedule were gone.  I didn’t need to go run 5 miles in the morning (I didn’t miss that) or show up to drill practice in the afternoon. At one point, the change in lifestyle was a bit overwhelming.   I needed to figure out what I was going to do with myself fast!

After a short stint with a power company immediately after my return to Western New York, I looked at my options and decided what I wanted to do the rest of my life.  The Marines had taught me to manage personnel and assets, and I wanted to enter a career where I could transfer those skills and travel as much as I did in the military.  I started looking into careers in the hotel and restaurant business, as it seemed to be a natural fit for me.  At that point I decided to attend Niagara University for hotel management.

I graduated college, went to work for Hyatt, and it has become as large of a part of my life as my time in the military.  My wife also works for Hyatt, we had our wedding at a Hyatt, and we “Hyatt-hopped” our honeymoon to two separate properties in the Dutch Caribbean.  Gotta get in those free room nights – a wonderful benefit for working with Hyatt!   In essence, Hyatt became part of our family.  I cringe at the fact that my in-laws are not yet diamond members, although I have offered to tier match them (Joking! Or am I?).  Don’t worry….I’ll convert them! It is easy to stay engaged at a company that gives you ample opportunity to help your colleagues and encourages your professional development.

Hyatt is a great place for any vet to begin their civilian career as it fosters an environment of teamwork, inclusion, innovation, creativity and community involvement.  After launching the Veterans@Hyatt ENG, I have met a number of veterans in our company and look forward to working with them in making this employee network group a company success.


About the Blogger

A veteran of the Marine Corps, Robert currently works as Director of Sales at one of our Phoenix area Hyatt locations.  To view career opportunities and learn more about the Veteran experience at Hyatt, please visit: http://hyatt-veterans.jobs/


About Ronisha

One of Hyatt's Regional Talent Acquisition Managers, Ronisha recruits for Hyatt's College Programs and supports our full-service locations within the East Coast and Midwestern regions of the United States. A lover of all things "social", you can follow her on Twitter at @ronishagoodwin